Growing potatoes might be one of the easiest and most satisfying experiences in small and even large gardening productions and in this guide not only are we going to provide you with the right knowledge to perfect your potatoes gardening experience we also are going to respond to all the question that you might be asking yourself and make it easy for you to succeed this experience either you are growing them for the first times or tens to hundreds of times you will find some interesting facts that might be a game changer for you and for your crops.
1) Preparing to plant potatoes :
Potatoes are better grown in rows, dig 6 to 8 inches (15-20cm) deep in the soil you also need to give them some space for them to spread their roots 12 to 15 inch (30-37cm) between each crop should be enough in most cases spread some compost in the bottom for them to get as much nutrients and give you a high quality harvest.
We also advise you not to cut the potatoes into half parts especially small ones even if they have multiple sprouts and they might give you 2 to 4 plants from the same seed and survive just fine together, because the cutting might lead the potato to get rotten up and attract insects and be diseased in the soil, If you happen to have large potatoes with many sprouts you can do the cutting but keep them for 1 to 2 days before planting them for them to heal and create a protective layer.
2) Planting potatoes :
when do you start to plant potatoes:
Potatoes are cool crops which means they prefer the soil to be cool in the root development but needs full sun for the plant to produce, For most climate zones you can begin planting potatoes in March in containers indoor (move them outdoor as soon as plant start to grow, for full sun)
You can begin growing them outdoor from early to mid-april, generally before 6 weeks from the last frost ( make sure soil temperature doesn’t go bellow 45f (7°c).
What soil is better to use to plant potatoes:
You will need to use a rich well-drained loamy soil. A mix of potting soil and compost with added sand (about 20% of the total) serves potatoes well. you can add a handful of well-balanced organic fertilizer to add good nutrients into it.
Hilling / earthing up:
After potatoes plants emerge from the soil and start growing it is preferable to start adding soil with a hoe to cover and protect the tubers from the light (light could cause the potatoes to turn green and because poisonous because of a compound named “solanine” that is toxic and will make your potatoes bitter and inedible)
How long to grow potatoes:
You will know that your potatoes are ready to harvest Potatoes take from 70 to 110 day for it to be fully mature and ready for a good harvest, you will also know that the plants are ready for harvesting when you spot flowers on top of the plant it means that they are already forming tubers inside the soil you can let them harden for another 2 weeks and by this time you can see the plant starting to die back it is the perfect moment to harvest if you are planing to store them you can let the plant die completely and then harvest them.
When your potatoes are fully mature and are now ready to harvest choose a dry day when the soil is not wet for it to be an easier job to find the crops and dig your way to all of them, also to get clean tubers so you won’t need to wash and that are good for storing.
the tools that you will need for this process are : a shovel or pitchfork if you grown them in the field soil or a trowel if it is in a raised bed or a container, you need to have careful attention not to harm the tubers.
how many potatoes do you get per plant:
In average you are going to get 10 potatoes for your harvest out of every plant and depending on the variety that you are growing, weather conditions and type of the soil, you can see more information about that in this article.
4) Curing your potatoes :
Curing potatoes is is a process that is going to make the skin of your potatoes to thicken and slows the respiratory rate of your tubers which makes them less susceptible to bacteria and mold it is done for the purpose of storing them in the best condition otherwise you will end up with a bunch of rotten potatoes sitting in your basement in the end of the month.
When you harvest your potatoes bring them inside into the basement or a cool dry place in your house, inspect all your potatoes and make sure they are not cut or damaged when they where into the soil (these ones should be consumed right away), then you need to rub all the dirt from the ones that you are going to store, let them dry and store them in a cool place between 45 to 60 degree F (7°-15°c) and a relative humidity of 85 to 95 in a ventilated area away from direct light
you can lay them on top of several layers of news paper or a cardboard for 2 weeks and they are ready to be stored through the whole winter
Different places you can grow your potatoes in:
Potatoes could survive different environments and give you a generous produce, they also could be relatively easy to grow no matter where you choose to place them, if you follow few instructions :
plant potato in field
The normal way, used by farmers this method which happen to get a satisfying produce will be not preferable if you have hard rocky soil that will be so difficult for the tubers to form in, also make sure not to harm the tubers when you harvest.
plant potatoes in a bag
Potatoes grow bags are made specially for an easy satisfying experience there are different forms of them but the ones with an opening on the side to take tubers are our personal favorites, because you can take the mature ones and let the small ones grow bigger, you can start with a half empty bag of soil to cover the seeds and begin adding soil after they emerge 3 to 4 times following their growth to get better produce and protect your tubers from the sun.
plant potatoes in containers
potatoes on containers tend to work really good and comparing the results you can achieve a hight volume quality harvest from them even more that when they grow in normal field soil you can see this video to see the results of the comparison
plant potatoes in raised beds
Raised beds tend to be the best option for potatoes, due to the space provided for their growth and you have the ability choose the best quality soil that will support their growth.
how to plant potatoes in a laundry baskets
Laundry baskets are a fun way to grow potatoes they have the lower space of the basket covered to retain the soil (drainage holes are mandatory in this case) and the sides hole to protect and support the plant.
Other places you can grow potatoes in :
You can grow potatoes almost everywhere and here are some of the options : in pots, in a barrel, in a trash can, in hay, in tires… and list continue, just use your creativity and you are ready to go.
can you plant potatoes in the fall
Depending on the variety you have ( if it is late season or early season ) and the climate zone you live in (check this card for better info) if you happen to live in a relatively warm zone between 9 and 11 the you should be able to grow potatoes just fine, but other than the it would be preferable to cover the plants from the winter frost since those plants will have to grow for 3 consecutive months.
How to grow potatoes in winter
to grow potatoes in winter you either grow the in a green house or cover the top with a
will potato plants survive frost
most varieties of potatoes doesn’t do really well in the frost so if you know that there is a coming frost shortly after you plant them or before they achieve maturity you better cover them with some blanket or a
some varieties grow perfectly fine even during the frost but it is preferable that you cover them with mulch and if you are growing in December it is preferable that you put a winter cover
General knowledge about potatoes
The difference between seed potatoes and regular market potatoes
Most gardeners will tell you to now grow potatoes from you market store, and there is a reason for that ; because they have been grown and treated in a way to maximize storage and minimize sprouting, seed potatoes in the other hand are small crops that are disease free that are kept to sprout for planting but ahead from that market potatoes are also safe to grow especially if they already begin sprouting in your house due to high temperature weather or other factors, that will save you from waiting for your seed potatoes crop to be ready (it might take time).
how long does it take potatoes to sprout
Depending on the conditions that the have been stored humidity and warmth are huge factors to …. the sprouting ,from the time potatoes grow out of soil on average they take about 3 to 4 month to actually sprout, but the ones that are sold into the market are generally treated in a way to maximize the storage period, this is why we do not recommend trying to get them to sprout as long as they don’t do it naturally, it is preferable that you order your seed potatoes to get hight quality disease free seed ready to be planted.
Can you plant unsprouted potatoes
Yes, planting potatoes that are not sprouting is fine watering the soil will provide the right environment for them to start growing and it will push them to fasten the process (do not heavy watering them) even if you grown potatoes this year and forget some tubers in the soil you will have new plants coming out of the soil.
How to speed up potato sprouting:
you can get potatoes to sprout quickly by simply storing potatoes in a dark, warm place preferably full of humidity (you can use a sprayer and spray them with water to humidify the place ) this will create a suitable environment to hack their growth and make them begin sprouting fast. you should see the potatoes eyes (buds) appearing in about a week or two then move them into light.
Plant old potatoes
yes you can plant old potatoes even if the are not sprouting (except for the ones with diseases) , even if they won’t grow they will transform to compost and amend the soil naturally, be aware of diseased potatoes that could eventually spread the disease to other plants and make it an awful experience for you
Where to plant potatoes sun or shade
Potatoes needs to be planted into direct sunlight, 6 hours of direct sunlight preferable for their growth, a shady place could cause them problems and affect their growth so we advise you not to do so.
How to plant potatoes indoor /growing potatoes indoors
growing potatoes indoors might be tricky you will need to keep them in a place full of light from the moment the crops go out of soil or provide the necessary light for them so that they could do the photosynthesis activity, you can start them indoor and move them outdoor to continue their growth.
Is it too late to plant potatoes :
Like we said, potatoes are cool crops you generally could grow them until late fall and mild winter (warm weather zones) to get them harvested during Christmas, if you are in a zone of heavy frost make sure to plant your crops 2 months before the fist frost.
How do you maximize a potato yield?
You can maximize your yield by planting good varieties , providing good quality soil, exposing it to the sun for at least 6 hours a day and watering it frequently , make sure the plant isn’t facing any sort of disease or insect
Plant potatoes roots up or down
You can plant potato sprouting in any position you want, But it is preferable to put them to the top because their growth is not in one way direction they follow the direction of the sun and light to go to the surface of the soil.
potato companion plants
companion plants for potatoes
potatoes are heavy feeders so it is preferable that you plant them alone
Now it’s tame to answer some different types of questions that maybe not a lot of people thought of but why not …
potato plant flower / potato flower / potato plant flowering
Are potato leaves poisonous
potato leaves aren’t poisonous and there are edible for most varieties
there is a myth that in the late centuries with the discovery of potatoes the leaves were king’s food and the slaves where the ones eating the tubers
growing roses in potatoes
this pratique is generally seen in some viral facebook videos might be genuine in a way that potatoes transform into compost to amend the soil when it decomposes but you might sendup getting some potato crops with the roses which is not something you intend to do I guess, so I will prefer growing roses in another more practical way than that , I will recommend checking this article for more information
is a potato a root
indeed, potatoes are considered roots because they tend to grow inside the soil
is a potato a tuber
yes they call it a tuber or a root and this is because
is a/ are potato a vegetable / fruit
potatoes are actually not a fruit
Are coffee grounds good for potatoes?
coffee grounds will decompose to create compost for the plant and this will be beneficial for the plant but the aren’t going to be a changing factor for your yield, we prefer creating out own compost and amending the soil with high quality nutrients for the potatoes to find all that they need to strive
How many potatoes should I plant for a family of 4?
for this question we brought to you an awesome calendar that is going to give you all the plants calculation to grow exactly what you need , click here
growing yukon gold potatoes
the response to this question will be provided soon
growing potatoes in straw / growing potatoes in straw bales / growing
potatoes in containers with straw
yes you can grow them this way and get a really good produce.
what does a potato plant look like / what do potato plants look like / potato plant pictures:
we have the picture in the beginning of this article, go there and see it
you can see much more article like this one about other vegetables on our blog