How to Grow Potatoes
Growing Potatoes = Easy
Growing potatoes is simple, and they provide a nice garden staple to enjoy from your cellar through the winter. You can grow potatoes in nearly any gardening climate, but it's best to pick a variety suited to your growing zone.
Note: if you have a small garden, this may not be the best choice, as growing potatoes requires a fair amount of garden space.
For Growing Potatoes:
- Well drained, sandy soil enriched with plenty of compost (or well-rotted organic matter) is best.
- Full sunshine exposure.
How to Grow Potatoes
- Test the soil. Garden Soil with a pH level of 5.0-6.0 is best for growing potatoes. (Improve the soil, if necessary.)
- In early spring, dig the garden bed you've selected for growing potatoes very deeply, adding compost (or similar). The looser and deeper the soil, the better your potato crop.
- Cut the seed potatoes into pieces with 1 to 3 sprouts (eyes) per piece. The more eyes per piece, the smaller but more potatoes you'll get per plant.
- Dig the rows in your vegetable garden, so that they are 2 feet apart and 6 inches deep. Add 2 inches of compost to the furrow. Then an inch of soil on top.
- Place the seed potato pieces in the row, leaving a foot and a half between pieces. Then fill in the furrow with garden soil.
- Water regularly, but the soil should never be watered such that it's excessively damp. Always water at the ground level, and never from above the leaves.
- As the planted seed potato grows, continue to mound dirt up around the plant to protect the potatoes growing below the soil level.
- Once the plant tops are established, add a thick layer of organic mulch (such as straw) to keep weeds away, minimize soil born plant diseases, and retain moisture in the soil for the roots.
- Throughout the growing season, water with compost tea (or similar) every two weeks, to help prevent potato-blight.
- For small potatoes, harvest by gently digging up the plant and surrounding soil, once the plant's leaves have yellowed. For bigger potatoes, harvest once the plant has died back completely. (Many times, the potatoes will be well buried in the soil, so sort through the garden soil beneath the plant carefully.)
It is easy to damage potatoes when harvesting them, which shortens their shelf-life for winter's storage. Be gentle so not to scrape or bruise them when harvesting.