Growing potatoes is an easy and rewarding task. Although potatoes may be a cheap commodity, growing your own is always ideal. Firstly, you can ensure you will be eating chemical free, organically grown potatoes. Secondly, the flavor is wonderfully better in every way. It’s just as we all know, nothing tastes better than fresh produce from our own garden!
Buying Seed Potatoes
These can be found at most garden and home improvement centers. Preferably, you should purchase organic seeds to avoid using genetically modified varieties. Also, it’s better to start with seed potatoes from a garden store. This way you will know what specific variety it is, and it will come with growing instructions. At the end of the season you can make your own seed potatoes from your harvest.
Making Seed Potatoes
When making your own seed potatoes, try to have at least two healthy looking eyes on each piece. Allow the cuts to heal over for at least 3 days before planting. If you don’t allow the seeds to heal over they could end up rotting.
When to Plant Potatoes
The best time to plant the potatoes is at least a couple of weeks after the last frost date. The soil temperature should be at least 45 F (7 C). Potato plants are sensitive to frost and may die if exposed to it.
How to Grow Potatoes
Although growing potatoes is relatively easy, it requires a little bit of preparation to get started. Follow these easy steps below:
- Choose a location with fertile, loose, well-draining soil.
- To prepare the plant bed: loosen the soil up 10 inches deep, and add 4 inches of compost on top.
- Sow the potato seeds at least 4 inches part. Make sure the potato eyes are facing up to the sky.
- Keep the soil consistently moist. Avoid allowing the soil to completely dry out.
- Potato hilling: As the plants grow, build up a ‘hill’ of soil around them. It’s important to keep the roots covered as the sun will damage the potatoes.
- Always keep the soil loose around your plants to ensure proper potato growth.
How to Harvest Potatoes
Depending on the variety of potato you choose, the harvest time can be anywhere from 60-90 days. When your potatoes are ready it’s best to harvest them on dry days.
Harvesting New Potatoes:
New potatoes can be harvested when the plants start to flower. The soil should be loose enough where you can reach down and harvest.
Harvesting Mature Potatoes:
When the potato plants start to turn brown and die back, it usually signals that your potatoes are ready to harvest. To access your potatoes use a pronged tool to pry up the plants.
Beans, corn and cabbage will grow well with your potatoes, and actually improve the flavor of them. Herbs such as, basil, parsley, and sage will attract beneficial insects that will help protect your potatoes. Marigolds are also excellent at keeping many pests away.
Hopefully, this information has helped you learn how to grow potatoes. If you have any questions or comments, please use the comment section below.