This guide on how to grow potatoes includes how to plant potatoes, how to grow potatoes in containers, and when to harvest potatoes.
Potatoes make such a satisfying meal, and growing your own potatoes can make those meals budget friendly, too. Lots of gardeners are starting to grow their own potatoes, since the investment is quite small but the yield is big. If you have been curious about growing your own potatoes but are not sure where to start, look below at some helpful tips on how to grow potatoes. You will find that growing your own potatoes is a great way to cut down the grocery budget while getting filling foods on the table!
How to Grow Potatoes
How to plant potatoes
Planting potatoes looks a little different than most vegetable planting techniques. When you plant tomatoes you won’t plant actual seeds or seedlings, but instead chunks of seed potatoes which will then sprout and grow. If you look closely at the inside of your potatoes, you will notice the tiny seeds, along with “eye” or knots on the outside of the skin. These are the seeds you wish to germinate, and planting a chunk of the potato that contains that seed will do the job. Here is how to plant seed potatoes.
You can start your planting when temperatures stay at or over 50 degrees each day. Begin by making rows/trenches in your garden that are about 3-4 inches deep. You should be using very loose, nutrient rich soil that the potatoes will have a chance to stretch out in. Only choose a garden space that gets moderate sun as potatoes love warmth and will grow quickly in warm weather. Should you experience a cooler climate and dips, they will however adapt. Before adding the potato cuttings, fill the trench with compost to help aid in development of the plant.
Place the potato cuttings (cut the potatoes into chunks) in the trench and cover loosely with soil. If you wish to do additional rows, plant them about a foot apart. Water with a few inches of water (1-2 inches depending on climate) per week, weed as normal, and wait. When checking on your potatoes each day, make sure the tubers (growth spots) are covered.
How to grow potatoes in containers
Many people opt to grow their potatoes in pots instead, and this is a great method. You can plant the seed potatoes in either black garbage bags filled with soil, or deep into pots of loose, nutrient rich soil. Just use the same seed potato method above, limited the number of chunks you bury since you will be working with a smaller space.
How to care for potato plants
Soon you will notice green shoots coming out of the ground. Once they are about a foot tall, you can use soil and mulch around the base of the shoot to help support it. Continue providing support as the shoot will continue to grow and the heat may cause it to wilt. Don’t panic if you see wilting, just continue to keep the soil cool and watered and add your mulch if it wears down.
Potato beetles tend to be found anywhere potatoes are grown. These can be quite a pest and you want to remove them as quick as possible. Placing bird feed in the area may help as birds will find the beetles and eat them. If you wish to use a pesticide, make sure it is an organic, food safe option. Use as directed to hep ward the area of potato beetles and keep the space pest free.
When to harvest potatoes
You will notice that some of these shoots start to bloom small flowers. This means it is getting close to picking time. Allow the foliage on the shoots to bloom if applicable and then completely die off before harvesting the potatoes. To be safe, wait at least one week after the foliage has died to harvest. Allowing the foliage to die off will ensure bigger produce results.
If you planted in garden rows, harvesting will be as simple as digging your potatoes up. If you used a container or bag method, you will break into the side of your container to harvest your potatoes. Both ways are quite simple.
As you can see, planting your own potatoes can be fun and easy, plus a great way to supplement your pantry. Potatoes can be fixed all sorts of ways including baked, mashed, in casseroles, soups, or you can even can them for later use.
Try these tips on how to grow potatoes and see what sort of results you can achieve.