Garden Fresh Potatoes

North American gardeners grow potatoes that generally fall into 1 of 6 color categories.

University of Minnesota potato growing fact website has a lot of useful information on growing potatoes.

Blue skin with white or blue flesh
Brown skin with white or yellow flesh like
Purple skin with white, yellow or purple flesh
Red skin with white, yellow or red flesh
White skin with white or yellow flesh
Yellow skin with white or yellow flesh

Start your potato plants from tubers or pieces of tubers. Buy disease free seed tubers from a certified grower or seed distributor. Most garden centers carry seed potatoes in the spring.

Potatoes saved from your own garden may not be a good choice either. They can carry disease spores from the previous year. Although your garden may seem disease free, re-introducing more fungi or bacteria could cause crop failure for your potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant in the future.

Hint: Do not plant potatoes purchased at the grocery store, they may have been treat with chemicals to keep tubers dormant(prevents sprouting), in which case they will be slow to grow.
Diseases may also infect the potatoes, which can remain in your garden soil for many years. Also they may have been treated with pesticides to kill insects that can damage potatoes that have been placed in storage.

Plant your seed potato sections about 3 inches deep. The depth allows the potatoes to form without breaking the surface and causing green spots on the potatoes. When a tuber is exposed to light for an extended period of time, a poisonous alkaloid is produced that turns the potato green.

Before planting, add a fertilizer with a NPK rating 10-10-5. Mix the fertilizer in with the soil as you till to evenly disperse the fertilizer. If you use an organic fertilizer, such as cow or horse manure, make sure the manure is well-rotted or at least a year old. Fresh manure causes the planting bed to get too “hot” and burns the plants.
Potato seeds prefer a cooler temperature to set roots. The ideal soil temperature for planting seed potatoes is around 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hill soil up around plants as they grow. Tubers will form on thin stems, called stolons, which emerge from the main stems. The deeper in the soil the underground portion of the plant, the more stolons the plant may grow.

Potatoes are both water loving and heavy feeders of fertilizer. Moisture stress can cause knobby or hollow potatoes, and can prevent the plant from producing new tubers. Light soil is the best for growing large, smooth potatoes. Soak the soil thoroughly when watering, once or twice a week.

You can dig new potatoes about seven to eight weeks after planting. New potatoes will have formed above the seed piece you planted, so dig down about a foot, and turn the whole plant upside down to pick the tubers.
Harvest mature tubers after the plants have dried(look dead) or when tubers have reached full size.

8 responses to “Garden Fresh Potatoes

  1. This weekend is root-crop harvesting for us (now that the tender one’s got frost bite a week ago). Potatoes are on the list. We have not “planted” potatoes for years, but continue to harvest them from ones that we missed digging up.

    We used potatoes as an early ground breaking scheme. We did a hilling process using leaves from the ditches along our dirt road. We would plant the potatoes, and let them grow to about 12 inches. Then we put leaves around each plant, such that the top leaves stood up. When they grew about 6 more inches, we added more leaves. By the end of the season, we had put about 2 feet of leaves on that part of the garden. Harvesting was easy: just pull the leaves apart and pull out the potatoes. Then burn the gone-by potato vines (to destroy any fungus). All those leaves got raked back over the garden area to decay over winter.

    That made for great development of workable soil over many years… and lots of stray potatoes every year. We have been pretty successful with transplanting all those stray plants each spring to start a new potato patch.

    I see lots of stews in the crockpot this winter
    – Oscar

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Every year I plant half my potato patch in old fashioned half red potatoes. The other half I plant a mix of many different types, purple, gold, whatever looks interesting. In the fall no matter what the conditions, I always get red potatoes.Some years I get other varieties. This year was a good year for the gold ones. Last year was very dry and I got no gold ones. The year before I got only a half dozen from the purple ones I tried. Every year, no matter what I always get red ones. The rest I never know. The red ones love our soil I guess.

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    • Between the hot dry summer and my heavy tight clay soil potato’s don’t do well here in my garden. However I have had very productive container grown potato crops.
      Happy holidays

      Like

      • What type of containers do you use? I have not had much success with mine.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I picked up at a farm auction five or six 25 gallon heavy plastic containers. I think they were nursery containers for potted trees.
          At any case because of my summer heat I painted them white to help keep the soil cool. I use a mixture of river sand, compost and potting soil and a good amount of wheat straw so I have a light textured moisture retaining ‘soil’ to plant potato’s.
          Good luck
          Happy holidays

          Like

  3. This makes me wish for spring already!

    Liked by 1 person

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