How to Grow Potatoes
Solanum tuberosum Full Sun Soil pH: 4.5 - 6.0
Seed potato contains buds or "eyes" which sprout and grow into plants. The seed piece provides food for the plant until it develops a root system. Too small of a seed piece will produce a weak plant. They should be cut into pieces which weigh about 1 1/2 to 2 ounces each.
Seed potato contains buds or "eyes" which sprout and grow into plants. The seed piece provides food for the plant until it develops a root system.
Too small of a seed piece will produce a weak plant. They should be cut into pieces which weigh about 1 1/2 to 2 ounces each.
Sweet potatoes are best started with sprouts or slips as some call them. See How to Plant and Grow Sweet Potatoes, an external link which provides useful data on Starting Sweet Potato slips
Now that your seed potatoes are properly prepared, you're ready to plant . There are several successful popular methods, No matter which method you use , be sure the soil is loose - not compacted which will inhibit development of the tubers.
Container Method - The container method optimizes your use of space. Plant your seed potatoes in the bottom of a tall container, such as a non metallic garbage can or barrel with holes in the base for drainage.
Scatter Method - Some gardeners simply lay their seed potatoes on top of the soil and then cover them with a several inches of mulch.Additional mulch is added as the plants grow. Personally, I don't care for this method as it tends to attract rodents, as well as insect pests in warmer weather and possibly rots as well.
a bitter, toxic alkaloid that imparts a greenish tinge.
Do not plant near to or in succession with Eggplants - Tomato - Strawberries - Pumpkins - Squash - Sunflowers - Cucumbers and similar circubits
They carry and transmit the same blights and will infect one another. See - Potato Plant Companions
Irrigation prior to and after planting should be applied . Do not water excessively as this can promote root rots and fungus in potatoes. Drip irrigation provides the plants with a more uniform application of water, placing it near the root zone and using less water. Drip irrigation also minimizes the amount of foliage and fruit disease compared with overhead irrigation . Inexpensive water timers are available
When setting out seed potatoes, apply a common starter solution .Soil for potatoes should be high in phosphorus and potassium and very low in nitrogen , as nitrogen encourages foliage growth at the expense of the tubers. 6-24-24, or 8-24-24 are preferable. If you don't know what these numbers mean See Fertilizer
Compost or Peat moss mixed in the soil for drainage is also advisable.If your soil is very heavy, growing your potatoes in raised beds can help. Soil ph should be 4.5 - 6.0. See also Tracking and Adjusting Soil pH
Harvesting and Storage
When you believe that you have early potatoes big enough to eat, dig gently into your early hills, feel for the best-sized potatoes and ease them out. The plants will keep on growing and producing as long as you are gentle and don't cause extensive root damage in this early harvest. During seasons when the soil has been unusually moist, hunting for early potatoes by hand becomes more difficult.
You can dig up entire plants, harvest the young spuds you find and put the plants back in the ground. They will survive this rude transplant and continue to produce more potatoes. But working fast is important; freshly dug potatoes shouldn't stay in the sun very long.
In North regions [Zones 2-5 -See Frost Dates] , harvest the bulk of your potato crop in September, when the plant tops are dying and the days are getting cooler .Choose a warm, dry day after a period of little or no rain. Cloudy days are even better, since too much light turns newly dug potatoes green, changing their flavor. Be gentle... it is their first time. Do not rough up or bump the potatoes. Each bruise lowers the storage quality of the potato.
When potatoes are exposed to light their skins turn slightly green , this is caused by a toxin called solanine. Solanine develops if potatoes aren't fully covered by soil while growing, or if you leave them in the sun too long after the harvest, or aren't stored in complete darkness.
Because solanine is slightly toxic, it's possible to get sick if you consume a large enough helping of greened potatoes. Peeling or cutting away green sections before cooking usually eliminates the problem, as most of the solanine is located in the potatoes skin.