How To Grow Your Favorite Potatoes In Your Garden

Potatoes are a healthy, inexpensive, and easy to grow food that can be stored for long periods of time. If you have never grown your own potatoes before, this is the perfect time to start. Potatoes are an excellent source of Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. They are also high in Vitamin B6 and contain significant amounts of iron. Potatoes can be stored for months in a cool dry place without refrigeration or freezing. They are also an excellent source of nutrition when compared to other starchy foods like rice or pasta.

Potatoes are root vegetables. Root vegetables are plants that grow underground. They can be used to make french fries, mashed potatoes, potato salad, and many other dishes.  The best part is that they are super easy to grow! You will only need two things: soil and seed potatoes.

When To Plant Potatoes

Potatoes are a cool-season crop that can be planted in the spring or fall. When planting potatoes, it is important to know what type of soil they need and what time of year they should be planted. In the spring, potatoes should be planted as soon as the ground can be worked in early spring. Fall planting is possible from September through November depending on your climate zone and the length of your growing season.

What Are Seed Potatoes

Seed potatoes are the first generation of potatoes grown from a seed. Potatoes you buy in the grocery store are not seed potatoes. You can plant them in the garden, but they might be treated with fungicide or other chemicals to prevent sprouting.  You can find seed potatoes online or at your local garden store.  They are usually more expensive than buying regular potatoes.

Seed potatoes come in many different varieties and colors, which is why they are used for planting new crops of potatoes every year. The most common potato varieties are yellow- or white-fleshed potatoes, but purple, red, brown, blue-green, and black varieties also are available and have become more popular in the last few years.

When you get your seed potatoes let them sit indoors in a sunny location to urge sprouting. If your seed potato is small, like the size of an egg, plant it whole. For larger potatoes, cut them into two-inch pieces making sure there is one eye per two-inch piece.

Planting Potatoes

Potatoes do not really need that much space to produce a nice size yield.  You can grow them in-ground, in a raised bed, in a large enough container, or even in a grow bag.  Potatoes can be grown in a variety of soils but usually, they need a sandy loam soil with a pH level of 5.5 to 7.0 (slightly acidic) for optimal growth. The soil needs to have good drainage and should be rich in organic matter, which is important for the potatoes' health and growth.  In general, you should plant potatoes at least 8 inches deep and about 12 inches apart for best results.

Select a sunny location that gets six to eight hours of full sun. Watering seed potatoes is an important part of the growing process. Seed potatoes are planted in the ground and must be watered regularly to keep them moist, but not so wet that it becomes waterlogged.

Potatoes take around 70 to 90 days to harvest, depending on the variety.  They are ready to harvest when the foliage begins to die back. Carefully dig around the plant and only remove the potatoes you plant to eat right away.

If you want a successful potato crop, it is important to fertilize them. Potatoes will benefit from using a fertilizer with high phosphorus content to help the roots of the potatoes develop quickly.  Start fertilizing two weeks after you plant your potatoes.  After that fertilize every four weeks and then stop two weeks before you harvest them.

Potatoes can last for months as long as they are stored in a location with a cool temperature, high humidity, and no light. A great place to store them is in an unheated basement or garage.  If you don’t have a location like that or live in a warm area, try storing them in an extra refrigerator with the temperature increased higher than normal. 

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