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Botanical name: Solanum tuberosum

Plant type: Vegetable

USDA Hardiness Zones: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Sun exposure: Full Sun

Soil type: Sandy

Soil pH: Acidic

This half hardy vegetable is a culinary staple, and yet is overlooked by many backyard gardeners. The taste and texture of home-grown potatoes are far superior to store bought, especially the early varieties. They need a cool climate, and also need to be watched to prevent sunburn. Potatoes can be grown as a winter crop in warmer climate zones.


  • Plant seed potatoes (pieces of whole potato or a small whole potato, with at least 2 eyes per piece) 0-2 weeks after last spring frost.
  • If you are cutting up potato pieces for planting, do so a 1-2 days ahead of time. This will give them the chance to form a protective layer, both for moisture retention and rot resistance.
  • You may start planting earlier, as soon as soil can be worked, but be aware that some crops will be ruined by a frost.
  • Spread and mix in rotted manure or organic compost in the bottom of the trench before planting.
  • Plant seed potatoes one foot apart in a 4-inch deep trench, eye side up.
  • Practice yearly crop rotation.
  • See our video on how to grow potatoes in a trash can, the easiest ever container garden!
  • Before planning your garden, take a look at our plant companions chart to see which veggies are compatible.


  • Potatoes thrive in well-drained, loose soil.
  • Potatoes need consistent moisture, so water regularly when tubers start to form.
  • Hilling should be done before the potato plants bloom, when the plant is about 6 inches tall. Hoe the dirt up around the base of the plant in order to cover the root as well as to support the plant. Bury them in loose soil. The idea is to keep the potato from getting sunburned, in which case they turn green and will taste bitter.
  • You will need to hill potatoes every couple of weeks to protect your crop.


  • Aphids
  • Flea Beetles
  • Leaf Hoppers
  • Early/Late Blight
  • Potato Scab: Most likely cause by soil with high pH. Remember: Potatoes like acidic soil (do not plant in soil with a pH higher than 5.2). Dust seed potatoes with sulfur before planting.


  • Dig potatoes on a dry day. Dig up gently, being careful not to puncture the tubers. The soil should not be compact, so digging should be easy.
  • New potatoes will be ready for harvest after 10 weeks, usually in early July.
  • You should harvest all of your potatoes once the vines die (usually by late August), or the potatoes may rot.
  • Make sure you brush off any soil clinging to the potatoes, then store them in a cool, dry, dark place. The ideal temperature for storage is 35 to 40°F.
  • Do not store potatoes with apples; their ethylene gas will cause potatoes to spoil.
  • Whether you dig your own potatoes or buy them at a store, don’t wash them until right before you use them. Washing potatoes shortens their storage life.


Recommended Varieties

  • ‘Irish Cobbler’ is an early variety.
  • ‘Viking’ is a red skinned potato, regular season variety.
  • ‘Chieftan’ is resistant to potato scab.
  • ‘Elba’, ‘Rosa’ and ‘Sebago’ are all somewhat resistant to blight.


Wit & Wisdom

Potato promoter Antoine Parmentier convinced Marie Antoinette to wear potato blossoms in her hair.

What I say is that if a man really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow.
—A. A. Milne, English writer (1882–1956)


I'm 9 and I want to grow a

By Herobrina on March 26

I'm 9 and I want to grow a potaco in my classroom.Is there any easier way?

Great site! I've grown

By Pamela Davis on March 12

Great site! I've grown potatoes here in NM for a few years, but always have a few questions. Any confusion I had about growing and planting was answered in a short, efficient way. Thanks!

Hi. I was curious and didn't

By Dana Bauman on March 6

Hi. I was curious and didn't find the answer above. When is a good time to plant potatoes in a container in Illinois? Thanks in advance!

For Central Illinois, plant

By Almanac Staff on March 9

For Central Illinois, plant potatoes April 1 to 15, June 1 to 10.

i have question .... i grew a

By tricky

i have question .... i grew a potato plant in my pot and it grew well but i cant understand that why my potato's coming up from soil and turning green why?????

When growing potatoes, it's

By Almanac Staff

When growing potatoes, it's important to pile up more earth to cover the tuber when the stem reaches a height of nine inches above ground; this prevents tubers near to the soil surface from turning green.

Hi I have a quick question. I

By Justcurious

Hi I have a quick question. I bought a 10 lb bag of potatoes from the market today (Dec 12, 2014) to use for mashed potatoes on Christmas. I usually store them under my counter in the kitchen but they don't last that long cause I use them up quickly. So my question is can I store these potatoes in the original packaging on my balcony in a material shopping bag? Or is it too cold to do that? It's snowing here in Canada so its pretty cold... I figured you guys would be the best people to ask since you grow your own :)

Just don't let them freeze.

By Richard Eugene Dykes

Just don't let them freeze. If so many, put them on paper in an unstacked layer in your closet if that's all you have.

The ideal temperature for

By Almanac Staff

The ideal temperature for storing potatoes is between 40 to 50 degrees F. Perhaps you can keep them in the basement or garage?

Oops, its the 13th lol

By Justcurious

Oops, its the 13th lol

Hi my name is mark I had a

By Mark Canova

Hi my name is mark I had a fluke happen I used my organic waste from my itchen for mulch. Low and behold I used that mulch and I got plant growing in my garden . Mind you im tickled pink by it but there growing in winter. I live in the central valley ca . Is there any4hing I need to know so I dont loose them? How long do I wait before I harvest? Thank you for your time.

Hi Mark, Are you sure that

By Almanac Staff

Hi Mark,
Are you sure that you have a potato growing in your garden? If it is a potato you need to hill some soil up around the plant and also be aware of frost and chilly weather. Cover the plant to protect it from freezing and if you have prolonged cold weather the plant will not grow. Potatoes can be harvested after they bloom.

Thank you. They are potatoe

By Mark Canova

Thank you. They are potatoe plants at first I thought they where some new weed somi pulled one and and that told me what they where. Mind you I was excited . Ive never grown any before. Ill let youknow how they did

The ground froze before I

By Linda Kick

The ground froze before I could dig my potatoes this year. Should I leave them to regrow next year or can I still dig them now?

Hi Linda, If the ground is

By Almanac Staff

Hi Linda,
If the ground is frozen to the depth where the potatoes are, they will be ruined. A surface freeze will not harm them. You can test the soil by digging down to see if the potatoes actually are frozen. If you can't dig into the soil put a layer of mulch over a section of potatoes and then try again. Some of the potatoes left in the ground over the winter may sprout next year.

I want to know if

By Judy Van Sanford

I want to know if Albuquerque, NM has the right climate to plant potatoes now in October. Thank you for your valuable time.

Judy, Yes, you can grow

By Almanac Staff

Judy, Yes, you can grow potatoes in New Mexico. They are considered a half-hardy crop which you plant these near the average date of the last killing frost, or plant in summer for the fall garden. See our frost dates calculator here:

I live in Albuquerque, NM and

By Judy Van Sanford

I live in Albuquerque, NM and I want to know if I can plant Klondike Gourmet petite potatoes now in October. A friend gave me a partial bag and I'd like to plant them if possible. Thank you for your valuable time.

Hi:), I live in Southern

By buckdanger

I live in Southern Massachusetts and my mum hucked some bad potatoes out in the yard and garden (probably in the early summer/spring) and I went over one day and noticed nice big aprox. 2-21/2' plants with flowers. There was a potato showing that had lots of bug holes in it, but I think the plant was growing out of it?? Maybe?? She did not plant the potatoes, just threw them out for the animals. I think we might have already had a frost, it has gotten quite close anyways, but the plants are not dead yet. Should we get to digging?

I want to add, they were

By buckdanger

I want to add, they were store bought potatoes, not sure what kind. New, russet maybe?

With some luck you may have

By Almanac Staff

With some luck you may have some potatoes growing under the soil in your garden. If the plants are green and healthy looking leave them until they turn brown from the first hard frost. You can than dig up the plants and see if you can find some potatoes under them.


By Patrick Misinde


Hello Patrick , the best time

By Lola ash

Hello Patrick , the best time to plant potatoes is during rainy season in malawi. However you can plant them any time of the year as long as you water them regularly in the morning and in the evening. I hope I have answered your question but if you want more explaination please don't hestate.

In late April, a store bought

By Wannabefarmer

In late April, a store bought potato had sprouting eyes on it. I cut the potato in half and stuck it in a pot & covered with dirt. I set it outside and pretty much forgot about it. It was a rainy season, and to my (happy) surprise, at the end of June, I found the pot with about 3 inches of plant, stems and leaves, attached to the potato, which was now showing above the soil. I excitedly dug a hole in the ground near a fence row, of a neighboring cow field. Having watered off and on over the past few months, in addition to occassional rain water, my plant has grown so far to a height of about 15 inches tall. Not very bushy, however, it has branched off into at least 5 stems. I have not yet seen any flowering. I have not used any of the above ammendments ...sulfer, manure, or anything. The spot I chose did have previos horse manure at one point lol. I guess my question is... Is it possible, that from little or lack of care, I may be blessed with any potatoes? Should I even attempt to dig up, and have I allowed enough time? What is the monthly time frame from start to harvest? The stems have remained firm, and freen. A bit leggy, and are now growing low. They also, have been in full sn here in North central TN. Being a beginer gardener, I assumed sun was a good thing, but now have learned from this board, for potatoes, sun is not so good. Maybe a little too late I suppose!?

Some grocery store potatoes

By Almanac Staff

Some grocery store potatoes may have been treated to inhibit sprouting to prolong shelf life, but since yours sprouted, that wasn't an issue. Also, store bought potatoes might not be certified disease free. Seed potatoes at a garden center are usually certified. Plus, you can usually find more variety of seed potatoes from a garden center or garden catalog, and some that might be more adapted to your climate, than those at a grocery store. However, lots of gardeners have success using grocery store potatoes as seed potatoes. In Tennessee, March is the ideal time to plant potatoes, but April is fine, too. The success of your potatoes will depend in part on what variety you have planted and when, based on your local climate. Potatoes like cool weather, can stand light frost, and don't do so well in the heat of summer. Check your frost dates. Nashville, for example, has a last spring frost around April 6 and a first fall frost around October 28. (See the frost calculator at: Early season potatoes mature within 75 to 90 days; midseason, about 95 to 110 days; late season, about 120-135 days (these store well usually). Potatoes grow best in cool weather, when soil temps are about 60 to 70F. It's best to get the crops harvested before the heat of summer, or time them to mature in fall. In areas with hot summers, early and midseason types grow well in spring plantings (plant about 3 to 4 weeks before last spring frost); late season types can be planted in early summer for a fall crop.

Due to space constrictions on

By Chinalily12

Due to space constrictions on my balcony, I decided to pull my Kennebec potatoes earlier than what is recommended. The plants had already flowered a few weeks ago (I even got a few potato fruit that I will try to save the seed from) and the foliage had just begun to brown/die back but definitely wasn't dead. I ended up with about 30 or so potatoes of varying sizes. I'm unsure how to store them because I'm assuming they're not "new" potatoes, nor are they fully mature potatoes. What would you recommend?

Make sure that the potatoes

By Almanac Staff

Make sure that the potatoes are dry. Brush away any extra soil and store the potatoes in a cardboard box in a cool dark area. See our tips for storing potatoes on top of this page.

I live in Louisville KY and

By Keith-001

I live in Louisville KY and have started planting a lot of (mostly large - like half-barrel ) containers. Had tomatoes for several years and these did well. This year I expanded. I had a bunch of russet taters that sprouted in the pantry so I decided for giggles to plant them in a half-barrel in May, in potting mix and compost in a 5" deep layer at the bottom. Drain holes are 1.5" above bottom, to retain water through our hot summer days. As they grew I added peat moss and some commercial bagged compost until the barrel is full.

Summer this year has been milder than most - only two days so far above 90F (32C); mostly in the 80's (27-32C). I've got a nice crop of spindly 3'+ vines, but from what I am reading here, I may not have (m)any tubers due to the temperature of the soil, which I have not measured yet. I haven't seen any (or maybe just a very few) flowers. I have kept the soil nice and damp through the whole season.

So I have a few questions:
1) what is the ideal and what is the limiting soil temperature range(s) for common barieties of potato (russet, white/Idaho, red-skin, yukon gold, etc as seen in my local chain grocery store)? Are there any varieties that are higher-temperature tolerant and easy to grow?
2) if I don't have (m)any spuds soon, can I just leave what I do have in the pot to start itself over whenever they choose?
3) since these were grocery-store potatoes which may harbor untold diseases, I gather that at the very least I should not plant potatoes (or any Solanaceae crops) for at least 4 years in this pot. What kind of diseases are we talking about - what are the symptoms so I can decide if I do (and where can I read up on potato diseases)?
2) If I have some of these diseases, it begs the question of what the commercial growers do, since they are monocultural operations with less opportunity for rotation? Hefty chemicals?
3) If potato diseases are so rampant, how does anyone produce disease-free seed-stock tubers of a true variety?
4) And finally, a story with a question:
My dad grew up in Hartford Connecticut during the Great Depression. Sometime (I never asked when) they would lay down a 6" layer of compost on the driveway, plant potatoes, and add dead leaves as the vines grew to keep the tubers covered. The pile may have gotten to 2' or higher. Winter came, snow covered the pile, and for dinner his mom would send him out to stick his hands into the (unfrozen, apparently due to the insulation of leaves and snow) pile and fish out enough potatoes for the family. Has anyone else ever heard of this? When do you suppose they planted? What variety(ies) might they have used? For reference, the first frost was usually the 3rd week of September, and hard freezes came by late October. Winter lows were as cold as 0F in January-February, but mostly 15F and above until then.

Is it possible with new

By Lora Burley

Is it possible with new potatoes to harvest just the larger ones and then leave smaller ones to grow on into the season?>

Hi, Lora: Yes, but just be

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Lora: Yes, but just be sure to work as quickly and gently as possible in doing this.

My plants have not died back

By R Fisk

My plants have not died back yet but I did dig some red potatoes up and the were a nice color and size. one however was starting to rot in the center. I plan to store my potatoes so I want to leave them in the ground for 10 days after the plant dies back. What should I do? Im afraid if I leave them in they'll keep growing and ill end up with a lot of center rot.

I had a lot of potatoes gone

By kay p

I had a lot of potatoes gone to seed so I put them into pots they have grown to about five feet but also growing from the stem are a few bunches of what looks like small green tomatoes can you tell me what it is?

Both potatoes and tomatoes

By Almanac Staff

Both potatoes and tomatoes are in the nightshade family‚ Solanceae, but these are NOT tomatoes. Inside these "seed balls" are "true" seeds of the potato.
Do not eat the seed balls or the seeds; they contain solanine, which is toxic to humans!
Potato seed balls can occur during cool seasons. You can save and start the seeds indoors next season, transplanting after all danger of frost has passed. Note that they need a long growing season. You may get a harvest of a variety of tubers!

Hya.This my first time

By j .j .

Hya.This my first time growing potatoes.Some of my crop has produced seec balls on the top leaves.Is this normal and what do I do next? Tx for any help.

My potatoes are not

By Sharon Wo

My potatoes are not producing. They have bloomed & I dug up some of the plants, but they aren't producing. Is it too late to save them?

I live in southern Ontario.

By Polline Coulombe

I live in southern Ontario. I've planted potatoes from the first time. The plants are about one foot high. However, they are growing along the ground and not straight up. I've notices that the plant is yellowing as if it's rotting. They have not flowered yet. What do I do. They are in full sun and we have been having a lot of rainf lately. What do I do. I'd hate to lose this crop

I live in southern Alberta

By Paul Noseworthy

I live in southern Alberta and have the same problem; I've been growing these for almost ten years and have never seen this before. Any ideas? Thanks

Providing these are regular

By Almanac Staff

Providing these are regular potatoes and not sweet potatoes (which are always vining), it might be more unusual to see them growing along the ground (unless they were just so heavy that the stems fell over) since they usually show an upright and bushy habit. We've read though that they might tend to vine more in cool climates, such as in the mountains of South America. We're guessing that it might also depend on the variety.
Not all potato plants flower; you still might get potatoes under the ground. Check carefully in the soil to see if you feel any potatoes developing.

Perhaps you need to give the

By Almanac Staff

Perhaps you need to give the plants more time? Sometimes the potatoes won't start to form until a week or so after the plant begins to bloom, or just when the flowers start to fade. Some potato plants may never flower. So for new potatoes, start looking for these as the plants flower and a week or so after. For mature potatoes, harvest after the plants die back--even waiting a week or two after that.
Also, if you give the plant too much nitrogen, it will focus on growing foliage and you won't get potatoes. Use a balanced fertilizer instead.
Potatoes don't like the soil to be over 80F, and will slow or stop producing tubers if the soil gets too hot. If you are in a hot climate, be sure to mulch thickly around the potatoes to keep soil moist and cool.

ppl tell me that if u cut off

By james butcher

ppl tell me that if u cut off the tops of the plant after the flower die it will make the potatoe grow bigger is this true

Hi James, Please see our

By Almanac Staff

Hi James,
Please see our answer to Sharon's question below.

I just finished planting my

By james candilla

I just finished planting my potatoes in Zimmerman Minnesota on May 25th. Due to rain, couldn't plant them any earlier. I planted three varieties but didn't soak the eyes prior to planting. I also used bone meal in a sandy soil with added black dirt mixed in. What do you think?

Cold temperatures can change

By TheDailyOpportu...

Cold temperatures can change the starch in potatoes into sugars. The refrigerator might not be the best place to put your taters.

We recommend to store

By Almanac Staff

We recommend to store potatoes in a cool, dry, dark place. The ideal temperature for storage is 35 to 40°F.

We have 4 rows approximately

By Sharon Reneé

We have 4 rows approximately 0.5 miles of potatoes that have been weeded and hilled (hilled 2-3 times) They are blooming now. I have heard that some people top their potatoes and by doing that the potatoes grow bigger..... Any advice appreciated and "How To's". Thank you in advance. Sharon Reneé

Hi Sharon, We have also heard

By Almanac Staff

Hi Sharon,
We have also heard that some gardeners remove the potato flowers (leaving all the leaves) before they develop into small green seeds. We have not tried it but it does make sense. The energy to produce seed will instead go into producing the potatoes under the soil. You can test it buy removing the flowers in one row to see if the potatoes will grow bigger.

If you buy organic potatoes.

By Sam M.

If you buy organic potatoes. Can you use these instead of potato seeds? If so, how do you go about doing it? Thanks.

You can buy organic potatoes

By jcurless

You can buy organic potatoes (or any from a store) and as long as they form eyes they will grow. Most non-organic store bought ones have a process dont to keep them from forming eyes and sprouting. Keep them in a cool dry place and once they start to form eyes, cut into small sections leaving 2 eyes on each piece. I set mine for 24 hrs after cutting (on a rack) at room temp to allow them to form a skin. Then transplant to the growing box or garden.

I didn't get all my potatoes

By Billy simmons

I didn't get all my potatoes dug up last year. My plants turned green and started to grow this spring. Will they do alright and make new potatoes this year

Potatoes are a perennial type

By jcurless

Potatoes are a perennial type plant in that if the potatoes left in the ground are un-damaged during the fall and winter they will produce new plants in the spring.

Hello, I live in Alabama. My

By Candice from Alabama

Hello, I live in Alabama. My daughter brought home a potatoe plant in a large pot. I have never planted potatoes before and don't know how to maintain them or when to harvest them. Any advice is appreciated.

If it is a single plant in a

By jcurless

If it is a single plant in a large pot (around 3 gallons or more) you can keep in in that pot for the year. You would want to keep it in the full sun and water regularly. if you start to see the tops of the potatoes add dirt to keep them protected from the sun. When the Green plants die off and turn brown its time to harvest. I wouldnt expect much from a single plant but you could see 3-6 potatoes depending on the type planted.

i planted 4 -24"Sq. pots i

By kerritt

i planted 4 -24"Sq. pots i goe 4-bhls. of spuds 1/2 of them 4-6"2-3"wide and a lot of pee wee's, i took a bag of russets from the grocers cull pile in the winter kept till sid spring ears were 3-4" long and all shrivled up they came up like crazykept covering them till top of pot plants were 4' high frosted off and harvesed them, what a pile shaired them aroung the area.used rick organic potting soil with no chems. just used mirical grow a few times the are great im in cen. ct.

Hi, my neighbor tossed a

By Tanja Lea

Hi, my neighbor tossed a bunch of potatoes that were sprouting roots into a flower bed about 10 weeks ago. He didnt bury them and they sprouted nicely anyway. So, he got anxious and dug the tubers up this evening. Surprisingly, there were actually some good sized tubers along with some tiny ones. He gave them all to me to cook. I decided to wash one and toss it into the microwave to make a baked potatoe. The potatoe seemed excessively hard when I cooked it the regular amount of time, so I cooked it longer. It never seemed to cook right. It never got soft. It was tough and really watery inside. It tasted kind of sweet. I don't quite get what's wrong with these potatoes. I made a second one and the same thing happened. There are green areas as well. Also note that the stems and leaves were still very green and not drying up at all.

Your neighbor had kind

By Almanac Staff

Your neighbor had kind intentions, however, potatoes exposed to sunlight turn green. Keeping tubers covered while they are growing prevents greening. The green patches will taste causes a bitter taste because the flesh contains a moderately toxic compound. When preparing potatoes, cut away any green areas and discard. 
Also, when the potatoes are dug up, the weather conditions are important or the potatoes could turn green which changes their flavor. It needs to be warm and dry (after a period of little or no rain). Cloudy days are even better. 
All in all, potatoes must be grown—and stored—and harvested—in darkness. 

Hi there! We seem to have

By T Cleveland

Hi there! We seem to have accidentally planted potatoes! I put some old ones in a compost pile on top of the ground, thinking they were dead and would just decompose, but they started sprouting up unexpectedly. I had already planned to build a raised bed next to where they sprouted, so I did, trying to not disturb the plants. Also, since the plants were growing almost entirely above ground, I thought it would be good to cover the bottom part with some soil (I guess this would be considered hilling?). Now, part of the plant has started to die. I'm not sure if I disturbed some roots or covered with too much soil or what. I think the plant was at least 6 inches high when I added the dirt, but I'm also not sure exactly. Any suggestions on what to do at this point, or if I should just let them do their thing? Oh, and I haven't planted the raised bed yet, in case that matters (but it is staying put, lol).

I say let them ride. I

By jcurless

I say let them ride. I usually hill (or add dirt to a box) when the plant is 12" or more. I cover the bottom 6" leaving a min of 6" of plant above ground. At first you will see slight wilting or yellowing, but with proper water, sun, and time they usually pop back. The one thing to watch is the ammount of sun. Most dont build a compost pile in direct sunlight.

How often do you hill

By Donna Summers

How often do you hill potatoes? Live in Savannah, GA We planted them in raised boxes about 12 in. And hilled them when they were about 6in and hilled them when they were about 3in out of the soil and hilled them again until we reached the 12in. Should we make the box deeper to reach 18in?

If you can, that wouldn't

By Joe Tedeschi

If you can, that wouldn't hurt. You can also use straw (it works if the plant's root system is in soil) with a bit of dirt on top. Remember, the object is no sunlight.
Or, you can just stay put and have a bit smaller harvest.
Your key next season is to start about a foot below the box with your initial layer of compost and the seed potatoes.
You'll be fine as you have described your situation though.

I had previously gotten

By jinet wright

I had previously gotten directions to plant potato eyes 2 inches apart. the plants are very healthy and beautiful, but now I am worried after reading all of these comments that the advice I followed could be bad for my harvest. I have blooms starting to show, so what should I do?

Is it too late to plant

By Cindy Martin

Is it too late to plant potatoes..Im in KY and I want to plant this in pots. If it is not too, late..any advice? "new to this.

While normally the early crop

By Almanac Staff

While normally the early crop is planted around March to mid April, a second crop for a later harvest can be done mid-June to mid July, according to the Kentucky Cooperative Extension. (I'm sure you can plant in between those times as well, if you don't want to stagger harvests.) You might be interested in this publication from the Kentucky Cooperative Extension:

I just finished planting my

By Tamia

I just finished planting my potatoes in Zimmerman Minnesota on May 25th. Due to rain, couldn't plant them any earlier. I planted three varieties but didn't soak the eyes prior to planting. I also used bone meal in a sandy soil with added black dirt mixed in. What do you think?

Is June 1 too late to plant

By Kathleen2314

Is June 1 too late to plant potatoes in NC?

It depends on the type of

By jcurless

It depends on the type of potatoes you plant. I would stick with an early red and you could even take them as "new potatoes"

New Potatoes are regular potatoes that have been harvested early. Normally at about 2-3 inches in diamiter.

Early potatoes typically mature between 65 and 85 days, but immature tubers can be harvested within seven weeks.

I read all your guidelines

By Henry Khine

I read all your guidelines and I have followed. I am in Canada- Vancouver. I have planted my potaeto plants for my first time this year in my patio in pots. Now my potatoes are 6 weeks old. Now they are ready to bloom. I hope all will be going well and I hope I can have some potaeto in last week of July. I use moisture meter to know when I need to water and it helps. As you mentioned, potaeto plants want moisture soil and it is true. Thank you for your great guidelines.

Hi Henry, Nice to hear that

By Almanac Staff

Hi Henry,
Nice to hear that your potatoes are doing so well on your patio. Hopefully you'll have a nice harvest come July.

I was raised with a garden.

By Anonymous

I was raised with a garden. This is the first time my potato plants have buds, but don't seem to be opening. What causes this?

Maybe you have had some

By Almanac Staff

Maybe you have had some fluctuating weather which has caused the buds to not open yet. If the buds look healthy they should open when the weather turns warmer. It's important to keep the potatoes well watered during the period when they are flowering and immediately following the flowering stage.

can potatoes i planted last

By kristan shuler

can potatoes i planted last season come back this season???

Hi Kristan, If you accidently

By Almanac Staff

Hi Kristan,
If you accidently or on purpose leave a few small potatoes in the ground in the fall they may overwinter and come back the following spring. If you live in a cold area the potatoes need to be at least 8 inches under ground so that they don't freeze during the winter months.

My six pots of potatoes did

By Kaye Kittrell

My six pots of potatoes did not bloom. I planted them months ago, and they came up strong and beautiful. I think we got a heat wave in Jan. up to 88° and I did not respond with enough water. I resuscitated them and they were doing all right but went away for 3 days and another heat wave of 90°. The vines for the most part are yellow and limp. There is some new growth of leaves coming near the bottom on the vines though. Should I trim them and see if they grow back. Like I said, they never bloomed. Thank you!!

It sounds like your plants

By Almanac Staff

It sounds like your plants succumbed to the heat. Potatoes are extremely sensitive to high temperature and dry soil, among other things. One source estimated that one potato plant's total water consumption in a season is about 26 inches (over several months) for plants in the ground. Plants in pots—no matter what they are—tend to require more water than those in the ground simply because the soil in the pot, being exposed on the sides, dries out quicker than ground soil. You could trim them and see what happens.
(BTW, while you were 88°F in January, we were probably -18°F!)

Kaye you didn't say where you

By carolparrish

Kaye you didn't say where you lived or what kind of potatoes you planted.It takes 70 to 120 days for potatoes to form.If I were you I would gently dig around the roots of the potato plants and see if you can find any potatoes. If there are none or if they are too little I would give them a chance to grow.But you are going to have to keep them moist. It would help if you would mulch them heavily.GOOD LUCK

Last year the local wildlife,

By Five foot 2

Last year the local wildlife, probably badgers or foxes, attacked my potato patch leaving it looking like a war zone. This year, the potatoes that I wasn't able to lift last year have started sprouting and there is a good deal of leaf growth showing above ground. Not wanting to grow potatoes in the same patch on consecutive years I've dug them up and most of them look very healthy. What can I do with them? Should I replant them or are they safe to eat? Thanks for your help.

I don't know anything about

By carolparrish

I don't know anything about badgers but I know a little about potatoes. I would say you can either plant them or eat them. Just make sure they are not damaged when they are dug if you are going to plant them. If some are damaged let them heal a few days before planting.

Thanks Carol, that's a help.

By Five foot 2

Thanks Carol, that's a help.

Is hilling super neccessary

By crazycj900

Is hilling super neccessary

I'm growing potatoes for the

By jane nunns

I'm growing potatoes for the first time, what does hilling mean and what do I do

Hilling helps to protect the

By Almanac Staff

Hilling helps to protect the growing potatoes from the sunlight so that they don't turn green and it also helps you get a bigger harvest.

I bought a bag of potatoes

By shayned

I bought a bag of potatoes that are all green. Are they safe to eat

Green potatoes have a bitter

By Almanac Staff

Green potatoes have a bitter taste because they were exposed to light during growth (not a good idea). You may wish to trim these parts off. If you ate a lot of it, your stomach might be irritated.
Inspect potatoes at the store before purchasing and store them at home in a cool dark place with good air circulation.

We have had a very wet winter

By Dennis Padgett

We have had a very wet winter and spring . We live in Virginia Beach, VA. Is it too late to plant potatoes ?

It's not too late. Plant as

By Almanac Staff

It's not too late. Plant as soon as the soil has dried up a bit.

I would like to know how to

By Letta

I would like to know how to can potatoes via the water bath method. Years ago my grand mother and mother did it that way and I'd like to also I don't care for pressure cookers. If someone out there knows please let me know.

Has anyone heard of the old

By daryl hoffman

Has anyone heard of the old method of cutting up the seed potatoes and coating them with Copper. Letting them dry for a week or so prior to planting ?? I seem to remember me grandfather doing this but I have lost his 1940s gardening book.

I only heard of dusting them

By carolparrish

I only heard of dusting them with sulfur but since copper is a fungiside that is possible.You only have to dry them a day or less.

Thank you Carol You are

By darylhoffman

Thank you Carol
You are correct. It was Sulfur not copper. I found my answer in a 1957 published Gardening book last night.

Hi Letta, Here are some good

By Almanac Staff

Hi Letta,
Here are some good reference guides on how to can potatoes:

how to can potatoes ?

By Connie Hager

how to can potatoes ?

What does dragging off

By trapper2013

What does dragging off potato's mean? Thanks in advance

how can store pottos for

By jjudith mack

how can store pottos for about 6 months of so, can I store them in my storm cellar?

Here are tips on how to store

By Almanac Staff

Here are tips on how to store potatoes from the University of Idaho extension: Store in a dark, cool, unheated place that is 42 to 55 degrees F.  A garage is a common place. Do not expose to any light. Potatoes need high humidity as well as air flow so put them in a perforated bag that is not tightly sealed. Do not wash the potatoes before storage.

Every year I have a problem

By carolparrish

Every year I have a problem with aphids on my cole crops I have tried almost everything to get rid of them.Last year I bought an organic mite,thrip and aphid spray that worked pretty good but it was not cost efficient. Another gardener friend suggested I buy lacewing cacons. What do you think?

Every year I have a very bad Aphid problem with my cole crops. So much so that I have thought of not planting any. But that would be a shame. A gardener friend of mine suggested I buy some lacewing eggs. I have tried most all the recommended sprays and only one worked to keep them under control but never eliminated them completely. This product was expensive considering the amount I had to spray repeatively.
What do you think? I'm open for suggestions.
How and when do I use the the Lacewings?

The best practice to prevent

By El Dough

The best practice to prevent aphids is to keep the leaves dry - only water the dirt!

I had read in an organic

By Debra Gadebusch

I had read in an organic gardening site that planting garlic in my veggie garden and around my rose bushes would get rid of aphids, so I tried it.

100% eradication!

Good Luck!

Thanks Debra I certainly

By carolparrish

Thanks Debra I certainly will
give it a try.

Have you tried covering your

By K Mueller

Have you tried covering your cole crops with row covers? They come in different weights so there are light ones than can be used the entire season. Sun and rain penetrate but the insects don't. That is a better method in my opinion than spraying.

K Mueller

I was told that if you plant

By Chris Salazar

I was told that if you plant Dill plants near those plants that aphids go after that the aphids will rather attack the dill than the other crops. Hope this idea helps

I am interested to learn from

By Dr Obaid Ur Rehman

I am interested to learn from your experience regarding the age of potato tuber after planting or sowing when it can be harvested to use as seed for next crop. You can relate with size of tuber and age of tuber in days

As recently as 2/3 weeks ago

By Rika

As recently as 2/3 weeks ago I planted potatoes in 4 seperate containers in shallow soil intending to top the soil up as they grew. When I looked again they had all sprouted leaves but the soil is too shallow to accommodate much potatoes. Can I cover the leaves and what will happen or will I have to transplant into deeper soil? Thanks in advance.

When the plant grows to about

By Almanac Staff

When the plant grows to about 6 inches tall, you can cover the lower leaves and stalk with a few inches of soil or straw. Leave the top group of leaves alone (although for the first hilling, the plant can recover fine even if all leaves are covered). As the plant grows another 6 inches, add more soil or straw to the base. When you reach the top of the container, you should have a nice mound of soil or straw in which the potatoes can grow. The plant will produce stems and leaves above the soil/straw level.

Thanks a million. Much

By Rika

Thanks a million. Much appreciated. :)

Hello fellow farmers! Am a

By nchim mooya

Hello fellow farmers! Am a firt timer in potato growing and am trying to find out which could be the very best variety to grow in Ndola, Zambia!

Hi there, I'm in Ireland. I

By David Wilkins

Hi there, I'm in Ireland. I planted seed winter potatoes in large tubs in the garden. The plants grew really well and grew to over two feet tall when all the foliage / vegetation suddenly died and rotted away. I went to empty the containers a few weeks later and found quite a few perfectly formed baby potatoes. I don't know what killed the plants, probably blight, but the tubers look perfect. Is there any reason I can't eat them?

check that your bag was

By simba chiramba

check that your bag was draining water well.that may be the cause.thx

I used large pots with drain

By David Wilkins

I used large pots with drain holes, not a bag. Thanks anyway.

Although there seems to be no

By Almanac Staff

Although there seems to be no conclusive study that indicates a blight-infected potato is harmful to eat, there was an investigation a few decades back that raised the question of whether blighted potatoes were linked with certain birth defects and therefore expecting moms should avoid them; however, this theory is still inconclusive. Even if there were no risk from blight, however, there is a chance that a blighted potato may also contain other diseases that might indeed be harmful, so it might be best to just throw the entire potato away. (And, no one should eat a green potato.)
If you want to take a chance with the tubers from your blighted plants, then check to see if the potato itself looks healthy. If it does, it likely would be OK to eat. If there is any sign of corky dry areas, scabs, etc., on the tuber, then you can cut that part out and eat the rest, or just throw the whole potato out. If there is any slime or mold, throw the potato out. If it has an odd flavor, also throw it out.
If your potato tubers show any sign of disease, do not use them for canning--even the good parts.

We have grown potatoes for

By Linda Fountain

We have grown potatoes for several years,but this year we had a problem we have never had before. We planted both a red and abrown potato. They are all very dry. They do not make good bakers,French fries, or mashed. About the only way they come out good is as hash browns. Does anyone know what makes a dry potato?

A dry potato can be due to

By Almanac Staff

A dry potato can be due to variety (such as russets vs. more waxy types), or cultural/environmental disorders or disease problems. If your potatoes showed any discoloration inside, or sunken or hollow areas, you might look into a disease such as fusarium dry rot, or a cultural or environmental problem. For more information, see:
Check your soil to make sure it has the nutrients that potatoes need (not too much/not too little), and be sure that the crop has the proper amount of water, consistently. Consider environmental factors that might be coming into play, such as chemical damage from nearby areas, heat or cold stress, etc.

my potato plant has been

By ee

my potato plant has been growing since summer. I already dig out most of the potatoes. Now there are some new leaves came out from branches's split ends (with litter bud-like joins). should I keep the plant? will it produce potatoes again?

FYI: I live in northern CA.


Often, one can make the final

By Almanac Staff

Often, one can make the final harvest after the plant has died back, unless you desire a smaller sized potato, in which case the main harvest would be earlier, when most tubers have reached the desired size. If you do not have frost in your area, the plant still has plenty of green leaves (along with the new ones), and the plant is not starting to die back (turning brown), then you can certainly let the plant continue to grow and see if it survives to form more tubers.

Iplanted 220 bags of potatoes


Iplanted 220 bags of potatoes my problem is that at what stage did i put top dressing fertiliser and how to haverst

side dressing should be did

By franklin b.

side dressing should be did when the plants are 4-6" high I preferr to till between rows and with a hoe about 4" from bot. of plant make small trench both sides apply 10-10-10 fert. then hill the potatos. works every time.

I live in Hardiness Zone 8B

By Delores Feeken

I live in Hardiness Zone 8B is there still a way/type of potato that I can still plant?

Potatoes can be planted as

By Almanac Staff

Potatoes can be planted as soon as the ground is workable but not too wet. This is often 2 to 3 weeks before your average last frost date.  The soil temperature should reach 45 degrees. If you're not sure of your frost dates, see our Frost Charts:

My wife is Filipino and LOVES

By Keith Weathetholt

My wife is Filipino and LOVES to plant ANYTHING she can get her hands on. We live in the Bay area of CA. She planted an Ube potato and it has grown into a fairly nice bushy plant and the vegetation has not started to die off yet. Can we expect any kind of a "crop" from this planting??

If you have prepared the

By Erlee Pennington

If you have prepared the ground well before planting,you maybe able to harvest a good crop. Just like any potatoes, Ube needs well drain, loose soil and of course good soil (composted manure mix with sand will do the work) to be productive. Keep the soil moist but not soggy, and don't let it dry.

We live in eastern Oregon

By eliduc

We live in eastern Oregon where they grow a lot of potatoes. In the fall the go over the rows with a roller and kill the plants. Then they water them like crazy for days before they harvest. Why do they do this?

At potato harvest, they are

By Almanac Staff

At potato harvest, they are killing the vines to terminate the growth of the tubers to control their size and set their skin which reduces bruising during harvest. This process also reduces insect issues and disease. They are probably applying an herbicide to help vine kill which is best applied at dusk with high volumes of water. This allows the product to penetrate the leaves and stems before being activated by the sunlight the following day. Hope this helps answer your questions!

won't the herbicide enter the

By NadineB

won't the herbicide enter the potato? that sounds like a bad thing to do

I am a first timer in the

By Aminu Bello Dukku

I am a first timer in the area of potatoes. How can I grow potatoes? Help me to find out if it is possible to grow potatoes in Gombe, North Eastern part of Nigeria. Gombe is a place with warm climate with between 5 to 6 months of rainfall in a year. The location of my farm is near Dadin kowa dam (Google: Dadin kawo dam, Gombe, Negeria) This will enable you to see my location. The location of my farm is in Maleri, a village situated towards the northern part of the Dadin kowa lake, just by the western bank of the lake.

Thank you.

In the southern regions, when

By Dudu Lukhele

In the southern regions, when is the right time to plant potatoes? and how long does potatoes take to ripe?

In many southern regions, you

By Almanac Staff

In many southern regions, you plant potatoes in late winter (February, early March). Check with your county's cooperative extension for local dates.

I am 65 and have been

By mike rushing

I am 65 and have been planting red potatoes for some years now and my plant date is always Valentine's weekend. Never has failed me. 90 days and I dig. Just my 2 cents worth.

I was brought up to plant

By Rebecca Maker

I was brought up to plant potatoes (New England) on or before St. Patrick's Day regardless of weather/frost- it worked there and has worked well for 30 yrs. in the Willamette Valley (Oregon-USA) harvest 1st crop early June, 2nd crop in late summer. Good luck!!

Hello,I have potatoes growing

By karen mcneli

Hello,I have potatoes growing in a container.pulled out a couple and tasted one,it was a bit bitter,not the best tasting. The potatoes were not exposed to sunlight.Any ideas?

Usually, bitter potatoes

By Almanac Staff

Usually, bitter potatoes means that they have greened up (developed chlorophyll) due to exposure to sunlight, which also encourages colorless solanine to concentrate there, which makes the potato taste bitter. Sprouts at the eyes can also contain solanine and taste bitter.
It's just a guess, but since they were not green, and you likely didn't eat a sprout, perhaps they were not ripe yet or they were stressed in some way, such as by insects or disease?

I planted my seed potatoes

By Nicole Peet

I planted my seed potatoes really late due to rainfall. I am in Edson, Alberta, Canada. I planted the end of May,although this is very late I have huge full plants & am waiting for them to flower. My question is when should blossoms appear given my late planting date?

With 2014 planting less than

By Dar Brown

With 2014 planting less than 3 months away, I thought you'd like to know that my usual planting date is around June 1 every year. I live 100 km. north of Edmonton, and my garden catches up with all those gardens planted around the traditional date of May 24. (soil is warmer) Sometimes, conditions don't allow June 1. I've planted as late as June 6th, and harvest as usual - everything. Even late variety potatoes. Good luck!

It's been about 12 weeks or

By Almanac Staff

It's been about 12 weeks or so, right? Usually, flowers would appear about 6 to 10 weeks after planting (depending on type and local conditions). However, there are some varieties that don't flower; they still produce fine potatoes. Perhaps you have one of those types, or they are just delayed a bit in flowering. (Depending on whether you have an early, mid-, or late-season variety, it could take from about 80 to 120 days from planting to harvest.)
Or, sometimes if potatoes get waterlogged or thirsty, or don't have enough sun, they will fail to flower. In this case, they might not produce a good crop. However, your plants are healthy, so it could be they are just a nonflowering type or are a later flowering type.
All you can do is to dig the plant after the foliage has yellowed and died and see what's there. Or, you can gently dig a little bit now with your hands to see if there are any potatoes growing; replace the soil afterward.

I just finished building a

By trying

I just finished building a potato bin to grow potatoes year round We use fresh straw and potato eyes and dig up fresh potatoes year around...any comments?

Interesting. Presumably it

By bxk

Interesting. Presumably it would work. You might need to add new soil each year and have several of these going every season, with appropriate rotational crops.

I am in potatoe home growing.

By edward dube

I am in potatoe home growing. Thanks for the information.

Just harvested my first ever

By Blaney2u

Just harvested my first ever potatoes, using your advice. Can I plant another round and harvest in Oct?
BTW: Thank you very much.

In most northern regions

By Almanac Staff

In most northern regions where potatoes thrive (such as Idaho or Minnesota) planting is just done in the very early spring. However, in warm regions, growers have planted in the fall. Some folks who live in places such as North Carolina say fall works better than spring! If you live in a milder climate, plant a small patch and see how it works!

You reported that, washing

By Alemayehu

You reported that, washing potatoes shortens their storage life? But, how/why? I think washing the soil completly and other microbes on the potato surface will make the potato stored longer. I do not understand the logic why unwashed have longer shelf life.

According to America's Test

By jmcdhome

According to America's Test Kitchen, premature washing of fruits and veggies encourages mold growth.

The dirt protects the

By Almanac Staff

The dirt protects the potatoes from bruising, light, and general deterioration.

Haven't had many blooms on

By D Schmidt

Haven't had many blooms on potatoes; how does this affect the crop?

According to the folks at

By Almanac Staff

According to the folks at Idaho Univ, there's not a causal relationship between tuber development and flowering. Potatoes need moderate amounts of nitrogen and cool nights for good tuber growth. In fact, some potato varieties go without flowering and still yield a good harvest. If flowers don't come, we'd advise that you wait at least a week before the plant dies off before harvesting for storage potatoes.

My potato plants have

By D.Shannon

My potato plants have bloomed. Now some of the plants have something that looks like tiny green tomatoes on the plants. Is this normal? What are they??

Check on this link. It is an

By heidio

Check on this link. It is an article on potatoes with tomato growth. This may be of some help.

that is the potatoe gowing to

By cheryl dale

that is the potatoe gowing to seed. You can plant the seeds, but it is better to use the eyes

When you find out what this

By Jan Kaiser

When you find out what this small looking tomatoes are please respond to me, because we have the same thing with our potatoes. They look beautiful but have these small ball looking things.

Those are often called potato

By Rebecca Maker

Those are often called potato apples- used in murder mysteries regularly- highly concentrated form of toxins.

The potatoe plants are just

By Maureen Wolchuk

The potatoe plants are just producing seed. It's not uncommon. It won't affect production of potatoes or the taste.

we have the same thing.this

By Charles Ouellet

we have the same thing.this is a first for me I have never seen this before. When you find an answer please let me know. Thanks

Many Indiana gardeners are

By Erlee Pennington

Many Indiana gardeners are experiencing a new phenomenon in their potato patch. At least, it's new to them. Potato plants appear to be producing little green fruit, about the size of a large cherry tomato.

These round, green berries are actually the fruits of the potato plant. It's not surprising that they look like tomatoes, since both plants are in the nightshade family.

Most gardeners never see this fruit form on potatoes in Indiana. Cool temperatures during long days tend to promote fruiting in potatoes, which explains the increase in potato fruit this year. Until recently, most of Indiana experienced prolonged, cool springs. Also, some cultivars seem more prone to fruit formation than others. So some potatoes may be fruiting while others growing nearby may not.

Plant breeders tend to locate potato fields in cooler climates, such as Idaho and Wisconsin, to facilitate hybridization and fruit production. The seeds that form inside the fruit as it ripens are then grown out to evaluate the new plant.

For production of the tubers that we eat, a particular hybrid that has disease-resistance or high yields is propagated through pieces of the underground tubers. This type of propagation assures that those desired qualities of the hybrid are preserved, since hybrid plants rarely reproduce true from seed.

Gardeners could harvest the seed from the fruit as it matures and raise the seeds for next year's garden as a novelty. But, in general, it is much easier to raise a crop from tubers than from true seed. Also, the resulting plants may not be as desirable as those grown from the tubers this year. Be prepared to start the seeds indoors in winter, as plants are much slower to develop from seed than from tubers.

Do keep in mind that potato fruits are likely to be high in solanine, a substance that is toxic to humans, particularly children. Potato fruits should not be eaten, no matter how much they look like tomatoes. From this article:

Potatoes are very closely


Potatoes are very closely related to tomatoes, both used to be place in the same genus, Solanum. The little balls are inedible potato berries (yes, a tomato is a berry too, but neither a strawberry nor a raspberry is a true berry). Most commercial potatoes are half or totally infertile (bad pollen) so berries are rare. Berry set is also very sensitive to temperature. You can ferment the seeds like you would for a tomato (the gel contains sprouting inhibitors so it must be rotted off) and grow potato plants from the tiny seeds. The first year you will get little tubers that can be used for planting the following year for a full harvest.

Some early varieties may not flower at all, but it is rare, AFAIK. Too much nitrogen and too little light could also inhibit flowering and tuber production.

Flowering and fruiting does not affect tuber production so that you would notice, and native bees love the flowers.

I am in Northwest Florida and

By Ms Vicky

I am in Northwest Florida and planted my potatoes in large pots in February. The tops of the plants are now about 4 feet tall (although most is covered in the pot) and they are starting to die back. However, none of the plants has ever bloomed. I also planted in a nearby flowerbed at the same time and hilled the soil up. Those plants are huge, dieing back, and have not bloomed. Will plants set tubers without blooms?

Having difficulty getting a

By Almanac Staff

Having difficulty getting a clear answer on this (perhaps due to the July 4 holiday), but one sources suggests that the lack of flowers should not affect root growth—which is what the spud is. So the answer,for now, seems to be yes. (If you have an opportunity, contact your local aggie extension service and ask them, too.) Happy Independence Day!

what sign should I dig my new

By virginia rogers

what sign should I dig my new potatoes on

See our Best Days to harvest

By Almanac Staff

See our Best Days to harvest underground crops by the Moon's sign:

I am new to gardening and was


I am new to gardening and was wanting to know if it's too late to plant potatoes. It's the end of June and I live in north Mississippi. I thought it was then I saw you might be able to have a fall harvest. What other vegetables are good to plant for a fall harvest. Are beans ok?

I'm over in north Alabama,

By JeffAnders

I'm over in north Alabama, and have had good results planting spinach and leaf lettuce in the fall and letting it winter over. Spinach is suppose to withstand temperatures down to 0 degrees F. If you can get the plants up an couple inches in the fall, they will take off here in February and produce until the summer heat.

Planting dates for Irish

By Catherine Boeckmann

Planting dates for Irish Potatoes are 1/20–3/15 in North Mississippi. There are many fall crops to plant in the north of your state: Snap Beans (8/15–9/1), Cabbage (7/25–8/15), Cauliflower (7/25–8/15), Collars (7/25–8/20), Kale (7/25–8/20) Radishes (8/1-9/15), Turnips (7/25–8/20), Cucumbers (7/25–8/21), Garlic (9/15–10/30), and more. We advise that you contact your Mississippi State University Extension Services for more local on-the-ground information. All the best!

Hi all. It is June 20th in

By Jady

Hi all. It is June 20th in North Texas - so too late to plant potatoes this year, but I was told that I could plant in late fall - cover them over in thick straw and leave them for the winter, then dig in early spring. Is this true?

You can plant potatoes in the

By Almanac Staff

You can plant potatoes in the fall, but they won't likely be ready by early spring. More like late spring. For fall planting, be sure to buy certified seed potatoes or organic potatoes from the grocery store. Cover them with 6 inches of soil and then heavily mulch.

I'm growing my spuds in old

By Lanny Biehler

I'm growing my spuds in old tires and in a raised bed as an experiment. Is it helpful to trim the blossoms in order to strengthen the growth of the tubers. I haven't read where people have tried this, o I as just wondering.

You should not trim the

By Almanac Staff

You should not trim the blossoms.

I have never heard of

By Jnona

I have never heard of picking off the blooms. I am sure that commercial growers do not do so. I would leave them. they are there for a reason

Hi I live in Texas and I have

By Les Lorimer

Hi I live in Texas and I have never grown potatoes before. I started early spring even had one frost after planting. The plants did very well they grew and grew I kept mounding soil tell they bloomed. Now the leaves are turning brown as though they are being eaten what can I do to help prevent this? Seven dust?

If you have potato beetles on

By Almanac Staff

If you have potato beetles on your plants (eating your plants!) you should be able to see them. If so, you can treat with sevin dust and/or pick them off (again and again and again).
If, however, as you say, your plants have bloomed and now the foliage is dying back, it might be time to harvest. Dig around and pick out one or two spuds and see what you think. If they look good, give yourself a pat on the back and enjoy this great treat. Small, "new" potatoes are delicious. Cook them anyway you would prepare regular potatoes.

I didn't rotation my crop of

By Ethelean

I didn't rotation my crop of potatoes and this year the plants look like the rotten at the roots. Is there any thing I can do?

Hate to say it, Ethelean, but

By Almanac Staff

Hate to say it, Ethelean, but your "practice" proves the rule: crop rotation is essential to success. It's probably small consolation now but we have a feature—and very helpful chart—on crop rotation in the 2014 Old Farmer's Almanac, which will be available for purchase in most place by end of August, everywhere in September. In the meantime, put this behind you and patronize local farmers markets.

I have planted four varieties

By Edward Shipp

I have planted four varieties of potatoes in my garden this year and interwoven tomatoes, onions, potatoes and radishes having been told that interplanting can balance out soil pH usage. My potatoes were planted about April 4 and my latitude is 38 in Kansas. Weeks ago one of them started flowering. Personally it has been years since I grew potatoes or an outside garden. Last one was successful but only one variety of potato. I was wondering if I should continue to wait until the plants die like you suggested and wondered about making them green potatoes and bitter. Am I headed for disaster? It looks good so far and another site said I can harvest when the plant flowers but leave the small potatoes to grow on until frost or plant dies.

Edward, We recommend waiting

By Almanac Staff

Edward, We recommend waiting until at least the flower die and the vines are tending to. Then, pick a couple of potatoes and check them: "New" potatoes—the first ones of the season typically about 1.5 inches in diameter, should be used immediately. They do not store well.
Leave a portion to harvest when all of the vines have died back (to a point in your question, the key word there is "died"). "Cure" (thicken the skin of) those before putting them away for storage by putting them in a space with temp of 50°F to 60°F and relatively high humidity (85 to 90 percent), such as a basement, for two weeks. Remember, too,not to store potatoes with apples or other fruit. Ripening fruit gives off ethylene gas, which encourages the tubers to sprout. Wishing you a hefty harvest!

My potatoes have been growing

By Blake W

My potatoes have been growing like wild this year, well, this is the first year I have tried to grow potatoes. I did the trench style and have been hilling them up all spring and summer. My plants sprouted May 8th, it is now June 7th and my plants are 2.5 feet tall from the bottom of the trench and still growing like a wild fire. I am averaging an inch a day right now. My concern is I have lots of growing season left but if they do not slow down I will have a mountain in my garden. Should I keep hilling or let them go? I am growing Yukon Golds in Nebraska.

If I planted them Apr.15 when

By Peter Gryorcewicz

If I planted them Apr.15 when should they be ready..........

I planted 100 # of potatoes

By David F, Matthews

I planted 100 # of potatoes last year and only harvested eight bushels. I had real pretty plants but not many potatoes. What do you think happened? We had a lot of rain too.

Hi David, Potatoes need full

By Almanac Staff

Hi David,
Potatoes need full sun and prefer well-drained, light, deep, loose soil, high in organic matter. Potatoes grow best in acid soil with pH 4.8 - 5.5. If you used a fertilizer with high nitrogen content your potatoes may have put a lot of their energy into the top growth. The rain may also have contributed to the poor harvest.

Blake, keep in mind that some

By Almanac Staff

Blake, keep in mind that some trenches are 7 to 8 inches deep, which should require less hilling. A relatively shallow trench of about 4 inches would need 6 to 8 inches of hilling. How deep was your trench? Also remember that part of the reason you hill is to keep keep the spuds moist; the soil helps with that. When you reach the desirable height, consider mulching. Potatoes need at least 1 inch of water per week. We hope this helps and that you have a hefty harvest!

My trenches started out about

By Blake W

My trenches started out about 12 inches deep. After filling in the trench I continued to hill up another 18 inches, giving me 2.5 feet of covered plant. They have slowed in growth a bit and have a few buds up top that should pop open soon which I think is a good thing. I too hope for a great harvest, thanks for the input everybody.

Hi, I've had tons of

By Kathy Shiplett

I've had tons of experience growing potatoes, and my advice is to hill up to about 18 inches; sounds like you ought to be about there if you've been hilling all along. By the time I've hit 18inches, I've always run out of any more soil to hill anymore! Harvest when the tops of the plants die. My plants usually get to be about 3feet tall before they start to die. Good luck!

We placed a potato in a bowl

By Tspaulding

We placed a potato in a bowl of water with toothpicks and it started to grow sprouts.. well now we put it in a pot of soil and it has taken off. It has grown tall, like a tomato plant.
My question is can we place it in the ground?, so it can continue to grow? What do we need to do?

Yes, you can plant any time

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you can plant any time after the plant sprouts its first leaves. Transplant it to a pot with potting soil or to the ground. Make sure to remove the toothpicks and transfer the plant carefully from the bowl you do not damage the roots.

when is it to late to plant

By Kimberly Gibson

when is it to late to plant potatoes in St Anthony,Idaho?

In your area, potato planting

By Almanac Staff

In your area, potato planting starts in early April and goes into middle May. Harvest runs early September through mid-October. However, there are a couple varieties that you can plant late. You just want to make sure that the number of growing days (eg., 100 to 120) allow the plant to get harvested before frost.

I have never grown potatoes

By sherry ewell

I have never grown potatoes and wonder if they grow good near salt water...we usually don't have great sucess with our plants Iguess the soil is acidic like we need for potatoes?

We don't have experience

By Almanac Staff

We don't have experience growing potatoes near salt water, however, potatoes are relatively tolerant of soil pH. To improve your soil structure and potato production, add lots of compost.

Hello- I live in SC & never

By scvirginia


I live in SC & never intended to plant potatoes this year. I found some good-looking plants in our compost bin, though, & transferred them to the flower garden before I even knew what the plants were. This was late March- presumably the plants got started in the bin earlier in March. All plants are doing well now- it is late May. One plant in particular really flourished & now has a couple of seed pods after flowering. Another smaller plant has just begun to flower. We've had an unusually cool spring, but summer is heating up. I have no idea what variety of potatoes these are, but I'm guessing there are a few varieties of fingerling potatoes based on what I can remember going into the compost bin. At least one plant has red potatoes. What are your thoughts about when I should harvest?

The traditional time to

By Almanac Staff

The traditional time to harvest potatoes is when the foliage has wilted or dried. Poke around for one spud and see if it looks edible. If you like it, pick em!

enedina bernal

By Anonymous

my brother wants to know when it is right to pull/dig the potatos out. he had planted them like 3 weeks ago....

It's still too early.

By mr g

It's still too early. Typically, you want to wait til the plant dies back. Then dig 'em up and let them set out a couple hours for the skins to harden before storing them in a cool, dark place.


By Anonymous

I have potato plants that were doing very well in the garden. Until they got frost burnt! Now the leaves are brown dry. Should I pull up & start again or will they snap out & still produce potatoes?

No, leave them in the ground.


No, leave them in the ground. Mine came back after the leaves were all burned by frost. They look great now.

Ditto. We had two different

By LynnZ

Ditto. We had two different frosts this spring. Each time the plants withered and dried up, but then new growth came up and they are all alive and well.

Once the frost has got them

By Anonymous

Once the frost has got them they've had it I'm afraid, re seed within the next two weeks and fertiliser will be necessary as the first crop would have taken alot from the ground to grow that far.

Darn!! Thank you!

By Anonymous

Darn!! Thank you!

Can I move potato plants once they begin to grow

By Anonymous

I didn't dig up my potatos last year bc I thought they had all died do to the tomotoes (didn't know I should not put tomatoes and potatoes together) anyway, when I was turning the soil for the garden this year, I had a zillion tomaotes that are now growing, can I move the plants around to spread them out now that they are growing or what should I do?

Sure! Grab those tomato

By Almanac Staff

Sure! Grab those tomato seedlings and give them a good home—in your garden or those of your neighbors! They are sprouting from seeds of fruit left in the soil last year. Congratulations!

Why can't one plant tomatoes

By Edward Shipp

Why can't one plant tomatoes and potatoes near each other?

raised bed and spuds

By Anonymous

We live in Minnesota, 20 miles by bird from Canada. I'm planning to construct raised beds in order to raise potatoes, carrots, perhaps onions. How should I space the potatoes? And should I rotate them from bed to bed each year? The last couple of years, we've raised Yukon Golds and Norlin Reds, both of which have done very well.

Crop rotation is a much more

By Almanac Staff

Crop rotation is a much more complicated matter than can be addressed here but it will be covered at length in the 2014 edition of this Almanac! Here is an excerpt of that article that might help you:
A 4-year rotation could be four plots, rows, or pie shapes in a circle, with a different plant family in each one. For example, in plot or row one, the mustard family; in the next plot or row, the nightshade (POTATO) or gourd family; in the third, the carrot or onion family; and in the fourth, the pea family. Every year, the plant families would move to the next plot, always in that order.
Members of the onion family do not need to be rotated, but always give them rich, composted soil and check the pH.
As per the directions above, plant seed potatoes one foot apart in a 4-inch deep trench, eye side up.

potato plants

By Anonymous

i live in phx., az. the plants r growing tall and some have gone into bloom. my question is;can i cut back the stems w/o stopping the producing of the tubers?

Do not cut the stems off of

By Almanac Staff

Do not cut the stems off of the potato plants. (What's not to like?) Harvest the potatoes when the vines, or stems, wilt and die.

potato plant pruning

By Almanac Staff

It's best not to prune the potato plant in this case, because it needs its leaves to make food for the growing tubers. If some of the plant's leaves are pruned off, then the quality/size of the potatoes may suffer.

potatoes in HI

By Anonymous

I live in Hawaii and planted some potatoes in my garden, they now have blossomed. so my question is when should I harvest them?

Once the stalks have died

By Anonymous

Once the stalks have died off.

Covering up the vine

By Anonymous

When your potatoes for start growing and you start pulling dirt on them should you keep covering up the entire vine

Once your plants are 6 to 8

By Almanac Staff

Once your plants are 6 to 8 inches tall, hoe extra soil loosely around the base of the plant -- to within about 1 inch of the lower leaves from both sides of the row. Repeat in about 2 to 3 weeks. You "hill" the soil so that water doesn’t puddle around the seed. As the vines grow, mound up soil, covering the vine with just the tip remaining above the top of the mound. Do this until the mound is about 12 inches tall. Potato tubers develop above the planted seed piece, not below it. This is why tubers need to be covered with soil at all times.

potatoes in phoenix

By Anonymous

I planted yukon gold potatoes March 5th been covering with a commercial compost/mulch June can hit 115 easy,sun about 5 hours a day but can really heat up ground, mound is about 3' high are they going to cook before mature?

Sad to say, maybe. Potatoes

By Almanac Staff

Sad to say, maybe. Potatoes are defined as a cool-season vegetable. Your area gets so hot, it might be wise in future to avoid the peak heat with a variety that better suited to the climate; there are early, mid- and late-season varieties by planting in late summer or fall. Consult your local extension org or local nursery for specific advice. In the meantime, you could maybe try to keep them cool... If the mound is 3 feet high, it's also possible that you will get even a small harvest by/before June. We hope this helps.

Potato eyes have grown long—is it too late to plant?

By Anonymous

I left some yukon potatoes way too long in cool storage. The eyes had grown about 8 inches before I discovered them. Can I cut these up and plant them? Does the growth from the eyes give them a head start? If so, should I make sure that the growth is above ground? Or should I just compost them and start over?

Just go ahead and cut them up

By Anonymous

Just go ahead and cut them up for planting. leave a couple of inches of the sprout sticking out of the soil. They will do fine. Protect them from frost with an old sheet if it gets cold.

is it ok to plant potato when

By Anonymous

is it ok to plant potato when it has been raining?

How much rain? Potatoes like

By Almanac Staff

How much rain? Potatoes like well-drained soil, ideally sandy. As long as it's not heavy and wet, you are fine. Excessive rain leads to tuber rot. Sandy soil dries out and warms up early in the spring, so that you can plant earlier.

How long does it take for

By Anonymous

How long does it take for potatoes to mature from planting to harvasr?

Maturity time depends on the

By Almanac Staff

Maturity time depends on the potato variety. Potato cultivars are grouped by maturity. Early maturing potatoes: 70-85 days after emergence. Medium maturing: 85-100 days after emergence. Late maturing: Over 100 days.


By Anonymous

Help! I planted my potato cutting roots downward facing in a basket in my small open courtyard and since then I have had light snow and severely cold weather but the basket it is in is surrounded by 3 walls of the house so no frost ever forms out there. How likely am I to see a plant form? Trudi Rosie

likely harvest?

By Almanac Staff

It's difficult for us to know if you will get potatoes, what with the conditions you describe (and don't include). It sounds like you have a microclimate environment—and that can be a good thing.
Just about any plant has a minimum soil temp tolerance. For potatoes, that's 40°F. A consistent 40°F. (Was that the soil temp when you planted??)
If additional cold conditions are expected, esp at night, you could cover the bucket. Use whatever is handy; the idea is to retain the heat that--presumably--the pot gathers in the course of the day.
Depending on how long/severe the cold is you might—emphasize might—be able to unearth the cuttings, bring them into the house in a portion of warm dirt and then replant later when temps are suitable.
Or you might have to start again. It's early in season; don't let that possibility deter you.
Good luck!

If the potatoes are deep

By Almanac Staff

If the potatoes are deep enough in the soil and haven't started to show any growth above the soil they may be OK. If you are expecting more cold weather you can cover the basket with a blanket or a heavy sheet.

Composite potato

By Anonymous

I planted potatoes in rows 90cm apart and they are germinating. Is it possible to mulch using maize stalks or can I put the maize stalks in between rows?

You may need to mound some

By Almanac Staff

You may need to mound some more dirt around the potatoes as they grow taller. Put the stalks in between the rows to keep the weeds down.

planting potatoes

By Anonymous

As a science project, my son and I planted a small plot of potatoes. I don't know if the eyes where up or down. It has only been two days. Should I make sure or leave them alone?

Eyes Up

By Almanac Staff

If you planted seed potato pieces in a shallow trench, then the method is to plant with their eyes up (cut sides down). It will take about 2 to 4 weeks for stems to emerge with this method. You can always replant if it has only been 2 days. Just make a shallow trench (about 4 inches deep), plant, and recover with soil.

when to harvest?

By Anonymous

it has been almost 1 or 1 and a half month i planted 2 potatos and i can see its plant over the soil almost 25 to 30cm of height. so when should i harvest them?

when to harvest

By Anonymous

I start digging when the blossoms dry up, but you can carefully dig new potatos when the blossoms are full, but don't pull the plant up because there are lots of little taters still growing.

harvesting potatoes

By Almanac Staff

Many potatoes mature within 80 to 120 days after planting, depending on cultivar and conditions.

For new potatoes (usually about an inch or so--or 2.5 cm--in diameter), a general guideline is to harvest them when the plant is in bloom. These should be handled delicately, as they bruise easily. Avoid disturbing/stressing the plant as best you can, so that the remaining potatoes can mature. Use new potatoes right away, as they do not store well.

To harvest mature potatoes for storage, wait until 2 weeks after the plant has died at the end of the growing season (the leaves will yellow, turn brown, and die). This gives enough time for the tubers to mature and for their skins to thicken, so that they will store well. Again, be gentle when handling the potatoes--any scrapes may invite disease in storage.

Harvest all potatoes before frost.

yes harvest all potatoes

By Anonymous

yes harvest all potatoes before frost

Growing them in a whiskey barrell.

By Anonymous

I have several store bought potatoes that have lots of eyes. Is it necessary to wash them before planting or can I just cut them and plant parts with growth?

Wash the eyes?

By Almanac Staff

Store-bought potatoes are not recommended for home gardens. They may be sprayed with chemicals or infected with disease that could remain in your soil for a long time.
For best success, purchase seed tubers from a local nursery or agriculture store. Cut them into pieces (minimum 2 ounces or so) with at least one "eye" or bud per piece; prepare them at least a day before planting so that the fresh cut can dry. Plant them cut-side down. (Washing is not necessary; remember, plant them dry.)
While you're waiting for your harvest, eat the grocery store potatoes! Best wishes!

mulching potatoes

By Anonymous

Can pine straw be used to cover the tubers, or mulch the potatoe plant?

pine straw on potatoes

By Almanac Staff

Pine straw seems to be popular in Texas and other southern areas. (Is that where you garden?)
Presumably, because it's pine, pine straw is acidic. Potatoes like slightly acidic soil, specifically a pH range of 4.8 to 6.0. However, they may not like too much of a good thing.
We suggest that you test your soil's pH and determine whether or not it needs additional acid. Based on that test, you could use pine straw alone or play it safe by adding other mulch materials to the pine straw and so reduce the acidic effect.
We hope this helps. Good luck! Let us know how it goes.

what does the 2013 farmers

By Anonymous

what does the 2013 farmers almanac say is a good time to plant potatoes i live in mo

Here is our 2013 best days to

By Almanac Staff

Here is our 2013 best days to plant:

compost potatoes

By Anonymous

I planted my potatoes in the ground and just as they started to grow i put grass clipping and other waiste like your building a compost pile. When harvest time came i had more potatoes then i knew what to deal with. My friend told me that i got so much was because potatoes love constant heat from the compost. Any truth to that?

compost potatoes

By Almanac Staff

Good for you! Without knowing what exactly you put into your compost heap on your potatoes (and we really don't need to know, thanks ;-)), it's hard to know if the pile created heat that made a difference. It may be the the composted ingredients were beneficial to the potatoes by simply adding nutrients; that's what compost does. If what you're doing works, keep it up! Remember to plant your potatoes in a different spot next year; crop rotation is key the success of just about any annual vegetable. Good luck with your spuds!

I'm just now digging our potatoes.

By Anonymous

When would be a good time to dig them up? We live in WV.

digging in

By Almanac Staff

Harvest your potatoes when the tops—the leaves, the vines—decay, no matter where you are. That part of the process is not zone related. Good luck!

Lol I live in N.B. and

By Anonymous

Lol I live in N.B. and planted potatoes in early august .... the flowers have just started falling off.... will be a while befored ready to harvest.... just thought i'd share cause urs aren't onlylate ones

digging potatoes

By Anonymous

Wow—if you haven't turned them up yet, lucky you! Potatoes can be harvested anytime after the foliage—the green leaves and stems—fade and die. This being nearly the end of September, they should be ready or nearly so. You can check but gently digging one of the plants near the end of your row (presuming the plants are in rows) or any one plant that will not disturb the others. Dig by hand, not shovel, to avoid slicing into a potato. (So this is more like moving the soil away from the hill you've created.) Try to find a few spuds. If they look "good"—done, ready—you can probably harvest them all. In any case, take them before the frost, and see the notes above for cleaning (do NOT wash until ready to use) and storage.
We hope this helps!


By shawnwalsh


Planting potatoes

By Almanac Staff

You can plant early varieties as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. Plant later varieties from mid-May to early mid-June.

Potatoes in the South

By warrinj

Mid-zone 8, Vicksburg, MS; loess silt soil
Potatoes (Irish around here to distinguish from sweet) grow very nicely here and at least down to Natchez. Historically, they were a staple since early 1800s. Can be planted in the ground but spring weather makes wet gooey soil. Best to plant in late Jan or through Feb, which is why the soil is wet and gooey. Better to lay cut tubers on bed surface and cover with a good 6-in. loose wheat straw or other loose mulch. Don't hill or otherwise disturb until ready to harvest new potatoes, which will start in late May/early Jun here. Pull aside straw and gather what is wanted then recover. Plants will continue developing tubers. Tubers develop at or just below soil surface. An inch or so of water on bed per week if rain is lacking. The mulch protects potatoes even after the vines die off, easing the problem of storage in the wet warm South.

potato plants

By kathyet

I planted my potatoes in 2 large round planters.. I harvested them this weekend and got a lot of potatoes some were small some where big...Some already started getting eyes on them...I washed them and dried them and put them in a bin with a paper towel under them in a refrigerator ...I also replanted a part of the plant that looked like it had some life in it, not sure if that will work or not. I guess if the greenery grows it will.....but the 2 big round planters worked great for me.

potatoes in a can

By Cowell

Thanks for that feed back I was considering the can method for fall. I harvested mine from the garden and got 43. I was happy with that but had hoped for more.

Growing Potatoes in a Trash Can

By bcharris5

I tried this and planted 5 eyes in the can just like the video shows. The potatoes grew fast and soon I had the can full of soil and vines. Last week the vines started to turn yellow and dry. My husband harvesed the potatoes we had planted the same day in the garden and I harvested the ones I planted in the can. My husband had many more potatoes than I did. I only had about 5 potatoes in the very bottom of the can. Was not worth my time or energy to plant them this way. Was very dissapointed. Will not do that again.

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