Potatoes

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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.

Planting

  • 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.

Care

  • 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.

Pests

  • 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.

Harvest/Storage

  • 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.

Recipes

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)
 

Comments

Is hilling super neccessary

By crazycj900 on April 16

Is hilling super neccessary

Hilling helps to protect the

By Almanac Staff on April 18

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.

We have had a very wet winter

By Dennis Padgett on April 15

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 on April 18

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 on April 6

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 on April 13

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 on April 16

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 on April 17

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

I only heard of dusting them

By carolparrish on April 16

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.

Hi Letta, Here are some good

By Almanac Staff on April 7

Hi Letta,
Here are some good reference guides on how to can potatoes:
http://www.almanac.com/content/canning-guide-how-can-safely
http://www.extension.umn.edu/food/food-safety/preserving/vegetables-herbs/canning-potatoes/

how to can potatoes ?

By Connie Hager

how to can potatoes ?

What does dragging off

By trapper2013 on March 22

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?

I had read in an organic

By Debra Gadebusch on April 15

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 on April 16

Thanks Debra I certainly will
give it a try.

Thanks Debra I certainly

By carolparrish on April 16

Thanks Debra I certainly will
give it a try.

Have you tried covering your

By K Mueller on April 11

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:
 
http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/factsheets/Potato_Fusarium.htm
 
http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/factsheets/Potato_Detection.htm
 
http://cropwatch.unl.edu/web/potato/physiological_disorders
 
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.

thanks
e

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

By ANTONY MAPONDERA

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. on March 30

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: http://www.almanac.com/frostdates

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.

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 https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/262601_567410229982974_84432692_n.jpg 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. http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/pottoms.html

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.

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: http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/pottoms.html

Potatoes are very closely

By TZ

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: http://www.almanac.com/bestdays/timetable

I am new to gardening and was

By TANDERSON

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 on March 26

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 on March 28

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

Hi,
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

Hello-

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.

frost

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.

By MN

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.

HOW WILL COLD SNAP AFFECT MY POTATO CUTTING?

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: http://www.almanac.com/gardening/planting-dates

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!

WHEN'S THE BEST TIME TO PLANT

By shawnwalsh

WHEN'S THE BEST TIME TO PLANT POTATOES SEEDS HERE IN VIRGINIA

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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