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In the garden…potatoes

SchneiderPeeps: Growing Potatoes

We decided kind of last minute to grow potatoes this year. When we opened a 10 pound bag that I had gotten from the store (and forgotten about) and everyone of them was already growing we decided to take them to the garden.

Everything I’ve read said don’t plant potatoes you buy from the store as they may have been sprayed with a growth inhibator. Well, let’s just say I sometimes have to learn by experience rather than example – remember the green beans.

We have a plot of beautiful plants and they are starting to flower. So far, so good. Time will tell.

What I’m learning about growing potatoes:

  • Potatoes like loose sandy soil – if you have clay soil, you will need to break it up with peat moss and compost and maybe even buying some sand
  • Not too much compost or nitrogen or else you’ll get large green tops and no bulbs.
  • For seed potatoes, cut  each one in half or in quarters making sure that each part has an “eye” and some potato to nurish the plant
  • You can cure them in the sun for a few days so that they don’t rot in the ground (I didn’t do this, but is probably a good ideas, esp.if you have clay for soil.)
  • Keep well watered – don’t let them dry out and flood them
  • Keep the potatoes covered with soil – the plants grow and begin making bulbs continue to mound up soil around them and they will make more potatoes
  • Don’t let the potatoes be exposed to the sun. If they get green spots on them, they will contain a poison called solanine. You should never eat potatoes with green spots or feed them to your animals. (this is from All You Can Eat Gardening Handbook)

Pests and problems:

  • Probably the biggest pest is the Colorado Potato Beetle (a beetle without a black head gets squished). We haven’t seen signs of this at all. They will lay a cluster of orange eggs on the underside of the leaves. These also need to get squished
  • Use a 3 year rotation – don’t plant where other nightshade plants have been planted during the last 3years. Nightshade plants are tomatoes, eggplant and peppers.

Havesting and Storing:

  • You can harvest “new” potatoes at anytime during the growing season
  • Harvest potatoes for storage once the plants have died back
  • Leave them outside in the shade for a few days before storing them.
  • Store in burlap bags or in buckets of sand in cool dry place

Anything else I need to know?

This post is linked to Tuesday Garden Party.

You can find information about other fruits and veggies by searching clicking on the In The Garden tab up top or in The Gardening Notebook.

Thanks for sharing with your friends!


Saturday 29th of November 2014

Are sweet potatoes more difficult to harvest than other kinds? Any tips for them? I am most interesting in getting a huge crop of them then any other kind.

Angi Schneider

Tuesday 2nd of December 2014

No, they aren't hard to havest. Just make sure to plant them in loose soil. The first year we planted them was the first year we lived here and the soil has so much clay, they were hard to dig out. They need alot of room for the vines. They grow differenly than regular potatoes.

Karen Coghlan

Friday 9th of May 2014

Hello,, I am so interested in growing potatoes,,,

We planted some red, russet, and sweet potatoes for the first time this year... The Red and Russets have already been harvested, we dug them up earlier than we planned, the reason was that the top foliage began to die and I got nervous and wanted to see what was going on,, when I started to dig them up, and found a few nice sized red potatoes, I could not stop and un-earthed them all, except the sweet potatoes..

We found some small and some larger russets in addition to the red... We only planted 6 potatoes of each red and russet,, but harvested about 5 lbs, not a lot but it was wonderful to see our first ever home grown potatoes,, my daughter said that the small ones would be nice roasted...

After digging our potatoes, some of the foliage had roots and looked like they could be replanted so that is what we did,, we replanted the potato plants that had foliage and roots... Wondering what we will get...

Angi Schneider

Monday 12th of May 2014

How fun. I'm intersted in seeing what happens to those replanted potatoes, too. I usually wait for the plants to completely die back before harvesting. I wonder if you can get two plantings where you live? We're going to try that this year - we never seem to harvest enough potatoes.

The Schneiders

Monday 11th of July 2011

Thanks, Jackie. Potatoes were so easy to grow. I was amazed at how much better they are than store bought.


Monday 11th of July 2011

This is great info. This is my first year to plant regular potatoes.

The Schneiders

Wednesday 27th of April 2011

Thanks, Shelly! We're having fun with it!