Planting Potatoes in the Garden – In our experience, potatoes grow best in rows. Begin by excavating a trench that is 6 to 8 inches deep. Plant each potato piece (cut side down, with the eyes facing upward) every 12 to 15 inches, with 3 feet between rows.
If you have limited space or want to grow only baby potatoes, you can reduce the distance between plants. Start by filling the trench with only four inches of soil. As the plants continue to grow, continue filling in the trench and mounding the soil around them. Always be sure to cultivate the soil one last time before planting.
This will eliminate any weeds and loosen the soil, allowing the plants to establish themselves more quickly.
How closely should seed potatoes be planted?
Plant – Depending on the variety of potato you are growing, the planting time varies: First earlies – near the end of March Second earlies – between the beginning and middle of April Maincrops – late to mid-April The timing also depends on where you are in the country; planting should take place a bit later in colder regions and earlier in warmer regions.
- Also, you can plant earlier when growing in containers.
- Potatoes require full sun.
- The newly emerging foliage is susceptible to frost damage in April and May, so avoid planting in a location prone to late frosts.
- Prepare the soil, ideally in the fall or winter preceding, by digging in a great deal of organic matter such as garden compost or well-rotted manure.
The conventional planting method is to dig a 12-centimeter-deep, five-inch-wide trench. Plant early tubers 30cm (1ft) apart and maincrop tubers 37cm (15in) apart, in rows 60cm (2ft) apart for early tubers and 75cm (30in) apart for maincrop tubers. At this stage, apply a general-purpose fertilizer.
Regarding Potatoes – The potato (Solanum tuberosum) belongs to the nightshade family along with tomato, pepper, and eggplant. This cool-season vegetable typically produces larger harvests in the northern United States, but can also be grown as a winter crop in warmer regions.
The edible portion of the potato is the underground “tuber,” an enlarged underground storage portion of the potato plant. The tuber forms from underground stems known as stolons once the plants reach a height of 6 to 8 inches, or approximately 5 to 7 weeks after planting. Potatoes are an ancient vegetable first recorded in Peru by the Incas.
In 1621, the Governor of Bermuda sent potatoes to the Governor of Virginia in Jamestown, according to the Maine Potato Board. Now the most popular vegetable in America, potatoes are a fat- and cholesterol-free carbohydrate source (energy). The skin contains 45 percent of your daily vitamin C and 18 percent of your daily potassium, as well as thiamin, riboflavin, folate, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc.
- Below is information about planting potatoes.
- Plant potatoes in a location that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.
- The tubers must grow in soil that is fertile, loose, and well-drained; soil that is dense or compacted results in misshapen tubers.
- Ideal soil is slightly acidic (pH 5.8 to 6.5) and at least 45° to 55°F (7° to 13°C) in temperature.
Before planting (ideally in autumn), incorporate compost or organic matter into the soil. Discover more about,, and.)
Can you plant potatoes too deep?
How to plant potato seed in the soil – The first step in planting seed potatoes in the ground is paying attention to the depth and spacing of your seed potato pieces. When planting seed potatoes in the ground, either dig a hole for each cut seed potato or use a garden hoe to dig a trench to plant several of them 10 to 12 inches apart in a row.
The hole or trench depth should be between 4 and 5 inches. If you intend to plant multiple rows, leave 18 to 24 inches between each row. Individually or in rows, plant potato seed pieces. Separate each piece by 10 to 20 inches. Regardless of whether you plant seed potatoes in rows or holes, you will need to hill your potato plants twice or three times throughout the growing season with a few inches of soil.
The deeper potato plants are planted, the more space is available for tuber cultivation. However, planting the seed potatoes too deeply can cause them to rot before sprouting. Because the potatoes are so deeply buried, harvesting them at the end of the growing season becomes extremely difficult.
- Instead of planting the seed potatoes deeply at first, gardeners overcome this obstacle by mounding excess soil around the plants as they grow.
- This is referred to as hilling.
- Essentially, every three to four weeks, use a shovel or hoe to pile nearby soil against the stems of the plants, covering them so that only a few leaves are visible.
Don’t bury them too deeply; as long as some of the plant remains visible, it will continue to grow (plus, it keeps the weeds down). In-ground potatoes grown on hills produce greater yields. In addition, the developing tubers are kept in the dark to prevent them from transforming into green potatoes, which could make you sick due to the solanine they contain.
It is important to remember that they belong to the same family as tomatoes and eggplants. The foliage of potatoes is killed by a hard frost, so plant no sooner than two weeks before the last frost is expected. Obviously, some gardeners do not plant potatoes because they believe they are space-hungry vegetables that do not thrive in small gardens.
True, the average garden will not produce enough potatoes to store for the winter, but few gardeners have root cellars anyway. A single plant can yield at least three or four pounds of potatoes, and a single seed potato can produce four or five plants. If you plant the seed pieces approximately one foot apart in a row and leave two feet of space on either side of the row, you will need approximately 25 square feet of garden space to produce approximately 20 pounds of potatoes.
This is inferior to, say, green beans or tomatoes, but superior to sweet corn. And the benefits can be substantial. For example, you could consume authentic new potatoes. Potatoes harvested while the plant is still alive and green are known as new potatoes.
They are sweet because the sugars in the potatoes have not yet converted to starch. Typically, what supermarkets sell as new potatoes are small, mature, and typically red potatoes. When the potato vine has died, mature potatoes are dug up. At this point, the skin has hardened and the flesh has become starchy, resulting in improved storage qualities but not a particularly pleasant eating experience.
If you grow your own potatoes, you can enjoy varieties that are unavailable in grocery stores, such as Swedish Peanut (a long, thin, fingerling variety with golden flesh) and Cranberry Red. (The inside is pink.) Both are offered by Wood Prairie Farm (49 Kinney Road, Bridgewater, Me.04735; 800-829-9765; free catalogue).
In addition, Ronniger’s Seed Potatoes (P.O. Box 1838, Orting, Washington 98360) offers dozens of varieties, including the Irish favorite Kerr’s Pink and the delightful Anna Cheeka’s Ozette fingerlings. While waiting for the season to settle sufficiently to plant potatoes, you can get a head start by sprouting the seed potatoes.
Keep them at room temperature and in the shade until small white sprouts emerge from the eyes. Depending on how the potatoes were stored, this could take anywhere from a few days to a week or more. Then, expose them to light so the sprouts can produce chlorophyll and “green up.” Pre-sprouting the potatoes increases yield and decreases the likelihood of seed potatoes rotting in the soil if the weather turns cold and wet after planting.
- Cut the potatoes into pieces the size of a hen’s egg or larger, with at least two sprouts or eyes per piece, when the sprouts are about half an inch long.
- Some potatoes have few eyes, resulting in larger pieces.
- There should be approximately four pieces per average-sized seed potato.
- Fingerling potatoes have numerous eyes and are capable of producing up to six seed pieces.
Make a 2- to 3-inch-deep trench with loose soil on either side in the garden, and space the seed pieces 8 to 16 inches apart. Closer spacing will result in smaller potatoes, which is not a disadvantage if you intend to harvest early for new potatoes to steam whole.
- If you don’t want a large quantity of potatoes the size of peanuts, you should plant fingerlings at a greater distance apart.
- The seed pieces should be covered with no more than two inches of soil.
- Some gardening manuals recommend planting deeply, but shallower planting will result in quicker emergence.
When the potato plants reach a height of approximately six inches, hill them by drawing soil up around the plants so that only the top leaves are visible. This is a crucial step if you desire a large quantity of potatoes. Potatoes only produce tubers on the underground portion of the stem above the seed.
The stem of the potato plant will be longer and you will harvest more potatoes if you pile more soil around it. The potato plant can be hilled a second or even third time as it grows. Even if you’re cultivating potatoes in a container, the method works flawlessly. I once grew a respectable harvest in a whisky half-barrel by planting potatoes when the barrel was half-filled with soil and then adding additional layers of soil until it was full.
Four seed pieces produced almost thirty pounds of potatoes. As long as it is dense enough to prevent light from reaching the developing tubers, straw can be used in place of soil as a mulch around a growing plant. The potato’s skin will turn green as a result of the toxic alkaloid solanine being produced by sunlight.
If a potato has a green skin, remove it before eating it.) Mice and squirrels will sometimes find your potatoes before you do if they dig through the mulch to get to them. When the plant begins to bloom, new potatoes can be harvested. If you don’t want to sacrifice the entire plant, use a trowel or your fingers to carefully dig into the hillside and feel for potatoes.
The plant will not object if you steal a few. After flowering, the vine dies, indicating that the potatoes have reached maturity. Then, remove the entire plant and allow the potatoes to dry on the ground or in a warm, shady area. This will aid in the skin’s hardening, allowing the tubers to be stored.
- Do you not feel a little bit Irish now?
- DURING THIS WEEK
- Cut, plant, prune, and embrace a tree
- Take geranium and begonia cuttings to decorate the porch this summer.
Plant new perennials with consideration for their space, light, and water requirements. There is a temptation to crowd too many plants together. Keep an eye out for plant sales at local botanical gardens and plant societies; they frequently offer interesting specimens at reasonable prices.
When tulips, daffodils, and other bulbs have finished flowering, remove the spent flower to prevent the bulb from expending energy on producing a seed pod. But do not prune any leaves. They generate solar energy to nourish the bulb for next year’s blooms. Friday is Arbor Day; plant a tree, but don’t forget to care for it.
Choose the appropriate tree for the location (sun, shade, dry or moist) and carefully dig a wide, deep hole. During dry months, the plant should be well-watered, mulched, and observed.
- Two tips from the Dover, Delaware, Sprig and Twig Garden Club:
- Place a few garlic cloves in the soil around your rose bushes to prevent mildew, black spot, and aphids.
- Crushed, dried eggshells should be sprinkled around plants to repel slugs and snails.
Who can say? They may succeed. ANNE RAVER: Potato, Potato, Potato. More! (Printed in 1997)