Written by - Kaitlynn from MIgardener
There's no doubt that potatoes are the most loved vegetable in the world. Rich in fiber and potassium, and cooked in a myriad of mouth-watering ways, you really can't go wrong with potatoes. The way we consume them in such mass quantities makes it funny that everyone isn't growing potatoes at home right now. Not only are they delicious, but they are effortless to grow. Here are MIgardener's tips on how you can grow amazing potatoes at home.
Let's get started.
Locate seed potatoes online, in stores, at farmers' markets or click here for a video on how to make your own! Starting with non-organic potatoes won't work because most store-bought potatoes are sprayed with sprout inhibitors on them that will keep it from producing more. It's essential to choose a variety that will best suit your use and location. Different types will have multiple maturity rates and disease resistance.
Make sure soil is at least 45°F. At least 6 hours of full sun per day.
Potatoes require very loose soil to allow the roots and tubers to spread and form under the soil. If the ground becomes compacted, you'll notice the potatoes will come out smaller, or not at all. Compacted soil doesn't drain well. We recommend reusing potato soil year after year to save money. As long as your soil is disease-free, it will be perfect for use in the following year. Make sure your soil is rich in organic matter. Fill your garden beds with a compost blend (topsoil, pearlite, and compost) to create a loose, airy, fluffy mixture.
When growing potatoes, use an all-purpose fertilizer like Trifecta+. If not, make sure to find a fertilizer with a high amount of potassium. When nitrogen and phosphorus remain the same, the potassium levels are what matter the most. What potassium does is increase production, plant health, tuber development, and keep the plant growing stress-free throughout the season.
5.5, higher ph is better because it'll allow the potatoes to take up more nutrients. Adding sulfur will protect the potatoes from developing scab. Add 2tbs of pelletized sulfur to lower the ph.
Space 7-8 inches apart. Cutting seed potatoes into slices before planting is optional, and is useful to increase your harvest. Plant in a trench about 5-6 inches deep. This will allow potatoes to send out roots and prevent sunlight from touching any new growth. Start deep to keep from having to mound up soil throughout the growing season continually.
Important Tip: Remember to plant seed potatoes with spikes pointing up! These are sprouts, not roots. If you plant with the spikes pointing up, you will be wasting space and energy.
Consistent watering is vital for good potato growth, especially during tuber formation. Make sure not to overwater by checking the soil regularly. If you can feel the moisture two inches into the ground, you know it's not time to water yet.
The time of maturity will change with each variety. On average, potatoes will take 90-100 days until harvest. You'll be able to tell when its time to harvest when the potato plants die back. If your goal is long-term storage, wait until the tubers are fully mature. For optimal long-term storage, potatoes are cured at about 60°F and high humidity for two to three weeks, and then temperatures lowered to about 40°F. Here's our video on how to cure potatoes for long term storage.