Growing Potatoes

An American Staple

The potato does not look appetizing when you pull it from the ground! It is dirty and often it has been cut by the various garden and field equipment. It is only after it has been washed that you begin to appreciate the possibilities.

Stewed, fried, baked, creamed, buttered, salted, sprinkled with cheese, with so many ideas, no wonder it is a classic. There are many types of potatoes and we have our favorites. Basically, there are just a few that we familiar with, yellow, red, russet, and white.

Yellow and white potatoes are used for mashing, or steaming. Reds are preferred for steaming, boiling, roasting or in adding to casserole dishes. The russets are seen baked or boiled. In recent years, the Yukon has become widely promoted at the grocery stores. They can be interchanged and still provide good results.

However you like your potato, the tuber gives you a lot of variety and is easily grown.

Remember the nightshades? Your favorite potato is a nightshade.

 

Growing potatoes doesn't require a team of mules.
Growing potatoes doesn't require a team of mules.

Guidelines For Growing Potatoes

Even with a large variety of potatoes, they are basically the same. These guidelines are general and apply to most tubers.

To grow a healthy potato properly prepare the soil before planting. Potatoes thrive in a loose, well-drained, slightly acidic soil .   Most soils will probably not need much treatment,

If your soil is poor, add compost,  or manure,  to aid in  supplying the nutrients the potato needs.

Placing The Rows

If you are planting in a garden with rows, allow plenty of room to walk between the rows. A yard should be more than enough. Space the plants about six to eight inches apart. Plant the seed pieces four inches below the soil surface with the cut side down and the eyes (sprouts) facing up.  Add soil as needed to keep the growing potato covered.

Potatoes can be grown in rows, hills or mounds or in containers.  The basics apply in whatever method you choose.

 

The Seed Potato

New potato plants grow (sprout) from the buds (eyes) on the skin surface of potato . When one or more of the eyes begin to sprout, they are ready to cut into seed pieces. Cutting the potato into seed pieces will cause more eyes on the seed to sprout.

Do not use commericially produced potatoes for seeding.  Most have been treated with chemicals. Buy seeded potatoes from your local gardening supply, in smaller hardware stores, or through seed catalogs.  If you can't find them nearby a certified organic potato can be used.

After cutting your potato, allow it to dry in a dark place for 2-3 days. Planting it directly into the soil increases the chance for rotting.

 

Take care not to cut the potato!
Take care not to cut the potato!

Harvesting Your Potatoes

Let your potato grow for several weeks, carefully dig into the soil to see the potato underneath, to gauge it's maturity. Be careful not to sever the main root from the plant to the new potato. Replace soil or mulch around the plant. After the plants have died off, dig out and around the entire plant. Be careful to dig out far enough that you do not slice into any potatoes while harvesting. Very small potatoes are often used as 'new potatoes' and served with green peas.

It is not vital to dig out your potatoes after the plant has died. They will stay safe and healthy under your garden soil for weeks.  Insects and pests however, will continue to be a problem. You will also need to beware of wildlife feasting on your crop.

You can harvest an early potato in 70-90 days, and fully developed ones in 100-120 days. A crop planted in mid to late June should be ready for a fall harvest.

 

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Comments 38 comments

Rhonda Waits profile image

Rhonda Waits 5 years ago from The Emerald Coast

Great hub. I love potatoes, anyway they are fixed.


CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

My dad was an expert at growing potato's. When I was a kid, I used to love it when my father and I would go out to the garden and dig up a few taters. It was like digging for gold. My dad would slide the spade about a foot under the plant and lift up. It was not uncommon to find several pototos the size of man's fist and we would always find that one that looked like Richard Nixon or some celebrity. We always had fun. I have not yet even tried to grow my own potato's but I am getting the fever to maybe give it a try this spring.

Thanks for the hub, I enjoyed it.


Apostle Jack profile image

Apostle Jack 5 years ago from Atlanta Ga

You make me want to grow some.I love potatoes in a variety of preparations.They are so good for you.Thanks for sharing.


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 5 years ago from A small southern town Author

Rhonda Waits,

Yeah, me too! A bit too much....

Thanks for coming by to read. I

appreciate you being here.


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 5 years ago from A small southern town Author

CMerritt,

My Granddad always had a HUGE garden in addition

to the 'fields'. He would break it up early in

the spring with his small tiller. It was great

fun to join my brothers for a 'clod' ( hunks of dirt)

fight.

My Grandmother never appreciated that about me, but

I went year after year.

Like you, I have seen shapes in the potatoes.

Good luck with your crop. You will be glad you

grew some.


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 5 years ago from A small southern town Author

Apostle Jack,

It has been so long! You were among the

first few to welcome me to HP. It is good

to see you again.

Give it a try, even if its just a couple

of plants. They will be so tasty........


Fullerman5000 profile image

Fullerman5000 5 years ago from Louisiana, USA

I love to make my own homemade potato chips. Potatoes are great because you can do so much with them. great hub


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 5 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

I love potatoes. I could make a meal out of them by themselves boiled, fried, baked deep-fried. Yum yum! Don't put a bag of potato chips near me and expect to find any left.

Just out of curiosity; Has anyone ever told you that in your Hub Photo, you look a lot like the woman who played "Wonder Woman" on the TV series? I believe her name was Linda Carter??


noturningback profile image

noturningback 5 years ago from Edgewater, MD. USA

I love spuds! Thrasher's or Boardwalk fries you can get these in Ocean City, Maryland, or make them yourself.

Just wash a whole Russet(my fav.) potato, and cut lengthwise, then deep fry and shake out some Old Bay seasoning on top, sprinkle w/apple cider vinegar and Ta Da, enjoy.

Thanks for the hub.


creativeone59 profile image

creativeone59 5 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

Thank you for a very awesome hub,when I young we had our own garden and we grew both kind of potaotes. Thanks for the reminder. Godspeed. creativeone59


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 5 years ago from A small southern town Author

Fullerman5000,

I think we should go into the catering business together!


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 5 years ago from A small southern town Author

Brother Dave,

I have a weakness for fried potato sandwhiches~~~

Yes, my brothers used to ask me where my costume was. She is a lovely woman, so I take that as a compliment. Thanks.


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 5 years ago from A small southern town Author

Noturningback,

That's a new idea. I may just try that for lunch

tomorrow.....tonight's potatoes are already mashed.

Thanks for the tip, and for coming by.


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 5 years ago from A small southern town Author

Creativeone,

While I was in Mesa, I learned a valuable lesson

about shading the garden! The sun burned my tomatoes

up....it also melted a tube of toothpaste dropped

from the grocery bag.

Fortunately, my potatoes faired better.


tmbridgeland profile image

tmbridgeland 5 years ago from Small Town, Illinois

My girls love to dig potatoes, like a treasure hunt. By the way, they grow well enough even in hard clay. Just, digging them out is so much more work!


katrinasui profile image

katrinasui 5 years ago

i love potatoes and its a good idea to grow them.


Rosie2010 profile image

Rosie2010 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Hiya onegoodwoman, this is awesome. I love potatoes but I've never tried to grow them. Great job.

Have a nice day,

Rosie


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 5 years ago from A small southern town Author

timbrigeland,

Thanks for the tip on clay. For the

first time, the clay content in my yard

has a lot of clay.

I have been busy making the frame

and prepping the ground for the spring.

Now, I can relax a bit about the clay!


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 5 years ago from A small southern town Author

Katrinasui,

Good to see you.

Are you going to grow some now?


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 5 years ago from A small southern town Author

Hi Rosie 2010,

I have one nephew who doesn't like chips.

He is the only person known to me who doesn't.

Never met anyone who doesn't like some kind of

potato!


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden

It is a special feeling to go out in the garden and dig up those first lovely early potatoes! That moment is worth it all! And it is pure joy to eat them too:) Rice and pasta is good and OK but the cooked meals would be poorer without potatoes now and then! ! Thanks for reminding me of that great feeling with this hub full of good advices!


giselle2323 profile image

giselle2323 5 years ago from Peterborough, Ontario

Hello my friend! What is your favourite potato dish? I love roasted potatoes with bacon and onions. Excellent hub.


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 5 years ago from A small southern town Author

Thoughforce,

We are in agreement about fresh out of

the garden. I have been known to take a

salt shaker with me to the tomato

and cucumber vines. Who needs lettuce? ~~~


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 5 years ago from A small southern town Author

Hi Giselle,

You are one for the tuff questions!

Potato soup is something that I don't

really care for. Other than that, bring

on the spuds.

A cold baked potato with the skin on, is

a terrific snack. So is a fried potato

sandwhich.


Judicastro profile image

Judicastro 5 years ago from birmingham, Alabama

Hi dear friend, have thought of you often over the last couple of weeks and wondered how you are doing. You always have the most interesting and often very useful hubs! Bless ya!


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 5 years ago from A small southern town Author

Hey Judifriend!

What a nice thing to say.....

Glad you read them ~~


Karanda profile image

Karanda 5 years ago from Australia

My attempts at growing potatoes have always been a bit dismal yielding a crop that barely lasted a week. Best potatoes I've ever tasted though. Good information as always, many thanks.


Johnny Parker profile image

Johnny Parker 5 years ago from Birkenhead, Wirral, North West England

I love that moment of anticipation just before your fork lifts the spuds, not knowing how many or how big they will be. Seeing those baby's surface is almost as good as eating them.


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 5 years ago from A small southern town Author

Karanda,

Sometimes, there is disappointment also......

Keep trying, just a few bowls of potatoes

makes the effort worth it. Good luck,

and thanks for coming by.


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 5 years ago from A small southern town Author

Johnny Parker,

That Carole King tune, "Anticipation" just

played in my head! Do you remember it being

used in a ketchup commercial?

Thanks for coming to read my Hub. New readers

are always welcome!


Shawn Scarborough profile image

Shawn Scarborough 5 years ago from The Lone Star State

My grandparents grew most of their food in their garden. My favorite thing to do with them was to dig up potatoes. Great hub!


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 5 years ago from A small southern town Author

Hello Shawn Scarborough,

I was the corn shucking queen on my family's farm!

How I hated the stained fingers from shucking purple hull peas......I don't even attempt to grown them today~~

Thanks for coming by and reading my hub.

Hope to see you again.


Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 4 years ago

Hi Good Woman ~ Thanks for the tips about drying them out before planting. I will give this a try this spring. I'm going to read your onion Hubpages, too. Blessings, Debby


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 4 years ago from A small southern town Author

Debby Bruck.....

Thanks for reading my hub!

We have had mild winter in OKC.............last year ( my first here) was BRUTAL.

Just today, I went into the garden plot and pulled those weeds that survived the winter. My tulips are standing at 4-5 inches already.

I am " babying" a sprouting onion, and a potatoe, full of " eyes"............I so look forward to spring and fresh tomatoes.

Hope to meet you again.


Farmer Rachel profile image

Farmer Rachel 4 years ago from Minnesota

Great hub! You've got all the info here. I actually did grow a crop of potatoes last year, over 400 pounds, and although we didn't use mules we did use a horse, LOL! Loved the hub, voted it up etc.


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 4 years ago from A small southern town Author

WOW !

400 pounds of the hearty and versatile potatoes!

I AM impressed~~~~ perhaps, you might coach me.


Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 4 years ago

Bravo! That should last you through the winter. We all need coaching from "The Farmer Rachel" Blessings, Debby


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 4 years ago from A small southern town Author

watching my fall pototoes closely..........monitoring the weather for the first date of frost................

on bended knee, tilling the dirt, and sending up prayers~~

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