Potatoes

Potatoes

Quick Reference:

Type of Harvest: Single harvest

Transplant/Direct Sow: Direct sow 

When to Plant: 2-3 weeks before the last frost date. 

Tip: Make sure to cover potatoes sprouts with a deep layer of loose mulch to protect them from frosts - potatoes are not frost hardy. 

Days to Emerge: 2-4 weeks

Days to Maturity: 120 days

Planting Depth: 3-6” deep with 4-6 inches of loose mulch.

Germination Temp: 40°F

Seed Spacing: Plant 10” apart.

Row Spacing: 2' apart

Light: Full sun

Soil pH: 6.0-6.5 pH

Water:  1- 2” of water per week

Soil Temperature: Minimum 40°F. These are cool weather loving plants.

Fertilizer: 15-15-15 N-P-K ratio

Rotation: Potatoes must be rotated each year to allow for soil rebuilding. Potatoes are heavy feeders, also you rotate potatoes to avoid soil pest damage to the crop. 

 

Planting and Care:

Harvest Type

Potatoes are generally a single harvest plant. In some areas where the fall is warmer you may get a second crop. 

Transplant / Direct Sow

In the spring, direct sow seed potatoes 2-3 weeks before the last frost date. Potatoes do not transplant well. You will also need to cover with mulch. 

Sun: 

Full Sun

When to Plant:

Transplant or direct sow seeds when the soil temperature is 40°F.

Days to germinate

It takes most potato cultivars 2-4 weeks to sprout.

Days to maturity

It takes about 120 days for potatoes to reach full maturity. You can harvest early for smaller or baby potatoes.

Planting Depth

Plant seeds 3-6" deep plus 4-6 inches of loose mulch. 

TIP: Stray is a good mulch for potatoes. Avoid using hay because hay often has seeds which makes your potato bed a nightmare to keep weed-free. 

Germination Temperature Range

Germination is best when the soil is at least 40°F.

Spacing Between Plants

Plant seeds 10" apart. Potatoes have a wide root zone, and you want to encourage that root zone to expand. The more it expands, the more potatoes the plant may produce. Try to provide 15 gallons of soil room for each potato plant. 

Companion Plants

If you want to encourage potatoes to increase their yield, plant a few brassica plants between each potato plant. Brassica plants have shallower root systems and will not interfere or compete with potatoes for nutrients. 

Growing conditions

Potatoes like a little cool weather and not a lot of hot temperatures. Start with good, well-draining and sandy soil—water with 1-2" of water per week, keeping the ground evenly moist.  Plant in full sun. In hotter climates some afternoon shade is good. 

Tip: Mulch is the key to growing quality potatoes. Add 4-6 inches of much, which helps the plant to expand its root zone. As the plant grows six inches above the mulch, add more loose mulch - enough so you can barely see the top of the plant. Doing so encourages vertical growth, which creates deeper roots and more potatoes. 

Rotation

Potatoes must be rotated each year to avoid soil depletion and soil-borne pests. 

Anticipated yields

Plan your garden yield at 5-10 potato plants per person. Expect 10-75 pounds of potatoes per 10 feet of row space. If you have a bumper crop, potatoes will store for a few months in a cool and dark location.