Growing And Caring For Potatoes: The Definitive Guide

Potato Plant

Emma DowneyByEmma Downey
Updated on 8/13/2022

The potato plant, which is green and leafy, produces purple flowers toward the end of the summer. However, the actual value of this plant lies in the tubers that it grows beneath its surface, hidden from prying eyes.

More than 8,000 years ago, the Pre-Inca people of Peru were the first known people to cultivate the potato plant. But it wasn't until the 16th century that potatoes were introduced to Europe, and only after that did they spread to the rest of the world.

Since that time, they've established themselves as a nearly essential crop. Please find out more about the potato plant, including how to tend to it and grow it successfully.

Various Potato Varieties

Various varieties of potatoes have distinctively distinct flavors, but they also mature at notably different rates. Additionally, some types are better at retaining their freshness than others.

There are hundreds of different potatoes available, including yellow, white, russet, red, purple, petite, and fingerling varieties.

Potato plants are further classified into one of three groups based on the time of year in which they mature.

  • Early in June is the best time to pick First Earlies.
  • Late in June, second earlies, also called new potatoes, are harvested.
  • Maincrop: Ready to eat between July and September, these potatoes keep well and are an excellent food source for the winter.

So far, so good. Now, let's look at some of the most successful varieties of potatoes that you can cultivate.

Yukon Gold

When the harvesting season has come to a close, unearthing this well-liked variety from the ground is reminiscent of searching for precious metals such as gold.

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In the latter half of the 20th century, the hybrid variety known as Yukon Gold made its debut in Canada for the first time.

It can take as few as seventy days for the plant to mature into one of the most well-known early potato plant varieties. It doesn't matter how you prepare it—boiling, mashing, or roasting—it will always be a delectable treat.

Kennebec

Are you looking for a potato that can handle any situation? The Kennebec variety of potato plants is a popular choice due to its high yield and the creamy potatoes it produces with thin skin.

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You can achieve mouthwatering results by frying, mashing, or utilizing it in dishes such as stews, soups, or salads. It matures early, is resistant to disease, and keeps well once harvested.

If this is your first time growing potatoes, Kennebec is a dependable variety that will help you get off to a good start.

Potatoes Are Known As Red Bliss.

The distinctively red skin of the Red Bliss potato, which has a dry texture and a mildly astringent flavor, makes it easy to spot. The flesh is white and velvety in texture.

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If you prefer to boil or roast potatoes rather than mash them, then this potato plant is yours.

Carola

Choose this potato plant if you want the taste of traditional potatoes. The Carola potatoes have yellow skin and yellow flesh with a firm texture, and the potatoes are oblong. When prepared by roasting, grilling, boiling, or frying, they take on the most delicious flavor.

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Katahdin

Katahdin potatoes are ideal for use in the preparation of French fries, so feel free to add them to your menu if you do. Additionally, boiling is an excellent method for preparing this potato, which has yellow flesh that is smooth and soft.

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Cobbler From Ireland

This potato plant matures at the beginning of the growing season. Delicious and filling, Irish Cobble potatoes are a type of potato. You can mash them or fry them with freshly grown garlic and herbs to see what you think.

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All Blue

The name of this type of potato plant comes from the bluish color of its skin. Because they retain their quality over a long period, growing All Blue potatoes is one of the best reasons to do so.

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Princess Laratte Potato

This white variety of potato, which has a flavor profile that can be described as sweet and nutty, is an excellent choice for more complex dishes. It's especially well-known in the country of France.

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Be mindful, however, that the growth rate of this potato plant is slower than that of the other plants on this list. You could be required to wait as long as 110 days for it.

French Fingerling

The preparation of French Fingerling potatoes, long and slender, is simple. If you want to eat potatoes but don't want to bother peeling and chopping them, these are the perfect solution.

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Rio Grande

The potato plant in question has a lot going for it, including a high yield, rapid growth, and sufficient antioxidants. The Rio Grande Russet has a lower starch content when compared to other varieties, which makes it an excellent choice for fresh salads.

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This particular variety of potatoes can be harvested after only sixty days. Therefore, if you're looking for something that proliferates and tastes good, you might want to give it a shot.

Tip: The skins have a nice flavor, so if you grow this potato plant organically, you may want to leave the skins on the potatoes when you boil them to enjoy the full taste of the potato.

Purple Majesty

The Purple Majesty potato plant is not like other potato plants because it has succulent purple flesh and skin that is the color of plums. It is more sugary than the majority of the lighter or golden varieties.

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It will take approximately 90 days to mature if exposed to direct sunlight and maintained with consistent watering. As a result, it is a grower over the medium term.

Fry it up to get the most out of its flavor and enjoy it.

Molly, The Magician

At first glance, there isn't much of a resemblance between Magic Molly and a potato. But don't let its deep purple hues deceive you. You are looking at one of the potato plants that is considered very interesting.

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This variety of potato will maintain its color and beautiful appearance on your plate whether you choose to boil or grill it. Most of your friends and family won't know what Magic Molly is until they try it, making it the ideal beverage for springing a surprise on them.

A helpful hint is to give Magic Molly about one hundred days to mature. To avoid prematurely, refrain from digging it out of the ground.

You might be wondering what the deal is with sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are a root, not a tuber, and don't grow like regular potatoes. Avoid mingling the two of them together.

How To Get Potatoes To Grow

Potatoes are a plant that is surprisingly simple to cultivate. The potato plant does not require a lot of care, which contributes to its being so widely cultivated.

Potatoes are a plant that can be grown from seed potatoes. You can start an entire crop of potatoes from just a few tubers that have sprouted, so long as you have enough of them.

It is essential to understand that starting your potato crop with seed potatoes purchased from a grocery store may produce unpredictable outcomes. These potatoes may have been treated with a growth inhibitor, which stops them from sprouting when eaten.

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Potatoes can also be grown from seed if you so choose. You will need to start the seeds indoors and then move the young plants outside to their final location to use this strategy.

Here is what you need to know to cultivate a potato plant successfully, regardless of whether you intend to start the plant from seed potatoes or potato seeds.

Light

 Potatoes thrive in bright sunlight but are also tolerant of some shade during the day. Keep in mind that the tubers of the potato plant are not the parts of the plant that are responsible for photosynthesis; instead, it is the leaves at the top of the plant.

The Soil In Which The Potato Plant Will Grow

The majority of potato varieties thrive in loose, loamy soil with a pH level between 5 and 6. Steer clear of planting your potatoes in soil that is too fertile!

 

Instructions On How To Water Potato Plants

The potato plant can suffer from dehydration if it does not receive enough water, so make sure to water it frequently. During the time of year when it is actively growing, you should water it about an inch every week.

Temperature

 Rather than looking at a calendar, the soil can provide a more accurate indication of when potatoes should be planted. At a minimum, the soil temperature should be 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).

Fertilizer

Apply a diluted solution of a slow-release organic fertilizer once every few weeks. This way, you will be able to ensure that your potato plant receives all of the nutrients it requires to flourish.

Potato Plant Ailments And Pests

Pests and diseases are common problems for potato crops. You can lessen the likelihood of potential issues by changing the location of your potato crop each year. In addition, you can add peat to the soil to raise its pH level.

The Sprouts Of The Potato

You can start a new crop of potatoes from potatoes that have sprouted by planting them in the garden. It is preferable to throw them away, especially if you do not have any potato seeds.

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  1. It is possible to sprout seed potatoes six weeks before planting them. Place the potatoes in egg cartons and stand them on their ends so that the eyes are facing upward.
  2. Store them in a bright and cool area, such as your garage or pantry.
  3. Potatoes that have sprouted should have their more significant portions cut down. Check that each piece has at least two white sprouts embedded in it.
  4. Before you plant any cut pieces, allow them to dry for a day.
  5. Potatoes should be planted two weeks after the last spring frost has passed. The wet soil will not harm your crop if you proceed in this manner.

Caution is advised because sprouted potatoes have higher concentrations of chaconine and solanine, two compounds that can be harmful if consumed in excessive amounts. There is a possibility that patients will experience abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea-like symptoms.

How To Put Potatoes In The Ground

It all depends on where you live regarding when you can plant potatoes. It is possible to plant potatoes in southern regions between September and February to grow them as a winter crop.

On the other hand, in the Northern regions, you cannot plant them before the beginning of the middle of April at the earliest.

Important: Plant potatoes larger than a hen’s egg whole regardless of the number of sprouts they have.

  1. Pick a location for your potato plant crop that gets at least six hours of full sun each day. This will ensure optimal growth.
  2. Plant in soil that is sandy and has good drainage. Potatoes should not be planted near tomato, pepper, or strawberry plants.
  3. Potatoes should be planted in rows with even spacing and the growing stem facing upward. Keep a minimum distance of three feet between the rows.
  4. Dig a ditch that is 8 inches deep and has a sloping bottom.
  5. Combine organic compost or decomposed manure with the soil that is located at the bottom of the trench.
  6. Put a piece of seed potato in each trench at a distance of 14 inches, then cover it with a few inches of soil.

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The Proper Methods for the Cultivation of Potatoes
After about two weeks have passed since the planting, the seeds should begin to germinate. You should backfill the remaining space in the trench with soil but keep some of the plants exposed.

The Following Are Some Suggestions To Keep In Mind When Cultivating potato plants:

  • To prevent the potato plants from drying out, cover them with mulch.
  • To improve the plant's overall health, you should apply a high in both nitrogen and potassium fertilizer.
  • Be sure to give the plant plenty of water, and as it grows, gradually increase the amount of water it receives. However, you must ensure that the soil does not become too wet, resulting in the tubers becoming rotten.
  • You should hill the potato plants anywhere from once to four times throughout the growing season. To accomplish this, make a ring of soil around the shoots. Hilling increases harvest and protects the tubers from light, which causes the tubers to turn green and produce toxic compounds that alter their taste. Hilling also protects the tubers from being damaged by animals.
  • Once the plants have developed flowers, you can use a fork to harvest your potatoes.
  • Allow the potatoes to air dry for a few hours before continuing.

Starting Potatoes From Scratch In Your Garden

It would help if you started with high-quality potato seeds to grow potatoes from seed. You might get unreliable results when you save the seeds from the crop you grew the year before. Because of this, it is recommended that hybrid seeds be obtained from experienced breeders. Investigate the use of aeroponics if you want the roots to develop more quickly.

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  1. Six weeks before the season's last frost, sow the potato plant seeds in plug trays or shallow pots. Choose a soil mix that does not contain any nutrients for the best possible outcomes.
  2. Every day, the plug trays or pots should be left out in the sunlight or lit by artificial light for a minimum of twelve hours. Around 70 degrees Fahrenheit or 21 degrees Celsius is the ideal temperature for the seedlings.
  3. After the seeds have germinated, you should water the seedlings with liquid fertilizer and move them to a more relaxed room.
  4. Once the plants have reached a height of two inches, you can transplant them into the garden.
  5. Place each young potato plant in a row in a trench or hill.
  6. Plants should be spaced anywhere between 8 and 12 inches apart, depending on the size of the potatoes you want to harvest. 7. There should be at least 8 inches of space between rows, and there should be at least three times that much space if you're going to grow large potatoes.
  7. Make sure that the only leaves visible above the soil's surface are the top ones.
  8. Maintain the same level of care for your potato plant as you did when you were growing it from seed potatoes as it grows.
  9. When the plant is between 4 and 6 inches tall, switch to the hilling method, and harvest it after 70–120 days.

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How To Cultivate Potatoes Indoors Using Bags

The cultivation of potatoes in trenches takes up a significant amount of space, and the presence of rocky soil is another factor that can make things more difficult.

But if you want to save time and effort, you can try growing potatoes in bags instead of the ground. Growing potatoes in bags require the same gradual layering of soil over the potato plant as when growing potatoes in the bottom, and this encourages the plant to grow more roots and produce more studs than it would otherwise.

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The harvest you get from growing potatoes in a bag can be increased, and the resulting potatoes will be more flavorful.

What You Will Require

  • Bag to grow potatoes made of burlap or a cardboard box – the most straightforward method for making a potato grow bag is to roll down the top of an old burlap sack.
  • The soil and compost are combined.
  • Potatoes for planting, whole or cut, by the following instructions:

Instructions In A Step-By-Step Format

  1. A layer of soil and potting mix measuring between 2 and 3 inches thick should be placed at the bottom of the potato grow bag or box.
  2. Carefully work the seed potatoes into the soil so that the sprouts are facing upward.
  3. Put dirt and potting mix on top of the tubers to be entirely covered.
  4. Grow medium should be kept moist but not dripping wet at all times.
  5. Cover the developing green sprouts with a mixture of compost as they continue to grow.
  6. Keep the developing tubers covered with soil and add extra soil as needed. If you are growing potatoes in a burlap bag, roll the sack up as the soil level rises, which will prevent the potatoes from being waterlogged.
  7.  When the dirt has reached the top of the bag or container, you should wait until the potato plant has flowered before emptying the bag and harvesting the potatoes it has produced.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It possible To Start A potato plant From A Single potato?

If you wait until the potato starts sending up white shoots before planting it in the ground, you won't be able to establish a potato plant from the seed potato. However, starting with certified seed potatoes is typically the most successful method.

How Long Does It Take For potatoes To Mature?

Growing potatoes take anything from 70 to 120 days. It is in your best interest not to give in to the urge to harvest them before this stage.

In what Month Should potatoes Be planted?

Potatoes are often planted in gardens between March and May and harvested after four months. On the other hand, you may plant them in the fall or winter if you reside in a relatively moderate winter region.

Do potato plants Need Full Sun?

Potatoes do best in bright, direct sunlight. Potatoes send out leafy plants that develop above ground while they are still in the process of growing underground. These plants feed off of the sunshine.

Prepared To Plant Some Potatoes In Your Garden?

Extending potato nuggets from the ground is gratifying, and emptying them from potato grow bags may also be quite satisfying.

What's the best part? You will eventually be able to enjoy the results of your efforts and combine them into a wide variety of cuisines.

Growing a potato plant does not require any prior experience in gardening on your part. But if you are, that's great news for you; the more success you have, the better. You should incorporate this fruitful plant into your landscape; you won't be sorry you did!