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How Do I Grow Potatoes __EXCLUSIVE__

The potato (Solanum tuberosum) is an herbaceous annual that grows up to 100 cm (40 inches) tall. As the potato plant grows, its compound leaves manufacture starch that is transferred to the ends of its underground stems (or stolons). The stems thicken to form a few or as many as 20 tubers close to the soil surface. The number of tubers that actually reach maturity depends on available moisture and soil nutrients. Tubers may vary in shape and size, and normally weigh up to 300 g (10.5 oz) each.

how do i grow potatoes


Many plant diseases can infect potatoes. To help minimize their loss to diseases, farmers usually grow potatoes in each field once in every four years. The three seasons between potato crops allow time for potato-infecting diseases to die out in that field.

Prior to planting, growers determine how fertile the soil in their field is. They have the soil analyzed to determine how much nitrogen, phosphorous, and other essential plant nutrients it contains. Then the grower orders a fertilizer mix specially tailored to the needs of their particular field. This will allow them to grow a high-quality potato crop without wasting fertilizer (which costs them money).

Seed potatoes are cut using specialized equipment that are carefully tuned to get seed pieces of nearly uniform size. Potato growers like to have all the plants in a field about the same size. This helps maximize harvested tubers, and allows most of the tubers produced in a field about the same size. Seed size is very important in starting a uniform planting of potatoes.

Potato plants emerge from the ground 2-6 weeks after planting, depending on weather, location, and time of year. The plants grow quickly, and will begin to grow tubers just a few weeks after emergence.

After the plants emerge, the grower has to be very careful to keep his field thoroughly watered. Potato plants can survive periods of dry soil, but drought-stressed plants produce fewer potatoes of low quality. During the hottest weeks of summer, center pivot machines may run 24 hours a day, watering an entire field every 20-30 hours.

After emergence, growers must carefully keep track of the health and growth of their potato plants. They regularly take leaf samples and have them chemically analyzed for the amounts of essential plant nutrients. When the fertilizer they applied before panting starts to get used up, they see this in their leaf sample tests, and begin applying fertilizer to their growing plants. Toward the middle of the growing season, growers stop all fertilizing. This encourages the plants to put most of their growth into tubers for the second half of the season. Too much fertilizer late in the season causes plants to grow huge above ground, with very small tubers.

One important pest that many people will never have heard of is the plant-parasitic nematode. Nematodes are minute worms that infect plant roots and potato tubers. Nematode-infected potatoes are definitely not attractive, and growers cannot sell potatoes infected with nematodes. Many fields must be treated with nematicides to control these pests. Until consumers can accept these unnattractive, nematode-affected potatoes, growers will have to control nematodes.

Potato harvest starts in Washington around the 4th of July, and extends through October, depending on location and variety of potato. Some potatoes are harvested during the summer and processed immediately into French fries or chips, or packed in bags and boxes and sent to supermarkets and grocery stores.

Potato harvesters are complicated machines that must dig the potatoes out of the ground, separate potatoes from other plant material, dirt, and rocks. Harvesters must do all this while being gentle enough to prevent bruising.

Another reason potatoes have become so popular around the world is the fact that they can be stored for several months. Pioneers in North America stored their potatoes in root cellars near their houses. Commercial potato growers store their potatoes in huge buildings built especially for storing potatoes. Potatoes in storage are piled up to 20 feet deep. Specialized air circulation systems keep the temperature and humidity as uniform as possible in the pile.

The success of the Washington potato growers has been built on their adoption of new practices and technology developed through research programs in the public and private sectors. From horse-drawn equipment of 100 years ago, potato growers have advanced to using laser-guided planters, tractors that navigate fields using satellites (GPS), and irrigation equipment that delivers exactly the needed amount of water and no more. Growers continue to transition to safe and effective pesticides, having moved from elemental pesticides like lead arsenate, through DDT, and now to pesticides that are less toxic than salt and kill only intended pests. Finally, detailed research has shown growers how to manage soil and nutrients to produce high yields of high quality potatoes.

The growing season for potatoes is usually between 90 to 120 days, depending on the variety you choose. With a first frost date of mid October in my zone 5 garden, it would be possible to plant a quick growing variety in early summer and at least be able to harvest new potatoes before frost.

Potatoes can be planted early in the spring, as soon as the soil can be worked. Make sure the ground is not too wet and that the ground temperature is above 45 degrees. Potatoes will not sprout if the ground is too cold, and a really wet soil can cause the potatoes to rot before they grow.

To plant using the no-dig method, all I do is hoe up a very shallow trench (generally only to 1 inches deep, put in the cut and cured seed potatoes (eyes facing up), and cover with rich soil.

Potatoes should be planted in high quality garden soil 12- 18 inches apart in rows that are 2 to 3 feet apart. I put down composted chicken manure and bedding before digging my shallow trenches and planting my seed potatoes.

A common question people ask is can you grow grocery store potatoes? Well, the answer is yes you can, sometimes, but it is not recommend. Conventionally grown potatoes that you buy to eat are usually treated with sprout inhibitors. That means they might not grow well in your home vegetable garden.

After your seed potato pieces have sprouted, you will need to keep the potato plants well watered to insure best results and a productive harvest. Water requirements for potato plants are pretty simple. They need about 1-2 inches of water per week throughout their growing season.

A great way to make sure your potatoes get the water they need to produce the best yields in to install a drop irrigation system and track rainfall using a rain gauge. You can keep track of rainfall in my handy dandy gardening notebook that you can download for free by subscribing to my blog!

Before you plant the seed potatoes, make sure to prepare them for planting. Letting the seed potatoes crust over for a couple of days helps prevent them from rotting in cold, wet ground. Read more about preparing seed potatoes for planting here.

I mulched with wood chips, straw bedding from stalls and old hay last year and had several nests of mice living in the potatoes and chewing on the the young growing potatoes under the soil, :( Good luck and I suggest keep cats, ;)

Namaste' Michelle ! The Simplify in the site name got picked up by the search engine, and no-dig potatoes ! The Simplify is something I look into, relating to vegan recipes, and the [Essene] Gospel of Peace [of Christ Jesus], Szekely, E.B. ed. [Book One], about some benefits of simple food, not all mixed up. Also, I did just get to plant some reds and some kind of Georgia white potatoes, no dig, It looks like it will grow nicely since I put in some aged wood chip and aged landscaping mulch and free friendly manures !Also, it is a blessing to have homeschooling back ! Good for you all ! LOVE ALL

Hello madam Marine,I am sayed Hasibullah SHAMS from Afghanistan, I am agriculture professional and earn my bachelor in Agronomy but I would like to add some points for your guide, do not slice potatoes when you are planting them hence if you slice potatoes they will be infecting by germ such as Bacteri, Virus and other daises factors.

Hi. Let me get this straight. You dug the row, placed the potatoes, did not cover them with dirt but did cover them with mulch. You also continued coveting them with mulch until they were ready to be harvested? Is this right? I shared a garden area with a few other people this year but I think growing my potatoes (dig, cover with dirt, water, harvest), next to someone else's hollyhocks really produced a small yield of potatoes. Please let me know if I described your planting method correctly. Anxious to try in next summer. Have a great week. I so love your site!!Gail

Hi Gail, so I just trench a very shallow hole with my hoe. Then I add the potatoes, cut side down, then I cover them with a little bit of dirt and then a bunch of straw. Keep adding straw as they grow so the potatoes don't become exposed to the sun as they grow. :-) Alternatively, you don't have to put them in any kind of hole at all. Just throw them right on top of the ground and cover with straw or mulch. :-) Good luck!

When choosing different types of potatoes, keep in mind that they are categorized loosely based on starch content. The three basic groups are starchy, waxy and medium or all-purpose; those with more starch are more mealy or floury; those with less starch are more waxy and firm.

Yellow (all purpose): Yellow potatoes are all-purpose potatoes perfect for mashing, steaming, boiling, baking, roasting, and frying. Good varieties: Inca Gold, Mountain Rose, Yukon Gold, Yellow Finn.

Red (waxy): Red potatoes are firm and excellent for potato salads and soups, and for steaming, boiling, roasting, making au gratin, scalloped, and salads. Good varieties: Norland, Klondike Rose, Red Pontiac, Cranberry Red, Mountain Rose.


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