Growing your own potatoes is an easy and rewarding gardening experience.
Plant starts in early spring, as soon as the soil can be worked.
Potato plants can withstand a light frost, but protect against a hard frost.
Potato plants need at least 6 hours of sunlight a day to produce.
Harvest potatoes in 2-4 months; this depends on your area’s growing season.
Purchase good quality seed potatoes to insure a healthy crop.
Oregon Territorial Seed company in Cottage Grove, Oregon offers some interesting seed potato varieties: http://www.territorialseed.com/
- Dark Red Norland Potatoes
- Blue Potatoes (Late-season 110-135 days)
- Yukon Gem Potatoes
- Desiree Potatoes
- German Butterball Potatoes
- Mountain Rose Potatoes
- Purple Majesty Potatoes
The Rogue Valley Grange Co-ops may have some of these varieties available, too.
Seed Prep: Seed potatoes are tubers which can be planted whole, but you will get more plants if you cut seed potatoes into sections. Each cut section should contain one or two sprouts; these sprouts are called eyes. Each section should have enough potato “meat” around each eye for successful growing. Therefore, cut seed potatoes into 2 to 3 inch chunks, with 1-2 eyes in each chunk. Set these pieces on a protective surface like newspaper to allow cut edges to dry before planting, usually 24-48 hours.
In the ground – Dig a trench 8 inches deep. Plant each seed potato section, 1 inch deep and 12 inches apart. Planting rows should be spaced 3 feet apart. Place the seed potato cut side down with eye(s) pointing up. As the plants grow, and when leaves are just starting to break the soil’s surface, mound another 2 inches of soil on top of the plants. Repeat this step until the trench is filled with soil, continue filling until the trench is mounded . Note: If your space is limited, or if you want only baby potatoes, you can decrease the spacing between the plants to 7 inches.
Planting in Containers – Note: Containers must be able to drain.
Growing in containers is the same principal as growing in the ground. Place 6 inches of moistened soil in the bottom of a container. Plant prepped seed potatoes cut side down with eyes up. Cover with 2-3 inches of soil. As the potato plants grow keep adding 2-3 inches of soil over the plants. Repeat this step until the container is full of soil. You can even stack additional containers on top of the original container, filling those with soil in steps. The height limit is approximately 3 feet.
Planting in Straw–
With this method you don’t have to dig potatoes, you simply pull them out of the straw. Because straw starts to break down as the growing season progresses, you will need to add straw to maintain a consistent straw depth. In short: Top off your potato bed with straw during the growing season.
Prep potatoes as described above. Lay out a loose layer of straw 6-inches deep, and place seed potatoes in the straw, cut side down, eyes up. Cover with 2 inches of straw. When you see the leaves peaking out of the straw, cover them with 2 inches of straw. Then, repeat this until you reached your desired height.
- Potatoes should be watered regularly, but do not over water.
- Keeping tubers covered prevents greening. Potatoes exposed to sunlight turn green, causing the flesh to taste bitter.
- Feed potato plants regularly throughout the season with a liquid fertilizer.
- New potatoes can be picked when foliage is 1-foot high.
- All potatoes are harvested after plant foliage dies.