How to Grow Potatoes

How to grow potatoes: a complete guide | Luxuriously Thrifty

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Potatoes have to be the most versatile vegetable of all time and liked by pretty much everyone. At least in some form. We eat A LOT of potatoes in this house, mainly because rice is bullshit, but also because they’re super easy to grow and can be stored for long periods of time.

You can plant potatoes in early spring. I planted mine before all of our frost had disappeared so I could get them happily into the ground to have more potatoes sooner. This year, I’m trying succession planting with potatoes. Succession planting is usually reserved for lettuce, radish and even cucumbers (if started early), but not usually potatoes. Because my goal is to be as self-sufficient as possible, it means that I need to be smarter with my planting. So, in go the potatoes in late April, and again in late May.

How long do they take to grow?
Potatoes take just about 3 months to fully grow before you can dig them out of the ground. That means, if you live on the prairies, you don’t have that much time to mess around with them. Potatoes don’t mind a little cold, though, so you can be digging up potatoes well into September.

What do potato seeds look like?
Seed potatoes are just potatoes. Except, they have ‘eyes’ on them. If your potato has two eyes, you can cut it in half and use it as two potato seeds. Some end up sprouting tubers, which is a good thing and perfectly fine to use. That’s the start of the potato plant.

How to grow potatoes: a complete guide | Luxuriously Thrifty
These are the start of little tubers

I’ve stopped buying seed potatoes and now just use old potatoes from past crops or bought bags. I keep my potatoes in a bin, allowing them to get airflow, and sometimes, a couple of them get stuck at the bottom, forgotten about. That just means they’ll, eventually, turn into my seed potatoes. You can also take a couple of potatoes and place in a basket (I use miniature milk crates), keep them in a cool dark place like a basement, and allow them to sprout some eyes and get ready to be planted!

You can also just buy a bag of seed potatoes at any local greenhouse.

When do I plant them?
You can plant your potatoes as soon as the soil is able to be worked. I plant my potatoes a week after I started my onions. Onions are hard as fuck as don’t mind a little snow, so planting them early is just fine!

How do I plant them?
Plant your seed potato into the ground with the eye, or tuber, facing up. Cover with soil. Water regularly as potatoes love water, but can withstand some drought. You just won’t get as big of potatoes or as many.

Once the plant starts to sprout, it will grow bigger and turn leafy. Potato bugs used to be a big deal, but I don’t know if it’s because of climate change or what, but I haven’t seen as many out and about. My new potato nemesis is my yard full of the grasshoppers. *shakes fist*

As potatoes grow, they get bigger and need to stay sheltered under the ground. That means hilling them. Hilling potatoes means making a little hill around your potato plant. If you start to see any poking out, grab a hoe and pull up soil around your potato plant, keeping it cozy. You may have to hill your potatoes a few times over the summer.

Don’t want to have to hill your potatoes, or don’t have enough room in your garden? Try a potato planter box or bag. You can either buy one at your local greenhouse or home improvement store or you can make your own like the one below!

Photo by HorizonDesignStudios

When are they ready?
Usually, if they’re planted at the start of June, potatoes will be ready towards the end of August. When the plant leaves start to turn yellow/brown and start wilting, it is done growing and you can dig your potatoes out!

Potatoes are so simple to grow and take barely any work to keep alive, making them an easy vegetable to grow in the garden for first-time gardeners!

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