Potato Class
How-tos on Potato Gardening.

  1. Fun Facts About Potatoes:

    1. The potato is part of the Tomato-Pepper-Potato Nightshade Family

    2. The potato produces more calories per acre with less labor than any grain or legume

    3. Potatoes prefer to grow here when day temperatures are in the low 60s with nights never below 32 degrees

    4. Plant pre-sprouted potatoes 1-2 weeks before the last likely frost

    5. Underground tubers never exposed to light (no green skins) are the food, but all other parts of the plant are poisonous to eat

    6. Most red-skinned varieties store longer than other varieties

  2. Varieties:

    1. Pontiac (Red)

    2. Lasoda (Red)

    3. Yukon (Gold)

    4. Kennebec (White)

  3. Preparation:

    1. 4 weeks before planting date

      1. Store the potatoes in a cool, dark, humid, ventilated place like a paper bag in a refrigerator

      2. If potatoes sprout, they should be stored this way until 2 days before planting date

      3. If potatoes don’t sprout, put them in a closed bag with an apple, onion, or banana

    2. 2 weeks before planting date

      1. Put the potatoes on a tray at 60 - 70 degrees in sunlight or under grow lights. Put the eyes upright, facing the light

    3. 2 days before planting

      1. Cut any potatoes larger than 2 inches with at least 4 eyes into pieces with at least 2 eyes each

      2. Separate them and let them dry

      3. You can also coat the cut surface with sulfur or lime to help cure them.

    4. Planting day

      1. Only plant good-looking, sprouting seed potatoes that aren’t shriveled

  4. Planting:

    1. Potatoes may rot out unless draining is excellent, so grow them in hills on raised beds

    2. Plants should be 12 - 18 inches apart

    3. Spread ½-cup of organic fertilizer per square foot and mix it into the top couple inches of the soil

    4. Cover the potatoes with 3 inches of soil and then water. If the sprouts are longer, leave them sticking out of the soil

  5. Growing:

    1. Potatoes grow just above the seed potatoes

    2. Most potatoes will flower and then develop tubers before the vines get very long, making them “determinate” (designed to produce in the foot just above the seed)

      1. To have non-poisonous potatoes, cover just the bottom portion of the new potato plant with soil or mulch as they grow

    3. When plants are 8 - 10 inches, place soil or mulch over all but 3 inches of exposed plant

  6. Harvesting, Storage, and Use:

    1. After the plant dies, let the potatoes remain in the soil for about 2 weeks, then cut off the plant stems and lift the potatoes carefully with a fork, shovel, or by hand

    2. Wash the tubers very gently in water and dry them on a table or tray

    3. Keep them in the dark in the refrigerator

  7. Recommended Products:

    1. Soil

      1. The Ground Up My Veggie & Herb Mix

      2. Landscapers Pride Gardener’s Magic

    2. Fertilizer

      1. MicroLife Multi-Purpose 6-2-4

      2. Microlife Ocean Harvest Liquid Fertilizer

    3. Compost

      1. The Ground Up Leaf Mold Compost

      2. The Ground Up My Organic Compost DS