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How to grow potatoes

How to grow potatoes

Potatoes are by far the most popular vegetable in the world. And it's no wonder why: they're easy to grow, they taste great and they're packed with nutrients. Here's how to grow your own potatoes in your market garden or backyard!

Know your climate

First and foremost, it's important to know your climate. If you live in a place where temperatures get below freezing in the winter, you'll need to bring your potato seedlings indoors before it gets too cold. Otherwise, they'll freeze and die very quickly.

If you live in an area that gets frosty during the growing season but has mild winters overall (like most of California), then potatoes are right for you! However, if your winters are very cold or average winter temperatures hover around 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) year-round, then growing potatoes could be difficult for you without some form of protection from frost—which brings us to our next point:

Pottery planters like these can protect small plants from frost by trapping warm air around them as well as providing insulation against wind chill effects.

Pick a suitable variety

The first step in growing potatoes is choosing the right variety for your climate. If you're new to growing potatoes, a good place to start is with the long season varieties that are best suited for cooler climates. These varieties include Kennebec, Carpathian, German Butterball and Superior; they generally produce high yields and make excellent baking potatoes.

You can also consider some early season varieties like Russet Burbank or Shepody. Finally, if you live where summers are hot and dry (or where irrigation isn't available), try a hard-shelled French fingerling variety like La Ratte or Red Pontiac—these types can be planted earlier than other potato varieties since they're less susceptible to frost damage than their counterparts

Space plants properly

Planting distance depends on variety. The recommended planting distance for most varieties is 18 to 24 inches (46 to 61 cm). Planting too close together can cause diseases such as blight, which will kill your plants. If you plant them too far apart, they may not produce enough food to feed your family or community when they are ready for harvest.

When planning where you should plant your potatoes, keep in mind that it's best to have a variety of plants in different areas of the garden so that if one area gets diseased, another area can still be harvested without risk of infection from outside sources.

Ensure correct soil drainage

Soil drainage is important because potatoes need to be planted in a well-drained soil. Without proper drainage, water will accumulate in the soil and lead to disease and rot. To test your soil’s drainage, dig a hole 10 inches deep and fill it with water. The water should drain within 24 hours. If your soil drains too quickly, add organic matter like compost or manure to help improve its structure and create more pore spaces where air can circulate freely through the soil—this will allow excess moisture from rainfall or irrigation to evaporate faster than before.

As you prepare the planting site for potatoes (see below), remember that there should be enough room between each plant so that their leaves don't touch each other when they reach maturity; this allows sunlight on all sides of each plant as well as good airflow around them for better ventilation during hot weather.

Temperature control

To grow the best potatoes, you'll need to keep their temperature cool. A cooler temperature will give your spuds more time to develop, which means larger tubers that are better for storage and cooking.

To maintain a cool soil temperature, use a cloche or other cover over your rows of potatoes as soon as they begin to grow. You can build your own from wood or plastic—or buy one from a gardening store if you prefer. Make sure that any covers you use do not touch the plants! If they do, they might trap moisture against the stems and cause rot

If hot weather persists and threatens your potato crop, remove any covers in order to allow air circulation (this can also help prevent fungus). Consider digging trenches around rows of plants so that water will drain away when watering them instead of pooling up around their roots

Water appropriately

It is essential to water the plants appropriately, especially when they are young. When watering, do so deeply and not just superficially. Avoid watering at the same time every day, as this will encourage shallow root growth and prevent your potatoes from developing deep roots that can reach moisture even during dry periods.

Watering should be done in late afternoon or in the evening when temperatures have cooled off but before it gets dark out. Watering in the heat of the day or directly after rainfall encourages shallow root growth; however, if you find that your soil is consistently wet due to rain or irrigation run-off, consider moving your plants to a drier location until soil dries out on its own instead of watering them more often—you may find that they develop deeper roots than they otherwise would have had they been allowed more time between waterings!

Harvest at the correct time

When the leaves start to turn yellow, it’s time to harvest your potatoes. You can also tell that your potatoes are ready for harvest when the plant starts dying back or when it turns brown (this is called “falling over”). If you cut into the stem of a potato plant, you should see a white tuber inside with eyes on it. The eyes are what grow into more potatoes after they mature.


With these tips, you should be able to grow potatoes with confidence. And if you do, don’t forget to share your success with us!