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Growing Potatoes

Growing Potatoes

Potatoes are an easy crop to add to your home vegetable garden. This is a guide about growing potatoes.



Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".

Tip: Potatoes in Tires

We just had our first frost last week and I dug up my potatoes grown in a tire stack. I was disappointed to find only 6 potatoes. I planted 3 seed potatoes in the initial tire, and partially covered the greens, as they appeared to a final height of 5 tires. Any suggestions as to what went wrong. It would be helpful for next years attempt. Thanks.

Hardiness Zone: 3a

Guy from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Tip: Put Straw on Top of Your Potatoes

Since it is gardening season, here is a gardening tip. When you plant potatoes, layer straw on top. The plants will grow through and make potatoes on top of the ground. Layer straw about 2 feet deep as it will shrink down during the summer.

The potatoes are easy to find, and are huge. This is the only way I can grow potatoes, that my husband likes to dig them. The straw doesn't blow away and we live in KS where there is wind from 0-50 mph all in one day some days.

By Glenita

Article: Growing: Potatoes


Botanical Name:

Solanum tuberosum


The potato is a perennial plant from the nightshade family, grown for its starchy tuber.

Planting Time:

fall, winter or spring depending on zone


full sun


light, well worked, well-drained soil with a pH of 5.0 to 6.8, that is rich in potassium and phosphorus. Avoid using lime which raises soil pH that can result in potato scab.


Cut large potatoes into pieces for planting or use whole seed potatoes egg-size or smaller. Leave at least 3 eyes (buds) on each piece. Cure pieces for 1 to 2 days until they harden before planting. The most common planting method is to dig trenches 4 to 6 inches deep spaced 3 feet apart. Place potato pieces 10 to 15 inches apart at the bottoms of trenches and cover them with compost and soil.

Another easy method is to mulch up leaves in the fall and place potatoes on the partially decomposed leaves in the spring. Cover the pile with 1 to 1 1/2 feet of straw, mulching as needed to keep tubers covered.


Keep soil evenly moist (not wet).


Hill up dirt around plants as needed to prevent light from reaching the tubers.

Harvesting & Storage:

Most potatoes need 90 to 120 days to reach maturity. You can begin to harvest as soon as the plants flower. These tubers will be small, thin-skinned and good for boiling. Dying foliage indicates that potatoes have reached maturity. Dig up tubers or store them in the ground for several weeks during cool, dry weather. If you planted your potatoes on a mulch mound, simply removed the straw and harvest your potatoes. Store potatoes in a dark, humid place at 30º to 40ºF for long-term (4 to 5 months) storage.

Diseases and Pests:

Potatoes can suffer from several serious fungal and bacterial diseases. Minimize potential problems by selecting disease resistant varieties and practicing crop rotation.

By Ellen Brown

Tip: Plant Your Sprouting Potatoes

Spring is upon us and the potatoes under the sink or in the pantry are sprouting. If used soon, they may still be edible, but if they have gone soft or have too many sprouts, why not plant them? The easiest way is just to bury the whole potato about four inches deep.

As they grow, there will be a green plant that lets you know where the main steam is. After a while you may start to see potatoes coming to the surface. Cover these with more soil or straw. Keep covering any potatoes you see with more soil. Do not pick or eat green potatoes.

After a month, loosely turn soil of the largest green stalk and see how your potatoes are doing. You can harvest them at any size as long as they are not green. If they aren't big enough, push them back in the ground and cover.

I have had the best results with red and yukon gold but russets have done OK. I've gotten a few pounds of potatoes with almost no work and its great fun to grow something from what others would consider garbage.

While you're at it, throw any rotten tomatoes in the ground. The grape and cherry always grow in my garden.

By Maureen1010 from IL

Tip: Plant Potatoes With Wet Newspaper

I was brought up in Wales UK. in the late 40's, so everything was scarce or 'on ration'. When potato planting time came around, we always saved old newspapers to soak in water the night before to bed the drills before popping the seed potato in and covering with soil. Sure enough, we always had a bumper crop.

By Jeta from Cumbria, UK

Tip: Easy Grow Potatoes In Boxes

Want to grow potatoes? Lacking the gumption to dig them up? Here's the answer: Boxes. Pick a spot in your yard where you'd like to improve the soil a bit and set out your boxes (at least the size of a 5 gallon bucket).

Fill the boxes with dirt and plant your potatoes, remember to water and weed. When it comes time, either break, tear, or dump the dirt from the boxes and pick up the 'taters!

Tip: Plant Old Winter Potatoes

I always have wrinkly old potatoes left over from my winter "load-up" in the fall. I plant them in the garden, cutting them in pieces and making sure that each piece has one or two "eyes". I plant them 6 inches deep with the eyes facing up. I always get results without wasting any of the potatoes. It works for me.

By Anne from Green Bay, WI

Tip: Plant Sprouting Potatoes

My neighbor planted some Red Russets late February. That's the appropriate time for planting potatoes in our region. None have broken through the ground yet. That's a good thing because our official last frost date is April 15. We probably wont have any more frost this season, but Mother Nature knows best and she will decide when the potatoes should poke their foliage through the soil.

I, on the other hand, like to experiment. I bought two 5 lb bags of White Russets. They started to sprout before I could cook them all. I said 'What the heck, I'll cut off some sprouts and plant them indoors, just to see what happens'.

Well, my neighbor's spuds aren't up yet, but mine are. About a foot, actually. I think we've seen our last frost, but I believe it's still cold enough to hurt the foliage, if I were to I put them out now.

I'm going to send the local Ag Agent a picture of my potatoes and ask him how they should be treated at this time; wait a while, plant now, plant now with protection against cold? etc.

Everyone should know their local Ag Agent. Your taxes pays their salary. They are there to help you with gardening questions and there's no charge for their services. I haven't met one yet who wasn't very nice and very anxious to answer my questions.

PS: I planted several containers of Yukon Gold as well, and under the same conditions. None have sprouted. I assume they had been treated to prevent sprouting. Oh, well, guess I'll have to buy a bag of Yukon Gold seed potatoes. It'll be worth it. They arethe best potato I've ever tasted.

Sprouting Potatoes


Tip: Grow Potatoes For Patio Greenery

To dress up my front porch inexpensively, I take a potato and cut out the sections where "eyes" start growing. (The shoot that forms when they are getting too old). I place these in just enough water to keep the bottom of the section wet. Soon it will root and I then plant them in terra cotta pots with potting soil. They are cheap "plants" and produce very pretty greenery. My children loved this project.

By Tanya D from Winchester, Tn

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Here are questions related to Growing Potatoes.

Question: Growing Potatoes from Eyes

Can I grow a plant from a potato eye?

Hardiness Zone: 7a

By jimbob2140 from Kitts Hill, OH

Most Recent Answer

By Babette07/06/2009

You need a piece of potato with that least 2 eyes, after cutting the potato in sections it really should set out and dry a bit or dust it with sulfur, you cannot grow potato plants from just a sprout you really need a piece of potato attached. After planting your potato, once it's about 3 to 4 in. tall start piling dirt up around the stem (I usually dig the hole and slowly fill in as the potato grows.)

Now the sweet potato is a totally different thing you have to wait for them to sprout, once the sprouts are at least 3 in. long carefully snap off put it in small glass with a little bit of water once roots form that's when you plant them.

Question: Plant Your Sprouting Potatoes

I just found a bag of potatoes with sprouts as long as 10 inches; there is no smell to the bag. Can I plant them? And do I cut the potatoes in half with sprout attached or put the whole potato with sprouts in ground? I've never planted potatoes. Thanks for your help.

Hardiness Zone: 7b

By Sally from Blue Jay, CA

Most Recent Answer

By Suzanne07/05/2010

You just came upon what I did. In my case, a small bag of purple potatoes that are shriveled and have some very strong sprouts that made their way through the plastic bag!! Well, I did some searching this morning and I found a great guy who has a site called "Balcony Jungle." He shows a picture of how my potatoes look and then explains a very concise method of getting them planted. Here is the link for the page I found. Hope this will help you out like it did me!!

Good Luck! Mine are planted in a make-shift "self-watering" container as I write this!

Question: Growing Potatoes

What is the best N.P.P. ratio for a good crop of spuds?

By Brian

Question: Plants That Grow Well Near Potatoes

I have little space and want to plant potatoes. I have heard they do not go good near other vegetable plants. Which plants are good to plant next to potatoes?

Hardiness Zone: 8a

By Mike from Hampton, VA

Most Recent Answer

By Tapestry Lady02/20/2010

Potatoes shouldn't be grown near tomatoes, I think because of risk of blight. They're supposed to do well near beans and corn though. Potatoes do well in tubs (especially early varieties) so you might consider growing them in containers where you could keep them away from other vegetables in the patch if need be.

Question: Problem Growing Potatoes

Our potatoes are growing very long spindly tops and there are very few. There are only a few very small spuds per hill. Would it help to mow the tops off at some point to get more and bigger spuds? Any other suggestions would be helpful.

By Marshall from Beatty, SK, Canada

Question: Growing Potatoes

Can potatoes continue to grow once they have been hit with a freeze while leaves are present?

By Larry L.

Question: Potato Plant Leaves Turning Purple

I might have planted earlier than I should, we've just gotten 2 weeks of rain and cold temps. My plant's leaves have just come up, but are turning purple colored. It's not mold, is this a stress reaction to the cold and wet weather and what can I do to make them stronger? Also will putting manure down raise the pH too much? How can you tell if the pH is too high and what can I do to balance this out?

By Alex

Most Recent Answer

By Elaine S.06/03/2013

There ARE purple potato plants and there are chartreuse ones. You might have the purple one. Was it chartreuse to begin with?


Start a Sprouted Potato

Instead of throwing away any potatoes that have stared sprouting, try putting 2-4 toothpicks in the side and put the half which is starting to sprout into a small bowl or glass of water. The shoot will get stronger and soon you will have a very interesting potato plant growing.

They are quite the conversation piece and grow so quickly you can see the change overnight. We started ours out in a shot glass, Just look at it now! The kids have even given it a name ~ "Spudly".

Enjoy! It is sure to start a few very interesting conversations by all who lay eyes on it.

By Ivy~ from Los Angeles, CA

Potato Planter

I saw several articles on how easy it is to grow potatoes so decided to give it a try. These are in about 3 inches of soil and doing super well. I was so happy to see the first signs of them blooming!

Online tips helped me to arrive at this notion ! Not sure where. Several places and videos showing how EASY it is to home-grow spuds and with very little effort !

By melody_yesterday from Sedalia, MO

Potato Planter