How to Plant, Grow and Care for Potatoes Easily

How to Plant, Grow and Care for Potatoes Easily

Potato Solanum Tuberosum

Potato is a starchy tuberous crop in the nightshade family of Solanaceae. the word may refer to the plant or its edible tubers. It is the staple food for many parts of the world and originated from European countries.

Gardeners often grow potatoes as it requires low maintenance cost, yields a high crop gain and also brings profits to the cultivators. Potato plants usually grow to a height of 60 cms (23-inches) forming a healthy leaf, flowers, fruits, and tubers.

Flowers are available in red, pink, white, purple flowers with yellow stamens. these beautiful flowers are cross-pollinated by insects to transfer the pollen from one plant to another potato plant. Young green leaves and green skin peels are toxic in nature.

One of the major application of potatoes in the garden is that you can grow rose cuttings by placing in them. It is also used in cooking, snack item and as a natural medicine to cure several health problems. Here in this article, we shared the complete information about how to grow, care and the problems with a proper solution for your home-loving potato plants.

Potato Varieties

There are hundreds of potato varieties that are cultivated worldwide for its commercial application in cooking a variety of dishes and in snack items. Here is the list of some popular potato varieties you can grow easily at home indoors and outdoors.

S. No Variety Specification
1 Russet-starchy Russet  skin with white flesh
2 Red bliss waxy Bright red skin with creamy white flesh
3 Augusta Brown skin with red spores
4 Purple Viking waxy Small potato with  purple skin and white flesh
5 Carola Yellow skin and yellow flesh
6 Rose-gold waxy Rose gold skin with yellow flesh
7 Argos Long oval white tubers
8 Home guard Short oval tubers with white creamy flesh
9 Majestic Long oval white skin tubers with white waxy flesh
10 Primura Soft skin with white flesh
11 Purple majesty Dark skin with purplish flesh
12 Red cara Reddish skin with white flesh
13 Vales emerald Creamy yellow skin with white waxy flesh
14 Victoria Rough skin with yellow flesh
15 Winston  Soft skin with white flesh

 Potato Growing Conditions

Name                                          :                Potato

Family                                        :               Solanaceae

Scientific Name                        :                 Solanum tuberosum

Origin                                         :               Europe

Soil                                              :               Well-drain soil

Sunlight                                      :               Moderate

Plant Height                              :               60 cms

Flowers                                        :               Red, white, pink, purple

Temperature                              :                 45-80F

Watering                                     :               Regularly

Fertilizers                                   :               Compost, bone meal

Harvesting Time                       :               75-125 days

How to Grow Potatoes in a Pot?

Growing potato plants in containers or pots make it easier to harvest potatoes as all the tubers are in the same place. These plants can grow anywhere like kitchen scraps, buckets, garbage can, Tupperware bin or in a gunnysack bags. Out of all the vegetables growing potatoes in pots is very and you can enjoy the harvesting potatoes when they mature.

How to choose potatoes?

For the best way to grow potatoes in pots or large containers, choose a pot of size more than 12 inches both wide and depth. The container must have holes at the bottom to drain the water completely. Buy the healthy and rigid potato from a store or collect it from a parent plant.  Now cut the potatoes with 2-inch chunks that have eye or buds on them. If you have small potatoes then place them directly into the soil without making any cuts.

When to plant?

Potatoes buds can be planted into the ground in early spring season but maintain the soil temperatures properly. Best time to grow potatoes in the early morning time in your home garden.

When you prefer to grow potatoes in a bag that are composed of heavy polypropylene, add sandy soil-organic compost mixture with a pH of 5.0 – 5.5 at the bottom of the bag. Now add few potato buds (3-4 eyes or small organic potatoes) into the soil and cover it with a layer of potting mix or fertile soil. Continue adding the buds and soil until the bag is completely filled. The soil you maintain to grow healthy potatoes should be moist but not water-logged.

How often do you water potato plants?

Many potatoes need consistent moisture levels to develop, so water regularly on a daily basis when tubers establish. When you the water the potato plants it should reach to the ground level of about 8-10 inches. During hot or warm seasons water the potato plants in huge amounts twice a day as the soil gets dry quickly.

They require frost-free growing conditions and the best temperature to grow potatoes is 45-80F. The plants will not grow or survive if the soil temperature drops below 45F. Keeping the plant in sunlight for 6-8 hours a day can improve the growth of potato plants.

Pests and Diseases

Pests Diseases
Aphids Nematodes
Thrips Bacterial soft rot
Potato moths Root rot
Tuber moths Powdery mildew
Crickets Fusarium wilt
Weevils Brown fleck
Whiteflies Leaf rolls

Nutrient Deficiency Symptoms

S. No Element Symptom
1 Nitrogen Yellow leaf veins, slow growth, older leaves turn yellow
2 Potassium Crinckled leaflets, marginal necrosis
3 Phosphorus Necrotic leaf spots, purple stems
4 Sulfur Veins and petioles in reddish color
5 Iron Interveinal chlorosis of young leaves
6 Calcium Necrosis at the leaf base
7 Magnesium Scorched leaves, mottled leaves

When to prune?

The potato buds may develop into seedlings within 2-4 weeks time depending on the soil conditions in the field.  Prune potatoes when you see the foliage wilting. It is done 1 inch above the soil surface. There may be the chances of exposing the potato tips when you cut lower than 1-inch ground level. Wait for 2 more weeks to dig tubers out and to allow the skin to thicken it.

How and when to fertilize potatoes?

Gardeners use a variety of fertilizers during the growing winter and fall season after they planted the seed buds. When planted potato seeds either indoors or outdoors, use compost, eggshells, bone meal, baking soda, a mixture of cottonseed meal and greensand which increases the acidic or alkaline nature of the soil, a good crop of spuds and provides nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus to the potatoes. It does not require heavy nitrogen fertilizers as they develop a great potato crop plant with poor tuber growth.

When to harvest potatoes?

Leave the plant until the weather let you know when to harvest potatoes. You must wait until the top of the vines die before you begin to harvest. They just require 75-125 days to establish and is ready to harvest.

To store the freshly harvested potatoes, place them at a moderate temperature with high humidity for 10 days. Now clean the new potatoes with water to get rid of mud dust particles and place them in cardboard at a room temperature about 65F. Do not store them in the refrigerator as it results in fungus on potatoes and spoils it.

Best ways to Grow Potatoes

There are many ways to grow potato depending on your needs and deeds. For this, you just need space availability and the growing medium. If you don’t have enough garden space then start growing potatoes using leftovers (useless) waste products such as barrels or garbage bins, tires, wooden boxes, buckets, wire cylinder and plastic bags in your home. Growing potatoes using waste products add beauty to the outdoor garden. Here we shared some information about how we can grow potatoes in different methods by providing right growing conditions.

Growing Potatoes in Hilled Rows 

The main reason to plant potatoes in a hilled row or raised bed areas is to increase the high yield. They are formed along the underground stem of the plant. Now when you hill the potatoes effectively, it increases the underground portion of the stem.

If necessary, you can add fertile soil to the hilled rows and mold around the potato plants or press tightly with fingers to thrive. It is also very easy to check the size of the potatoes before they are ready to harvest. Hilling helps to kill the weeds around the base of the plant before it damages the plant growth.

Growing Potatoes in Straw Mulch

To grow potatoes using straw mulch, place potato seeds on the surface of the soil. Spacing should be 8-12 inches apart between each seed. Now cover the seeds with 3-4 inches of loose-straw. As potato plants begin to grow, you can add more straw mulch around the stem.

This method is mostly preferred to kill the weeds and to conserve the soil moisture levels. you can harvest tasty potatoes without any effort. The yield produced by this method is slightly less than the hilled rows.

Growing Potatoes in Garbage Bin

The broken or leftover garbage bin can also be used to grow potatoes. For this, you just need to fill the bin with light-nutrient rich soil and place your sprouted potatoes. As the plants grow, you need to add more soil at the base of the potato plant. Make sure you select a big barrel or garbage bin so as to place 5-10 gallons of soil in it.  Water the plant regularly so as to keep the soil moist but not soggy.

Growing Potatoes in Plastic Bags

Take a big plastic garbage bag and make few holes at the bottom of the bag for proper drainage. Roll the top edge of the plastic bag to stay firm and upright, otherwise, the bag is prone to sag and may spill out the soil. We generally prefer black bags as it has the ability to capture heat and speed up the growth.  Water a little and proper must be taken so as not too prone to any sort of diseases. When potatoes mature, they are ready to harvest and used for cooking tasty recipes.

Growing Potatoes in Tires

Growing potatoes in tires are the great alternative and traditional way to raise them in rows within a limited space. It is an inexpensive way of propagating potatoes in tires. To implement this method you need to place the tires one over the other (hardly 3 are enough) and use a good potting mix soil in it. Now place 4-5 potato seeds in the stack about 2 inches deep with eyes or buds or shoots facing upwards. Cover them with a layer of soil, compost and do not forget to water. As they begin to grow about 4-6 inches you can add another tire to the stack. Add more soil around the base of the young plant to support them. Young potato plants will mature and wait until the potato plant foliage turns brown color. Now it is ready to harvest the stems and then separate potatoes.

Growing Potatoes from eyes in Water

You can grow potatoes indoors year-round if you have a sunny window location from potato eyes. For this take a healthy potato seed that has lot of eyes to germinate quickly. The potatoes should have 6-8 eyes to yield up to 1 kg. Now wash them with water and scrub gently to remove the dirt. Cut potato seed exactly into the half and insert 3-4 toothpicks evenly into the potato skin.

Fill the glass with water and put the potato on top of the glass or jar. Shift the glass to a window location where you get light so as to sprout the potato seeds. Add water if necessary to cover the potato eyes and change the water in a glass for every 3-4 days. it may take 7-10 days time to sprout and when it happens transplant it to bigger pots for better growth.

How to care for potatoes at home?

Growing potatoes in pots or landscape are easy as you just need little care to maintain and establish the plant. Here are some useful caring tips to when you start growing potatoes at home…..

  • Make sure the potato eyes are covered with water else it will not sprout.
  • You need to hill the potato crops for every 2 weeks to protect from diseases.
  • Harvest the potatoes only when you find the dead foliage or turns a brown color.
  • After curing, brush off any soil present on potatoes and store in a dry, dark place.
  • When safety gloves and clothes while fertilizing and harvesting potato crop plants.
  • Do not cut through an eye or bud as it is responsible for the germination process.
  • Make sure you use only the well-drain fertile soil when you plant potatoes or buds.
  • Do not place potatoes near apples as they contain ethylene gas that spoils the potatoes.
  • Hilling should be done before the potato plants bloom i.e. when the plant is about 6 inches tall.
  • Keep the surrounding of your potato plant hygiene just to cover the roots and to support the plant.
  • Hilling helps to protect the plants from sunburns that cause potato skin to turn green color and produces a compound called solanine (toxic nature-bitter taste).
  • Spacing should be 20-30cms apart between each bud or small potato when planted outdoors or landscape method.

Is potato a root or stem vegetable?

Potato is a stem vegetable because they grow on underground stems using a well-drain fertile soil. The potato tubers are actually thick stems because they have buds that develop into stems and leaves.

How many potatoes do you get from one plant?

Potatoes may come in early, late and mid-season varieties that may vary in time to harvest. there are wide varieties of potatoes including russet, yellow and red. Potato yield varies depending on the growing conditions of the potato variety. On an average you may get 5-10 potatoes per plant.

How long do potatoes take to grow?

It depends on the type of soil and season you have planted. For early season potatoes take 60-70 days, mid-season 80 days and 90 days for the late season to mature. You can harvest the potatoes after 120 days when you start growing from the potato itself or buds.

How do you know when your potatoes are ready to harvest?

When your potato plants reach maturity stage, it starts flowering which is a sign for the formation of tubers. This will continue for few more months and then leaves, stems starts turning yellow color. When the foliage has turned brown color and die.  It is a sign for harvesting fresh, delicious flavor potatoes that are ready to make wonderful recipe.

What are the potato plant companions?

Potatoes love to grow with beans, eggplanthorseradish, corn, marigold, and cabbage as they boost the plant grows quickly. There are some plants that you should not plant potatoes like onions, squash, pumpkin, cucumber, sunflower, tomato, and raspberry. These plants spoil the potato growth by taking the nutrients from the soil and resulting in a diseased plant.

Is potato plant poisonous?

When the potatoes skin turns green color, it can be poisonous. Do not eat or use them for cooking purposes. It may result in several side effects like allergic reactions, stomach ache, and dizziness. Green potatoes are not only harmful to humans but also for your pets which results in stomach upset, diarrhea and vomiting when chewed the leaves.

Potato Health Benefits

Potatoes are low in calories, a small potato contains 110 calories in it. On serving 100 grams of potatoes contains starch, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and sugars. It is also rich in vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate, iron, magnesium, pantothenic acid, and niacin. Here are some benefits of potato that can help you to live strong and healthy.

  • The carbohydrates present in potatoes help to digest the food easily. This food is mostly preferred for those who cannot digest the food easily but needs energy.
  • It also protects your skin when you mix the crushed raw potatoes with honey and apply the mixture to your skin. Also cures pimples and black spots on your skin.
  • The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties of potatoes help to cure blood pressure, heart diseases, proper functioning of the brain, treats kidney stones and diarrhea.

How to Plant, Grow and Care for Potatoes Easily Start growing these wonderful potatoes at home that has major application in cooking recipes and as a snack item for children. If you have amazing ideas about growing potatoes in the garden, please share your experience with us.

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