One of my favorite things to eat from the garden is potatoes. They are simple to plant and also simple to grow. Just like anything else you grow there is always little tips to help you along the way until you get past that learning curve.
Tips to plant potatoes
In the past we have always planted Russets, Pontiac Red, Yukon Gold and a few of the purple potatoes for the grandkids so they could have purple mashed potatoes. This makes it fun when we harvest.
I do like to have a variety when I am making different things to eat. I have always used the Russet potatoes for hash browns and french fries. This year I used 3 of the varieties to make hash browns and french fries. I was happy with the outcome.
So what will help us decide what to plant this coming year? I have thought about the various points I like about the different types of potatoes. This is what I have come up with.
Russets are the famous Idaho potatoes:
- They have a tougher skin that bakes up crispy for baked potatoes.
- This year we had a fairly good yield with them.
- They stored fairly well in the basement in a cool corner. (someday we hope for a root cellar)
- Nice big potatoes.
- They also stored fairly well for us.
- Potatoes are a little smaller.
- Great for adding to a roast or creamed peas and potatoes.
- Skin is soft, no need for peeling.
- Grew really well with a good harvest
- These stored the longest for us but only by a week or so.
- Bigger potatoes.
- Skin is soft, no need for peeling.
- They also grew very well and we had a very good harvest.
We generally buy 22 pounds of potatoes to plant in our garden. My husband likes to grow them and always wants a big garden of potatoes. When we plant 22 pounds we end up giving them away to our kids and our neighbors.
The Yukon Gold Is probably my favorite. I like to bake french fries with them. I also like to make hash browns that I dry and also that I can freeze. Yukon Gold potatoes have a buttery flavor and makes really good mashed potatoes which is a favorite at our house. We will plant around 12 pounds of Yukon Gold.
You can’t beat the Pontiac Red Potatoes when you are baking a roast with little potatoes. We will plant around 5 pounds of the red potatoes.
We used to plant mostly Russet Potatoes but that was before we discovered the Yukon Gold. The Russets are our favorite for baked potatoes. We will probably plant around 5 pounds of Russets.
Planting the potatoes is a pretty simple process. I am sure you have had potatoes growing in the bags you buy. These will work for planting although it is important to get seed potatoes to keep disease out of your potato garden.
Speaking of disease in your potato patch, it is important you plant your potatoes in a different part of your garden each year. Give your garden a rest from potatoes for about 2 years. This will help keep disease out of your potato patch.
Tips on how many seed potatoes to buy
When you think of 5 pounds of potatoes that really is quite a bit of potatoes to plant. When you buy your seeds this will help you get an idea of how many you will need. Look at your potatoes and determine how many plants you will get out of each potato. You need to make sure you have 2-3 eyes on each potato. (Where the sprouts come out at)
Tips to plant
After preparing your ground, measure out your rows. You can see what we do on tips to plant carrots.
- Dig a hole for your potato about 2 to 3 inches deep depending on how your seed potato looks.
- Cut your potato in quarters, making sure you have at least 2 – 3 eyes on each quarter. If the potato is really big you can cut in more than quarters. Don’t quarter small potatoes. You have to have enough of the seed to get a good start for your plant.
- Put the seed potato into the hole and cover it up packing it tightly. We pack the dirt tightly so the seed can have contact with the soil and water.
- Cover the potato. I make a ditch along side to water the plants.
- Wait until the plant starts to push out of the ground (unless your dirt is really dry) to water it. You don’t want your potato to stand in water because it may rot.
- After the potatoes have grown 5 or 6 inches, pull the dirt up around it. (Hill it) so the potatoes can have space to put the new potatoes around them in the soil.
How to water
Water when needed depending on your soil. You don’t want your plant to get dry because it will stress the plant. Make sure it isn’t to wet or you will rot your potatoes.
Check back for more about potatoes. Good luck with your planting.
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