Basics

Ease of Growing
Easy
Grown as
Annual
Days to Maturity
60-80 (Spring/Summer), 70-90 (Fall/Winter)
Growing Habit
-
Hardiness
Half Hardy

Potatoes are native to tropical mountains and prefer fairly cool (below 70˚ F), dry weather. They can't stand any frost and don't like cold weather.

Crops
Spring, Fall
Growing Season
Short, Long
Cultivar Type
Early
Growing Conditions
Cool

Potatoes are native to tropical mountains and are easiest to grow in cool (below 70˚ F) dry weather. They can't stand any frost and don't like cold weather. They are grown in mild winter areas, with few frosts, in late fall or early spring.

Potatoes don't do well in hot weather either. Soil temperatures above 70˚ F inhibit tuber formation and it stops altogether at 85˚ F. In hot summer areas, they are usually grown as a spring or fall crop.

Outdoor Growing Temp
45°F - 75°F
Min Outdoor Soil Temp
60°F

A temperature of 60 to 65˚ F is said to be optimal for tuber formation, which slows down at temperatures above 70˚ F.

Start Indoors
No
Start Outdoors
Yes
Light
Water
Moderate

It is important to keep the soil evenly moist (but not wet) for best growth, as lack of water results in smaller tubers. It is also important to water uniformly, making sure it penetrates through the dense foliage and down to the full root depth (or at least the top 12 inches where the greatest proportion of roots are found).

Feeder
Moderate

Potatoes can grow in most soils, but will be more productive in a sandy loamy soil that is moisture retentive and fertile. Although nitrogen is important, too much can cause abundant top growth (leaves) and fewer tubers. Potatoes need a good supply of phosphorous, from bone meal or colloidal phosphate. The most important primary nutrient for potatoes is potassium, which will increase yield, improve quality and hasten maturation. It is especially important during the time when the tubers are forming.

High quality, aerobic compost, low in wood or rice byproducts, is preferable to manure as a fertilizer. If you must fertilize with manure, be sure it is well-aged and that it is incorporated shallowly into the soil at least 3 to 4 weeks before planting, otherwise the process of soil digestion will deprive the germinating potatoes of vital nutrients and water. Do not fertilize with fresh manure, as this can cause scab. One of the best ways to prepare the ground for potatoes is to cover crop. Cover crops or green manure greatly improve the soil's tilth, organic matter, microbial activity, and water holding capacity, and significantly increases nutrient availability for the next crop.

Using wood ashes with potatoes is somewhat controversial because it can raise the pH (potatoes have less problem with scab disease when growing in acid soil). At the same time it can raise yields significantly, as this study shows.

Suitability
Small Gardens?
Yes
Containers?
Yes

Potatoes have been grown in a wide variety of containers, from half wine barrels to plastic bags.

Garbage can or half wine barrel: Obtain a large garbage can, put drainage holes in the bottom and fill it with a foot of really good compost. Plant one large seed potato in the soil. As the plant grows, slowly fill the can with more fine compost. The most important thing is to water carefully; too much or too little water will cause problems. With a little luck the end result will be one very large plant, completely filling the whole can with tubers. When the plant dies back, empty out the can and collect the tubers.

Plastic bag: Put some holes in the bottom of a plastic bag (for drainage) and half fill it with a mix of 1/3 compost, 1/3 good garden soil and 1/3 sand (or 1/2 sandy soil and 1/2 compost). Then plant two sprouted potatoes in the bag, and add water. As the plants grow you fill the bag with more soil / compost mix.

Attracts beneficial insects?
No
Color
Light Yellow
Fruit Size
3.0-4.0"
Plant Height
24.0-36.0"
Plant Diameter
18.0-24.0"
Hardiness Zone
3-11
Disease Resistance
Taste Profile

Buttery, creamy, rich.