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Growing Potatoes

Growing Potatoes

German Butterball Potato


Vegetables grown for their nutritious underground tubers that store well. Available in two forms, Irish Potato and Sweet Potato. Both benefit from incorporating compost, composted manure, or garden fertilizer into the soil before planting. Plant Irish Potatoes once soil temperature reaches 50 F in a trench 6 to 8 inches deep, with seed potato pieces 12 to 15 inches apart and rows 2 to 3 feet apart. Cover seed pieces with 2 to 3 inches of soil and gradually fill trenches as plants grow, ensuring that at least a few inches of vines remain above the soil surface. Sweet Potatoes are started from plants, which are transplanted to the garden after soil temperatures reach 55 degrees. Set plants 12 to 18 inches apart with 3 feet between rows. In cold climates, Sweet Potato benefits from mulching with clear or black plastic for 2 to 3 weeks before planting to warm up the soil. 


For full sun. Irish Potato prefers a cool climate and fertile, well-drained, loose soil with a slightly acidic pH (5.5 to 6.0). Sweet Potato prefers a warm climate and well-drained fertile soil. To ensure good tuber production, Irish Potatoes should be hilled when plants are 8 to 10 inches tall by mounding the soil 3 to 6 inches high and out 12 to 15 inches from the stems. Be careful to avoid damaging the roots, which may extend 8 to 12 inches from the plants. Any tubers not completely covered by soil will turn green and become inedible. 

Fertilizer Recommendations

Use full rates of Jung's Potato Food 15-15-15 (51030), Algoflash All-Purpose Liquid Fertilizer 6-6-6 (51085), or Neptune Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1 (51221).

Alternative Products

Another crop with edible tubers is Jerusalem Artichoke. Rutabaga and Turnip are other vegetable root crops.

Complimentary Products

Sweet and Irish Potatoes are both moderate feeders that benefit from fertilization. Colorado Potato Beetle Beater (50416) is an organic control for Colorado Potato Beetle. Use Milky Spore Powder (50140) to control white grubs.

Product Recommendations

Use Potato Tubs (53378) to grow Potato on patios or balconies or in gardens with limited space.

Potato Facts

Usually not difficult to grow, but can suffer from some pest and disease problems. Irish Potatoes may suffer from leafhoppers, wireworms, and blight. Common scab can be a problem if soil pH is above 6.0. Colorado Potato beetle can cause severe damage. Sweet Potato pests include Japanese beetles, wireworms, white grubs, and flea beetles. Both types are very nutritious staple crops.

Varieties to use

Red Skinned – These potato varieties have thin skin and white flesh. These tubers are all around varieties that can be used for almost any purpose. Excellent for frying and potato salad.

Varieties – Red Norland (Early Maturity), Red Pontiac (Mid to Late Maturity) 

Russeted – Dry and Fluffy when cooked. Great for mashed potatoes and baking.

Varieties – Gold Rush (Early-Mid Season Maturity) 

Yellow Fleshed – Color can be light to dark yellow. Creamy and moist texture is great for baked, roasted, and mashed potatoes.

Varieties – Yukon Gold (Early-Mid season Maturity), German Butterball (Late Season Maturity), & Redgold (Early-Mid Season Maturity)

White Fleshed – Thin skinned with sweet, mild flavor. Great for mashed, grilled and baked.

Varieties – Superior (Early), Kennebec (Late-Mid Season)

Novelty – Potatoes with different colored skins, flesh, and flesh color.

Varieities – Fingerling – Long Slim Tubers (Mid-Season Maturity), Magic Molly – Purple Skinned & Flesh (Mid-Late Maturity), Purple Viking – Purple Skinned (Mid-Season Maturity), Pinto Gold – gold & red skinned beauty (Late Season Maturity)

Growing Tips