How Potatoes are Grown

MOTHER EARTH NEWS – Growing potatoes can be a wonderful way to connect with nature and enjoy the satisfaction of harvesting your own food. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, potatoes are a great crop to cultivate.

  • Root crop container growing can be a rewarding and convenient way to cultivate vegetables such as carrots, radishes, and beets even if you have limited space or poor soil quality.
  • Growing potatoes in mulch is a fantastic way to increase your potato yield while also reducing the amount of weeding and watering needed.
  • Sweet potato slips are small sprouts that grow from a sweet potato. They are commonly used to propagate new sweet potato plants.
  • Growing potatoes in a barrel is a creative and space-efficient way to cultivate this versatile vegetable.
  • Potatoes grow best in loose, sandy soil that is slightly acidic. Avoid soil that is compacted or waterlogged, as this can lead to rotting tubers.

To ensure a successful potato harvest, it’s important to know how to grow potatoes by providing the right growing conditions. Potatoes thrive in well-drained soil and require ample sunlight to grow well. Remember to space out your seed potatoes properly when planting to give them room to develop. Adding more soil around the plants as they grow will help support the tuber formation and increase your potato yield.

Maintaining consistent moisture levels in the soil is crucial for healthy potato growth. Be mindful not to overwater, as this can lead to issues like rot. Keeping an eye out for common potato pests and diseases will also help protect your crop and ensure a successful harvest.

When the time comes to harvest your potatoes, wait until the plants show signs of maturity by yellowing and withering. Carefully dig around the base of the plant to unearth your potatoes. Allow them to cure in a cool, dark place before storing them for future use.


For gardeners with limited space or those looking to try something new, root crop container growing can be a fun and rewarding experience. To get started, choose a container that is at least 16 inches deep and wide enough to accommodate multiple seed potatoes. Growing potatoes in a barrel works well, too. Fill the container with a well-draining potting mix, leaving enough room for the potatoes to grow and be covered with soil as they develop.

Next, select certified seed potatoes from a garden center or nursery, making sure they are disease-free and have multiple eyes or sprouts. Cut the seed potatoes into pieces, ensuring each piece has at least one or two eyes for sprouting. Plant the seed potato pieces in the container with the eyes facing up, covering them with a few inches of soil. As the potato plants grow, continue to add more soil to cover the stems, leaving a few inches exposed at the top.

Water the potato plants regularly, keeping the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Place the container in a sunny location and watch as the plants grow and eventually flower. Once the plants have matured, you can harvest fresh, homegrown potatoes by gently digging through the soil in the container.

Growing potatoes in mulch is a fantastic way to cultivate this versatile and delicious vegetable. One of the primary benefits of using mulch when growing potatoes is that it helps to retain moisture in the soil, which is essential for the growth and development of the potatoes. Mulch also helps to suppress weeds, reducing the need for time-consuming and back-breaking weeding throughout the growing season.

To grow potatoes in mulch, start by preparing the soil and planting your seed potatoes. Once the potatoes have been planted, cover the soil with a thick layer of mulch, such as straw, leaves, or grass clippings. As the potatoes grow, you can continue to add more mulch around the plants to help protect the tubers from exposure to sunlight, which can cause them to turn green and become toxic.



When it comes time to harvest your potatoes, the mulch can be easily pushed aside to reveal the mature tubers beneath. Not only does growing potatoes in mulch help to improve the health and yield of your crop, but it also reduces the amount of time and effort required to maintain your potato patch throughout the growing season. So, give mulch a try the next time you plant potatoes and enjoy a bountiful harvest!

If youíre a fan of sweet potatoes, you can easily grow them from slips! Growing sweet potatoes from slips is a rewarding and relatively simple process. Slips are small sprouts that grow from a sweet potato when it’s placed in water. One way to grow them is to submerge the sweet potato in a glass of water with toothpicks inserted around the middle to keep it partially submerged. Place the glass in a warm, sunny spot and within a few weeks, you should see slips emerging from the potato. Once the slips are around 6 to 8 inches long, carefully remove them from the sweet potato and place them in water to develop roots.

After the sweet potato slips have developed roots, they’re ready to be planted in soil. Choose a sunny location with well-draining soil and plant the slips about 12 inches apart in rows. Sweet potatoes thrive in warm climates, so ensure the soil temperature is consistently above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Regular watering is essential, especially during dry periods, but be careful not to overwater as sweet potatoes prefer slightly dry conditions.

Harvesting sweet potatoes at the right time is crucial to ensure they are at their best for consumption. Sweet potatoes are typically ready to harvest around 100 to 140 days after planting, depending on the variety and growing conditions. You can start harvesting sweet potatoes when the leaves begin to turn yellow and die back, usually in late summer to early fall.

By following these steps and giving your potato plants the care they need, you can look forward to a delightful potato harvest that will bring joy to your table and a sense of accomplishment to your gardening endeavors. Happy planting!