If you are someone that likes to grow their own food at home, you might be wondering how to grow your own potatoes. Thankfully, you can easily do this yourself at home with the right knowledge and information.
In this article, we are going to tell you exactly how you can grow your own potatoes at home, and you will have some delicious results in no time. We will provide you with all the information that you could possibly need when it comes to growing your own potatoes, so you can get started as soon as possible.
How Do You Grow Potatoes From a Potato?
You can grow your own potatoes from seed potatoes, which are small potato tubers, instead of actual seeds. Before you plant them, you will need to chit your potatoes, which involves allowing the potatoes to grow shoots, and this allows for a bigger potato crop.
You can place the seed potatoes in either trays or egg cartons, with the end that has the most eyes facing up. You will need to leave them in a cool and light place until 1 to 2 cm long shoots have formed. This can take up to 6 weeks.
Homegrown potatoes can do well in lots of different types of soil, but the richer the soil, the better. So you should try to add in some well-rotted organic matter like garden compost. Keeping them in an open and sunny location will usually produce the best results.
Even though main crop potatoes will grow well in the ground, early or salad potatoes can be grown in large pots and bags as well. You can get your hands on some polypropylene potato growing bags to help with this, as they are specifically designed for this purpose.
The best thing about growing potatoes is that they are really easy to grow, and just one seed potato can produce multiple potatoes for harvest. You should prepare the soil before planting by digging and removing any weeds in the area. You should then dig trenches that are around 12 cm deep and 60 cm apart. Next, cover the potatoes with soil to fill the trench.
Once the shoots have reached around 20 cm in height, you can go ahead and use a rake, hoe, or spade to mound the soil up around the bases of the shoots, covering around half of the stem. This is called earthing up.
Taking Care of Your Potatoes
When you seed your potato plants, you should create an effective drainage system to ensure that your new potatoes do not become submerged in water. You will also need to protect them from sunlight, as this can lead to photosynthesis and the greening of your plants. If your potatoes turn green, you should avoid eating them.
When you plant your tubers, they will create two types of stems, which are those that grow foliage above the ground, and those that grow new potatoes below the ground. You can wrap the stem above the ground in soil to increase your yield of potatoes.
You will need to make sure that your potato plant is getting at least 1 to 2 inches of water each week. Water needs are really important throughout the first 90 days for a variety of reasons. We will explain more on this below.
- First 30 days: Your potatoes need water, but not critically.
- Between 1 and 2 months: Their water needs are important for crop growth.
- Between 2 and 3 months: Potatoes need water to expand.
- Between 3 and 4 months: Water is still needed, but not in the same quantities as before. This is the period right before the harvest when the top of the plants turn yellow and die out.
Issues You May Encounter When Growing Potatoes
Something that can cause a problem is slugs, especially if you are growing your potatoes under black plastic. Something else that can cause an issue is potato blight, which is a fungal disease that will turn foliage yellow with dark patches. This will cause the tubers to rot, so you should grow a blight-resistant potato variety to avoid this issue.
You can also choose to cut the potato plants down at the first sign of infection, as at this point in time, it will not have reached the tubers yet. You should then harvest the tubers as soon as possible. You should also never grow potatoes in the same soil over and over again, as this could lead to a build-up of pests and diseases.
What is the Best Time of Year to Plant Potatoes?
The best time of year to plant is in the early spring, as this is when the temperatures should be at least 45 °F. Planting new potatoes is not always a quick process, but this process will begin at the start of the growing season. You will need to ensure that you give the soil time between preparing the bed and planting.
More often than not, an acceptable amount of time to leave between these two things is between 2 and 6 weeks.
Can I Use Eating Potatoes as Seed Potatoes?
Many people will disagree over whether you can use eating potatoes as seed potatoes. It is generally thought that eating potatoes are designed to be eaten, and not planted. However, some people have managed to successfully grow potatoes from store-bought potatoes. The majority of experts and potato enthusiasts would recommend that you grow your crop from seed potatoes.
If you are set on using eating potatoes, and they do manage to sprout, you can go ahead and plant them. Two benefits of using these potatoes are that they are readily available, and they will not take weeks to arrive like seed potatoes. There is no particular advantage of using eating potatoes, but it could be worth a try.
Can Any Potato Be a Seed Potato?
Potatoes are grown from specially prepared seed potatoes. These tubers are usually underground parts of a stem or root that are used to store food by the plant. They contain buds that are able to produce new plants.