Potatoes are a year-round staple for many families around the world. Potatoes come in over a hundred varietals in all kinds of sizes, shapes, colors and flavors. There is a potato to suit almost everyone’s taste. The edible part of a potato, the tuber, grows underground and is a part of the stem system. The leaves, stems and flowers that grow above ground cannot be eaten. Potatoes are a cool-season crop and varieties can be planted that you can enjoy nearly all season long.
Soil conditions for growing potatoes
Potatoes aren’t as finicky as many vegetables when it comes to soil conditions, but they do best in well-drained, fertile soil. Compact soil can be especially problematic for potatoes. The soil pH level should be 5.0 to 5.5 for best crop production. Do not add large amounts of organic matter to the soil as it may contribute to potato scab, a disease that frequently infects potatoes. As a cool season vegetable, potatoes can tolerate a few light frosts and actually need cooler soil temperatures (between 60-to 70 degrees) to properly mature and form tubers. If the soil temperatures rise to over 80 degrees, you will probably see little, if any, tuber formation.
How to Plant Potatoes
Potatoes will be one of the first vegetables you can plant in the spring. To determine when you can plant, find out your areas last frost date (go to: http://boldweb.com/gw/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=28&Itemid=25 ). Potatoes are not started from seed or seedlings but from cut pieces of seed potatoes. Do not use potatoes from the grocery store because these have usually been sprayed to inhibit eye growth. Additionally, do not use potatoes from an earlier crop, as they may contain unknown diseases that could infect your new crop.
You should buy certified seed potatoes that are found in garden centers or nurseries. If the potato is whole and large, cut it into approximately 2 inch pieces; each piece needs to have at least one eye. After cutting, you need to let the pieces sit for a couple of days in a cool, humid location. This will give the potato time to heal, or form a scab over it, which protects it from rotting when planted in the ground. If you buy small seed potatoes, you do not need to cut them prior to planting. When getting ready to plant your potatoes use a spade to hoe a small trench, or furrow, about 4 inches deep and as long as your space allows. You can work in an all-purpose fertilizer into the soil prior to planting.
Place one potato piece at the bottom of the trench with the eye facing upward. The eye will sprout and become the plant. Spacing should be about 10-12 inches apart. Rows should be between 2 to 3 feet apart from each other.
How to Take Care of Potato Plants
Potatoes do well in consistently moist (not wet) soil. They should receive about an inch to an inch and a half of water per week. If they do not receive adequate moisture from rainfall, you will need to hand water them. After your potato plants start to grow, you can add some soil, mulch, or straw around the base of the plant to form a hill. This will encourage new tuber growth and can help to prevent green potatoes.
Potato leafhoppers are wedge-shaped, 1/8-inch long, green, active insects. They use their piercing-sucking mouthparts to remove sap from the potato leaf. These small insects fly readily.
Because of their small size and habit of feeding on the underside of the leaf, they are easily overlooked. The symptom of leafhopper activity is more apparent – a triangular brown spot at the tip of the leaf. Similar triangles may appear at the end of each lateral veinlet or the entire margin may roll upward as though scorched. These symptoms are known as “hopperburn”. Other conditions may produce similar symptoms. Check the underside of leaves for the tiny leafhoppers to confirm that they are the cause of the problem [1,1].
An insecticide may need to be used for these pests.
Flea beetles are small usually black beetles that are often difficult to spot due to their size and their inclination to quickly jump away when disturbed. These pests chew holes through the leaves of plants. When present in large numbers they can cause the plant leaves to wilt and decreased crop production.
Harvesting and storage of Potatoes
Traditionally, potatoes are harvested in the fall, or about 90-120 days after planting. An outward sign that your potatoes are ready to harvest is when the entire above-ground plant is brown and dried out; it will look like it is dead. If you are unsure if the potatoes are ready for harvesting, you can check one plant by digging up the tubers with a pitchfork to see if they are mature.
When you are harvesting your potatoes, be careful not to pierce the potatoes with the fork; these damaged potatoes will not keep (you can eat them for dinner that night!) Using either a pitchfork or a shovel is the easiest way to gather the potatoes.
Potatoes can be stored throughout the winter months if kept in a very cool (30s or 40s), humid and dark place.
Common Questions and Answers About How to Grow Potatoes
Are potato leaves poisonous?
Potato leaves are not edible. In fact, they are poisonous, or toxic, due to the solanine they contain, which is closely related to nicotine. The solanine is a chemical defense the plant uses to lessen the risk of damage from insects and diseases. Even the tuber of potatoes can contain solanine when the potatoes come into contact with sunlight, which is why it’s recommended to grow potatoes in hills of dirt. Tubers that contain solanine are green in color, which is why green areas should be cut off before potatoes are consumed. Solanine can be present in the stems, fruits, leaves, tubers, and sprouts of potatoes. Poisoning due to solanine has the following symptoms: confusion, diarrhea, digestive discomfort, drowsiness, vomiting, shortness of breath, and weak or rapid pulse. If left untreated, solanine poisoning can lead to death due to respiratory failure.
Are the eyes of a potato poisonous?
Potato eyes can be poisonous if sprouts are growing from them and the eyes have started to enlarge. This toxicity is because of a poisonous alkaloid called solanine, which can be present in the tubers of potatoes that have been exposed to sunlight as well as being present in the leaves, stems, fruits, and sprouts. In general, solanine is present in all parts of a potato that are green in color, but it is most prevalent in the potato skins and just underneath the skin. Poisoning due to solanine can lead to death from respiratory failure. Other symptoms of solanine poisoning include confusion, diarrhea, digestive discomfort, drowsiness, vomiting, shortness of breath, and weak or rapid pulse.
Can any potato be a seed potato?
Almost any homegrown potato can be used as a seed potato, but it is not recommended to use potatoes from the grocery store as seed potatoes. Potatoes available for purchase at the store have often been treated with a growth inhibitor that keeps the potatoes from sprouting so they stay fresh for longer. However, even organic potatoes from the store that have not been treated with growth inhibitors should not be used as seed potatoes. That’s because seed potatoes can carry diseases that were present in the previous year’s crop, so it’s important to use certified seed potatoes rather than the ones you can purchase from the grocery store.
Can I grow potatoes in wood chips?
You can grow potatoes in chips of any type of wood except eucalyptus, but there are many warnings and conditions associated with growing potatoes in walnut chips. Simply lay potatoes on top of the soil and cover them with a layer of wood chips six to eight inches thick. Mark the edges of your bed now, because they will not stay as visible throughout the season as they are at the beginning. When it’s time to harvest, you can simply pull the plants up with your hands, and the majority of your potatoes will remain attached to the plant. You can feel around in the wood chips using your hands for any potatoes that have fallen from the plant.
Can I just plant a potato?
You can simply plant a whole potato without cutting it into pieces or halving it, as is often recommended with seed potatoes. When you plant an entire potato, you can actually plant the next year’s crop at the same time as you harvest, by selecting large specimens and placing them back in the ground once you’ve dug them up. However, by cutting your seed potatoes into halves or chunks, you will get more plants out of each seed potato. Just make sure each chunk of seed potato has at least one eye on it for the plant to sprout from.
Can you chit potatoes in a cold frame?
As long as your cold frame setup is 100 percent dry and frost-free, you can chit potatoes in it.
Can you cut a potato in half and plant it?
You can plant potatoes using whole seed potatoes, cut your seed potatoes in half, or divide seed potatoes into smaller chunks. Just make sure that the pieces of seed potato you use have at least one eye each, because the eye of the potato is where the plant will sprout from. Obviously, the more pieces you divide your seed potatoes into, the more plants you will get from your seed potatoes.
Can you dig potatoes before they have flowered?
The short answer is no, you cannot dig potatoes before they have flowered. Potatoes need to stay in the ground until flowering has finished (or longer) in order to be large enough to use.
First early potatoes (called new potatoes) are planted between the middle of March and middle of April, and they are ready to harvest after flowering, about 10 to 12 weeks from when they were first planted. Dig up first earlies to check whether they are large enough to use once your potatoes have finished flowering. Before the potatoes have flowered, the tubers will not be large enough to use.
Second early potatoes (another crop of new potatoes) are planted in late April and harvested after flowering is finished, about 10 to 12 weeks after they were planted. As with first earlies, second early potatoes will not be large enough to harvest until flowering has completed.
Maincrop potatoes (the large, standard size of potatoes) are planted in April and stay in the ground longer than first and second earlies before they are ready to harvest. The maincrop potatoes need 15 to 20 weeks in the ground before they are ready to harvest.
Can you eat freshly dug potatoes?
New potatoes are freshly dug potatoes that have been grown underground for 10 to 12 weeks, as opposed to the 15 to 20 weeks that maincrop potatoes remain underground. In addition, maincrop potatoes are usually allowed a period of time to cure, which allows their skin to set or toughen up as well as letting the potato dry out a bit. New potatoes, also known as first earlies and second earlies, can be eaten without this curing period, making them more moist than maincrop potatoes and changing their texture a bit. You can tell a potato is a true new potato because the skin is fragile enough that you can scrape it clean with your thumb.
Because new potatoes have not been cured, they cannot be stored as long as mature maincrop potatoes. Freshly dug new potatoes will last for several days to several weeks at room temperature, and if they are refrigerated, they will taste sweeter than if they are stored on the counter or in the pantry. This flavor change happens because refrigeration causes the starch in freshly dug potatoes to start transforming into sugar.
Can you eat the fruit of a potato plant?
The fruit of potato plants cannot be eaten because it contains the toxic alkaloid solanine. Solanine poisoning results in symptoms that include confusion, diarrhea, digestive discomfort, drowsiness, vomiting, shortness of breath, and weak or rapid pulse. Severe, untreated solanine poisoning can eventually cause death due to respiratory failure. The fruit of potato plants is small and green, resembling a tomato. Yukon Gold potatoes produce more fruits than other potato varieties.
Can you grow potatoes from the eyes?
The eyes are the part of the potato that the shoots of new plants grow from, so seed potatoes are always cut into chunks that contain at least one or two eyes. In fact, even a thick potato peeling can be used to plant potatoes as long as it contains an eye or two and has at least half an inch of potato flesh attached.
Can you grow potatoes in potting mix?
It is possible to grow potatoes in potting mix alone, but you’ll have a better crop if you grow your potatoes in a blend of half potting mix and half compost.
Can you harvest potatoes without killing the plant?
Once your potatoes have flowered, you can harvest the new potatoes without killing the plant. The plant is usually killed when frost comes in, not by the harvesting of its tubers.
Can you just leave potatoes in the ground?
Keeping potatoes in the ground is not ideal because the moisture of the soil can lead to rot, or the potatoes might begin to sprout. However, you can dig a specially designed potato pit that will allow you to store the potatoes outdoors. A potato pit should be in a dry, even area and should be dug one or two feet deep and as wide as it needs to be to hold your harvest of potatoes. Use a three-inch layer of clean straw on the bottom with the potatoes on top, then cover the potatoes with one to three feet of straw. Use the soil that came out of the pit to top these layers, making sure no straw is exposed. The soil layer on top should be at least three inches deep. A potato pit will keep potatoes fresh through the winter season, or at least for 120 days.
Can you overwater potatoes?
Too much water can be detrimental not only to the plant portion of potatoes that grows above ground, but to the tubers as well. Overwatering your potatoes or allowing rain to provide them with excess water can result in cracked or malformed tubers. Potatoes that get too much water are also at risk for plant diseases and rot.
Potatoes generally need one or two inches of water each week. Young plants benefit from a regular timeline that has them getting water every four or five days. Once tubers begin to form, which happens when you see flowers appear, increase the watering schedule to give potato plants water every two or three days. Potato plants no longer need to be watered once the foliage starts to die back and changes in color from green to yellow.
Can you plant potatoes without eyes?
Potatoes need eyes in order to sprout because the green sprouts come from the eyes. However, if your seed potatoes do not have enough eyes, you can encourage them to develop eyes by storing them in a warm, bright place for a while.
Do I need the potatoes to sprout before planting?
It is not necessary for potatoes to sprout before they are planted, but if you choose to let yours grow some sprouts before putting them in the ground, you’ll be able to harvest sooner.
Do potatoes grow after tops die?
Once the flowers fade and the green tops of potato plants wither and die, the potatoes underneath the ground are ready to harvest. The tubers have been growing throughout the season, while the foliage on top of the soil was alive. Although the tuber of the potato (the portion we eat) stops growing once the plants on top die, as long as the soil is not too wet and temperatures are not below freezing, potatoes can remain in the ground for a couple of days after the plants wither, dry out, and fall over.
Do potatoes keep growing after flowering?
The underground tuber of the potato plant will continue growing through the plant’s flowering cycle until the flowers have died and the foliage starts to wither and flop over. At this point, the potatoes stop growing and are ready to be harvested.
Do potatoes keep growing after the plant dies?
Potatoes do not keep growing after the plant has died. The point in the plant’s life cycle where the tubers underground stop growing is just after the flowers have faded away, once the plant’s foliage starts to dry out and wither. These signs mean that the tuber’s growing cycle is over, too, and the potatoes underground are ready for the gardener to dig them up and harvest them.
Do potatoes like pine needles?
Pine needles can be used when you’re growing potatoes if you like. Some gardeners use pine needles to cover their potatoes instead of covering them with soil when they first put the potatoes in the ground. Another alternative to covering your potatoes with soil is using mulch.
Potatoes do not need a lot of fertilizer, but in order for you to get the most out of your harvest, they do benefit from proper fertilization. You can apply fertilizer either before you plant your potatoes (as a soil amendment) or about two weeks after planting them. Choose a fertilizer type that has plenty of potassium and phosphate and focuses less on nitrogen, as nitrogen will encourage the growth of foliage above ground instead of the tubers underground that you’ll eventually dig up and eat. Appropriate fertilizer blends to apply where you’ll grow potatoes are 5-10-10 or 8-24-24.
Do you chit potatoes in the dark?
Chitting (sprouting potatoes before they are planted) is best done in a light location that is cool but free from frost. The best spots for chitting include greenhouses, porches, and sunny windowsills. Gardeners use chitting to get the potato plants started before they’re planted in the garden, which means an earlier harvest. Also, when you use chitting, your first early crop will be harvested before potato blight becomes a concern.
Start chitting in late January or early February. Chit potatoes with the rose end (a blunt, rounded end with lots of eyes) turned upward. When you plant the potatoes in the garden, rub off all but three or four of the shoots that grow while they are chitting. Removing some of the sprouts helps your seed potatoes to grow faster and also helps make sure the tubers you harvest will be large.
Do you remove sprouts from potatoes before planting?
To maximize the size of potatoes you’ll harvest and the speed your potato plants will grow, you should remove all but three or four of the sprouts from your seed potatoes when you plant them. Make sure to plant your seed potato pieces with the remaining shoots pointed upward, toward the surface of the soil.
Do you water potatoes?
Your potato plants need to get one or two inches of moisture per week, so when rainfall does not provide enough water, you’ll need to water the plants yourself. Abiding by a consistent schedule helps your potatoes grow without developing cracks or deformed shapes. Young plants especially need a regular watering schedule, getting a new dose of water every four or five days. When you see flowers begin to appear on your potato plants, that means the tubers are starting to form, and it’s time to increase the watering schedule so plants get moisture every two or three days. You can stop watering your potato plants when their foliage withers, changes from green to yellow, and dies back.
Do you water potatoes after planting?
The best way to make sure your newly planted potatoes have plenty of water is to plant them in moist soil, then wait for plants to emerge (in about two weeks) before you water them again. Potato plants need an inch or two of water each week, and getting water on a regular schedule is important to prevent cracks and deformities in your tubers. Young potato plants need a regular watering schedule, ideally getting a drink of water every four or five days. Once flowers bloom on your potato plants, that means the tubers are developing underground, and it also means that watering needs to be increased in frequency to every two or three days. When the foliage of your potato plants changes color from green to yellow and dies back, you can stop watering them.
How can I grow potatoes without a garden?
If you don’t have an outdoor garden, you can grow potatoes several other ways as long as you can devote a small amount of space to them. Our article on Growing Potatoes in Containers will give you the details on how to grow potatoes in a tower, box, barrel, store bought or homemade grow bag, trash bag, or recycled containers such as tires and cardboard boxes.
How deep do you plant a potato?
Start your seed potato pieces in trenches that are about four inches deep and spaced three to five feet apart, with the potato pieces about a foot apart from one another inside the trenches. Then cover your seed potato pieces to fill in the trenches—so the potatoes will be four inches deep inside the trench. As the plants grow, build hills around the stem of the foliage with the soil on either side of the trenches, starting when greenery is eight inches tall. Always leave some of the sprouts sticking out above the soil so the potato plants will keep growing.
How do I know when potatoes are ready to harvest?
Your potatoes should be ready to harvest after the flowers fade away and once the foliage begins to wither and turn yellow instead of green. Wait for the vines to die completely back before digging up your potatoes to harvest them so you know the potatoes are completely mature. Some gardeners even wait an additional two to four weeks from the time the plants are completely dead to allow the skin of the potatoes to toughen. Test the skin of your potatoes to make sure they’re mature by rubbing it with your thumb. If the skin is thin and delicate enough to rub off easily, leave the potatoes underground for a few more days to finish maturing. If hard frost is expected in your area, you must dig up your potatoes.
How do you fertilize potatoes?
Potatoes don’t need a ton of fertilizer to thrive, but they will benefit from one application at the beginning of the season. You can either use the fertilizer as a soil amendment before planting your seed potatoes or apply fertilizer about two weeks after putting the seed potatoes out into your garden. You’ll want to select a fertilizer that is heavy on potassium and phosphate with less of a focus on nitrogen. This is because giving your potato plants fertilizer that contains too much nitrogen will encourage the growth of the green foliage above ground but won’t do much of anything for the tubers underground, which is what gardeners are really after since the tubers are what they will harvest. Examples of fertilizers that work well for potatoes include 5-10-10 and 8-24-24- blends.
How do you grow large potatoes?
To make sure you harvest the largest possible potatoes, start out with seed potato chunks about the size and shape of an ice cube that have at least two eyes each. Larger seed potatoes will result in more potatoes, but they will all be small or medium. Using seed potatoes cut into pieces this size will ensure you get large potatoes when you dig them up at the end of the season.
Certain potato varieties are also known for their large size. These include: Cara, Estima, Kestrel, Nicola, and Winston. Also, give your potato plants some extra room so there’s space for larger potatoes to develop. When you’re planting your pieces of seed potato, situate them 24 inches apart to encourage large tubers. Before planting your pieces of seed potato, rub off all but two or three of the sprouts growing from them. Taking away some of the sprouts will help increase the size of your potatoes, too.
How do you take care of a potato plant?
As potato plants grow, build hills around their stems with the soil from either side of the trench where they are planted. Don’t cover the shoots completely with soil, though, or they may stop growing. Allow them to stick out above the surface of the soil even when you build up the hills. Potatoes need regular, consistent watering—one or two inches per week. When plants are young, water them every four or five days. Once flowers appear, adjust the watering schedule to every two or three days. You can stop watering your potato plants once they begin to die back and wither away.
How long can you leave potatoes in the ground?
You can leave potatoes in the ground for two to four weeks after the plants above the surface of the soil have died to allow their skins to thicken. Don’t leave them too much longer, though, or they may begin to rot. You also need to harvest all your potatoes in the event of a hard freeze.
How long does it take to grow potatoes?
Potatoes take between 70 and 120 days to go from seed to maturity, depending on which variety of potato you are growing.
How long does it take to grow potatoes in a bucket?
Potatoes that you plant in a bucket will be mature within 12 to 20 weeks, depending on what type of potato you have planted.
How long will potatoes stay good in the ground?
You can leave your potatoes in the soil for two to four weeks after the foliage above the ground has died completely to let their skin thicken and allow them to mature fully. However, don’t leave them much longer than that, or you risk damage from rot or frost. In the event of a hard freeze, you should dig up your entire harvest before the freeze rolls through.
How many potatoes can I plant in a container?
Each potato you plant will turn into a plant that grows quite large and produces a number of potatoes, so they’ll need plenty of room. A container that measures 16 inches wide is the perfect size for four to six chunks of seed potato.
How many potatoes can you plant in a five-gallon bucket?
To grow potato plants in a five-gallon bucket, start with two chunks of seed potato. The resulting plants will grow relatively large and produce a number of potatoes each.
How many potatoes will one plant produce?
When potato plants are cared for properly, each plant will produce five to 10 potato tubers when you harvest them at the end of the season. Another way to calculate your estimated yield is to figure 50 pounds of harvested potatoes for every two pounds of seed potatoes you plant.
How much room does a potato need?
Your chunks of seed potato should be planted in trenches that are four inches deep and spaced three to five feet apart, with the seed potato pieces at least 12 inches apart in the trench.
How often should potatoes be watered?
Potato plants should be watered regularly and consistently to prevent deformed or cracked tubers. They need one or two inches of moisture per week. When plants are young, water them every four or five days. Once flowers appear, adjust the watering timeline to every two or three days. You can stop watering your potato plants when the foliage withers and dies back.
How tall should a potato tower be?
Potato towers should end up being two to four feet tall.
How tall should potato plants grow?
Potato plants can grow to a height of 40 inches tall.
Is a potato a seed?
Potato plants produce true seeds that are small green fruits resembling tomatoes. Each fruit is filled with lots of tiny seeds. However, gardeners grow potatoes from pieces of the tuber instead, which is referred to as a “seed potato.” While seed potatoes can be planted whole, for best results cut them into pieces about the size and shape of an ice cube, with two eyes per piece.
Is bone meal good for potatoes?
Bone meal will give your growing potatoes a supply of phosphorus and calcium, and because it releases its nutrients slowly, it’s unlikely you will overfertilize with bone meal. If you want to feed your potatoes with bone meal, apply it before planting your potatoes. First loosen the soil where potatoes will grow to a depth of eight inches. Top with a layer of compost that is a quarter of an inch deep, and add a sprinkling of bone meal at the amount indicated by your soil test results. (Average bone meal application is one quart per 100 square feet.) Mix the compost, bone meal, and garden soil together. Then proceed with planting potatoes as usual.
Is chicken manure good for potatoes?
Chicken manure that is fresh contains so much nitrogen it will burn potato plants. You can amend your garden soil with chicken manure in the fall to let it age throughout the winter or you can add the manure to your compost heap and let it heat to 135 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit as it ages. Combine the manure with an equal balance of green and brown materials when adding to compost. It is ready to use when it is dark and resembles soil. Add a layer of compost one or two inches thick over the area where potatoes will grow, then dig to blend it in and loosen the soil to a depth of eight to 12 inches. Then you can plant potatoes as you normally would.
Is it safe to eat green potatoes?
Potatoes that are tinged with green contain a lot of the poisonous alkaloid solanine. Potatoes turn green and develop their solanine content when exposed to the sun. (All parts of the potato plant that are above ground contain poisonous levels of solanine.) Consuming potatoes that contain solanine can result in symptoms including confusion, diarrhea, digestive discomfort, drowsiness, vomiting, shortness of breath, and weak or rapid pulse. When it is untreated, solanine poisoning can lead to death due to respiratory failure. Completely green potatoes should be discarded, and potatoes that are only partially green should have the green part cut out and thrown away before they are eaten.
Is potato a fruit?
Botanically speaking, potatoes are a vegetable. When it comes to their nutritional value, however, potatoes qualify as a starch.
Should you wash potatoes before storing?
Do not wash potatoes with water before storing. You can use your hands or a brush to clean dirt and debris off of them. Wait until you are about to use the potatoes to wash them with water.
Should you water potatoes after planting?
You should either water your potatoes well just after planting or plant them in moist soil.
Should you water potatoes every day?
Potato plants need to get an inch or two of water each week, and they require consistent and regular watering to prevent deformity and cracking of the tubers. Young potato plants should be watered every four or five days. As soon as flowers appear, you should increase your watering frequency to every two or three days. Stop watering your potato plants once the foliage above the ground has withered and died off.
What are the balls on potato plants?
The small green balls that resemble tomatoes on potato plants are pods that contain lots of tiny seeds—as many as 500 of them. These seed pods are referred to by various names, including potato fruit, potato berries, and seed balls. Seed pods only appear on potatoes when the flowers have been fertilized. They are poisonous and cannot be consumed due to high levels of the toxic alkaloid solanine. Poisoning due to solanine consumption can result in confusion, diarrhea, digestive discomfort, drowsiness, vomiting, shortness of breath, and weak or rapid pulse. If solanine poisoning goes untreated, it can lead to death from respiratory failure.
What do I do if my potato plants don’t flower?
Don’t panic if flowers don’t appear on your potato plants. Potato plants do not always produce flowers, and the presence or absence of flowers does not indicate the health or production of the tubers. Potato plants are most likely to bloom when the weather early in summer is cool and wet.
What temperature do you chit potatoes at?
Chit potatoes in a bright area that stays between 45 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Begin chitting in late January to early February.
How do you store potatoes long term?
New potatoes will only have a shelf life of about a week. They should be refrigerated inside a paper bag or loosely wrapped in plastic. Do not wash new potatoes before storing them. Instead, wash just before using.
Fully mature potatoes should be protected from sunlight from the moment they’re dug up. First, give your potato harvest about two weeks to cure in a place that is dry, dark, cool, and well ventilated with a temperature between 45 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The curing time allows your potatoes to develop thicker skin, which will increase their shelf life. After curing is complete, brush off any dirt or other debris that is attached to your potatoes, but do not wash them with water until you’re about to use them. Toss out any potatoes that are damaged or green, then move the rest to long term storage. You’ll want to store your potato harvest in a place that stays between 45 and 60 degrees and is dark. Your potato harvest will stay good for at least a month and up to seven or eight months if stored this way. Do not refrigerate mature potatoes or store them with apples. The potatoes will go bad because of the ethylene gas the apples produce.
Want to learn more about growing potatoes?
To learn more about growing potatoes in your home garden, visit the Ohio State University Extension fact sheet about Growing Potatoes in the Home Garden.
Read more about Growing Potatoes from the Clemson Cooperative Extension.
Consider a potato grow bag, which can make growing potatoes a lot easier and more efficient.