By The Old House Web


Potatoes are more difficult to grow than most vegetables. They grow in any soil if it is well drained but if scab is a problem, keep the pH between 4.8 and 5.4. Potatoes are established from cut up portions of potato. Be sure to use certified, disease free tuber. Seed potatoes are cut into blocky sections so each piece contains at least 2 eyes. Plant the pieces, cut surface down, 5 inches deep, in rows 3 feet apart. Small whole potatoes can be used for seed. Potatoes from a grocery store may have been treated with a sprout inhibitor so may not be suitable for seed. For potatoes in July and August, plant in late April to early May. For potatoes to store for winter use, plant in May. Manure can increase the amount of scab. If no other fertilizer was applied, use 2 cups of 5-10-10 per 25 feet of row. A steady supply of water is needed to grow good potatoes. If allowed to dry out the tubers may be hollow or they may sprout in the ground. During dry weather, tubers make little growth, then, if given water, they may crack and become knobby. Excessive hilling can be injurious to the roots. When hilling is done, use narrow flattened ridges, not sharp narrow ridges.

New potatoes may be dug when the vines begin to flower but try not to injure the vines any more than necessary. Harvest the rest of the tubers when the vines are frosted but before the ground freezes. If vines are killed by drought or other causes, there will be no tubers. Dig carefully so tubers are not bruised or gashed. Try to dig on a day when the tubers will dry quickly. Usually 30 minutes on top of the soil is enough to dry the tubers. Prolonged exposure results in greening.

Hollow potatoes occur if the plants are allowed to get too dry.

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