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Grow & Care - Potato

Fast Facts

Light Requirements Full sun
Temperature Adaptations Semi-hardy: plant a week or two before expected date of last frost.
Acidity (pH) Tolerance 6.8 -5.0 pH
Salinity (Ec) Tolerance 1.7
How Pollinated Potatoes are typically planted from cuttings of tubers
Growth Habits Tuberous rooted perennial treated as an annual

Additional Information

Fertilizer Requirements

Spread 1 1/2 pound of 16-16-8 fertilizer per 100 square feet of planting area or 1 cup per 10 feet of row and mix with soil before planting. More fertilizer should be added when plants reach 6" tall and again at first blossoming. Use 1/2 cup ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) per 10 feet of row.

If potatoes are over-fertilized at the beginning of the season, they send excess growth into the vines, but without a midsummer fertilization, leaves may turn yellow and the vine may die back early.

Water Utilization

Provide an ample, uniform supply of water. If potatoes get too dry, their growth will stop. When more water is added, they begin new growth from the potato eyes and the result is knobby potatoes. Do not over-saturate nor keep soil soggy.

Plant Development and Care

Plants develop from the eyes of the cuttings. When inserting the potato seeders into the ground, they should be placed with the cut side down. The roots grow down and the stems grow up from the eyes. Rows should be planted close enough together to shade the soil as sweeter potatoes grow in cooler soils.

Like other members of the Nightshade family, the potato plant has a bitter poisonous sap in its stems and leaves. When the potato tuber is exposed to the sun, it turns green and bitter. The chemical produced in this process is poisonous if ingested in sufficient quantities. If the green layer is removed when peeled, the potato is still edible.

To prevent greening, hill potatoes by mounding soil or seed-free compost around the base of the plant when it reaches 6 to 12 inches tall. Clean compost shades and cools the soil and holds down weeds.

Some gardeners place tires around the plants and fill them with soil to mound them.

Germination Time (Days)

Potatoes sprout when conditions are correct.

Seed Germination and Temperature Range

Seed potatoes may be planted when soil temperatures reach 50 F

Common Fertilizer Deficiencies

Nitrogen deficiency common later in season



Tubers exposed to sun will turn green. Hill soil up around the plants to shield exposed tubers from sun.