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Potato growers - favorite way to grow spuds! — The Grow Network Community
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Potato growers - favorite way to grow spuds!

burekcrew86burekcrew86 Posts: 199 ✭✭✭
edited November 2020 in Vegetables

I’m getting so excited for the upcoming gardening season and I would love to hear from everyone their favorite way to grow potatoes? I have tried in 5 gallon buckets and plastic whiskey barrels. They did okay, but I’m hoping for a greater harvest this year. I’d really love to hear everyone’s perspective as far as different methods and what worked well and what didn’t. Thanks in advance folks!



  • JensJens Posts: 460 ✭✭✭

    I do them in the ground with lots of mulch.

  • We always grew them just out in the garden when I was a kid. We never mulched anything back then. I have wondered if growing in containers would be better?

    I think they would be much easier to harvest by dumping them out rather than digging them up.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,368 admin

    I still prefer in the ground with hilling.

    We tried putting the potatoes into the ground (or just barely into it) and topped it with straw (not hay) one year. That was interesting. We could harvest whenever we wanted, giving us baby potatoes & not harming the plant that could produce more. The issues we had were mice chewing on some of the potatoes and weeds that sprouted up in the straw.

    I might try it again if we could control those weeds and mice. We now have lots of cats, but still lots of mice, and a cat would not hesitate to use straw as a litter box either. I would not want that directly on my potatoes.

  • JannajoJannajo Ms. Pointe-Claire, QuebecPosts: 173 ✭✭✭

    In Quebec, we have a problem w potatoes (or, some people do!) It all started with a bug abt 75 yrs ago, bug on the potatoe, so they made a law saying: no potatoes (like today, they say no cannabis growing?) Well the law stayed, but most know nothing of it...however, the myth persists and I a forbidden to grow potatoe! I have a rather large box away from the garden where I can plant these; Nothing much came up, just a few (very) small ones. I had heard they r excellent for building up the soil, so wanted to plant them all over for at least a year, building up my soil. How much of the little sprouts do u need on the potatoe?

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,368 admin
    edited March 2020

    This guy "doubles up" his potato growing, growing double the potatoes in a small space. He is out of Alberta, which is roughly above Montana. He says this can be done in the garden as well, although with a short growing season, I am unsure how this would work...just double up your planting right away or shortly after the other one shows growth?

    @2majomix We always did 3 eyes per seed potato/piece.

  • Leslie CarlLeslie Carl Posts: 255 ✭✭✭✭

    @2majomix I always leave 2 eyes and don't cut too close to the eyes. Then I let them sit for a day out of the sun, to cure before I plant them. But here's some information I found from someone with a bit more knowhow.


  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,368 admin

    @Leslie Carl I have heard about letting them cure first after cutting, however, we have never had issues with cutting right in the garden & putting them in the hole.

    I have read about people just using peels (with eyes intact) and simply covering these with straw. It was supposed to work well.

  • KarinKarin New ZealandPosts: 272 ✭✭✭

    We grew potatoes in the ground - I think that gives you better options for harvest as you can feel around and pick large or small out. But we had a problem with that "zebra chip" disease so had to throw out a lot. Does anyone have any good tips for not getting that in potatoes?

  • MelindaMelinda Greater Atlanta AreaPosts: 124 ✭✭✭

    This is a great thread!

  • sallyhowardsallyhoward AustraliaPosts: 106 ✭✭✭

    I experimented with growing Kipfler potatoes in large pots last year, as I am finding digging too difficult these days (osteoarthritis in my hands) using organic potting mix topped with straw. The results were delicious and numerous but small in size. And so much easier for me to harvest by tipping, than previously from digging the garden bed. This year I will add more organic compost to the mix in the hope of larger, delicious "chips" sprayed with a little olive oil and baked in the oven.

  • Leslie CarlLeslie Carl Posts: 255 ✭✭✭✭

    @Laurie I used to not cure them, when we lived out West, and never had a problem. But now we are living out East and there's so much humidity, I've had to battle a lot more diseases than before. So, I decided not to take any chances. 🙂

  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 592 ✭✭✭✭

    I always grow potatoes every year and I find I get bigger harvests with in-ground plants than container plants. I can't say for sure since I always choose three varieties each year but when I compare the same variety grown both ways, I do get bigger yields with the in-grounds.

    As for the amount of eyes, yes I prefer 3-4 eyes per each piece placed in the ground. This results in a healthier bush with more harvest.

    As for the "24 hour cure time", I've only heard about this within the last two summers (just assuming I was doing it wrong all the time up until then) but after 2 years now of curing my spuds before planting it doesn't seem to have helped/changed anything for me.

    When I think about it though, my seasons here aren't very consistently wet... usually, so placing the fresh cut potato in the ground to keep it from rotting isn't that big of a deal since I don't have wet soil. If you live in an area which gets consistent rainfall or you overwater, yes I could see how the thickened skin over the cut edge could prevent some problems but I think it probably can be determined by what your own climatic conditions are.

  • EarlKellyEarlKelly Penn state master gardener Northeastern Pennsylvania zone 5bPosts: 230 ✭✭✭

    @spowell07 never heard of that method before. Will try it this year. Tried the half barrel of plastic and yields were only so so. A lot easier to harvest though. Tried this method because of all the rain we have been getting. Two years ago the rain rotted everything in the garden. Thanks for the new method.

  • burekcrew86burekcrew86 Posts: 199 ✭✭✭

    @spowell07 - I love your idea. Might have to give that a try this year.

  • herbantherapyherbantherapy Posts: 438 ✭✭✭✭

    @spowell07 I use the tire method. Now YOU have to decide if you are willing to work with tires or not as they do leach over a 50 year period. I had 2 truck loads of tires left on my property when I moved in, so I use what I got...most of them got used for hillside stabilization. As a side note, leaching travels through soil to the roots and I only use straw no soil in these.

    What I do is is similar to what @spowell07 does with building/layering.

    First I lay down hardwire cloth (because voles and moles!). Then I set down a tire and pack it with straw. I only put a tiny bit of compost where I set the slips for their tiny roots to grab a hold of something. Then I plant up to 10 slips depending on variety. When the leaves get taller than the rim of the tire, I add more straw on top and another tire. Every couple of tires I might add more slips again depending on variety (fingerlings I always add more slips, russets just keep growing good.) I stack maybe 5-6 tires and then leave it for harvest (I’m only 5’4” so if I go higher I can’t manage the tower). At the end of the season I just unstack and the taters roll right out.

  • chimboodle04chimboodle04 Posts: 286 ✭✭✭
    edited March 2020

    Growing ours in a raised bed does best. We use a no till method and top the bed with a good layer of compost before planting. Potatoes are planted in a grid pattern to maximize space and covered with a layer of straw. We then cover the bed with bug cloth to keep potato beetles at bay. Once the plants are grown and begin to flower, we remove the bug cloth and let the die back naturally. For a late May planting, we usually are harvesting by the end of July. Last year we started putting in a second harvest (planted mid July in a different bed) that was harvested end of September - these stored longer through the winter months. We do put down drip irrigation when planting as well. Kennebec variety has been the most consistent producer - zone 5.

  • drpclarkedrpclarke Posts: 53 ✭✭✭

    I haven't grown potatoes where I grow for the soil is so compact. I am thinking about trying them in hay to see how well they do in that material.. Has anybody had luck with that? Thanks

  • Obiora EObiora E Posts: 517 ✭✭✭✭

    @burekcrew86 I have grown potatoes in clay pots (never plastic for anything that you plan to consume) using companion planting. So I did flax, hot peppers, and I don't recall what else with the heirloom potatoes. It worked out well.

    I have also grown them in burlap sacks. You can add more soil to the potatoes are new vegetation grows and heap a pretty nice harvest. The only drawback is not being able to companion plant with this method.

    And I have also grown potatoes on the ground and covered with straw. I added some companion plants around them and it was okay, except that it was a really rainy year and the straw was just mush.

    I use companion planting to attract beneficial insects, keep away Potato beetles, and the like.

  • pamelamackenziepamelamackenzie Posts: 143 ✭✭✭

    I purchased too many seed potatoes and ran out of room in my prepared garden bed area. I was tired so I just starting stuffing them wherever. I placed some in a pile of grass clippings. I put too old onions in the grass clippings at the beginning of winter and they both grew fine in there. Time will tell whether the potatoes I recently planting there will grow. I figured it was better to plant somewhere rather than waste them.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,368 admin

    @chimboodle04 What is bug cloth?

    @drpclarke If your soil is compact, add compost & peat moss to it.

    @Obiora E What companion plants do you use to repel potato beetles?

  • chimboodle04chimboodle04 Posts: 286 ✭✭✭

    @Laurie it is a thin cloth that you can cover plants with so that bugs cannot get inside. It is good to use for pest-prone crops that do not need pollinators (since it would keep those out too!) - for potatoes I take off the cloth once they start to flower though. For brassicas I keep it on for the whole season to ward off cabbage moths until they are gone for the year! Here is the one that I buy: https://www.gardeners.com/buy/summer-row-covers-garden-fabric/32-644VS.html#start=29

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,368 admin
  • Obiora EObiora E Posts: 517 ✭✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning African Marigold and Black Turtle Dry Bush Bean

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,368 admin

    @Obiora E I will have to see if I can get those here. They work well?

  • Dennis BriesDennis Bries Southeastern WisconsinPosts: 12 ✭✭✭

    Glad I saved the small tubers and extra potatoes from the previous year. If I hadn't planted these, I would have had NO home grown spuds to harvest last year! All of the commerically produced tubers from +"National'' reputable seed companies" arrived a week to ten days after the prime planting season in this area last spring. Also, by the time weather cleared as soil dried,the tubers were moldy and rotten.

    This year, I've started some of the buds and sprouts under lights some in 5 gallon buckets, others in seed starting pots and just transplanted them in the hoop house -- might be able to dig them in early June. Hopefully they won't freeze in the next three weeks. It is a gamble but worth the investment in space!

  • OhiohillsLouiseOhiohillsLouise Posts: 121 ✭✭✭

    @drpclarke yes I have grown potatoes in hay, it was fine but think I have better results with planting in loose composted soil with heavy mulch.

    Regarding cutting potatoes, my mother-in-law, who had to feed 10 kids from her garden, taught me to dip the cut end in fine wood ashes. Don’t know what it does but I get good results.

  • Obiora EObiora E Posts: 517 ✭✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning Yes they worked well.

  • grdngrl999grdngrl999 Posts: 1 ✭✭✭

    My spinning composter bit the dust 2 years ago. We took it apart so that we had 2 open ended containers. Now put them on the ground, fill them with the ornamental grass that we cut down in the spring, add soil and potatoes. It is fun to tip them when we harvest to see the life that has taken up residence! We do 2 crops a year this way.

  • norabelehcimnorabelehcim Posts: 50 ✭✭✭

    I am trying to start sweet potato vines from eyes /potato chunks. I plan to see if crop will grow in container with soil medium, if my accessible space gets enough light to support healthy growth.

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