Potatoes prefer a sunny location, long growing season and fertile, well-drained soil for best yields. For more information on potatoes,
VARIETIES: Potatoes can be categorized by maturity class (early, mid-season or late), use (baking, frying or boiling), or tuber skin characteristics (russet, smooth or colored). When selecting varieties, consider your growing environment, primary use, and how much space you have available to grow the plants. Most varieties grow well in Utah, but not all are available.
Before planting, incorporate 2 to 4 inches of well-composted organic matter and apply 1.5 lbs. of all purpose fertilizer per 100 square feet. Work this into the top 6 inches of soil. For more information on soil preparation, click here.
- Plant potato seed pieces 4 to 6 inches deep and 10 to 12 inches apart in the row.
- Space the rows 30 to 36 inches apart.
- Potato should be planted when soils are at least 50°F.
- Generally, soil is hilled or mounded around the plants as they grow.
- It is best to hill around the plants within four weeks of planting.
Irrigation: Potatoes require good soil moisture throughout the year. Apply 1 to 2 inches of water per week. Most of the water used by the plants is taken up from the top foot of soil. A layer of mulch around the plants will conserve soil moisture. Irregular watering may cause abnormal tuber growth, knobs and cracks. For more information on watering, click here.
Fertilization: Avoid heavy fertilization in potatoes which encourages excessive foliage growth and delays tuber growth. In addition to pre-plant fertilizer, side dress with nitrogen, applying ½ lb per 100 square feet of planted area 6 weeks after they emerge. Place the fertilizer to the side of the plants and irrigate into the soil. For more information on fertilizing, click here.
Harvest: Potatoes can be harvested as soon as they begin forming or as they mature. Determine the size of the tubers by digging into the side of the hills. Consume new potatoes quickly as they have thin skins and dry out rapidly. For storage purposes, dig potatoes after the vines have died, the tubers are full-sized and the skins matured.
COMMON PESTS AND DISEASES: Aphids, flea beetles and Colorado potato beetles are common pests of potatoes. Insecticides, watering and removal of infected plants are ways to regulate these problems. For more information on controlling pests and diseases, click here.