Planting and Growing Organic Potatoes Posted on 16 Jan 12:06 , 2 comments

It's potato time!!!  We've been talking about organic seed potatoes since November but we're finally getting around to planting.

In my garden, all of my garlic was planted in Raised beds and I'll be doing the same with Seed potatoes.
The shoots are called "eyes."  Let them grow out a bit before planting

Where do we start? Organic, disease free seed potatoes!  Unlike most vegetables, potatoes are not grown from seeds but from potatoes that were grown the previous season, seed potatoes. 

Always use certified disease-free seed potatoes that are free of chemicals. Do not use potatoes from the grocery store for planting.
WHY not from the grocery store?
-Potatoes in food stores may come from fields (sometimes foreign) where infections are less controlled (it's a bit of an unknown)
-Potato growers are in the food industry and don't guarantee their stock to be free of disease that may be passed to your future crops
-Sprout inhibitors may be applied to tubers before transportation

Potatoes like acidic soil (do not plant in soil with a pH higher than 5.2).  
TWO great TIPS:
-Adding coffee grounds and/or coffee is a natural and inexpensive way to acidify your soil. 
-Dust seed potatoes with Azomite before planting.

Wondering WHEN to plant?  Check out our




Fertilizing
Use a high phosphorus fertilizer. The middle number of N-P-K is phosphorus and is responsible for root development. Azomite is a great root boost.  Endo-Mycorrhizae is another to encourage a healthy root system with beneficial bacteria.


From The Old Farmer's Almanac,
-Plant seed potatoes (pieces of whole potato or a small whole potato, with at least 2 eyes per piece) 0-2 weeks after last spring frost.
-If you are cutting up potato pieces for planting, do so a 1-2 days ahead of time. This will give them the chance to form a protective layer, both for moisture retention and rot resistance.
-You may start planting earlier, as soon as soil can be worked, but be aware that some crops will be ruined by a frost.
-Spread and mix in rotted manure or organic compost in the bottom of the trench before planting.
-Plant seed potatoes one foot apart in a 4-inch deep trench, eye side up.
-Practice yearly crop rotation.
PURPLE MAJESTY POTATO offered at Mary's Heirloom Seeds


RED THUMB FINGERLING POTATO offered at Mary's Heirloom Seeds

CANELA RUSSET POTATO offered at Mary's Heirloom Seeds


VIKING PURPLE POTATO offered at Mary's Heirloom Seeds


YUKON GOLD POTATO offered at Mary's Heirloom Seeds

7 Ways to Plant Potatoes From Rodale,
1. Hilled Rows
Pros: No containers to buy or build; no soil to transport. This is a simple, inexpensive, and proven method that farmers have used for millennia. Practical for large-scale plantings.

Cons: Yield may be limited by the quality of the soil. In places where the soil is badly compacted or low in organic matter, one of the aboveground techniques might work better.

2. Straw Mulch
Pros: The thick mulch conserves soil moisture and smothers weeds. Harvest is effortless with no digging. This method is suggested as a way to thwart Colorado potato beetle.

Cons: Yield in the test plot was slightly less than in the hilled row. Field mice have been known to use the cover of straw to consume the crop.

3. Raised Bed
Pros: This method yielded the largest harvest in my trials, and the potatoes were uniformly large. Raised beds are a good choice where the garden soil is heavy and poorly drained.

Cons: The soil to fill the bed has to come from somewhere—and it takes a lot.


4. Grow Bag
Pros: Grow Bags can be placed on patios or driveways or used where garden soil is of inferior quality. The bags should last for several growing seasons. Their dark color captured solar heat to speed early growth. Harvest was simple, and the yield was impressive, considering the small space each bag occupies.

Cons: This is a pricy technique. The brand of bag I used costs $12.95.


5. Garbage Bag
Pros: Like the Grow Bags, a garbage bag can be employed where in-ground growing is not an option. Black bags capture solar heat to speed early growth.

Cons: Aesthetically, this is the least appealing choice. Yield was meager, perhaps because the thin plastic allowed the soil to heat up too much, limiting tuber formation.


6. Wood Box
Pros: This is another raised strategy for growing potatoes where the garden soil is of poor quality. Yield was similar in quantity to that of a raised bed.

Cons: A lot of time and effort went into the construction of the box. I felt the results did not justify the effort.


7. Wire Cylinder
Pros: In a climate with incessant spring rains, the wire mesh would provide excellent drainage and prevent the soil from becoming waterlogged. This is another raised technique to consider where garden soil is poor.

Cons: I harvested a limited number of undersized tubers from the cylinders—a dismal showing, probably because the soil-compost mixture I used dried out so quickly that the plants lacked adequate moisture.



COMPANION PLANTING
Potato hills can be bordered with rows of other cool-season vegetables such as cabbage transplants, direct-Sown lettuce, celery, salad greens and root crops , onions, overwintered herbs, nasturtiums, and strawberry plants. Potatoes belong to the same family Solanaceae, as tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. Rotate plantings to avoid succession planting within the same family.