potatoes

Potatoes

Overview
The Potato (Solanum tuberosum) is a member of the Nightshade family of plants. The edible part of the potato plant is called a tuber, not a root, and there are many different varieties of red, white, yellow, russet, and even purple or blue potatoes. Potatoes originated in South America, and were grown as a food crop by the Incas as early as 3,000 BC. The Spanish conquistadors brought the potato back to Spain around 1530, and it was introduced to the United States in 1719 when Irish immigrants brought it with them to New Hampshire. French fries were first introduced to the United States when Thomas Jefferson served them in the White House during his presidency in 1804.

Nutrition Facts
Potatoes are nutrient-rich vegetables, full of carbohydrates.
Serving Size: 5 oz. Potato (baked or boiled with skin)
Calories…… 150
Recommended Daily Values:
Vitamin C…. 45%
Potassium…. 21%
Thiamin…… 10%
Niacin……. 8%
Vitamin B6… 14%
Folacin…… 14%
Fiber…….. 3 grams
Fat………. 0 grams
Protein…… 4 grams
They also contain smaller amounts of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and pantothenic acid.

Soil Preparation
Potatoes grow best in full sun in loose, slightly acidic soil that is well drained. Before planting potatoes, remove all rocks, trash and weeds from the planting area and till the soil to a depth of 8 to 12 inches. To help prevent disease, be sure to practice proper crop rotation by NOT planting potatoes in soil in which potatoes, or any other member of the Nightshade family such as tomatoes, peppers, or eggplant, were grown in the past two years.

Seed Preparation
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.

The “eyes” on the seed potato are actually buds that, when planted, will sprout into new potato plants. Cut large seed potatoes into pieces about the size of an egg, and having at least one good eye. Cut the seed potatoes 5 or 6 days before they are to be planted and let them sit in a cool, well-ventilated area to heal, or cure, in order to help prevent rotting once planted.

Planting
Potatoes are cool-season herbaceous perennials that are grown as an annual. Potatoes can be planted once the soil temperature 5” deep has reached 50 degrees F, or about 3 weeks before the last spring frost. In some areas, a fall crop can be planted about 110 days before the first frost. They grow best when daytime temperatures are around 65 to 70 degrees F.

Photo © Texas AgriLife Extension Service

Plant the seed potato pieces to a depth of 3 inches with the pieces spaced about 10 to 12 inches apart and the eye facing up. Sprouts from the seed potatoes will emerge in 2 to 4 weeks. As the new potato plants grow, regularly pile dirt up around the base of the plants to just below the leaves. This is done because new potatoes only grow in the soil area above the seed potato piece and below the top level of the soil. Be sure to keep the new tubers covered with soil to prevent them from turning green.

Potatoes can be easily grown in raised beds, baskets, barrels, or stacks of old tires where additional soil can be continuously piled up around the plants as they grow. Just be sure that the container is well drained.

Potato plants usually produce flowers and, and sometimes small fruit, that are attractive but should not be eaten.

- See Chart Below for Recommended Varieties -

Fertilizing
Potatoes prefer an acidic soil with a pH between 4.8 and 5.5. Apply a complete 10-20-10 fertilizer to the soil just before planting. After the seed potatoes sprout, fertilize your plants once a week with an application of a balanced fertilizer such as Miracle-Gro Vegetable Food.

Watering
Once planted, water the potatoes regularly to keep the soil evenly moist. Potatoes need at least 1 inch of water per week. Water early in the morning to allow plants to dry quickly and reduce the opportunity for disease infection. Drip irrigation is recommended to allow the water to get right to the growing tubers.

Weed Control
Keep the garden free from weeds, as weeds will compete with the growing potatoes for soil nutrients and water. Do not dig too deep when using a hoe, or pulling weeds to avoid damaging the tubers.

Insects
The lava of the Colorado potato beetle are red, or light orange with two rows of black dots on each side, while the adult has black and yellow stripes. Both are about 3/8 of an inch long and feed on the leaves of the potato plant. The best way to remove them is to hand pick them from the plants.

Aphids are small, whitish insects that may be found in masses on the underside of leaves. If present, leaves become yellow, sticky with honeydew. Hose off underside of leaves to knock off aphids.

Wireworms are thin, about ½ to 1½ inches long, worms with a dark head and tail that feed on the carrot root. Apply a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) based insecticide to control them.

Leafhoppers are green wedge shaped insects about 1/8 of an inch long. They will suck the juices from leaves causing them to curl upward and turn yellow or brown. They can be hosed off of the plants with a hard stream of water.

Diseases
Diseases and fungus may be a problem for potatoes during cool, wet weather. Check your plants regularly and when needed, treat with Neem oil, sulfur, or an applicable fungicide.

Harvesting
Potatoes will be ready to harvest in about 95 to 110 days, when the tops of the plant begin to die and each potato weighs from 6 to 12 ounces. You can harvest small “new potatoes” during the growing season by carefully digging beside the plant with your fingers. To harvest mature potatoes, use a spading fork to dig under the plant, 8 to 10 inches out from the stem, then pry the entire plant out of the ground and shake off any loose soil.

Storing
Carefully pull the potatoes from the vine and store them in a cool dry place with plenty of air circulation and a temperature of about 40 to 50 degrees F. Do NOT store them in the refrigerator and Do NOT wash them before storing them. Potatoes may be stored in an underground root cellar, and under the right storage conditions will keep for two to three months.

Recommended Varieties
The following chart list the recommended varieties, days to harvest, spring planting dates, and where applicable, the fall planting dates for carrots in each state, Wherever possible, the information in the chart is in accordance with the Cooperative Extension for each state.

StateVariety
- Days to Harvest
Spring
Planting Dates
Fall
Planting Dates
Alabama (AL)Days to Harvest: 70-90
• Red LaSoda
• Red Pontiac
• Sebago
• Superior
Feb. 1 - Feb. 28Aug. 1 - Aug. 15
Alaska (AK)Days to Harvest: 70-95
• Alaska Red
• Allagash Russet
• Kennebec
• Alasclear
• Superior
• Shepody
• Alaska Frostless
• Denali
• Snowchip
• Alaska 114
• IditaRed
• Green Mountain
• Bake King
• Highlat Russet
• Yukon Gold
• Butte
• Lemhi Russet
Apr. 15 - Apr. 29
Arizona (AZ)Days to Harvest: 100-120
• Russet Norkotah
• Kennebec
• Irish Cobbler
• Katahdin
- Elevation -
[ 10 to 1000 feet ]
• Sept. 1 - Feb. 15

[ 1000 to 2000 feet ]
• Feb. 1 - Mar. 15

[ 2000 to 3000 feet ]
• Feb. 15 - May 1

[ 3000 to 4500 feet ]
• May 10 - June 1

[ 4500 to 6000 feet ]
• May 10 - June 1

[ Above 6000 feet ]
• May 15 - June 1
Arkansas (AR)Days to Harvest: 90-110
• Kennebec
• Irish Cobbler
• Pontiac
• Superior
• All Blue
• Yukon Gold
• Dark Red Norland
[ Northern AR ]
• Mar. 1 - April 7

[ Southern AR ]
• Feb. 1 - Mar. 7
• July 15 - Aug. 1
California (CA)Days to Harvest: 70-90
• Carola
• Red Gold
• German Fingerling
[ Coastal Region ]
• Feb. 1 - Mar. 31

[ Inland Region ]
• Feb. 15 - Apr. 31
[ Coastal Region ]
• Aug. 15 - Sept. 30

[ Inland Region ]
• Aug. 15 - Sept. 30
Colorado (CO)Days to Harvest: 65-90
• Russet Norkotahs
• Russet Nuggets
• Colorado Rose
• Rio Colorado
• Sangres
• Yukon Gold
• All-Blue
• Fingerlings
• Purple Majesty
Apr. 30 - May 14
Connecticut (CT)Days to Harvest: 65-90
• Norland
• Irish Cobbler
• Katahdin
• Kennebec
• Russet Burbank
• Butte
• Red LaSoda
• Norgold M
Apr. 26 - May 10
Delaware (DE)Days to Harvest: 70-90
• Dark Red Norland D
• Superior
• Eva
• Dakota Crisp
• Harley Blackwell
• Norkotah Russet
• Reba
• Yukon Gold
• Katahdin
• Marcy
• Norwis
Mar. 20 - Apr. 15
Florida (FL)Days to Harvest: 70-90
• Pontiac
• Yukon Gold
• Gold Rush
[ North Florida ]
• Jan. 1 - Mar. 31

[ Central Florida ]
• Jan. 1 - Feb. 28
[ South Florida ]
• Sept. 1 - Jan. 31
Georgia (GA)Days to Harvest: 70-90
• Pontiac
• Kennebac
• Atlantic
• Yukon Gold
Jan. 15 - Mar. 1
Hawaii (HI)Days to Harvest: 90-140
• Red Pontiac
• Bliss Triumph
• Red La Soda
• Kennebec
• Pele
• Waimea
• Red Pontiac
• Bliss Triumph
• Red La Soda
Oct. - Mar. 31
Idaho (ID)• Red Norland - 85
• Russet Norkotah - 85
• Yukon Gold - 90
May 10 - May 24
Illinois (IL)• Irish Cobbler - 100
• Norgold Russet - 100
• Norland - 105
• Superior - 105
• Red Lasoda - 110
• Red Pontiac - 110
• Katahdin - 120
• Kennebec - 120
Apr. 20 - May 4
Indiana (IN)Days to Harvest: 65-90
• Dark Red Norland
• Red Norland
• Russet Norkotah
• Cascade
• Goldrush
• Katahdin
• Kennebec
• Red Pontiac
[ Northern Indiana ]
• Apr. 26 - May 10

[ Central Indiana ]
• Apr. 18 - May 2

[ Southern Indiana ]
• Apr. 3 - 17
Iowa (IA)Days to Harvest: 85-100
• Goldrush
• Katahdin
• Kennebec
• Red Norland
Apr. 1 - Apr. 20
Kansas (KS)Days to Harvest: 70-90
• LaRouge
• LaSoda
• Norland
• Purple Viking
• Norkotah
• Irish Cobbler
• Kennebec
• Superior
Mar. 15 - Apr. 20
Kentucky (KY)Days to Harvest: 70-90
• Norgold
• Norkota
• Superior
• Kennebec
• Dark Red Norland
• Red Pontiac
• Yukon Gold
Apr. 15 - Apr. 29
Louisiana (LA)Days to Harvest: 90-120
• Red LaSoda
• Norland
• LaRouge
• Red Pontiac
• LaChipper
• Norchip
• Atlantic
• Kennebec
• LaBelle
• Yukon Gold
Jan. 20 - Feb. 28Aug. 15 - Sept. 10
Maine (ME)Days to Harvest: 65-90
• Superior
• Red Pontiac
• Russet Burbank
• Caribe
• Yukon Gold
• Kennebec
• Red Norland
• All Blue
• Yellow Finn
May 6 - May 20
Maryland (MD)Days to Harvest: 65-80
• Blue
• Butte
• Caribe
• Gold Rush
• Irish Cobbler
• Katahdin
• Kennebec
• Norgold Russett
• Red Bison
• Red Norland
• Red Pontiac
• Rose Gold
• Yellow Finn
• Yukon Gold
Mar. 20 - May 10June 15 - July 10
Massachusetts (MA)Days to Harvest: 65-80
• Caribe
• Chippewa
• Irish Cobbler
• Sunrise
• Superior
• NewLeaf Superior
• Atlantic
• NewLeaf Atlantic
• Kennebec
• Norland
• Red LaSoda
• Red Pontiac
• BelRus
• Coastal Russet
• Katahdin
• Russet Burbank
• Yukon Gold
Apr. 7 - Apr. 21
Michigan (MI)Days to Harvest: 65-90
• Boulder
• Jacqueline Lee
• Michigan Purple
• Missaukee
• Purple Haze
• Yukon Gold
Apr. 15 - May 31
Minnesota (MN)Days to Harvest: 65-90
• Carola
• Gold Rush
• Kennebec
• Norland
• Red Pontiac
• Superior
• Yukon Gold
Apr. 30 - May 14
Mississippi (MS)Days to Harvest: 70-90
• Norland
• Red LaSoda
• Red Pontiac
• Atlantic
• LaChipper
• Superior
• Norchip
Mar. 24 - Apr. 7
Missouri (MO)Days to Harvest: 70-85
• Irish Cobbler
• Kennebec
• Red Norland
• Dark Red Norland
• Redsen
• Red Pontiac
• Norgold Russet
• Russet Burbank
• Russet Norkotah
[ North Missouri ]
• Apr. 1 - Apr. 15

[ Central Missouri ]
• Mar. 20 - Apr. 10

[ South Missouri ]
• Mar. 10 - Mar. 30
Montana (MT)Days to Harvest: 65-120
• Norland
• Red Pontiac
• Russet
June 20 - July 4
Nebraska (NE)Days to Harvest: 65-80
• Dark Red Norland
• Irish Cobbler
• Kennebec
• Red Pontiac
• Red Cloud
• Yukon Gold
Apr. 27 - May 11
Nevada (NV)Days to Harvest: 65-120
• Russet
• Red Pontiac
• Red LaSota
• Yukon Gold
Apr. 1 - May 1
New Hampshire (NH)Days to Harvest: 65-120
• Dark Red Norland
• Superior
• Chieftain
• Reba
• Salem
• Yukon Gold
• Elba
• Katahdin
• Adirondack Blue
• Adirondack Red
• French Fingerling
• German Butterball
May 20 - June 3
New Jersey (NJ)Days to Harvest: 70-90
• Andover
• Dark Red Norland D
• Superior
• Atlantic
• Harley Blackwell
• King Harry
• Norkotah Russet
• Peter Wilcox
• Reba
• Yukon Gold
• Katahdin
• Lehigh
• Marcy
• Norwis
Mar. 20 - Apr. 25
New Mexico (NM)Days to Harvest: 65-120
• All Blue
• Caribe
• Cranberry Red
• Red Cloud
• Yukon Gold
[ North New Mexico ]
• May 22 - June 5

[ South New Mexico ]
• May 1 - May 15
New York (NY)Days to Harvest: 65-120
• Dark Red Norland
• Superior
• Chieftain
• Reba
• Salem
• Yukon Gold
• Elba
• Katahdin
• Adirondack Blue
• Adirondack Red
• French Fingerling
• German Butterball
Apr. 1 -May 16
North Carolina (NC)Days to Harvest: 65-95
• Kennebec
• Red Pointiac
• Yukon Gold
• Superior
Feb. 15 - Apr. 1
North Dakota (ND)Days to Harvest: 65-120
• Norland
• Red Pontiac
• Russet
May 14 - May 28
Ohio (OH)Days to Harvest: 65-90
• Irish Cobbler
• Norland
• Pontiac
• Superior
• Katahdin
• Kennebec
Mar. 20 - May 15
Oklahoma (OK)Days to Harvest: 65-80
• Norland
• Red LaSoda
• Red Pontiac
• Irish Cobbler
• Kennebec
• Superior
• Yellow Finn
• Norgold Russet
• Norkota
Apr. 1 - Apr. 15
Oregon (OR)Days to Harvest: 65-80
• Red
• Red Pontiac
• Norland
• Red La Soda
• Cranberry Red
• Norgold Russet
• Russet Burbank
• Superior
• Yellow Finn
• Yukon Gold
• Bintje
• Desiree
• All Blue
[ Oregon Coast ]
• Feb. 1 - May 31

[ Western Valleys ]
• Apr. 1 - June 30

[ High Elevations ]
• May 1 - June 30

[ Columbia River Valley ]
• Mar. 1 - June 30
Pennsylvania (PA)Days to Harvest: 70-90
• Andover
• Michigan Purple
• Dark Red Norland D
• Superior
• Atlantic
• Chieftain
• Eva
• Kanona
• Kueka Gold
• NorDonna
• Norkotah Russet
• NYE 11-45
• Reba
• Yukon Gold
• Purple Majesty
• Katahdin
• Kennebec
• Lehigh
• Norwis
Mar. 25 - June 5
Rhode Island (RI)Days to Harvest: 65-120
• Norland
• Irish Cobbler
• Katahdin
• Kennebec
Apr. 1 - May 1
South Carolina (SC)Days to Harvest: 100-120
• Irish Cobbler
• Red Pontiac
• Kennebec
• Yukon Gold
[ Piedmont ]
• Mar. 15 - Mar. 30

[ Central ]
• Feb. 20 - Mar. 10

[ Coastal ]
• Feb. 1 - Feb. 15
[ Piedmont ]
• July 1 - July 15

[ Central ]
• July 15 - July 30

[ Coastal ]
• July 15 - July 30
South Dakota (SD)Days to Harvest: 65-120
• Russet Burbank
• Kennebec
• Norland
• Red Pontiac
• Superior
May 2 - May 16
Tennessee (TN)Days to Harvest: 65-95
• Kennebec
• Red Pointiac
• Yukon Gold
• Superior
Apr. 6 - Apr. 20
Texas (TX)Days to Harvest: 65-90
• Dark Red Norland
• Norland
• Red LaSoda
• Viking
• Atlantic
• Gemchip
• Kennebec
• Superior
• Yukon Gold
• Century Russet
• Norgold M
• Russet Norkatah
[ Plant Hardiness Zone 6 ]
• Mar. 15 - Apr. 7

[ Plant Hardiness Zone 7 ]
• Mar. 10 - Apr. 1

[ Plant Hardiness Zone 8 ]
• Feb. 15 - Mar. 1

[ Plant Hardiness Zone 9A ]
• Jan .15 - Feb. 15

[ Plant Hardiness Zone 9B ]
• Jan. 1 - Feb. 1
[ Plant Hardiness Zone 6 ]
• Not Recommended

[ Plant Hardiness Zone 7 ]
• Aug. 1

[ Plant Hardiness Zone 8 ]
• Sept. 1

[ Plant Hardiness Zone 9A ]
• Oct. 1

[ Plant Hardiness Zone 9B ]
• Not Recommended
Utah (UT)• Kennebec -125
• Norgold Russett - 125
• Red Norland - 125
• Red Pointer - 125
• Russet Burbank - 125
Mar. 1 - May 1
Vermont (VT)Days to Harvest: 65-120
• Dark Red Norland
• Superior
• Chieftain
• Reba
May 11 - May 25
Virginia (VA)• Steuben - 100
• Superior - 100
• Pontiac - 100
• Yukon gold - 112
Apr. 6 - Apr. 20
Washington (WA)Days to Harvest: 65-120
• Norland
• Red Pontiac
• Russet
Apr. 15 - May 1
West Virginia (WV)Days to Harvest: 65-90
• Chieftain
• Katahdin
• Kennebec
• Norlan
Apr. 22 - May 6
Wisconsin (WI)Days to Harvest: 65-120
• Chieftain
• Dark Red Norland
• Red LaSoda
• Red Pontiac
• Rideau
• Sangre
• Freedom Russett
• Burbank Russett
• Norkotah
• All Blue
• French Fingerling
• Princess La Ratte
• Russian Banana
• Kennebec
• Onaway
• Superior
• Carola
• German Butterball
• Granola
• Nicola
• Yukon Gold
Apr. 15 - May 15
Wyoming (WY)Days to Harvest: 65-90
• All Blue
• Early Ohio
• Kennebec
• Norland
• Red Pontiac
• Yukon Gold
May 1 - May 26

7 thoughts on “Potatoes”

  1. My husband and I have a commercial garden in Nebraska, in which we grow vegetables for sale at farmer market. One of our biggest crops is potatoes. We grow Red Norland and Youkon gold. I found this article to have very good information reinforcing things I already knew but a home gardener might not. This was very accurate and informative.
    Thanks for having such a good gardening site.

  2. Greetings:
    I have had a perennial potato bed for 8 years with no disease. The potatoes do not grow into the soil (the place they get dis-ease). I found a sandy patch of land, spread the seed potatoes on top and then added 6-8″ of mulch hay and 6-8″ of comfrey leaves over the whole bed, twice yearly. No digging, no dirt to wash off and no illness. Give it a try! You really do need the comfrey though, good thing it’s easy to grow!

  3. Thank you for your info. I try to plant potatos and they only get the sizes of marbles. I have very sandy soil and when it rains it gets hard. I put leaves around everything after they start growing to help keep the weeds down. That works great. Then till them in, in the fall or spring. I may have to put more leave and straw.
    But then with my Tomatos, The plant dies before I get the tomatos to rippin’ and the tomatos start to rot. I have the rot wilt or what ever ya call it. I don’t know what to do. We do alot of canning but I’m not getting the tomatos. Can you Help. Teresa

    1. Teresa – It sounds like you are on the right path by adding leaves and straw to your potato beds and then tilling it in the fall. You may want to further amend the soil you are growing your potatoes in by adding additional compost and tilling the soil to a depth of 8 to 10 inches. If this does not work, using raised beds filled with a mix of 1/3 compost, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 vermiculite will provide an excellent growing medium for your potatoes and any other vegetables

      Here is a link to the Tomato Problem Solver web site where you can identify common tomato problems and find solutions for them -> http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/publications/tomatoproblemsolver/

      Hope this helps.

      1. Teresa,,,,try adding some cheap top soil,,from ur local box store,,and some peat moss,,,along with the sandy soil it will work fine,,,also,,,when u plant your tomatoes,,,plant them deep,,,and cover the soil with news paper,,,,leaves and grass clippimgs leave off a gas the kills the tomatoe plant,,news paper dont,,and in the fall just till it in,,,makes great compost

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