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Is Anyone Growing Potatoes?

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Is Anyone Growing Potatoes?

Post  NEWBIE99 on 5/29/2011, 8:25 am

Good morning, All! Very Happy This is my first post. I started setting up my first real garden after I bought my house in February. I started some seeds indoors: 3 types of tomatoes, green peppers, carrots, bush beans, peas, cucumber, lettuce, watermelon, cantaloupe, scallions, thyme, rosemary, parsley, basil, sage, dill, oregano, cilantro, yellow and green squash. I also purchased red potatoes pieces, yukon gold potatoes pieces, Georgia Jet sweet potato slips, corn, pole beans, lima beans, kale, and alpine strawberries, which I sowed directly into the soil. I was given a tomato plant, as well as plants for collards, cabbage, and brussels sprouts.

So far everything is coming along well. My only disappointment was with the rosemary and the Italian parsley. I tried to start them indoors, but they didn't sprout well. When I started transplanting into the garden, I added seed directly into the soil. Still, no luck with those two. Sad I ended up purchasing plants from the garden store.

:?: I would like to know whether anyone is growing or has grown potatoes, both the white and the sweet. My red potatoes and yukon golds have nice leaves sprouting up, but I'm not sure whether I should cover them with soil and begin the hilling up process or do I wait until I see potatoes starting to emerge. Can anyone help?

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Re: Is Anyone Growing Potatoes?

Post  madnicmom on 5/29/2011, 9:18 am

Hello and Welome! yes, I have potatoes and I've mounded them twice already. I'm growing them in buckets but the rule of thumb is when the plants are approx 7 in tall, you mound up to make the plants about 3 inches tall. You can mound up until you are satisfied with the height. There are some pics on this board of ppl letting them go up to 3 ft in boxes. You don't want to see your potatoes as the sun will damage them.

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Re: Is Anyone Growing Potatoes?

Post  Barkie on 5/29/2011, 9:20 am

Hi there, and welcome.

You have been busy, seeds and plants a plenty! Some fine meals possible there. I've found Rosemary one of the hardest things to grow from seed.

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Re: Is Anyone Growing Potatoes?

Post  jbh29 on 5/29/2011, 9:44 am

I'm growing potatoes for the first time this year too. I've got a bunch of reds in barrels, buckets and 1 old ash tub. I've got Yukons in a short row in the ground - since I had the space there. The ones in the barrels & such are growing much faster than the ones in the ground. Don't know if that's due to warmer soil temps or the different potatoe variety. But I think I'll hill them for the first time this week.

Some of the plants are taller than others so my hilling will be at different levels. They range from 1 inch tall to 6-7 inches tall. Everything I've read and the helpfull folks around here says to hill the 6" tall ones.

I've also been thinking about trying to hill with something other than mm. Straw is an option I've read about - but I have an abundance of oak leaves that I'd like to try in one or two of my buckets.

I'm actually not even sure at all how a potatoe grows from these wonderful little stalks of leafy growth I have now. Embarassed Do they send off a shoot that will produce a potatoe? Will the spuds be growing right on the stem of the leafy part? Does darkness (begin hilled) trigger the potatoe growth along the stems?

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Re: Is Anyone Growing Potatoes?

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 5/29/2011, 9:58 am

I wanted to jump in and welcome you, too. It's great to have another enthusiastic gardener on board. You really jumped into your first year with both feet!

I am not experienced with potatoes, either. But, I am growing some this year. They seem to be doing fine. Like the others say, you just hill them up as they grow. To me, they start looking a little "leggy" when it's time to add some MM to the box. I've even heard others add straw and get potatoes from the straw without adding soil.

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Re: Is Anyone Growing Potatoes?

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/29/2011, 10:04 am

Oak leaves sound like a great idea!

Potatoes are nubs that grow from the roots, sort of like dahlias. The idea of hilling is to keep the potatoes in the dark and to make more roots to grow potatoes. Growing potatoes in a container should take less garden space and provide more potatoes....in theory. It doesn't always work. I have read that only long season potatoes will do this but I do not know from experience. This is my first year with shorter season potatoes.


This is a "weed" that I pulled from my first box. I have only used homemade compost in box 1 and potatoes as weeds have been a problem for me....not a big problem, but when they pop up later in the season the root disturbs everything around it. This shows a small potato forming on the root of the young plant. If I let it grow it would form more potatoes that get larger and larger (for whoever asked how they make potatoes). It is hard to see in the picture but the very white part of the stem was underground.

Deborah.....who likes to use DRY grass clippings to "hill up"

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Re: Is Anyone Growing Potatoes?

Post  sceleste54 on 5/29/2011, 10:12 am

Hi !! Yes you have to hill the potatoes. The tubers will grow out from along the main stalk.
Down here we grow them in the late fall and early spring, I just finished harvesting
mine. This year I tried growing them in sandbags full of Mel's Mix. I put in about 6 inches
of mix, laid in the potatoes, and just barely covered them. I rolled the top down on the bag
so full sun could reach the taters. I just unrolled a section of bag top and filled in with
more Mel's Mix as they grew. Worked like a charm !! To harvest, just dumped them out !!
This is my first year for sweets. I cut my seed potatoes in large chunks and started them
water and then planted the whole thing in the ground. So far the plants look great !

Here's a great link for Sweet Potatoes ...

http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/growing-sweet-potatoes-zm0z11zsto.aspx

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Re: Is Anyone Growing Potatoes?

Post  jbh29 on 5/29/2011, 10:33 am

@Lavender Debs wrote:Oak leaves sound like a great idea!

Potatoes are nubs that grow from the roots, sort of like dahlias. The idea of hilling is to keep the potatoes in the dark and to make more roots to grow potatoes. Growing potatoes in a container should take less garden space and provide more potatoes....in theory. It doesn't always work. I have read that only long season potatoes will do this but I do not know from experience. This is my first year with shorter season potatoes.


This is a "weed" that I pulled from my first box. I have only used homemade compost in box 1 and potatoes as weeds have been a problem for me....not a big problem, but when they pop up later in the season the root disturbs everything around it. This shows a small potato forming on the root of the young plant. If I let it grow it would form more potatoes that get larger and larger (for whoever asked how they make potatoes). It is hard to see in the picture but the very white part of the stem was underground.

Deborah.....who likes to use DRY grass clippings to "hill up"

OK - Now I have a better idea of potatoe growth. Thanks! Good picture of that little renegade. I also read about late season potatoes doing better in containers. I whish I had kept my seed potatoe packets, I can't remember now, but I think my Yukons are late and my reds were medium. Neither said early though, so I hope my containers work!

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Re: Is Anyone Growing Potatoes?

Post  jbh29 on 5/29/2011, 10:35 am

@Lavender Debs wrote:Oak leaves sound like a great idea!

I wonder if I should run them over with the lawn mower first?

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Re: Is Anyone Growing Potatoes?

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/29/2011, 10:51 am

Again, I have heard that people regularly run both dry leaves and straw over with the mower to chop them up. It would sure make it easier to use (which is why I like dry grass clippings.

We had rain before the lawn could be mowed. My potatoes were getting twice as tall as they should be to back fill (hill up). All I had was straw that I use for the chickens. I WISH I had run it over with the lawn mower. I know that I will soon have a lush crop of wheat straw growing in the containers. Years ago when Rodale press published a funky little Readers Digest size Organic gardening magazine (of recyclable paper), I read an article about pre mowing straw to chop it to usable size AND get rid of seed. The straw in the hen house is picked over and without seed but it is too hot which can make scabby potatoes.

Deborah....who knows that straw isn't dry leaves, it's just that I wish I had mowed over it 1st

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IS ANYONE GROWING POTATOES?

Post  NEWBIE99 on 5/29/2011, 11:34 am

Wow! I am stunned at all of the responses. Thank you so much!

@BARKIE -- Isn't it odd that rosemary is so hard to grow. I thought that it would act more like the weed that it actually is. Well, let's see what happens with the plants. Rolling Eyes

@sceleste54 -- Thanks for the link. I found that too and it is very helpful. Very Happy

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Re: Is Anyone Growing Potatoes?

Post  Furbalsmom on 5/29/2011, 12:21 pm

:?: I would like to know whether anyone is growing or has grown potatoes, both the white and the sweet. My red potatoes and yukon golds have nice leaves sprouting up, but I'm not sure whether I should cover them with soil and begin the hilling up process or do I wait until I see potatoes starting to emerge. Can anyone help?



Newbie99
You have gotten some great responses on white/yukon gold and other irish type potatoes. Main thing, keep those potatoes covered with soil or straw or whatever. Potatoes exposed to the sun can get green skin and flesh and this is slightly poisonous. Make sure you keep those tubers covered. Potatoes grow from the buried stem above the seed potatoes.



Sweet potatoes are an entirely different story. You don't plant seed sweet potatoes, you plant slips, which are the growths from the potato. (sorry bad description) Here is a link to growing sweet potatoes. They do not need to be hilled, and the sweet potatoes grow from the roots.SWEET POTATO QUESTIONS

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Re: Is Anyone Growing Potatoes?

Post  The Cynergist on 5/29/2011, 11:31 pm

@madnicmom wrote: the rule of thumb is when the plants are approx 7 in tall, you mound up to make the plants about 3 inches tall.

What is mounding up? I grew blue potatoes last year and I found it hard to keep the plant under control. It grew so fast and wild I couldn't contain it. Is mounding up to help control the plant?

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Re: Is Anyone Growing Potatoes?

Post  Furbalsmom on 5/29/2011, 11:59 pm

Mounding up is also called hilling.

When the plants get 6 or 7 inches high, you add another 3 inches of MM or soil to cover half of the tomato plant, let it grow another 6 or 7 inches, then repeat, keep repeating until the plant flowers.

This accomplishes two things, it keeps the potatoes buried so the sun won't cause them to turn green (and slightly toxic). It also promotes additional potatoes to grow up the buried stem and hopefully, increase your yield.

Hope this helps and does not confuse.

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Re: Is Anyone Growing Potatoes?

Post  The Cynergist on 5/30/2011, 4:54 pm

Thanks furbalsmom,

I didn't do that with my potatoes and that was one wild bush, let me tell you.

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Is Anyone Growing Potatoes?

Post  sherryeo on 5/30/2011, 5:11 pm

Welcome, NEWBIE99! cheers Boy, you jumped into sfgs with both feet, didn't you? So many varieties of veggies! I started out small. I'm a relative newbie, still, too, with only 2 4X4 boxes and can't wait to add more, hopefully, this fall.

It's been a while since I've tried growing potatoes - last time was when my Dad was still alive. I always think of him when I think of planting potatoes, since he helped me with my first crop way back when. I hope to try growing potatoes again soon, so am always glad to see that as a topic on the forum.

I've enjoyed reading this thread that you started! We're all happy to have you join us and hope you'll post often with any problems, questions, concerns, successes, etc. I hope to see you around the forum lots!

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Re: Is Anyone Growing Potatoes?

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