The potato is a cool season vegetable that can be grown throughout most of the United States. Potatoes grow underground as a specialized tuber with a green leafy plant above the soil. There are over 100 varieties of potatoes. White-skinned and red-skinned potatoes are the most common. These vegetables are one of the easiest vegetables in the garden to grow. Potatoes are one of the largest cultivated crops in the world and one of the most commonly used.
Choose an area to plant your potatoes that has well-drained, sandy soils. Early potatoes, such as the Irish potato, should be planted in full to partial shade early in the spring. Late varieties, like the Katahdin, can be planted in late July.
Test your soil's pH before you plant your potatoes. Soil pH should be between 5.0 and 5.5 for optimal success. If the soil pH is too low, you must apply lime to the soil. Apply 50 pounds of lime for every 1,000 square feet of soil. If the pH is too high, you should apply 400 pounds of sulfur per acre. Retest the soil a week after you have made the necessary adjustments to ensure the pH is correct.
Add 2 to 3 pounds of 8-16-16 or 10-20-20 fertilizer for every 100 square feet of soil. Potatoes need a sufficient amount of nutrients to ensure a large yield.
Plant seed potatoes that have been certified as seed potatoes. These potatoes have not been chemically treated. Place the seed potatoes in a 3- to 4-inch deep trench and cover them with 2 inches of soil. Leave 12 inches between each seed plant and place the rows no closer than 2 feet apart.
Cover the seedbed with 2 to 3 inches of organic mulch. This will help control weeds and keep the ground moist and cool.
Water your potato plants with 2 to 3 inches of water once a week. Under extreme drought conditions, you should water twice a week.
Harvest your potatoes two weeks after the plants have died down. Dig down into the soil where you have planted your potatoes. Store your potatoes in a cool dark place for two to three months.