Potatoes are fun and easy to grow as a root crop in your garden. As hungry plants, potato vines take some added nutrition at the time of planting. Amend the ground before you start, and make sure you have the ideal growing situation, which will allow for good drainage. These vegetables are highly versatile and can be harvested and eaten at almost any stage of their growth. Grow and feed your potato crops through the growing season, and then enjoy the harvest with a potato feast.
Potatoes prefer temperate conditions: not too cold and not too hot. They grow best at temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees F, which makes them ideally suited to spring plantings in northern states such as Ohio. Plant your potatoes in March or April in raised beds that get good drainage. Potatoes are hardy, but they're also hungry and thirsty. They require nutritious soil, fertilizer and plenty of water upon planting and throughout the growing season. But they should get good drainage and must never be allowed to sit in water. Too much moisture will cause your potatoes to rot. Do not use lime or fresh manure on your potato plants, because these substances will cause scabs on your harvest potatoes.
Harvest your potatoes at any stage of their growth. To harvest large, healthy potatoes, leave them in the ground longer to extend their growing period. If you plant in March or April, the early potatoes will be ready for harvest in July, no matter where you live. Leave potatoes to grow larger until August or early September. Do not leave potatoes for too long. If the potato plants are wilting and dying, it means the plant is finished and it's definitely time to get your potatoes out of the ground.
To pick potatoes, insert a garden fork into the soil about 8 inches from the base of the plant. Push the fork down as far as it will go, and lever it up through the soil to lift the potatoes out. Repeat this process until you're sure you've got all the potatoes from each plant out of the soil.