How to Feed Potato Plants

Overview

Potatoes are hardy and fast growing, doing double duty as both a ground cover and a garden vegetable. The plant's underground tubers can be used in numerous recipes and have served as a food staple for millennia. Save yourself money by planting potatoes in your own backyard. A dose of fertilizer can help feed the plants and ensure proper foliage growth and strong root development.

Step 1

Choose a granular fertilizer. Select any standard vegetable fertilizer with a low amount of nitrogen--the nutrient encourages foliage production, which is undesirable in potato plants--and a higher percentage of phosphorous. Example fertilizer ratios include 6-24-24 and 8-24-24.

Step 2

Prepare the trench or hill in which you will place the pieces of potatoes that you're using as seed. Apply the fertilizer according to its label's guidelines but an inch below the soil layer where you will lay the potatoes. This places the extra nutrients within direct access of the newly formed potato plant roots.

Step 3

Plant the seed potatoes in the trench. Cover with soil, and water twice daily.

Step 4

Apply fertilizer on the soil's surface every four weeks once the potato plants have sprouted and broken the surface. Administer the fertilizer before your regular watering to help dilute the nutrients and prevent plant burns.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never apply fertilizer directly onto the pieces of potatoes you're using as seeds as this might burn the potato pieces and kill the sprouting plant. Don't harvest any green potatoes because these can be potentially toxic if consumed.

Things You'll Need

  • Seed potatoes
  • Low-nitrogen vegetable fertilizer

References

  • "American Horticultural Society A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants"; Christopher Brickell; 2004
  • "Growing Potatoes: The Kitchen Garden"; Richard Bird; 2002
  • Plant Answers: Onions and Potatoes
Keywords: grow potatoes, fertilize potatoes, feed potato plants

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.