If you want to have a truly practical vegetable garden, you have probably considered growing potatoes. But maybe you are wondering how far apart you have to plant your potatoes. If so, you’re right to be concerned about this.
Ideally, you should plant your potatoes at a rate of one for each square foot of space. If you have limited space, you can use a fingerling variety of potatoes instead. This type of plant will be able to deal with a 12-inch space between each potato.
Table of Contents
- Why Do Potatoes Need So Much Space?
- Why are Potato Roots Different from Other Roots?
- How to Plant Potatoes
- Why Soil Quality is Important in Growing Potatoes
- How often Should I Water Potatoes?
- How Can I Keep Ants Away from my Potatoes
- Protect Your Garden with Chicken Wire
- Related Questions
- Wrapping Up
Why Do Potatoes Need So Much Space?
There is a good reason why there needs to be a certain amount of space between each potato. Potato tubers will grow upwards and outwards from the soil. To help accommodate this, you should make a mound of some organic material or soil around the stems.
You should evenly space out your potatoes. Get a square foot grid that will help you space out potatoes so that each has a square foot of space. If you have a smaller space and are using a fingerling variety of potatoes, you can just put 12 inches of linear space between them.
Potatoes tend to grow best when they’re planted in rows.
Why are Potato Roots Different from Other Roots?
While some people use words such as tuber, bulb, and corm almost interchangeably, there are differences between potato tubers and other kinds of roots. All these types of roots are units that store nutrients underground.
They are necessary to help the plants get through times of dormancy. Potato tubers will grow upwards and out of the soil. This is different from other kinds of roots that travel further down into the soil. However, tubers have significant differences from other kinds of roots, such as bulbs.
Tubers differ from bulbs or corms in that they lack a basal plant from which new roots or shoots emerge. Instead, tubers generate buds, nodes, or “eyes.” These are found all over the surface of the tuber.
The buds, nodes, or eyes that appear on the tuber will grow upwards through your soil, showing up as stems and shoots. Alternatively, they may go down into your soil as roots. It is a result of the excellent nutrient content of tubers, including potatoes, that they are grown to be used as food.
How to Plant Potatoes
The potato growing method you choose should suit your circumstances and needs. The most inexpensive method is the Hilled Rows method.
Step 1. Ensure you have a high enough soil quality.
Soil quality is very important with growing potatoes. If you have soil that doesn’t have enough organic matter or the dirt is severely compacted, amend the soil or use an above-ground technique. If your soil has high enough quality, you can proceed with the steps below.
Step 2. Measure your area and identify plots that are two or three feet apart.
Find a way to mark the spots that are two or three feet apart. This is where you will be able to plant each potato plant.
Step 3. Dig trenches that are straight and shallow.
Ensure that the soil is properly prepared. Plant your seed potatoes, ensuring there are 12 inches between each. Use about three inches of soil to cover them. Before you plant the potatoes, dig out a trench that is at least six inches deep (and a maximum of eight inches deep).
Step 4. Watch out for when the shoots reach 10 to 12 inches in height.
At this height, scoop out some soil from between the rows.
Step 5. Make mounds around your plants.
Use that soil to make mounds against the plants, burying the stems halfway. Do this as necessary all through the growing season.
Why Soil Quality is Important in Growing Potatoes
You must have quality soil to successfully grow plentiful crops of potatoes. You will need to plant in well-drained soil. This is because tubers and roots require a continuous oxygen supply. If you have poor drainage, there will be very limited soil aeration.
Also, having poorly aerated soil will mean that the soil is limited in how it can bring nutrients to your plants. It will also push back the time of soil warming in the spring months, and it will reduce the strength of your soil and make soil degradation a real danger.
The best soil for growing potatoes is well-drained, loose loam soil. If you have heavy clay soil, it will keep an excessive amount of moisture and will probably harden as it dries. If this happens, your potatoes may not get enough water absorption. In these conditions, your potatoes will have problems with growing.
Sandy soil can also be a problem. This kind of soil can drain too quickly. This is a problem for potatoes if you don’t water often enough.
What Soil pH Do I Need to Grow Potatoes?
The best pH for potatoes is between 6.0 and 6.5. This will help ensure healthy potatoes and cut down the risk of potato scab disease.
If you’re unsure about the pH of your soil, get a home testing kit. If you find that you have the wrong pH for potatoes, you can use soil amendments to adjust it. If the pH is too high, you may want to use sulfur or aluminum sulfate. You can usually find these at garden supply stores.
If your pH is too low, you should add lime. You can find garden products with lime at any garden center. Find out how much lime you need to adjust your soil’s specific pH. The amount of lime you need will depend on the current pH.
There are many different liming materials to choose from. Some limestone products include granular, pulverized, hydrated, and pelletized. If you get pulverized lime, you will find that it is very finely ground.
If you want to adjust the soil’s pH very quickly, finely ground lime tends to be the best. That is because it amends the soil most quickly.
How often Should I Water Potatoes?
In the summer, you should make sure your potatoes get one or two inches of water each week. This includes rainwater, so keep this in mind. You should stop watering at the time of year when the foliage turns yellow and starts dying back.
Watering is especially true during the time when here is flowering and right after this stage. When you water in the flowering period, you are fostering the creation of the tubers. Giving your potatoes a consistent water supply is important if you want a good crop.
How Can I Keep Ants Away from my Potatoes
Ants may be attracted to your potatoes. If you want to repel ants, you can apply cayenne pepper. Cayenne pepper will actually repel and even kill ants. Sprinkle small amounts of cayenne around the potato plants. The capsaicin in cayenne pepper is what kills the ants.
You could also use a solution with dish soap to deal with ants. Make a solution of soapy water with dishwashing liquid. This will help to kill and repel the ants in your potato patch. Mix one tablespoon of dish soap with one quart of water and spray.
Vinegar will also repel ants. Mix a solution of vinegar and water and spray them on your garden. The acidity of vinegar will burn ants and keep them away. Just make sure you don’t apply so much vinegar that it could affect the pH levels of your potato garden.
Protect Your Garden with Chicken Wire
Vegetable gardens can be targets for many kinds of pests. You should think about protecting your potato garden with chicken wire.
Chicken wire is inexpensive, and you can use it in a variety of ways. It is a wonderful material for stopping all kinds of different small animals from eating your potatoes. Chicken wire is made of galvanized that has hexagonal gaps. This is why it is so wonderful at holding up to all different kinds of weather.
You will find it is very easy to cut chicken wire and the material is very flexible. You shouldn’t have any trouble getting it into the shape you need. When planning to protect your potato patch with chicken wire, first decide on where the fence will be positioned.
Planning first will make sure that you find it simple and easy to install chicken wire for protection of your potato patch.
How Many Potatoes Do You Get Per Plant?
If you have ideal conditions, you may get between five and 10 potatoes for each and every plant. Yield depends on the type of potatoes you are growing and how well you care for your potato plants.
Are you are planting large amounts of potato plants over a significant area? If so, you may expect to get as many as 50 pounds of potatoes for every two pounds of potato seed. This will only be true if you have excellent and weed-free conditions for your plants.
As we’ve seen here, it’s possible for you to grow potatoes in your garden as long as you know how. Make sure you leave enough space between enough plants, so you get the best possible yield.