Potato Growing Guide for Garden Beds

Soil Preparation:

Before planting, working the soil or tilling is often helpful to ensure that the potato tubers and roots can grow deeply into the soil.  The addition of Malibu’s compost or fertilizer, like Down to Earth Bio-Fish, is best done at planting to provide all-season fertility.  

Planting:

Plant potatoes when the soil has warmed to at least 55 degrees.  This is generally in mid May for the Gallatin Valley.  A whole seed potato can be planted or eyes can be cut into golf ball sized chunks.  Eyes are the growing point of the potato that have a small stem and buds or leaves on them.  If you choose to cut pieces, leave them in a dry shady place overnight to callus over where they were cut.  Plant seed potato pieces approximately 4-6 inches deep and 8-12 inches apart.  For larger potatoes at harvest, plant potato seeds or pieces farther apart.  For ‘baby potatoes’ plant closer together.  

In Season Growth:

After preparation and planting, potatoes are relatively easy to grow! Keep potatoes moist but NOT wet. If they receive too much moisture, the potato may rot or other disease issues may move in.  If potatoes do not receive enough water, they will wilt and die.  

  • Green Thumb Tip: When stems are approximately 8 inches tall, create a mound or hill around the stem to encourage more tuber production
      • Leave approximately 2-4 inched of leaves uncovered
      • This can be done one or two more times at two week intervals.

Harvest:

When potatoes begin to flower one can lightly dig around the tops of the plants to harvest new potatoes.  Later in the summer after flowering, the tops of the potatoes will begin to die off.  At this time, use a pitchfork to dig around the perimeter of the potato plant. Gently wiggle the pitchfork back and forth to release the tubers from the soil.  If necessary, a shovel can be used to dig further into the soil.  Wash the remaining soil off of the potatoes and enjoy!!

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