Growing Potatoes in the Backyard Garden 6 Different Methods

6 Potato Planting Methods for Growing Potatoes in Your Backyard Garden | Grow a Good Life
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Potatoes are easy to grow in the backyard garden.

As I mentioned in my previous post, “Sourcing Seed Potatoes in Maine for the Backyard Garden,” potatoes are a major storage crop grown in my garden each year. I also discussed sourcing certified seed potatoes and allowing the seed to chit or greensprout to give them a head start before they are planted into the soil.

My first year of growing potatoes, I used the traditional trench method. This involves digging trenches two feet apart, mounding the soil in between the trenches, and using this soil to hill the potato plants as they grow. Although the crop was successful, I didn’t like the extra labor involved in hilling, the unkempt and messy appearance of the plot, and the wasted space in between the rows.

While I was growing my first batch of potatoes, a fellow blogger Laura at The Modern Victory Garden was experimenting with John Jeavons’ Grow Biointensive Potato Planting Method that resulted in a successful harvest. This method involves garden philosophy of “Grow Biointensive.

The Grow Biointensive Potato Planting Method of planting potatoes involves planting the potato seed at 9-inch centers by 9-inches deep while double digging the garden bed. The rows are planted in an offset, or hexagonal spacing. The closer spacing helps maximize space and reduce water loss. No hilling is required. I was intrigued by this method especially since Laura’s experiment was such a success. I did some further research and decided to try it the following year.

It worked! I had a great harvest!

I have modified the method a bit a little over the years to this: Planting Potatoes the Grow Biointensive Way. This method has served me well over the past few years so I haven’t explored other ways to grow potatoes, but thankfully many other bloggers have experimented and they allowed me to share their experiences.

Here are 6 Different Methods for Growing Potatoes Shared by Fellow Bloggers:

sinfonian_potato_binbetterhensandgardens_Lazy-Bed-Potatoeslittlehomesteaders-Planting-Potatoes-How-To-Plant-Potatoes-@-Farming-My-Backyardschneiderpeeps-Growing-Potatoespixies-pocket-growing-potatoes-in-containersI learn from so much from other homestead and garden bloggers. There is no right or wrong way to grow potatoes. Different methods work for different growing locations. If you are planting potatoes for the first time or if you have planted them in the past and failed to harvest a good yield, I urge you to not give up and try a different approach until you find a method that works for you. Here are some methods of growing potatoes shared by fellow bloggers:

Imagine Acres also shares how they failed at growing potatoes hoping that folks will learn from their mistakes: Potato Patch.

Here are some points to remember:

  • Potatoes may be planted as soon as the ground can be worked in the early spring, but they will not grow until the soil temperature reaches 45˚F. Wet, waterlogged soil will cause the seed potatoes to rot. So depending on how rainy your springs are, it may be better to wait until the soil dries out a bit.
  • Potatoes need consistent moisture. Uneven watering may result in deformed, split or hollow heart tubers. Water regularly using a soaker hose to maintain a consistent moisture level in the potato bed averaging about 1- 2 inches (2.5 – 5 cm) of water per week.
  • Potatoes thrive when planted in a light, loose, well-drained soil. Add compost to the soil and mix in to keep the soil from compacting and allow roots to spread and the potato tubers to grow.
  • Keep the tubers covered. Potatoes will develop areas of green skin when they’re exposed to direct sunlight during growth. The green areas are toxic and should be trimmed away. Prevent your potatoes from green skin by mulching heavily.

If you don’t have the garden space to grow potatoes, consider using grow bags (affiliate):

grow-potatoes-in-grow-bags

The Colorful Potato Grow Bag from Gardener’s Supply holds three to five pieces of seed potatoes and the Colorful Jumbo Potato Grow Bag holds seven to ten pieces.

Harvesting the potatoes is a snap, too — instead of digging you just dump out the soil and there they are!

 

Once you harvest your potatoes, here are 5 Steps to Storing Potatoes for Winter.

Have you tried growing potatoes in your backyard garden? What method has worked for you?

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28 thoughts on “Growing Potatoes in the Backyard Garden 6 Different Methods

  1. Tammy Trayer

    Thank you Rachel for sharing this post on last weeks Simple Life Sunday #20 at TrayerWilderness.com. I have featured your post this week. Gardening is near and dear to me this year being we are FINALLY able to get our garden in. I greatly appreciated you sharing such an informative post and look forward to seeing what else you will share in the future! Blessings to you and yours!! <3

    Reply
  2. Shelly @ Frugal Family Home

    I’ve grown potatoes in our garden before, but I’m thinking this year I might try them in containers. I almost always leave a couple behind and find them the next year growing in an odd spot in the garden, after tilling. Thanks for sharing at the Tuesday Garden Party!

    Reply
  3. daisy

    I’ve only had success with sweet potatoes, but I would love to try one of these methods. Potatoes are a staple around here, and it would be so wonderful to try a few different varieties. Thanks for sharing on The Maple Hill Hop!

    Reply
  4. Marla

    You did a great job of introducing all the different ways to grow potatoes. It amazing how you can grow many pound of potatoes in a large garbage bag. It works really well thanks for sharing your information and ideas. Visiting from Simply Natural Saturdays.

    Reply
  5. dogwuff

    I was about to throw out a handful of small shrivelled and sprouting potatoes when I shoved them into a bucket of compost instead. They put out leaves, flowered and have given me a 1 kilo crop for two summers so far.

    Reply
  6. Jeanie Haines

    for years I had great success growing taters under hay. Just lay them on the ground and cover with a thick layer of hay. Nice to be able to slip your hand under & get those new taters.

    Reply
    1. ~Rachel Arsenault Post author

      Jeanie, I haven’t tried this, but I love this way of growing potatoes too. It reminds me of Ruth Stout’s gardening methods. Even less work and I am sure it makes the potatoes much easier to clean. Thanks for sharing 🙂

      Reply
  7. Deborah Smikle-Davis (@debsmikdav1)

    Hi Rachel,
    I have fond memories of growing potatoes from seed potatoes in my backyard as a child. Thank you for sharing this comprehensive potato planting resource with us at the Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop! I’m pinning and sharing!

    Reply
  8. Gaye @CalmHealthySexy

    Hi Rachel – Thanks for sharing all of these ideas. We are going to try to grow potatoes for the first time this year, so I am reading up on all of the ways to do it.

    Reply
  9. Sher in Kentucky

    Just to make sure I understand. Are you burying the potatoes 21 inches deep from the top soil line?

    Reply
    1. ~Rachel Arsenault Post author

      Hi Sher, I plant my potatoes using the “Grow Biointensive” method by John Jeavons. This post provides more details: http://growagoodlife.com/planting-potatoes-the-grow-biointensive-way-part-1/. You dig a 12-inch trench, add your fertilizer and compost, and loosen up the soil beneath the trench about another 12-inches with a digging fork. Then you end up placing your potato seeds about 9-inches from the soil surface once the soil is fluffed up and amended. The general spacing for this method is 9-inches apart by 9-inches deep. Once the potatoes are planted, I mulch heavily with straw so any potatoes that pop up through the soil surface are protected from sunlight.

      Reply
  10. J. Ploegstra

    Just have a question on the planting depth, 9 inches deep and covered with the original 12 inches of topsoil, 21 inches, do the potatoes have a problem growing up through all of this. I normally plant around 3-4 inches deep.

    Reply
  11. Lisa

    WOODCHIPS!! I just plopped the seeds down in the soil and covered over with Natural woodchips and voila! Very little labor, no need for soaker hoses. The chips are an insulator plus keep the potatoes with a consistant moisture. At harvest time, I just put the biggest best tator back in the ground. Nothing to it.

    Reply
  12. mrsmrnorris

    This is my first year of trying to seriously garden. The best sun is in my front yard so I like the bag idea. Can I put onions in with the potatoes or should they be in separate bags?

    Reply

Thank you so much for your comments. I love hearing from you!