3 Easy Ways To Grow Amazing Potatoes
There are so many ways to prepare potatoes—french-fried obviously being the superior method—but as it turns out, there are several ways to grow potatoes, too! We have three different preferred methods for growing potatoes, and they all ensure the tubers are buried deep in the soil. If they’re too close to the soil surface, they won’t taste any good, and making sure they taste delicious is kind of the whole point, right?
Potatoes are pretty inexpensive and easy to grow. Most of the work is just setting up the right conditions for them to get started. Check out these three ways to grow potatoes in Houston—each method has its own benefits and size requirements, so depending on what kind of space you have in your yard, you can choose your growing method accordingly.
The 3 Best Ways To Grow Potatoes
Potato Hilling: This is an easy process to grow potatoes that most traditionalists tend to stick to, as it’s a pretty tried-and-true method that yields an impressive harvest. Remember the 6–8 rule: Start by burying your seed potatoes 6–8 inches in the ground, about 1.5 feet apart. Cover them up with loose soil mixed with some organic material, and water as needed until your plant reaches 6–8 inches tall. Once it hits that point, pile up a bunch more soil around the base of the stem, wait for it to grow 6–8 inches tall again, and keep repeating the process.
When you continue to pile up the soil around the stem, this prompts the plant to create more tubers above the deeper ones. The pile can only get so high before it starts to become unstable, though, so keep an eye on it and don’t harvest until the top portion of the vine begins to die back after flowering. Don’t rush to start harvesting—the longer they’re in the ground, the better they’ll be.
If you’re going to grow potatoes in a mound, it’s a good idea to set it up near a wall or fence, so the wind gets blocked a bit. Lots of wind can end up breaking down the soil, so the hill might get trashed after a big storm. Keep an eye on your pile for wind erosion, and pack on a bit more soil as needed.
Potato Tower: No, this isn’t the mashed potato volcano you construct on your Thanksgiving plate to fill up with gravy. This is an actual tower where you grow potatoes in! If you live in a super windy spot, or if you don’t have a ton of extra space in your yard, you can grow potatoes in a tower. The benefit of keeping tubers all contained in a tower is that there’s less mud spillage, and the vines don’t sprawl out everywhere, so it’s a bit neater and more controlled. We’ve seen potato towers built with all sorts of materials, like metal cylinders, chicken wire and straw, and even unvarnished wood, but steer clear of using rubber tires. While this is a popular method for growing ornamental plants, the tires can leach chemicals into the soil which can affect your crops, and you definitely don’t want that!
Similarly to the hilling method, you want to keep layering on more soil as the plant grows. To save money on soil without affecting the quality of your harvest, you can layer on a few inches of straw before adding more soil. Once the vine leaves die off, you can start taking apart the tower, and a whole whack of potatoes will tumble out!
Potato Bag: Smart Pots are the best small space gardening solution for growing potatoes. A Smart Pot is a grow bag made from a landscape felt material, and they work great! Start by adding a 6” layer of soil on the bottom of the pot then lay the seed potatoes on the soil and add enough soil to just cover the potatoes. As the foliage grows up and reaches about 6-8 inches layer more soil leaving just the tops of foliage and keep repeating until the soil is to the top and the foliage is peaking out of the top of the pot.
Plants for All Seasons has everything you need to grow potatoes at home, so if you’re as enthusiastic about this staple comfort food as we are, why not plant your own? Visit us in-store, and we’ll get you all hooked up with the necessary supplies to set up your hill, tower, or bag—whatever your preferred method may be!