Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

How do I grow potatoes?

Potatoes are a desirable home garden vegetable crop. To grow a good crop of potatoes there are some practices you need to follow. It is important to choose the right varieties, prepare and fertilize the soil, use high quality seeds and control insect pests. Choose varieties such as Kennebec, Cobbler and Red Pontiac for this area and plant about March 15th. Purchase certified disease free seed potatoes. Cut the seed tubers into pieces about one and a half ounces in weight. Make sure there are 2 or 3 eyes or buds on each seed piece. Cut the seed potatoes and allow to dry 2 or 3 days before planting. Small seed potatoes 1 - 1 1/2 inches in diameter may be planted whole.

Prepare a deep loose seed bed. Apply ample amounts of high phosphorous and potassium fertilizer that contains moderate amounts of nitrogen. An example would be a 5-10-10 fertilizer applied at a rate of 3 to 4 pounds per 100 foot of row. Scratch the fertilizer into the soil so it won't come indirect contact with the potato pieces. Plant seed pieces 4 to 6 inches deep and 8 to 12 inches apart in rows 36 inches apart. As plants develop, hill the rows by drawing the soil up against the base of the plant. This will guard against greening of the developing new tubers. Watch for potato beetles which can be removed by hand picking. Irrigate or water thoroughly once a week in dry periods.