If your last potato crop yielded pea sized potatoes, we understand your pain.
Don’t lose hope yet! The key to growing potatoes lies in the proper spacing of the potato plant seeds.
Potatoes intended for a hearty meal of homemade fries grown from in your garden are the best. To grow properly sized potatoes, you must begin with good planning.
Read on to learn how far apart to plant potatoes.
Let’s explore the best way to space them to avoid smaller-sized potatoes.
Very soon, you will be harvesting potatoes that are not only big but healthier too.
Table of Contents
- 1 How Far Apart to Plant Potatoes in Your Garden?
- 2 What Happens If You Grow Potato Plant Too Close Together?
- 3 How to Grow a Potato Plant
- 4 FAQ
- 5 Conclusion
How Far Apart to Plant Potatoes in Your Garden?
Potatoes grow differently depending on the potato variety and planting conditions.
Additionally, how far apart to plant potatoes plays a pivotal role in their development. On average, each potato spacing requires a 12-inch area around it to flourish.
Nevertheless, if you intend to grow large potatoes, they will need more space than smaller ones.
Potato plant varieties like russet require larger spacing since they tend to grow quite large.
On the other hand, if you plan on cultivating a variety of potato plants that produce smaller potatoes like Yukon gold, they will take less space.
The short answer to how far apart do you plant potatoes is around 20 inches apart.
However, if you intend to harvest smaller potatoes, they will do well at a distance of 9 inches.
If you are growing only baby potatoes, you don’t need to plant them too far apart.
Similarly, each row should be 3 feet away from another for adequate plant growth.
Use a square foot grid to help you properly space your plants, allowing them enough space to grow.
This will be particularly important if you plan to have companion vegetables growing next to your potato crops. If you are wondering, tomatoes, cucumbers, sunflowers, green beans, peas, corn, and broad beans are great companion vegetables for potatoes to grow next to.
If you utilize a square foot garden, use a small variety like fingerling potatoes for best results.
If you are using grow bags or pots, the minimum size required is 5 gallons. If you decide to go with grow bags, we suggest you use these vegetables grow bags. We’ve had some good success when planting our vegetables in them.
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What Happens If You Grow Potato Plant Too Close Together?
Imagine this: You are stuck in a room full of people all striving for food, water, and air. How would you feel? Suffocated and restricted, right?
Similarly, potato’s plant development is severely affected if you stuff too many in close proximity to each other.
The last thing any gardener would want after months of hard work is small and fewer potatoes!
Planting potatoes too close can stop them from growing before even reaching their maximum potential.
Weeds and pests, such as potato beetles, love to attack where plants grow closely.
If your potato patch is crowded, unwanted invasive plants come to feed on extra moisture, and pests take shelter beneath thick clusters.
Also, if you don’t know how far apart to plant potatoes, you might end up with a yield that has not received enough nutrition – resulting in smaller than expected potatoes.
Needless to say, it will be more difficult to harvest a plentiful batch of potatoes just because you planted them too close together.
How to Grow a Potato Plant
If you want a bigger potato harvest, it is essential to know how to care for your potatoes.
Though they are grown underground, they are not root vegetables like carrots or beets.
They are seed tubers. As the plant grows, the potatoes form tubers that come out of the soil – they do not dig deeper like root vegetables.
They have two kinds of stems. Firstly, potatoes have thick underground stems that produce the crop. Secondly, they have thin stems that are above ground that grow out leaves.
Seed Potatoes: The Start of Your Potato plants
If potatoes are left untouched in a dark and moist place for long, potatoes sprout eyes. These eyes are the seed potatoes to start your new plant.
To achieve good potato crops, you should use certified seed potatoes or potato seeds.
A seed potato is the best starter that is specially grown to reseed new potatoes. Just make sure the seed potato has at least two eyes.
If you want to buy certified seed potatoes, we recommend these seed potatoes. We have heard many good reviews on this particular brand.
If you plant whole seed potato, you will be able to grow larger potatoes.
Slicing up large seed potatoes that have multiple eyes will result in smaller potatoes.
Remember a potato plant development starts off small but grows quite fast and large.
You must plant seed potatoes almost 4 inches (10 cm) under the ground in rich garden soil.
Since potatoes are aggressively rooting plants, they do best in loose, well-drained soil. You can’t go wrong with more soil.
The soil temperature should not be less than 45 degrees F (7 degrees C), and ideally, you want to be plant potatoes in early spring.
If you are planting them in grow bags or containers, ensure they have proper drainage holes to let excess moisture trickle down.
You will need to add more rich soil (possibly some sandy soil) to keep potatoes covered as they grow.
This is because potato tubers tend to grow upwards and will spoil if exposed to sunlight.
The potatoes prefer direct sunlight, but make sure the potatoes are never above the ground.
Ensure that you don’t disrupt the potatoes’ plant development as direct sunlight can result in foul-tasting green potatoes.
Potato plants grow well if you provide them with lots of water. However, don’t overwater them right after planting.
They are thirsty plants and need to be provided with 2 inches of water each week after potatoes begin to form.
If you don’t plant to grow a lot of potatoes, you may consider this self-watering planter. These are great because you don’t have to worry about under or overwatering your plants.
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When the leaves of your plants begin to die, it’s time to harvest your potatoes. Mature potatoes will have thicker hard skin.
If you see the skin is loose and coming off quickly, it means the plant growth hasn’t completed. Hence you should leave them underground for a few more days.
Curing and Storing Potatoes
Once harvested, allow the new potatoes to cure in a dry, dark place for up to two weeks.
If you wish to store potatoes throughout winter, you need to find a properly ventilated, dry, and cool storage facility.
Do You Plant the Eye Of the Potato Up or Down?
It would be best if you planted potato plants with eyes facing up. You will not be able to grow potatoes if the eye is facing down.
How Close Together Can I Plant My Own Potatoes?
Potatoes should not be planted less than 9 inches close to another plant. You may need to plant them further apart depending on the types of potato varieties you grow.
For example, large russet potatoes need at least 20 inches of space.
How Many Potato Seeds Can Grow in One Pot?
One potato seed can produce up to 5 to 10 potatoes. Hence, you should plant only one seed potato if you are using a planter or container.
Plant your potato plant in raised beds, containers, grow bags, or even a square foot garden; they will do just as well.
According to the University of Maryland, if you want to grow potatoes to store for winter, plant them as your fall crop and around 20 inches apart.
What types of potatoes depends on all how much space, what type of soil, the proper amount of water, and moderate soil temperatures are the basic needs for exponential potato growth.
Go ahead and plant the starchy veggies that we all love!
Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she studied at the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. She continued her gardening education by working on organic farms in both rural and urban settings. She started UrbanOrganicYield.com to share gardening tips and tactics. She’s happy to talk about succulents and houseplants or vegetables and herbs – or just about anything in a backyard garden or hydroponics garden.