How to Grow Healthy Organic Potatoes

How to Grow Healthy Organic Potatoes

It’s the end of the year, and it’s holiday season, and potatoes are a favorite on the family dinner table. Baked, mashed, fried, julienned, or boiled, potatoes are versatile enough to be served every day (without complaints from the family, at least from mine)! They are also versatile in the way they can be grown. A sunny location is not needed, since the potatoes grow underground, and they will thrive where no other vegetable will grow. Easy to grow, and nutritious, what more can you ask? Well, let’s get started.

There are several ways to grow healthy organic potatoes, use this guide to choose the organic growing method that is best suited for you.

hilled rows of potatoes

Hilled Rows

Prepare soil by working in 6 inches of compost or well-rotted cow manure. Create trenches in the prepped soil that are 4 inches deep and 3 feet apart. Place seed potatoes in the trenches 12 inches apart. Cover seeds with 3 inches of soil. When shoots reach 10 to 12 inches tall, add a 1 inch side dressing of compost or cow manure, then use a hoe or shovel to scoop soil from between rows and mound it against the plants, burying the stems halfway. Repeat as needed throughout the growing season to keep the tubers covered with soil. Harvest when plants die by gently digging in the soil to uncover potatoes.

Straw Mulch

Prepare soil with compost or well-rotted cow manure, then lay seed potatoes on top of the soil in straight rows. Space seed potatoes 12 inches apart in the rows and space rows 3 feet apart. Cover seed potatoes with 4 inches of straw. Mound more straw around the stems as they grow, eventually creating a layer of straw mulch that is 1 foot or more in depth. Harvest when plants die by gently pulling them up and out of the straw. Till the straw in to improve soil structure for next gardening season.

Raised Bed Garden

raised bed for potatoesAmend the soil by creating a mixture that is 1/3 compost or well-rotted cow manure and 2/3‘s soil. Fill the raised garden bed half way with soil mixture. Place seed potatoes in the soil, spacing them 12 inches apart in all directions.

Cover with 3 inches of soil mixture. As the plants grow, add more soil until the raised bed is filled.

Raised beds for potato growing can be created with any material you have on hand, like old tires (stack them 3-high), an old bathtub, watering trough, wooden panels/sticks, etc. Soil can be reused by mixing in more organic material prior to planting so the soil will have enough nutrients to feed the potato plants.

Include companion plants

Since we are growing our potatoes the organic way, you might wonder are there any suitable companion plants for potatoes, and the answer is yes – Beans (most kinds), broccoli, cabbage, eggplant, kale, garlic/onions, and radishes go along well with potatoes, and all are also pretty easy to grow. Plant them close by to the potatoes.

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