Planting and growing

Growing potatoes is easier than you might think. Just follow a few simple rules to produce a successful potato harvest in your garden.

Preparing your plot

Choosing the right plot and preparing the soil

To prevent sanitary risks, avoid planting potatoes two years in a row in the same location. Likewise, it’s best not to start a crop after plants from the same family (Solanaceae), especially tomatoes or eggplants.

Potatoes thrive in light, fairly deep, nutrient-rich soils. Therefore, consider using a potassium-rich fertilizer as a base fertilizer in the fall, followed by additional organic fertilization when preparing the soil. The soil should then be loosened at depth, especially for heavy soils, and the surface smoothed with a rake.

Don’t rush into planting

The key to successful planting lies in the planting date, which must not be too early. The first rays of sunshine aren’t enough: the soil needs to be warm enough (at least 10°C/50°F), and you must wait until the last frosts have passed. However, under cover, it is possible to plant as early as mid-February in the mildest regions!

Planting can take place earlier or later depending on your location, and this calendar will help you plan ahead.

As a general rule, when lilacs bloom it’s a good time to plant potatoes.

Monitoring your crop

Earth up seedlings to improve production

Earthing-up consists in pulling up the soil around the plant as soon as the potato plant reaches a height of 15 to 20 cm. This promotes tuber development, prevents greening and helps water run off during rainfall and watering. You can repeat the process a second time during the season.

Monitor seedling health

As for care, a few hoeings are needed to eliminate weeds that grow between the furrows. When watering, avoid wetting the foliage to limit the risk of disease.

If weather conditions become more disease-prone (heat + humidity) and if you notice any symptoms developing, it may be advisable to treat the crop, using products suitable for organic farming. If a plant is infected by late blight, uproot it immediately to limit the spread of the disease.

Harvesting at the right time

You can decide on your harvesting period depending on your varieties and your harvesting goals (early, conservation), your planting date and the earliness of your varieties.

This calendar will help you make the right decisions, bearing in mind that you can spread out your harvests and enjoy fresh potatoes throughout the summer!

Storage potatoes should be harvested once the leaves have completely wilted, to ensure thick-skinned tubers.

In dry weather, lift each plant with a spading fork, taking care not to damage the tubers. Leave to dry in the sun for a while before storing. For long-term storage, after removing any injured tubers, store the harvest in a ventilated, dry, dark place.

To go further...

Potato harvest in the garden

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