Potato spacing

sweetwilliam89(5b)April 17, 2013

What do you think is the best way to layout your potato plants? I've heard some say not to use wide rows and I've heard others say it's fine to use wide rows. Is there some ideal way to space them out that uses space efficiently without sacrificing quality/quantity? We tried growing them in containers a couple of years ago, but that didn't work too well for us. Might try containers again, but more as a way to grow some extras rather than the main crop. Thanks in advance for the suggestions.

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Ideal? No. The ideal is what ever works best in your garden. I have used wide rows in the past as well as multiple long single rows and even 12" deep holes in a raised bed. Over the years probably tried all the methods except the just lay them on the ground method which makes no sense to me.

Either way you get potatoes. The secret to good production IMO is proper spacing in loose soil with good tilth, lots of nutrients, and plenty of water.

Dave

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 8:20PM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

Why not do them in containers? Easy harvest, uses less space.. Plus you can moniter tilth,fertility, water, etc.. Makes it easy..

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 11:13PM
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MicleRose

Moreover, you may may seed potatoes within black color plastic. Reduce wide open a sheet of the actual black color plastic, and seed a new potato portion. The particular potato tubers will develop as they would on view soil. Nevertheless, the actual tubers which acquire near the top of land are generally tinted with the black color plastic and will definitely not acquire the actual eco-friendly inedible amounts which frequently are located on various other tubers. The particular black color plastic will help in curbing weeds.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 2:26AM
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planatus(6)

Spacing can affect the size of the potatoes. For lots of little new potatoes, plant them close. For big potatoes, give them more room.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 7:31AM
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Edymnion(7a)

One thing that may have affected your potatoes in containers is if they got too hot. I did them in containers last year down here in south eastern Tennessee and the full summer noon day sun was just too much for them. Almost killed them, actually. Wasn't until I moved them into the shade that they recovered again.

So if you do containers again, make sure the soil doesn't get too hot.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 9:29AM
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sweetwilliam89(5b)

Thanks for the quick responses. A couple of years ago we grew potatoes in a barrel. Actually it was the two halfs of a 58 gallon compost tumbler. We got a few small potatoes, but not nearly as much as what weâÂÂd read others were getting. We kept adding soil and straw as the potato plants grew up, nearly completely covering up the potato plants each time. We ended up with a LOT more dirt than potatoes.

Last year we tried growing potatoes using the square foot system. We grew them in boxes along a single 12â wide row of the box. Again, we got some potatoes but not nearly as many as weâÂÂd hoped for. We kept adding soil and dirt and at the base of the plants as the plants grew up. Again, we ended up with more dirt and straw than anything else. And the size of most of the potatoes we did get was pretty small.

IâÂÂm thinking we either donâÂÂt know how to grow potatoes or weâÂÂre expecting more than the plant typically produces or both. I do think we likely were crowding things too much. And we've gotten quite a bit more land so we can spread out the crops more. Any suggestions you might have are deeply appreciated.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 10:53AM
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gumby_ct(CT it says Z5)

Growing potatoes in containers is tricky, esp if it isn't well drained so an open bottom is prob best. Potatoes don't like wet feet or a high Ph. And you have to find a way to feed them w/o manure. My AG guy says to keep Ph near 4.5 for best results.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 8:23PM
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yukkuri_kame(Sunset 19 / USDA 9)

Grow biointensive folks recommend spuds in a hexagonal pattern on 9 inch centers in double-dug beds. Obviously quite dense, though the hex pattern is more efficient at using space.

They've tinkered with this sort of thing for decades attempting to get max yield from minimum space.

I don't have enough experience to say myself.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 11:08PM
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tripleione(6b)

Maybe other people with more experience get better results with the hilling method, but I feel it is overrated and may be detrimental to yields. I feel like if dirt and straw are covering up the leaves, that is less energy that the plants can transfer into production of tubers.

When I grew potatoes last year, I just let the plants grow however they wanted and covered up any tubers that I saw exposed. Despite letting the plant grow freely, I felt like I also had a low yield, due to a late freeze and then major insect damage to the leaves.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 1:43AM
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ltilton

I agree that people often go way overboard covering the potato vines as soon as a few leaves peek out. But you're going to get a bad crop if you don't cover the vines at all.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 11:11AM
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Edymnion(7a)

Yeah, in my experience constant hilling accomplishes nothing. They don't seem to actually produce anything along the stems, just from the actual root cluster a little above. Hill them once just to help keep them stable, then let them grow how they want. When in doubt, have more dirt under them than over them.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 12:02PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

If you want large potatoes, give them room, nutrients, depth, and good loose soil. If you want small potatoes, crowd them up, leave all the eyes on, and plant them in hard worn out soil.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 1:20PM
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