Potato Fast Facts:
Cool or warm weather: Cool
Sun: 6-8 hours
Days til maturity: 90-120 days
Original or Leaf GreenStalk: Original
GreenStalk level: Place below smaller plants
Plant support needed? No
If you have wondered if it’s possible to grow potatoes in a GreenStalk Vertical Planter, the answer is YES! Potatoes are a fuss-free, easy crop to grow. When you grow your own, you can choose from a wider range of varieties and even colors! We’ll show you how to grow them from seed potato to harvest.
How and when to plant
Like most root vegetables, potatoes want fluffy, fertile soil that maintains an even moisture level so begin with quality potting soil. Seed potatoes can be purchased from local nurseries or ordered online. Spread them out in a single layer for a few days until you see the eyes begin to sprout just a little. This is a process called chitting. It isn’t absolutely necessary but it is helpful to get a jump on growing.
Plant one seed potato per pocket in the GreenStalk Original Vertical Planter and bury it about halfway down into the pocket. Water them all in and don’t water again until you see the first sprouts at the soil level. Then begin watering through the top reservoir.
Potatoes are technically a cool season crop, but it helps to think of them as an “in-between'' season crop. They won’t tolerate frost like other cool season crops, but they don’t like extreme heat either. They grow best during cool nights and warm days. There are three classifications: early-season potatoes are ready to harvest in 60-80 days, mid-season potatoes mature in 80-100 days, and late-season potatoes need 100-130 days. You can plant your potatoes two to four weeks before your last spring frost date to get a jump on growing before the summer heat sets in. But if there is a frost, we recommend using a GreenStalk Frost Protection Cover or moving your GreenStalk Vertical Planter inside.
Grow grow grow!
Give your plants a full six to eight hours of sun. Once the foliage starts growing, check the soil daily. Ensure it isn’t drying out or becoming overly saturated, then water as needed.
Potatoes are heavy feeders that like frequent fertilization during the growing season. Every ten days to two weeks, fertilize with a water-soluble fertilizer per instructions on the package, either through the top reservoir or directly in the pocket.
Once you see the foliage flowering, it means those delicious tubers are forming in the soil! As the plant matures and begins to turn yellow and flop over, don’t be alarmed, they are coming close to harvest. This also means staking and support are not needed!
Pests & Diseases
Potato scab causes rough, “scabby” spots on the potatoes. Keeping the plants regularly watered helps prevent this, especially as the foliage is beginning to grow. If you do find that your potatoes have scab, don’t worry. You can peel it off with the skin when you prepare them. Blight is another concern, but it’s less common with early-season varieties. If you have a mid- or late-season variety with a lot of dark patches developing on the leaves or stems — a telltale sign of blight — go ahead and harvest before it spreads.
The Colorado potato beetle is a sneaky little intruder that will leave eggs under the leaves and then devour them. Remove eggs and handpick the adults. If you are sure there aren’t any on your plants, use the GreenStalk Insect Protection Cover. Be sure you’re keeping them out and not in!
Harvest & Cure
This is the fun part! When it’s time to harvest, trim back the plant to soil level. We have found the easiest way to get at your potatoes is to disassemble your GreenStalk Vertical Planter and empty one tier at a time into a larger vessel or onto a tarp. You want to be able to freely sift through the soil but also save it to amend and reuse. This way, there’s no risk of a shovel or garden tool damaging those beautiful potatoes!
Once you’ve gathered your harvest, they are ready to eat right away or to be cured for storage. Using a breathable bag or cardboard box, move them to a cool, dark place for around two weeks to cure. It’s fine to brush away the soil but don’t wash them until you’re ready to eat them.
Enjoy your spuds mashed, baked, fried, boiled … the potato possibilities are endless!
Growing potatoes is fun and rewarding. We hope you’ll give it a try! For more information about growing in your specific climate, check out your local extension office. We’re here to help you grow — just email us at email@example.com.