Square Foot Gardening Potatoes

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Potatoes are essential for everyone since they are so conveniently baked, boiled, roasted, pretty much anything, and hence being the most comfort food of all. They fall in the category of root vegetables, i.e., they grow under the ground and are swollen underground stems and tubers that are edible and are full of starch. Let us check out Square Foot Gardening Potatoes in detail.

Square Foot Gardening Potatoes
Potatoes in garden

Whether you live in any part of America, I think you must have observed that potatoes are one of the most important food sources being an essential crop to grow and have. 

Using Square foot gardening for potatoes will be an excellent way to grow potatoes efficiently and in a reasonable amount in small spaces. Square foot gardening means you divide the garden ground into sections of a square foot and use each square foot to grow only one variety of plants and vegetables. You can do that either on the garden flower or use wooden frames the same way in square foot and with a depth effectively and efficiently.

Square foot gardening for Potatoes

Square foot gardening for potatoes means that we can grow plants and vegetables in small spaces by way of proper spacing and rows to fit as many plants as can in a square foot to make sure they have the space each plant need to grow to their full potential and at the same time to make sure that each square foot is utilized correctly. 

In square foot gardening, you take your gardening skills to a whole new level of efficiency by proper plotting of spacing and using the vertical spaces that square foot gardening provides.

Square foot gardening potatoes will also be accessible and useful even if you are a beginner. So let us see how we can do square foot gardening potatoes in the comfort of our homes. 

Square foot gardening for Potatoes
Square foot gardening for Potatoes

Temperature and season requirements

There are many varieties of potatoes that you can grow. The temperature and duration of growth and harvesting depend on the variety of potato you choose to become and are mostly perennial. There are two basic types among the many that you can grow-

  • New potatoes–  If you grow potatoes in the march cycle, they may take about 60 to 110 days to grow and reach maturity and ready for harvesting till ranging from late June to early July. This type of cycle is usually for new potatoes. It is generally small in size, and some common varieties for new potatoes would be Dunluce, Pentland Javelin, and Arran Pilot.
  • Maincrop seed potatoes– these are the ones that if you plant in late April, they will take about 125 to 140 days to grow and can be ready to harvest till late august till October. These varieties of potatoes give a higher yield than the others, and also the tubers that they produce are usually larger. You can use them fresh or can even store them for winters. Some varieties of maincrops are Kerr’s pink, king Edward and harmony that you can choose to grow.

You can grow your potatoes in a way that is within a week or two before the last frost season in your area since the cold nights will help kill the pests if any.

Potting mix for potatoes square foot garden

Potatoes are heavy feeders and need the right soil mix to grow well. The soil for the square foot should be super-rich, and therefore you can upgrade your garden soil by adding compost to the land.

You must mix compost, peat moss, and vermiculture in equal proportion. For better results, you should remove the top part of the soil of your square foot about 6 inches and add the compost mix. 

This mix of compost, vermiculture, and peat moss is very healthy for great growth of potatoes, and you can also add compost tea if and when you think the plants require an extra boost of nutrients.

The soil should be fertile and lightweight and have a pH within the range of 4.8 to 5.5. If the soil pH goes above 6, the potatoes are prone to potato scab.

The nutrient-rich soil used in potato square foot gardening tends to go above six pH; therefore, to avoid potato scabs, you could use the variety that is scab resistant such as ‘Ressett Burbank” which will ensure a scab free produce.

The spacing of Potato plants in Square foot gardening

In Potatoes Square foot gardening, you can use raised beds of 4 feet by 4 feet and then divide them into 1-foot grids that can help you grow proper amounts of potatoes in small spaces. The number of plants you can grow in a single grid will depend upon the size of the potatoes you are growing. 

Potatoes of small and tender sizes can be grown as four plants per square foot, and the large variety of potatoes can be grown as one plant per square grid. In general, you can grow plants in the sequence of one, four, nine, sixteen, etc. depending upon the size of the potatoes you are growing.

Growing potatoes from potatoes

Growing potatoes from potatoes
square foot gardening potatoes

To grow potatoes, you will need small chunks cut out from mature potatoes that you can purchase from grocery stores, and you can also buy the seed potatoes from any local market as well as online. These chunk cut-outs must have at least one ‘eye’ or buds on them because it is from these buds or eyes that new plants can grow.

They come in many varieties, and you can choose the best one depending upon the zone and location of America that you live in. 

To grow the potato plants in your square garden, you must first remove the soil and then add a layer of compost mix for about 2 inches. Then take these chunks of potatoes and place them on it with the buds or eye facing upwards. After that, you should cover up the area with more compost mix up to about 2 inches more.

Water Requirements for Potato square foot garden

Together with well-drained soil, You must water the potato plants well when they are getting dry. You must water the plant every week at least, but once the tubers have formed, you must not keep them moist.

If the leaves of the plant start to wilt, you should water the plant. However, you must take care not to overwater the plant; otherwise, the potatoes may rot, and there is a chance of you getting black potatoes.

Sunlight requirements for Potatoes square foot garden

Potato plants need ample amounts of sunlight to grow well. They require direct sunlight of at least six hours each day. So you must create this square foot garden set up in your garden where it receives the right amount of sunlight as this will enhance the growth of the potatoes.

Fertilizers

Since potatoes are heavy feeders, you should add more compost as they keep growing and maturing and will require good feeding. You can also make compost tea if you think plants need a nutrient boost in the growth process.

To make compost tea, you need to take some warm water in a container, make some compost, tie it in a cloth, dip the cloth in the warm water, and let it stay in water for some time. 

This will make the nutrients mix in the water, and when the water cools down, you can add this compost tea to your plants. You would not need to add any extra fertilizers in the soil as the compost that you add will be sufficient to provide the necessary nutrients. 

One more way to make your crops grow beautifully is by using the vertical space of the grids. If the stem of the plant grows taller, they will be able to produce more potatoes as many gardeners have observed it.

So you can build up boxes around each square up to 12 inches from a one by four lumber and keep adding compost in it. When the 12-inch box gets filled up with compost you should not just wait for the beautiful crop to mature and give you a great yield.

Harvesting

potatoes Harvesting
potatoes Harvesting

It takes different periods or each kind of potatoes to grow and mature. If you grow new potatoes in march they will take 60 to 110 days to grow to maturity and be ready to harvest until July. However, the main crop potatoes take 125 to 140 days to grow if you grow in April and will be ready to harvest till October. You can harvest the crops in mid-summer for the tender and small potatoes and if you wait you can get bigger tubers. 

To harvest the plants you should remove the wooden box and loosen up the soil to help in harvesting this root vegetable. You must take out the potatoes by plucking them from the stems. If you have a dense harvest you can use digging forks to dig the potatoes out of the soil. 

Varieties of potatoes to grow 

Potato is a portion of super comfort food that also comes in many textures and sizes. There are many varieties of potatoes that you can grow in potatoes square foot garden and you can choose to grow from them depending upon what is best for you in terms of the zone in America that you live in and your preferences.

Mainly we see potatoes as being starchy, moist, waxy, fluffy, creamy, etc but let us now discuss some of the varieties of potatoes that you can choose from to grow in your square foot garden.

Russets

This variety of potatoes has brown cloured skin with white flesh and is usually considered as the classic potato. They are generally dry mealy textured and are baked and mashed easily and are ideal for being roasted and baked as well.

White potatoes

White potatoes come in the category of all-purpose potatoes and are safe ones to cook if you are unsure about which one to choose. This is because these potatoes are creamy when they are baked and they can also rightly hold the texture when they are boiled.

They differ from Brussels as they have light brown colored skin that is smoother and thinner as compared. Some good names for this variety are Elba and Onaway.

Waxy Potatoes

These potatoes have a dense flesh that is fine-grained and hold their texture when cooked. They do great as potato salads and even are good for stews and soups. Together with that they can even be baked and roasted. A very popular variety is the Yukon Gold variety in this category.

Colorful Potatoes

Some potatoes have colorful flesh like blue- purple and red-pink. Blue colored potatoes have blue skin and purple flesh and are good to bake, fry and microwave, and even boiled. The red-colored potatoes namely All-Red have red skin and pink flesh and are ideal to be boiled and sauteed.

The other kind of red potato namely red cloud is the one white red skin and white flesh and is good for baking. You will really enjoy growing cooking and eating them if you opt for this variety.

New potatoes 

These are young tender and immature potatoes that can be harvested in early or mid-summer season and are not mature by this time. They can be of any variety and can be boiled and sauteed with butter and cream and tastes amazing. 

What sized raised bed for potatoes?

What sized raised bed for potatoes? It is a great way to plant potatoes in square foot gardens having raised beds of about 4 inches to 8 inches by adding 4 to 6 inches of an equal mix of compost, vermicompost, and peat moss. You can further divide them into grids of one foot each for efficient and effective production.

In this amount of space, you can get enough produce for two people for a year at least by planting the potatoes in proper spacing and rows. And you can vary the raised bed according to the requirement per person and the number of persons that you want to suffice for.

How many potatoes do you get from one plant?

How many potatoes do you get from one plant? It depends upon plant to plant and the variety of potato you are growing. It also depends on whether the plant’s temperature requirements are being met or not and whether the plants are provided with enough water and ample sunlight.

Much of it will depend upon whether the soil used is rich in compost and is able to well feed the plant or not. But if you take proper care of the plant you can ensure that you can get a yield of about five to ten potatoes per plant.

Can any potato be a seed potato?

grow potatoes from potatoes
grow potatoes from potatoes

It is the best way if you can grow potatoes from potatoes. The potatoes that are sold in the grocery shops may have been treated so that they don’t sprout in your pantry but some potatoes that are specially grown from a garden supply can be certified disease-free and can be used to grow potatoes. 

That means that if and when these potatoes get some buds on them, also called ‘eyes,’ you can use these potatoes to grow more plants using them as Seed Potatoes. If you find buds or eyes of potatoes you must simply place them in the soil mix in a way that the eye is on the top facing upwards and cover it with compost.

If you take proper care, these seed potatoes will grow into potato plants giving you more potatoes. Hence yes, potatoes can be a seed potato and be used to grow more potatoes.

How many days does it take to grow potatoes?

How many days does it take to grow potatoes? The number of days that a potato plant can take to grow depends upon the variety of potatoes you are growing in the potatoes square foot garden since all types take different time to mature. If you are growing potatoes for new potatoes that are soft and tender tubers, you can eat them in about 60 days to 110 days to be ready for you to harvest as delicate and small-sized tubers.

If the plant gets further time to grow for about 125 to 140 days, they will grow into large-sized mature tubers of potatoes that will serve you as the main crop. So roughly, it takes 10 to 13 weeks for a potato plant to mature and be ready for harvesting. 

How often should potatoes be watered?

How often should potatoes be watered? Potatoes need well-drained soil, to begin with, but it should be moist and not completely dry. You should water a potato plant for about 1-2 inches every week. Don’t let them go under water stress as they will harden a lot.

If and when you see the leaves of the plants wilting, you must water the plants. However, in square foot gardening potatoes, do not overwater the plants as it will cause the potato tubers to turn into black and rotten potatoes. 

It should be ideal if you water the plants weekly for about an inch or two. Rains itself can achieve this water level if it rains in your location in America.

So before watering, make sure to check that if the plants have already gained their water requirement from the rains that week, you don’t need to water it again as it can cause overwatering.

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Final Thoughts

Potatoes that are root vegetables are super popular comfort food that comes in so many varieties that you can choose from to grow. Growing potatoes are straightforward and can be planted from seed potatoes itself. You can take a seed potato with an eye and can plant it in the ground, and it can grow into a new plant giving you more potatoes from that. 

Using square foot gardening to grow potatoes, you can grow the plants very efficiently and also make sure you get good quality yields and good produce. Not only square foot gardening saves you space but also makes use of the limited space that you use in the form of raised beds or wooden frames of 6 inches. Using square foot gardening potatoes technique, you can grow potatoes very efficiently, even if you are a beginner.

If you take care of the temperature requirements, the soil mix, the seed potatoes to choose from, the water requirements of the plant, the sunlight requirements, kinds of fertilizers to use, and the proper time and way of harvesting you can ensure a good potato yield this year for yourself and your family and have great produce.

I hope, you got an idea on square foot gardening potatoes and how many potatoes per square foot in a potato square foot garden.

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