The Q&A Archives: Potatoes hollow in the center

Question: Most of my white potatoes grew beautifully this year. But the larger ones were hollow in the middle when I cut them open. What happened? Tindo Mosocci Burgettstown, PA

Answer: Your potatoes have hollow heart, a physiological disorder caused by uneven growth. Fluctuating soil temperatures and moisture are most often to blame, says Dick Cole, potato specialist with Pennsylvania State University at University Park. Hollow heart is mostly found on large tubers, so I recommend planting eight inches apart, instead of the normal twelve inches, to produce smaller tubers, says Cole. Adding organic matter to the soil, mulching with hay or straw four to six inches deep and addingat least one inch of water a week will ensure steady tuber growth.

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