The Q&A Archives: Growing Potatoes

Question: This is my first time growing potatoes. I have hard soil that's alkaline. What can I do to improve things?

Answer: Potatoes need space, sunshine, and fertile, well-drained soil. Acid soil provides good growing conditions and reduces the chance of scab disease. Begin by spreading 4-6 inches of organic matter over the garden spot and rototilling or digging it in. You can use peat moss (to help acidify the soil), or a mixture of peat and compost or aged manure. Then plant your certified disease free potatoes in hills (made by piling up soil, planting the potato seeds, and covering them with 4-5 inches of soil). As the plants develop, keep hilling up with new soil, until the plants begin to blossom. Then stop adding soil. Growing potatoes this way will ensure that the soil is well drained, and the potatoes will be easier to harvest because you can just spread out the soil hills and pick the potatoes.

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