Thin Skinned Potatoes - Knowledgebase Question

Susanville, CA
Question by cnrbull
August 20, 1999
I planted 3 varieties of potatoes, red, yellow and regular ones. When I dig them up they all have very thin skins. Is that normal?

Answer from NGA
August 20, 1999


You can begin harvesting "new" potatoes after the plants flower. These young potatoes will have thin skins. More mature potatoes will have thicker skins. You're probably just harvesting your potatoes too early in the season. Potatoes are easy to grow and here are some basics to ensure a good crop:

Potatoes need space, sunshine, and fertile, well-drained soil. Work plenty of organic matter into the soil prior to planting. Purchase certified seed potatoes and then cut them into pieces. Each piece should have 2-3 eyes. Plant potatoes in rows spaced 3' apart, placing the seed pieces 6" apart, and cover them with 4-5 inches of soil. As the vines grow, hill soil, leaves, compost or straw over them to keep the developing tubers covered. Leave just the top of the stem and a few leaves uncovered. Once the plants begin to flower (an indication that the tubers are beginning to develop underground), stop hilling and apply a thick mulch to help the soil retain moisture. When the foliage begins to wither and die, harvest potatoes by digging with a spading fork. Allow them to dry, then brush off any dirt and store the potatoes in a cool (40F degrees), dark place. By following these guidelines you should have a bumper harvest next year.

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