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Quick Garden Tips

  • Potatoes are fun to grow! Plant “seed potatoes” with sprouting points (eyes) meant for growing, not potatoes sold for eating.
  • When daytime temperatures reach 60 degrees F, plant small seed potatoes (or pieces of larger seed potatoes) with 2 to 3 eyes in each potato or piece.
  • Plant them (with the sprouts up) 3 to 5 inches deep and 6 to 12 inches apart. Water as needed to keep the soil damp but not soaking wet.
  • When the plant is about 6 inches tall, pile a few inches of soil or clean straw around the main stem to form a hill. Add to the hill several times throughout the season.
  • Growing potatoes in dry soil (that does not stick together when rolled in your hands) or in soil with un-composted organic matter can cause potato skins to scab. Adding too much fertilizer can also cause scab.

Season and Location

  • A warm-season crop, potatoes grow best in sun; however, they can tolerate some shade
  • Potatoes grow well at high elevations.

Container Gardening

  • Containers for growing potatoes should be at least 18 inches wide and 3 feet deep to allow the most potatoes to grow. In a more shallow container, fewer potatoes will grow.
  • Stand the seed potatoes in a warm, dark place with the eyes pointing up until they begin to sprout. Fill the pot halfway with soil, place potatoes on top, sprouts up, and cover them with 1 inch of soil. Water as needed to keep the soil damp. Add soil or straw once the plant grows about 6 inches tall.

Key Pests and Diseases

  • Wire worms, symphylans, cabbage maggots, onion maggots and other soil pests are common.

When to Plant and Harvest Potatoes in Oregon

  • Central and Eastern: Plant seeds from April through May to harvest August through October.
  • Willamette Valley: Plant seeds from late March through May to harvest from late June through October.
  • Coast: Plant seeds from mid-April through mid-June to harvest from August through October.

3 regions of Oregon showing months to plant and harvest potatoes.

Recommended Types to Grow

  • White: Russet Burbank*, Kennebec*, Epicure, Irish Cobbler
  • Yellow: Yukon Gold*, Carola
  • Red: Red Pontiac*, Norland*, Red Gold, Colorado Rose
  • Purple: Purple Viking*

* Good for Central/Eastern Oregon

Good for containers

When and How to Harvest

  • Since potatoes grow underground, you need to watch for clues that tell you when to harvest. Dig up small “new” potatoes near the soil surface any time after the plants flower and before the green tops die. Dig up full-sized potatoes after the tops have died back.
  • Gently sink a digging fork or shovel 4 to 6 inches straight down into the potato bed. Pull the handle toward you and uproot your potatoes. At the end of the season, be thorough in your potato hunt so you don’t miss any!

Storage and Cooking

  • New potatoes are tender and do not store well. Enjoy them soon after digging, in salads or roasted.
  • After digging full-sized potatoes, carefully dust soil from the skins and let them sit for a week at room temperature in a dark place. Then store them (unwashed) in a cool, dark place with good airflow for up to 6 months. Enjoy potatoes cooked many ways!
  • Try this Food Hero recipe: Potato Pals
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