Winter Pototoes

I started growing potatoes a few years ago after a series of failed attempts. I learned some immutable facts about growing potatoes. They like well-drained soil, don’t like grubs and if they stay in the saturated ground, they will rot. Aside from that, they are actually pretty tolerant.

In late summer, when the beds are being harvested of various summer loving vegetables, I will plant some seed potatoes, which are nothing more than a potato with an eye growing from it. Shoot for late August into September and your plants will be ready to harvest by Christmas.

It goes without saying that if you live in a hard winter climate then the schedule is going to be dictated by your local weather patterns. In the Bay Area, we rarely see temps in the 30s and even more rare before December so this schedule works for me. In colder temps, like we have actually been having the last week, the potato plant will die back but the potatoes themselves will be intact below the surface and can remain there for weeks.

Plant the seed potatoes near the surface and mound up loose compost over them to ensure that they are easy to harvest. One thing to be mindful for is that potatoes have a tendency to want to pop up through the surface and this is bad because potatoes skins exposed to sunlight will become toxic. They need to be buried as they are growing, which is why mounding up compost works well as a technique.