Growing Potatoes In the Ground
Cultivate and loosen the soil where your potato mound will be. Add a shovel full of cow manure and mix in well. Allow a 3’ diameter circle for the plant.
Plant your potato making sure the soil level in the garden is the same as it was in the pot.
Watering and Care
Every couple of weeks pull soil up around the base of the plant. The plant will begin growing again, stretching to find the sun. This will lengthen the fruit-producing stem of the plant and encourage more potatoes to form.
Keep your potatoes well watered throughout the summer, but especially during the period when they are in flower, and immediately thereafter. This is the time when the plant is creating the new tubers, and water is critical.
Water early in the day so that the foliage has time to dry completely before evening. (Wet foliage can make your plants more susceptible to several potato diseases.) When foliage turns yellow and dies back, discontinue watering to allow the tubers to “mature” for a week or two before harvesting.
Once the vines have passed the critical watering stage while in flower, they will tolerate a certain amount of drought. According to some studies, non-watered potatoes are less watery and more healthful. However, potato plants, which are not watered regularly, will produce a much smaller crop.
Your may begin to harvest your potatoes 2 to 3-weeks after the plants have finished flowering. At this time you will only find small “baby” potatoes if you were to dig up a plant. If you let them go a few weeks, they will grow larger. Potatoes can be harvested any time after this, by gently loosening the soil, reaching under the plant, and removing the largest tubers, leaving the smaller ones to continue growing.
If you want late potatoes, wait 2-3 weeks after the foliage dies back. Carefully begin digging a foot or so outside of the mound. Remove the potatoes as you find them. (Be careful not to bruise or cut the tubers with your spade! Put your potatoes in a cool, dry area (like a garage or basement) for the drying period. This drying step is necessary to mature the potato skin, which will protect the potato during storage.