Potatoes are a staple crop in many households, but did you know that you can still grow them during the colder winter months? In this article, we explore five different ways to grow potatoes in winter – from using raised beds to planting in containers – so that you can enjoy fresh, homegrown potatoes all year round!
When To Get Started
It depends on your climate when you should start growing potatoes. You can plant spuds outdoors between September and February if your winter is mild. If it is too cold, you can keep them indoors or in a greenhouse. If not, wait until spring to plant! Be sure that the soil temperature doesn’t exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit, or you’ll suffer crop damage.
In The Ground
If you want to grow potatoes in a simple and affordable way, you will need to plant them in hilled rows in the ground. You’ll need well-draining soil and 6 to 8 hours of sunlight each day. Your tubers should be planted in trenches 8 inches deep, with rows 3 feet apart and 10 to 12 inches between each seed potato.
You can cover the potatoes with soil (called hilling) after seedlings emerge. Keep the plants well-watered, watering when the top inch of soil dries.
Raised Garden Beds
Raised garden beds are a good option if you have perennials and shrubs that overwinter in your garden. They are also helpful if the soil in your garden is heavy or poorly draining, since potatoes prefer well-draining, airy soil.
The garden bed should be placed where it gets a lot of sun (about six to eight hours per day) and filled about halfway. Then, loosen the soil with a garden rake and plant the potatoes 12 inches apart and 3 inches deep. As they grow, add more soil, training the vines upwards so that the sun never touches the potatoes.
Potatoes can also be grown indoors or in greenhouses. Although they grow best in soil temperature of 45 degrees Fahrenheit, they prefer temperatures between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re living in a warm home, they’ll probably do best in a garage or basement.
Keep in mind that potatoes won’t grow above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, so make sure you watch your thermostat. You may also need to supplement light, so invest in grow lights or LEDs to make sure they get enough.
When spring arrives, you’ll need to keep your potatoes out of the greenhouse because it’s likely to become too warm. Instead, bring in vegetables like tomatoes, bell peppers, beans, and cucumbers.
In addition to keeping your potatoes warm and protected, grow bags made from heavy, dense polypropylene are ideal. Make sure the potatoes get enough light or install grow lights nearby when you use these bags. They should be used indoors or in a greenhouse, though, as freezing temperatures can damage them.
To allow water to drain out of the bag, roll the edges down so that they are about 8 inches tall and poke a few holes in the bottom. Plant five or six seed potatoes equidistant from one another in about 4 inches of soil and cover them with 3 inches of soil.
When the vines reach a height of about 7 inches, unroll the bag so that it is about 5 inches deeper at the top. Keep the top inch of soil moist and water your potato plant until the leaves begin to yellow. Empty the bag a week later to harvest your potatoes.
If you want to grow potatoes in a container, you’ll need a large bucket or container with drainage holes and a sunny location, near a window, or with grow lights. You can do this indoors and outdoors. Add the seed potatoes and cover them in soil, continuing to hill and water as you would if you were planting them in the ground. Fill the container about 3/4 full.
Growing potatoes in winter can be a great way to enjoy fresh, delicious potatoes all year round. With the right tips and techniques, you can ensure that your potatoes survive the cold temperatures of winter and yield an abundant crop. We hope these five ways to grow potatoes in winter have given you some ideas on how to get started with your own potato garden. So don’t wait any longer – get out there and start planting!