A Wild Child's Guide to Growing PotatoesJan 22, 2024
If you are anything like me, when I began gardening years ago potatoes were not anywhere on my garden growing radar. I mean, I knew they grew underground, but that its about the extent of what I new about growing potatoes. If you are in the same boat, let me assure you, growing potatoes is easier then you think! So if you are a gardener in Zone 8/9, and are eager to grow your own potatoes, look no further! In this blog post, we'll provide you with valuable insights and tips on successfully cultivating Red LaSoda and Yukon Gold potatoes in Zone 9. We'll also explore the benefits of using organic fertilizer to promote healthy growth and maximize yields. Let's dig in!
Which Variety is Right For Me?
If you asked around to 100 gardeners in the South you would probably get 100 different answers about the best potato variety to grow, but I would be willing to bet two varieties you will hear over and over are Yukon Gold, and Red LaSoda. Both Red LaSoda and Yukon Gold are excellent potato varieties for Zone 9. Red LaSoda is known for its high yield and resistance to diseases, making it a FANTASTIC choice for a Wild Child Garden. Yukon Gold, on the other hand, offers a buttery flavor and is well-suited for baking, boiling, or mashing. These varieties thrive in warmer climates and will reward you with delicious, homegrown potatoes.
Now before you run to your local grocery store and grab a couple potatoes off the shelf it is important to know that it is a much better option to check your local nursery for seed potatoes. You will have much better luck with these!
Prepping and Planting
Potatoes prefer loose, well-draining soil. Before planting, ensure your soil is rich in organic matter. This will improve soil structure and provide essential nutrients for healthy potato growth. While potatoes can be grown directly in the ground, we have found that the best way for a wild child to grow potatoes is in a grow bag or container. You have to remember that wherever you plant these guys they will live for a while. So we choose not to give up valuable real estate in our raised beds. There are lots of great grow bag options online. Start by cutting your seed potatoes into smaller pieces, each containing at least one "eye." Plant them about 4-6 inches deep in rows around the grow bag, with a spacing of 6-12” inches between each potato. This spacing allows for proper air circulation and prevents overcrowding.
Potatoes are Planted, Now What?
Potatoes require consistent moisture throughout their growing season. In Zone 9, where temperatures can be high, it's essential to provide adequate water. Aim for about 1-2 inches of water per week, either through regular watering or a drip irrigation system. Avoid overwatering, as it can lead to rot and disease. To promote healthy growth and maximize yields, fertilize your potato plants regularly with a quality organic fertilizer. Be cautious not to over-fertilize, as it can result in excessive foliage growth at the expense of tuber development. Want to know the wild child trick to fertilizing? You can learn more in my class Growing Potatoes Like A Wild Child.
Growing potatoes in Zone 8/9 can be a rewarding experience with the right knowledge and techniques. By selecting suitable varieties, preparing the soil, providing adequate water and nutrients, and managing pests, you'll be well on your way to a very exciting potato season. They are one of my favorite things to grow!
So, roll up your sleeves, check out our GROWING POTATOES LIKE A WILD CHILD course for step by step instruction from planting to harvest and curing, grab your gardening tools, and enjoy the satisfaction of growing your own delicious potatoes in Zone 9! Happy gardening!