Planting Our Potatoes

Yukon PotatoesYou want to make sure that you have seed potatoes from a certified nursery or garden center. Avoid any store bought potatoes, they normally have been treated with a sprouting inhibitor. One of the great things about living in Texas is that you can start to grow potatoes almost all year long- February through October. A potato produces a higher quality and yields when the air and soil temperatures are realatviely cool between 60-65 F, granted we don’t generally have cool temperatures here especially during the summer months, but since potato leaves are not frost tolernat we don’t have to worry about freezing them during the growing months.
Yukon PotatoesYou want to pick a sunny spot for them, we planted our in old cattle syrup tubs (3′ diameter, 3′ depth). We drilled a series of drainage holes in the bottom after that we filled an inch of river rocks & pea gravel. On top of the rocks we filled about a few inches of soil. Added our potatoes, covering them with an inch of soil, and as they grow (when the green buds break through the soil) we will be adding more soil on top. Repeat the process until it is at the top of the bucket. Potatoes are adapted to most Texas soils, provided that they are well-drained. Heavy clay soils should be avoided, so in the Brazos Valley in most cases you would want to add some good loose sandy soil – like a sandy loam (a sandy soil with just a little bit of clay in it to help retain the water). to check to see if you have a sandy loam soil, take a handful and slowly squeeze it- pushing it up between your thumb and index finger. If it falls apart as it comes out between your fingers, you have a lot of sand with little clay. If you can get about an inch before it breaks off you have a good Sandy Loam. If you can get a few inches with little breakage, then you have a lot of clay in your soil. Too much sand will have too much drainage, and too much clay will have too little.
Yukon PotatoesAs we discovered this year, potatoes are exposed to many diseases and insects during the growing season. Timeing the use of fungicides can help reduce the looses. You will need to watch out for aphids, psyllids and fleabeetles.

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