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Soil for growing potatoes

Potatoes can be grown successfully in gardens without requiring any more care and attention than other vegetables.
Nevertheless, potatoes have specific soil requirements and always need thorough insect and disease control.
The practical information below can be used to help you obtain high yields of quality potatoes.

Best soil for growing potatoes

In fact potatoes will grow in almost any soil but prefer a sandy loam.
Potatoes yield the highest and produce tubers of the best quality on soils that are loose, easily tilled, well drained, and high in organic matter.
Very dry sands, shale, or heavy clay loams should not be used for growing potatoes.

If a cover crop such as rye, ryegrass, or wheat was planted the previous fall, it should be turned under before it exceeds 12 inches in height.
This can be done by tilling 8 to 10 inches deep, depending on the depth of the topsoil.

Potatoes require a porous soil to ensure an adequate oxygen supply for good tuber initiation and development. After tilling, level the surface slightly so that furrows can be made.

Waiting 7 to 10 days before planting the seed pieces is recommended to allow the cover crop to begin decomposing.

Never add lime before planting potatoes, as this can encourage scab.
Because scab disease (brown, corky tissue on the surface of tubers) may be a problem in alkaline or sweet soils, the soil pH should be kept around 5.5–6.0.
Potatoes should form part of a crop rotation plan and should not be planted in the same ground for four years.

Whet planting potatoes be sure that the soil is evenly moist and not wet or soggy, in a wet soil your seed potatoes will probably rot.


  • Whenever possible use natural and organic fertilizers such as compost. Chemicals build up toxicity in soil, which leaches into drinking water.
  • Fertilize before a rain whenever possible.

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