Another Try at Growing Potatoes

Editor’s Note: Below is a rare communication from George Prell. He passes on a few potato growing tips to his friend Karl, which I hope are as revolutionary for your survival gardening this season as I believe they will be for mine. – John


Dear Karl,

It is good to hear that you have such an avid interest in growing potatoes. But before you order seed potatoes I want to tell you some facts that might help in growing them.

I had about given up on the tower method, but I just read what might have limited the yield I got. I found out that short-season potatoes produce early and then quit. In a tower setup you may only have tubers in the first six inches of soil and then just get vines.

This is from Greg at Irish Eyes Garden City Seeds, at Tipnut. I found it when I Googled “Growing Potatoes in Wood Chips”.

So I looked up “late season potatoes” and found ten varieties at “MainePotatoLady”, a very neat site. These varieties are 90-110 days.

Temperature is very important too. “When the temperatures in the daytime get above 80 degrees F , the potato plant basically shuts down. “The Best Potatoes in the World -or- What Makes Idaho Potatoes so Idahoy”.

I don’t remember the source, ( I’m looking) but found that potato plants like total darkness at night. Some plants are sensitive to light at night, even car headlights.

Armed with this new information I hope to try again this year and even grow some indoors in Perlite. I hope this helps, Karl.

Your friend,


P.S. You might want to look at “Growing Potatoes in Perlite”, by Terry DelValle, and Better Hens and Gardens, “Lazy Bed Method”.


2 thoughts on “Another Try at Growing Potatoes”

  1. “Growing Potatoes in Perlite” mentions a water soluble 20-20-20 fertilizer to start the potato plants. I can recommend Peters which has been used by commercial growers for years. It contains micro nutrients, so nutritionally, is like growing in soil. It is not always available but is also sold under the brand name “Jack’s”. For the tuber forming stage you might want to check out the ingredients in a soluble kelp fertilizer. It takes very little to grow plants this way, about a teaspoon per gallon of water.

    1. Thanks for the helpful info. Amazon offers Jack’s All Purpose 20-20-20 Water Soluble Fertilizer in an 8 Ounce Tub. You can find kelp fertilizer there as well.

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