Hamilton College Community Farm

Plant: Potatoes

Family: Nightshade

Seed Varieties Dates to Maturity:

Adirondack Blues - This is an heirloom variety of blue potatoes traditionally grown in the Adirondack region. They have blue flesh and skin.

Indoor Start Date and Cell Size:

Potatoes are directly seeded in the garden.

Greenhouse Transplant Date and Cell Size:

Potatoes are directly seeded in the garden.

Planting Tips:

Seed potatoes are ordered by the pound. Know the anticipated plant date when the order is placed because seed potatoes will not keep for long out of the earth. They will come as either small starter potatoes, or larger ‘normal’ sized ones. Whichever it is, cut them into smaller pieces either the night or two nights before planting. Cut them into 1-inch cubes of flesh with at least one eye. Do not be frugal— cutting them too small results in poor growth.

Outdoor Transplant Date and Bed Specifications:

Plant potatoes in late April. Use the plow attachment on the rototiller to create a deep furrow in which to plant the potatoes. Plant the potatoes at the bottom of the furrow every 1.5 feet, and just cover lightly with soil. Once they germinated, potato plants can tolerate frost, but should be covered in the event of harsh conditions.

Plant Needs

When the plants grow to about 1⁄2 foot begin the process of hilling, by pulling the edges of the trench onto the growing plants. Do this throughout the season, keeping about six inches of foliage above the soil line each time. This initially will be filling in the trench and eventually a hill will be created. The potatoes form along the stem, continuing above the initial soil line, and will be poisonous if they are exposed to the sun.

Cultivation Techniques:

Be sure to keep at weeds while hilling.

Pests and Pest Control:

Potatoes can contract blight from tomatoes or peppers, and vice versa. Potatoes with blight will overwinter the disease in the soil so be especially careful to remove and properly dispose of any diseased plants as soon as signs of blight appear.

Harvest Techniques:

Harvest potatoes two to three weeks after the foliage has died back. If this has not happened by mid- September, cut off the foliage with a scythe before harvesting. To harvest, using a spade or pitchfork carefully begin turning over the soil one foot around the plant and the mound created by the hilling process. Continue until the entire mound has been overturned. The potatoes will be along the roots and stem so be careful while digging not to cut or bruise them. Potatoes should not be washed. Instead, let them air-dry for two to three days in the dark on the wire drying rack or somewhere else with ample air circulation so the skin can mature for storage.


Do not store any cut or bruised potatoes, but use immediately after harvesting. Keep all other potatoes in a dark, dry, cool location for three to six months.


For retail, sell at $5.00 per pound, and for wholesale at $0.75 per pound.