Potatoes Growing Guide

Posted by Sunset Garden Experts on



Tolerant of cool soil and frost, potatoes can be planted in late spring. Remove potatoes from storage and warm to a temperature of 50-60°F (10-15°C), to enhance sprout formation. Small potatoes (golf ball size) may be planted whole. Larger potatoes can be cut into pieces weighing about 2 ounces each, having at least 1-3 eyes. (bumps on potato where roots sprout from) Pieces can be planted immediately after cutting, but will generally sprout and show better resistance to decay if, after cutting, are left in a cool, moist room with good ventilation for 3 days. Plant potato pieces 3-4 inches deep. Leave 10-12” between plants in rows 2-3' apart. Closer plantings can result in better yields, but with smaller potatoes. Do not plant directly from cold storage.


Grow in full sun with a soil pH of 5.5-6.5. Potatoes are heavy feeders which require deep fertile soil with good drainage. Apply plentiful amounts of compost and aged manure. Fresh manure will promote development of scab disease on potatoes. Sunset Nursery's bagged manure from the store is already aged and safe to use. Lime should also be avoided at planting time. Maintain even moisture as interruptions in moisture will cause irregular growth spurts resulting in rough, knobby, malformed or cracked potatoes.


Early Potatoes can be dug when potatoes reach a useable size. This is often 2-5 weeks after flowering. Storage crops should be left in the ground until light frosts or natural decline cause the tops to wither.


Blight is a fungal disease which can cause potatoes to rot in storage. The disease appears as dark brown lesions with fluffy white mould on the undersides of the leaves. Use a sulphur or copper fungicide to help prevent the onset of the disease. Control potato beetles with Diatomaceous Earth or pick off beetles and drown in soapy water.


Bush beans, cabbage family, corn, parsnip, and peas.



The Kennebec potato is a fast-growing variety that has high yields and matures medium to late season. Kennebec potatoes are white skinned and when harvested as a new potato, it has a firm texture that is especially nice in potato salads.

The consistently high yield and good culinary qualities are the primary strengths of this variety. It has a moderate field resistance to late blight and is resistant to net necrosis. It maintains good quality in storage and is grown for both fresh market use and chipping.

RED PONTIAC (Nordonna)

The Red Pontiac potato has a rich, full flavour and is a big crop with a wide range of soil conditions. This red-skinned potato can’t be beat!

Adaptable to clay soil, this mid-season variety offers sweet, solid, white flesh with a flavour you just have to try to believe! The large, round potatoes hold their shape and colour during cooking, making them a great all-around choice for boiling, baking, frying, and mashing.


Yukon Gold is a large cultivar of potato most distinctly characterized by its thin, smooth eye-free skin and yellow-tinged flesh. Canada’s first yellow flesh variety! An attractive mid-season oval shaped potato with yellowish-buff skin and light yellow flesh.

Excellent for storage and holds well for long periods without sprouting. Unlike some other potato cultivars, 'Yukon Gold' can stand up to both dry-heat and wet-heat cooking methods. Its waxy moist flesh and sweet flavour make it ideal for boiling, baking and frying but these potatoes will also withstand grilling, pan frying, and roasting.

SEBAGO (Hilldale)

Sebago potatoes are a cross between the Katahdin and Chippewa potato. Renowned for its resistance to net necrosis and wart, it also has a highly moderate resistance to early and late blight. Good yields of large, even, shallow-eyed potatoes that are white fleshed with medium-thick tan skins.

Sebago is a versatile potato in the kitchen, lending itself to boiling, mashing, roasting, baking, and frying with equal ease. It’s a pretty classic looking potato, with excellent classic potato flavour and it stores quite well.


Russet Burbank is a potato cultivar with dark brown skin and few eyes that is the most widely grown potato in North America and the most commonly grown storage potato.

This late maturing variety is regarded among the best for French fries. Its oblong shaped potato, sometimes known as “Netted Gem” has russeted (rough), heavily netted skin. Features shallow eyes with white flesh. Superb boiling and baking characteristics and unmatched French fry quality. This cultivar is also tolerant to common scab.

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