I am pondering the minimal conditions for growing potatoes.

What type of soil, nutrients and space would it necessitate?

2 Answers 2


All you need is soil, then put potatoes on top of that, then put hay, or wood chips thick enough to cover the plants. Occasional watering is necessary.

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    Actually, you don't even need to do that much. Just leave them in the bag you bought them in, and they wlll grow! Your method sounds like a good way to get a "crop" of small green (and therefore inedible) potatoes IMO. But then in my part of the UK a "big" (but not "exceptionallly big" potato is something 8 or 9 inches long that weighs well over a pound. YMMV.
    – alephzero
    Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 9:30
  • @alephzero I think they're trying to grow potatoes for food, and you should use enough hay to keep them well covered. Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 18:39
  • Allowing potato tubers to 'see' the sun makes those spuds toxic. Green potatoes are toxic, at least the skin of that tuber starts producing chlorophyll: Potatoes start turning green when they are exposed to light. The green itself isn't a problem — it's chlorophyll. But the same conditions that cause the potato to produce chlorophyll also cause it to produce solanine, a natural toxin that causes nausea and other intestinal upsets.Mar 19, 2014 theboatgalley.com/are-green-potatoes-safe-to-eat
    – stormy
    Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 2:56
  • @stormy that's why i say well covered with hay. Look up no till potatoes, and you'll understand what I'm talking about. Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 4:59
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    Black thumb, trust me I know what you are talking about. I knew you said 'covered with hay' I just thought I'd add a reason why they needed to be covered. Grins.
    – stormy
    Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 5:22

Potatoes growing in raised bedsraised beds for vegetable garden this is done just once at the beginingA cultivated bed, double dug down at least 12 inches, smoothed down and then firmed by jumping up and down on a piece of plywood. Add shallow trenches around the base of the 'raised' beds which will easily be at least 1 foot high. Need to know what kind of soil and what compost you've access to. Acid soil; 5.5 -6. That is the toughest to amend the soil unless you already have this soil pH. Where is it that you live? Have you ever done a pH test of your soil? There are ways to lower the pH but they are temporary and only minute changes of pH. They help, yes they do. They are always in the form of a sulfur compound.

Go to Potato Gardens on the internet. They grow certified potatoes in Colorado. You can also grow potatoes in pots using a cage and straw and growing vertically. Best fertilizer is one with even numbers such as 5-5-5. I always get my seed potatoes from this company. The owner's son is a professional in the soil world and they can educate you about soil for potatoes. Very cool mom and pop operation.

We need to know what you've got available for soil, zone and how much you know about growing vegetables, potatoes, greens...

  • Thank you for explaining this much to me, further how much sunlight and how temperate should the cultivation area be?
    – aitía
    Commented Aug 27, 2018 at 23:53
  • Let me know what you've got to work with, far easier to help answer your questions. A picture of the area you are considering for a vegetable garden. If you notice, I've got my tomatoes in pots. Potatoes and tomatoes are the same family, Solanaceae. A 'virgin' soil that has never had this family planted in it is great ONE time. You won't be able to grow potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant or peppers in that soil for two years. Potting soil and pots really help to enlarge my vegey real estate! No other 'soil' than sterilized potting soil in pots...is more on the acidic side already. Easy to cg
    – stormy
    Commented Aug 27, 2018 at 23:58
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    @stormy he never specified tilling, or no till. You're putting too much work into growing potatoes. Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 0:24
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    Grins, black thumb. I am the laziest MOST 'organic' farmer there ever was or ever could be. I am so serious. What do you see about my simple beds shows excessive tillage after one time double digging. That is it. I clean out the trenches and throw all the goodies that washed out and off of the bed during the previous season to throw it all back on top of the bed. I am trying to teach this stuff. Not everything is a one size fits all but my goodness, I am not at all doing anything to excess.
    – stormy
    Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 1:09
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    ...and you know? He asked what was minimal and your answer sufficed! Honest!
    – stormy
    Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 7:18

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