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Gardening Tips for Texas Garden Potatoes That Actually Work!? The Texas spring planting guide for vegetable crops from Texas A&M recommends planting potatoes in March for Regions I and II, in February in Region III, and January for Regions IV and V.
Although related to warm weather crops like tomatoes, potatoes act more like a cool-weather vegetable that prefers early spring planting with warm days and cool nights.
Gardening Tips for Texas Garden Potatoes That Actually Work!
Once the plants produce leaves, they are susceptible to freeze damage and should be covered if the nighttime temperatures are forecast below 32 degrees. On the other hand, hot temperatures cause potatoes to go dormant. This slightly temperamental nature of potatoes means that the planting window is short.
Benefits of Potatoes
Potatoes are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which make them very healthy. Studies have linked potatoes and their nutrients to a variety of impressive health benefits, including improved blood sugar control, reduced heart disease risk, and higher immunity.
Potatoes are fat free, but they are also starchy carbohydrates with little protein. This just means to eat them in moderation.
Basic Potato Facts:
Normal sprouting time for potatoes planted in the soil ranges from 14 to 28 days, depending on the cultivar and soil and weather conditions.
Grow potatoes in fall, winter, and spring in hot summer southern regions. Plant potatoes as early as 4 to 6 weeks before the average last frost in spring or any time after the soil temperature warms to 40°F (4.4°C).
Potatoes can go into the ground as soon as the soil temperature is at least 40°F, usually two to four weeks before the last expected frost. Potatoes very nearly stop growing when the daytime temperatures rise to greater than 80°F
You will average 5 to 10 potatoes per plant, so plan accordingly.
Raw potatoes are more likely to cause digestive issues, so you may want to stick with cooking them. There are literally hundreds of ways to enjoy the potato, from fries to gnochi, to stuffed skins, to mashed potatoes, and so much more!
Preparing the Vegetable Gardening Bed for Texas Garden Potatoes
Two weeks before planting, clean the bed of any opportunistic weeds or grasses and rake level. Use a soil pH test strip and amend the soil to a slightly acidic pH of 6.0 to 6.5. Lime raises pH, and sulfur lowers it. However, the best pH control comes from fertile soil that has lots of organic matter. Add a balanced fertilizer and work into the top two to three inches of soil.
In some parts of Texas, the soil has sufficient phosphorous without amendments. If the garden soil test shows that it does not need or want more phosphorous, then select a 15-5-10 fertilizer.
Planting and Care of Texas Garden Potatoes
Buy only certified seed potatoes for planting in the garden. Although it may be tempting to use those old store-bought potatoes that have developed sprouts, do not do it.
Most store potatoes have been treated with inhibitors that keep them from growing. Certified seed potatoes are disease-free and produce true to type. Good varieties of seed potatoes for Texas include Kennebec, Yukon Gold, and Red Pontiac.
Seed potatoes are about the size of an egg. If the ones in the feed store or retail nursery are larger, cut them in pieces that have at least two eyes and allow the cut to dry for a couple of days before planting.
When the plants are eight to ten inches tall, pull the soil over the plant leaving about four inches above the dirt. Do this once or twice to create growing hills for the potatoes.
Add a dressing of compost and mulch around the plant to reduce weeds and maintain moisture. Use soaker hoses to supplement rainfall, if needed, to keep a consistent moisture level equal to an inch a week.
Harvest potatoes in late May or early June.
Potatoes make an excellent early spring vegetable for Texas gardeners. Potatoes fresh from the garden are slightly sweet and delicious, served hot, warm, or cold in salads. If a gardener is tempted in early May to get a couple of potatoes for dinner, that is okay. Just be sure to cover the remaining growing potatoes for later harvesting.
Potato Easy Recipe
I have covered so many recipes on potatoes - from The Best Cornflake Potatoes Funeral Casserole Recipe Ever to Super Easy Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes. We have made entrees out of them like Historic German Potato Pancakes and our Lemon Caper Chicken Potato Casserole Recipe. Heavenly Greek Chicken and Potatoes – For the Freezer! and my personal favorite: my momma's Beyond Amazing Swiss Potato Soup.
How can you top all of that yumminess? I found a fun video by Tasty to share 6 different ideas for your spuds: