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Growing Potatoes in Alberta: A Complete Gardening Guide

12 simple tips for growing perfect potatoes planting and harvesting potatoes

Potatoes, those beloved root vegetables that give us fries, mash, and chips, are surprisingly fun and easy to grow. Here in Alberta, even with our shorter growing season, you can harvest potatoes that are not only plentiful but deliciously fresh. Whether you’re looking to cultivate a bountiful garden or a modest balcony setup, this guide offers essential tips to help you grow perfect potatoes.

Start with the Right Seed Potatoes

Forget the supermarket varieties that are treated to inhibit sprouting. For the healthiest crop, choose certified seed potatoes, which are designed to produce robust plants. These are available right here at Salisbury Greenhouse, ensuring you start your gardening journey with the best.

Pre-Sprouting: A Head Start on Growth

A few weeks before planting, place your seed potatoes near a sunny window to begin sprouting. The ideal sprouting temperature is between 18-21°C. Be cautious of too much heat, which can hinder their growth.

Planting Your Potatoes Properly

Preparing the Seed Potatoes

Once your potatoes have sprouted, use a clean knife to cut them into pieces, each with at least two “eyes.” Plant these pieces cut side down in your garden.

The Best Spot for Planting

Potatoes thrive in full sunlight. Ensure they’re not shaded by trees, fences, or walls. More sun means better growth!

12 simple tips for growing perfect potatoes seed potatoes

Soil Preparation: The Foundation of Good Growth

Dig your garden bed to at least 18 inches deep and loosen the soil thoroughly. Avoid any compacted or rocky soil as potatoes prefer a well-drained environment. Enrich the soil with a generous amount of compost and organic material. Potatoes prefer acidic conditions, so aim for a soil pH between 5.0 and 5.5. If necessary, amend your soil based on a soil test result.

Timely Planting and Fertilization

In Alberta, plant your potatoes no later than mid-July to ensure they mature before the frost. Use a 5-10-10 granular fertilizer enriched with calcium and magnesium at planting and again mid-season for optimal growth.

The Right Way to Plant

Plant your potato chunks 4 inches deep and space them 18 inches apart. Initially, cover them with 2 inches of soil. Once the seedlings emerge, cover them with the remaining soil.

Choosing the Right Potato Variety

Understand the differences between early, mid, and late-season varieties:
  • Early season: 75-90 days to mature.
  • Midseason: 90-135 days.
  • Late-season: 135-160 days.
Select the type that fits your gardening timeline.

Mulching and Watering: Protecting Your Potatoes

salisbury greenhouse adding mulch to garden

Layer mulch like shredded bark or straw over your potatoes to protect them from heat and retain soil moisture. Water consistently to keep the soil moist but not soggy, as overly wet or dry conditions can harm the crop.

Explore Container Gardening

Not enough garden space? No worries—potatoes excel in containers too. For detailed guidance on setup, planting, and care, check our article on Container Gardening with Potatoes.

Guard Against Late Blight

Late blight can quickly ruin a potato crop. For prevention tips and treatment strategies, dive into our informative post on Late Blight on Potatoes, which will help you keep your potatoes healthy throughout the season.

Visit Salisbury Greenhouse

Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned gardener, Salisbury Greenhouse is your go-to resource for all your gardening needs. With locations in both Sherwood Park and St. Albert, we’re here to provide you with high-quality supplies and expert advice. Check out our vast selection of gardening products online, and take advantage of our convenient curbside pickup and delivery options.

Come see us at either location and let us help you make your gardening projects a success! We look forward to welcoming you and supporting your passion for gardening.

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Read through our Growing Guides for tips to enrich your garden! 

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