Potatoes are a popular vegetable in home gardens. They are relatively easy to grow and produce well in average soil. How many potatoes each plant produces depends on how well their growing needs are met, the type of potato you are growing, and the weather conditions in your area.
Typically, one potato plant produces 8 to 10 tubers equaling approximately 3 to 5 pounds of potatoes. This makes enough potatoes for a family of four for one to two meals. GrowerExperts recommends growing 40 potato plants to provide enough potatoes for a family of four for a year.
How many potatoes grow from one seed potato?
Seed potatoes vary in size. While small seed potatoes can be planted whole and produce one potato plant, larger seed potatoes can be cut in half or quartered to produce 2 to 4 potato plants. A larger whole seed potato usually produces a stronger plant so seed cutting is not necessary unless the potato is very large. One seed potato will grow one plant and on average one plant will produce 8 to 10 potatoes.
When cutting the seed potatoes, it is vital that each section has at least two eyes — the small indentations where the tuber sprouts new growth. You may notice a tiny sprout forming from the eyes of your seed potatoes. If your seed potatoes have already sprouted, do not remove the sprouts.
Do all varieties produce the same number of potatoes from one seed potato?
Like other vegetables, the yield of potatoes from one plant may vary between cultivars. Information regarding each variety of potato’s expected yield can usually be found in plant descriptions in seed catalogs or online. Read the description carefully, but keep in mind that the yield listed refers to the average yield under ideal growing conditions.
Does planting distance affect the number of potatoes from one seed potato?
Potato plants need plenty of room for the tubers to grow. If they are planted too closely, the young tubers may not set or grow as expected, resulting in a poor yield. Planting them too close together may also cause the plants to compete for nutrients and moisture, further diminishing the yield of your potatoes.
Potatoes should be planted 12 -14 inches apart with 3 feet between rows for optimal growth and the best yield. The exception to the rule is if you are growing potatoes to harvest and eat as ‘new’ or baby potatoes. These can be planted closer together as the tubers will not need as much room to grow.
Does planting depth affect the number of potatoes from one seed potato?
Potato tubers form under the ground and need enough soil to completely cover the growing potato tubers. When planted in shallow soil, the young tubers may be exposed to the sun and turn green. Green potatoes are not edible and must be discarded.
Plant your potato seed to a depth of 4 to 6 inches and hill them up as the plants grow taller. You can hill them (by mounding the soil with a hoe) to within 2 to 3 inches of the foliage when the plants are 8 to 10 inches tall and again when the new growth is 8 to 10 inches high.
Hilling the potatoes provides adequate soil for the tubers to grow and expand underground while supporting the foliage. You may wish to hill the potatoes a third time, especially if the tops become floppy.
You cannot hurt your potatoes by hilling them too aggressively, although you must leave 2 to 3 inches of foliage above the soil, but failing to give them enough soil can diminish your yield and expose your potatoes to sunlight.
Does soil fertility or moisture affect the number of potatoes from one seed potato?
Potatoes need both moisture and nutrients to grow well. It is essential to apply fertilizer suitable for potatoes to the soil before planting your potatoes. Apply 5-10-10 fertilizer to the row (following the application rate on the container) and work it into the existing soil with a hoe.
Some prefer to side-dress potatoes with a similar fertilizer before the first hilling. If you choose to side-dress your potatoes, sprinkle the fertilizer along the side of the row and work it into the existing soil with a hoe before you hill them.
Potatoes also need consistent moisture. If your area does not get 1 to 2 inches of rain each week, you must give your potatoes supplemental water. Water them to saturate the soil to the level of the tubers and roots. Repeat whenever the ground feels dry 2 inches below the surface.
Sporadic watering (or rainfall) can cause poor yields and malformed tubers. When moisture is scarce, the tubers will grow slowly, if at all. When watering is resumed, or you get heavy rain, the tubers will begin to grow rapidly, causing them to split or become malformed.
For the best yield and well-formed potatoes, water them regularly during the summer.
Do insect pests affect the yield of potatoes?
Insect pests, particularly the Colorado Potato Beetle, can defoliate the tops of your potato plants. The plant cannot perform photosynthesis to store energy in the underground tubers when this happens. Underground growth will cease if the plant does not have enough foliage to sustain the plant, resulting in a poor yield and small potatoes.
Treat insect pests promptly to avoid problems with poor plant yield.
Does the amount of sunlight affect potato yield?
Like other plants, potato plants depend on the sun’s light to perform photosynthesis and make food for the plant. Without adequate sunlight, plant growth will be slowed, and your potato plants’ resulting yield will be poor.
Plant potatoes in a location that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight a day. While the plants will grow in less light, the yield will be decreased. The more light they receive, the more energy they can make for growing large, healthy tubers.
Typically, each potato plant produces between 3 and 5 pounds of potatoes, or enough to feed a family of four for one to two meals. How many potatoes your plants produce depends on the variety of potatoes you are growing and how well you have met the plants’ growing needs. Remember, potatoes need 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day, adequate nutrients, space to grow, and 1 to 2 inches of rain a week.
One seed potato will grow one plant which on average will grow 8 to 10 potatoes. Variety, soil fertility, moisture, sunlight, insect damage, disease prevention, planting depth, and distance will all have an effect on the number of potatoes a plant will produce. Paying attention to all these points will enable you to grow the highest number and yield of potatoes per plant.