Grow Your Own 

Grow Your Own Potatoes

Potatoes are the main staple of our homestead.

They contain all the essential amino acids you need to build proteins, repair cells, and fight diseases — eating just five spuds a day would technically keep you alive (although eventually you’d run into vitamin and mineral deficiencies). This explains why for time-immemorial this crop has been grown as a “safety net” in the event that other, harder to grow harvests, fail.

You don’t need as much space as you may think to grow a decent hoard.

We have just two potato patches, each measuring approximately 3 x 3 meters (10 x 10 feet), and we “succession plant” — for us, this means planting our first crop early in the season (mid-Jan), our second crop then goes in around May, and our third is sown October-time.

This tactic keeps us in potatoes all year round, and we have never run into issues caused by a lack of rotation.

There are so many vegetable-growing myths and old wives’ tales do the rounds out there, and most are utter nonsense. It’s frustrating. Honestly, feel free to throw most of it out and simply try things out in your local area. Climate, pests, and soil varies greatly even from town to town, let alone nation to nation.

Below is how we successfully grow potatoes.


Before we plant our spuds we allow them to “chit” — a word my young sons enjoy repeating regularly. Basically, the process involves laying seed potatoes in the light which encourages sprouting.

The step isn’t essential by any means, but we have found it gives the spuds a head-start, promoting faster initial growth. We begin chitting our potatoes around 4-6 weeks in advance of planting out (so around early December-time for our first crop), and by mid-January small purple shoots will have peppered the potatoes.

“No-Dig” Potatoes

Again, there are wildly varying opinions on how to best grow potatoes.

As always we shoot for the simplest method, which is “no-dig,” devised by Charles Dowding.

At the beginning of each season we “top up” our potato beds with around 10cm (4 inches) of homemade compost, and this will see the bed through the year’s three harvests — there is no digging, and minimal raking.

We plant our sprouting spuds about 15 cm (6 inches) deep into the prepare bed, at a spacing of around 30cm (a foot). We’ve tried many different spacing permutations over the years, but this works best for us. It seems to minimize disease by allowing enough airflow between plants, while at the same time the relatively close proximity of the plants acts as a mulch: their leaves shade the entire patch, helping with moisture retention and temperature regulation.

One tip: as your potatoes grow, you’ll want to check that those near the surface stay covered. Exposure to sunlight will turn your spuds green and they can become toxic.


An alternative to the no-dig method is to “hill” your potatoes; if compost is at a premium, then this may be a better option for you.

Dig trenches 15-20cm (6-8 inches) deep at around 45-60cm apart.

Place your potatoes in the trenches –sprouts pointing up– between 30-45cm (12-18 inches) apart, and then cover the trenches over.

When the plants reach around 15cm (6 inches) in height, cover them over again with more soil so that just the very top leaves are exposed. This will encourage new potatoes to grow.

Continuing to cover the plants over when they reach 30cm (12 inches) and then 45cm (18 inches) will keep encouraging new potatoes to grow. You can cover them as many times as you like, within reason.

Growing Potatoes

Potatoes are a low maintenance crop, but there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you achieve a good quality harvest.

Firstly and foremost, keep your plants well watered, particularly through spells of hot weather.

Potato plants can flower, and if left long enough will produce small, green tomato-like fruit. Flowering and fruiting are not determining factors when it comes to harvesting, though. We’ve had crops that have been ready both before flowering and also well after fruits had set.

Leaves turning yellow and beginning to die back are the best indicators that harvest is approaching. This is also the time to cease watering, which will help to begin the curing process, readying them for long term storage.


Potatoes will be ready for harvest a week or two after the foliage dies back.

To see if they’re done, dig up a potato and rub it with you thumb, if the skin comes off they will need a few more days–alternatively, harvest now if you’re after a crop closer to new potatoes.

If you grew with the no dig method, your potatoes will be relatively near the surface and so you should be able to harvest with your hands. But if your spuds are deeper you may need to use a fork. Do this with care as the fork will easily pierce potatoes and these will not store.

Storing Potatoes

Cured potatoes will need to be kept in the dark to avoid them sprouting, turning green and spoiling. They will also store longer in cool temperatures. Be sure to leave some dirt on the spuds, too — do not wash them.

The storing process needn’t be complicated, though.

We simply bag our harvest up in burlap sacks and keep them in our under-trailer storage compartment. They last just fine like this — the temp fluctuates widely in there, but it is kept dark, and the potatoes keep just fine.

Also, us growing three harvests a year means the potatoes we dig up never need to store for all that long a time. We never need a spud to last longer than 3 or 4 months, which our storing setup manages with ease.

Also also, be sure to save some back for your next crop.

Grow your own, keep it simple, and achieve self-sufficiency — reject the processed poison on offer at the supermarkets, and, even more importantly, prepare for the ever-intensifying GRAND SOLAR MINIMUM.

The Cold Times

The COLD TIMES are returning, the mid-latitudes are REFREEZING, in line with the great conjunction, historically low solar activitycloud-nucleating Cosmic Rays, and a meridional jet stream flow (among other forcings).

Both NOAA and NASA appear to agree, if you read between the lines, with NOAA saying we’re entering a ‘full-blown’ Grand Solar Minimum in the late-2020s, and NASA seeing this upcoming solar cycle (25) as “the weakest of the past 200 years”, with the agency correlating previous solar shutdowns to prolonged periods of global cooling here.

Furthermore, we can’t ignore the slew of new scientific papers stating the immense impact The Beaufort Gyre could have on the Gulf Stream, and therefore the climate overall.

Prepare accordingly— learn the facts, relocate if need be, and grow your own.

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Grand Solar Minimum + Pole Shift

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16 Thoughts to “Grow Your Own Potatoes”

  1. Wow, three crops! Up in Toronto, we are getting hit by the ice age. One crop potatoes, then I throw on carrot seeds. Can’t plant carrots too early because of wireworms. Next year, it’ll always be colder.

  2. Leonard Ackler

    thanks Cap I like helpful info like how to grow our own food ,sounds like you are a family man that knows whats important in this screwed up world we have just went through a rough few days the temp got up to 115 degs here in western Oregon I have never experienced anything that hot it was like sitting next to a roaring fire in my wood stove the sun burnt any exposed skin in just minutes it was a giant “heat dome ” that now has moved to the East and it has been replaced with the cool pacific breeze we are used to ,praise God . thanks for your work I like your research, Leonard.

  3. Matt Dalby

    Although this means you’re not totally self sufficient, if there’s a riding stables nearby try and get hold of some well rotted manure/straw mix. Add this to your potatoe beds instead of compost. The heat released as it breaks down will protect the crop from late, not to severe frosts, and it will increase the depth of soil in your garden. I find this a great bonus as I have very shallow stony soil and just adding compost that I’ve produce myself isn’t improving the quality/depth quick enough.

    1. Michael Peinsipp

      We have two horses in a small 2.5 acre fenced in area. I have a ‘poop’ pile that is 40′ x 30′ and +- 8-12″ deep! Well composted and ready for Growin’ vegies!

  4. John

    Really good info on the article about snow in Canada and record cold far south even into Mexico. I can confirm your info is accurate. El Paso, Texas just had two record low-High temperatures at the end of June with 70 and 71 F. Normally highs would be in the upper 90s F and 100s F. This was coupled with record rainfall on one day in June and now one in July. It’s remained abnormally cool.

  5. Geof Hughes

    We have a lot of land that I’m breaking into, so have planted 5 potato beds to break it down. We also have some planted in bags which are usually earlies, but with the late spring here (W Yorkshire UK) they are still not ready. The horse manure trick is really good, and one we use when there is manure available.
    We plant in bags with manure and compost as the ground has a lot of clay, which can make the potatoes taste of mud. Lots of spices are needed to mask that taste. Good job we have garlic and onions growing in a different bed.
    Great work by the way. I look forward to your mail arriving.

    1. KRR Holkien

      Great how to info on potatoes! We also are going to start growing them along with corn again this year. Used to not grow either because they are so “cheap and abundant” at grocery store. But what if they are NOT? We’ll be using your advice on the hotshot “Yukon Gold” spuds we ordered from Gurney’s this year.
      One more suggestion: Sun Chokes! We’ll be growing them this year also—for same reason. Abundant crop if you keep them watered and have the space. Note that Sun Chokes will take over an area (one great spot would be a creek bank). But, having a plant whose tubers are good to eat and nutritious—growing all over—nice problem to have if food became scarce!

  6. Andrew

    Liking the new grow your own section, will be keeping an eye on it. I was doing quite a bit of growing your own up to a few years ago when I stayed at my folks house, but it fell by the wayside when I moved out, going to try and start growing in my own garden and also try and rejuvinate their wee patch. Grew beetroots, potatoes, carrots, letttuce etc. Hopefully can get some stuff done out in portugal too, you can grow carub and all sorts out there but need the irrigation set up good, as rain less frequent.

    Interesting fact: Potatoes are part of the deadly nightshade family!

  7. Lucian Bane

    If you haven’t heard of it, growing in potato towers are a good solution for those who want to save land space or just don’t have the space. Simply type in potato towers in youtube and you’ll get tons of videos showing how it works. Also, for fertilizer, I would highly suggest we all get a couple rabbits and adopt them into the family during hard times, as they produce the best fertilizer there is. It can go straight from the pile into the garden without the need to process like other manures. I’ll be using this method because the ground where I am isn’t favorable to the crop and it’s easier and cheaper for me to use the tower and control the contents that way. Plus, the yield from the towers is amazing. It’s like a vertical garden, basically.

  8. Uffe

    love it – thank you


  9. Sis

    Thanks for a great web site. Love your “grow your own” section. How about an article about growing cabbage?

  10. DavidL

    Obviously you don’t suffer from blight. Here on the west coast of Ireland all we get is one crop, blight and more rain than we would like!

  11. Jerry

    Great information. Thank you.

  12. Trawler Guy

    Very informative

  13. Oliver Rothe

    Neat, the knowledge I get here gives me a massive advantage and i’m going to adjust my long term strategy accordingly (financial investments but also life-planning)

  14. Joe

    While green potatoes are not good to eat they will sprout and grow into healthy plants in the following planting season.

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