Potatoes are a low-maintenance plant in the garden as long as their basic needs are met. They primarily require good, loose soil to produce their edible tubers. Hard soils or those with lots of rocks tend to inhibit the growth of the potato tubers or produce inedible roots. A raised bed allows you to provide the correct soil conditions to your potato plants even if you live in an area with poor soil conditions.
Add fresh compost to the raised bed and work it into the soil. Add enough compost so that the depth of the bed above the soil level is at least 8 inches. The soil in raised beds breaks down each year and must be replenished before each spring planting.
Apply 1.36kg. of 10-10-10 analysis fertiliser to each 100 square feet of garden bed. Work the fertiliser into the soil in the raised bed with a rake after application.
Smooth the surface of the soil in the bed, then use a trowel to make 4-inch-deep planting trenches for each row of potatoes. Space the trenches 1 foot apart.
Place seed potatoes into the bottom of the trenches, spacing them 9 inches apart along each trench. Plant the potatoes so the bud or sprout is facing upward. Cover the seed pieces with 4 inches of soil once they are all planted.
Water the raised bed immediately after planting. Moisten the soil in the raised bed to at least ground level, but avoid over-watering and soggy soil.
Cover the raised bed with a 2-inch layer of straw mulch once the potato plants are 4 inches tall. The mulch preserves soil moisture and also prevents the tubers forming just beneath the soil surface from becoming sun damaged.
Plant potatoes in spring as soon as the soil temperature in the raised bed reaches 10 degrees Celsius. Cover the bed with black plastic mulch to help it warm up even earlier.
Raised beds dry out more quickly than regular garden beds. Check the soil moisture every two days during drought periods or hot weather.
Tips and warnings
- Plant potatoes in spring as soon as the soil temperature in the raised bed reaches 10 degrees Celsius. Cover the bed with black plastic mulch to help it warm up even earlier.
- Raised beds dry out more quickly than regular garden beds. Check the soil moisture every two days during drought periods or hot weather.