Potatoes are a common addition to the home garden because they are relatively easy to grow and store. From planting to harvesting, there are four general stages to the life cycle of a potato plant.
Only plant "certified seed potatoes," which are potatoes that have formed eyes. These potatoes will produce higher quality crops free from disease. Wait to plant potatoes until the ground is workable. Keep in mind that potatoes will not grow until the soil temperature reaches 7.22 degrees C.
During this stage, the potato will grow on the roots and sprout leaves. Begin monitoring moisture levels; too little water will result in a smaller yield.
Potatoes will form on the roots and eventually bulk up. At this stage, the plant will flower and produce more leaves.
Potatoes may be harvested at different levels of maturity. Early varieties may be harvest at 70 to 90 days. Mid-season varieties may be harvested at 90 to 120 days, and late-season varieties at 120 to 140 days, according to The Gardener's Network.
The term "new potato" is not a variety of potato, but is actually a potato harvested before it has fully matured. According to National Geographic, there are over 4,000 varieties of potatoes.
- Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of John