Cover Crops Potatoes

Potatoes – Might be some ideas here

Here it is the end of September and we’ve eaten an entire row of Chieftans and also Kennebecs.  As delicious as Cheiftans are —- the Kennebecs are my favorites, but sadly I dug the last of the row tonight.

I may have mentioned previously that the voles ate EVERY one of my Canela Russets planted in the ground in late May. Fortunately  only  a half row was planted because I was trying them for the first time.

Still have the ones planted in the grow bag, so we’ll get to taste them. Plants are still green and growing! That’s gonna be fun to look at when the time comes.

Don’t think I’ll grow Canela Russets again since they seem to be a favorite of the voles.

Have one more good sized row of Chieftans remaining. Should be able to get through November or December with my potatoes if I ration. If a freeze threatens I’ll add another layer of straw.

If it’s too cold for a cover crop to germinate when all the potatoes are dug, an early crop of buckwheat planted in the spring and turned under when its about 3 inches energize the soil quickly for the spring crop.

Although I didn’t keep an accurate record, I guestimate that the voles ate less than 10% of the Kennebecs and Chieftans.  Not bad considering.  The crop was abundant and I couldn’t raise that many potatoes if I had to store them out of the ground.

Of course, I trap voles in the winter when its easier to find their exit holes.  Never vole-free — but I keep the population down.

Potatoes are an easy crop — especially if you can keep the potato beetles down.  Haven’t had many of those for the past two years and it’s been delightful. I attribute that to being diligent about looking for and destroying any that might come along.  And also to the heavy straw that’s always on my potato beds.

Just so you’ll know —  here’s how I plant potatoes:

  • I wait to plant until most of the potatoes have sprouted.  Gives them a head start.
  • I planted whole potatoes.  Yep — you heard me right.  I decided it was a waste of time to cut them.  And if anything, I got more potatoes this year than in previous years.
  • I spaced them at least 18 inches to 2 feet apart and planted at least 6 inches deep and then covered with straw. (As you know I continue to add straw as they grow.)
  • I planted 3 times.  Each planting was about 3 1/2 weeks apart.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve been out of potatoes for while —- I hope I’ve given you some ideas on how you can have  fresh potatoes in your garden for longer during the year.


More Posts on Potatoes:

How to Plant Potatoes to Extend the Harvest

Potatoes – Harvesting and Storing

Potatoes – Are Yours Disfigured?

Growing Potatoes – It’s Hard to Mess Up

Oven Fried Potatoes with Zip


Organic Gardening is easy, effective, efficient —- and its a lot healthier.


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  • Theresa,

    I’ve never grown potatoes before and want to try next spring.

    I just want to make sure I’m doing it the best way.

    When you plant yours you plant them 6 inches deep and only cover with straw or cover with 6 inches of soil, then cover with straw?

    Thanks for taking time to share your gardening experiences
    With us.

    I’ve learned so much.


  • I cover with 6 inches of soil and then straw.
    Not an exact science Betty, but they have a way of working themselves up to the top and you want to prevent that. If exposed to light they’ll turn green and that can make them toxic.

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