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University of Minnesota Extension

Growing potatoes in home gardens

Quick facts

  • Buy disease-free seed tubers from a certified grower or seed distributor.
  • Plant seed pieces as soon as the soil warms.
  • Once the green shoots emerge, plan to hill soil up along plants as they grow.
  • Potatoes require more fertilizer than other vegetables.
  • You can dig new potatoes about seven to eight weeks after planting.
  • Harvest mature tubers after plants have dried.

Potatoes grow from seed tubers, not true seed. They originated in the Andes and come in a variety of types, colors and shapes.

Generally, there are russet types that are starchy with brown skins and that are good for baking; red potatoes that can have white, yellow, or red and starchy or waxy flesh; white potatoes with white or yellow flesh; purple colored potatoes; and fingerling types.

Potatoes need sunny locations to grow well.

Soil pH and fertility


Selecting plants




How to keep your potato plants healthy and productive


Managing pests, diseases, and disorders

Many things can affect potato leaves, flowers and fruit. Changes in physical appearance and plant health can be caused by the environment, plant diseases, insects and wildlife. In order to address what you’re seeing, it is important to make a correct diagnosis. 

You can find additional help identifying common pest problems by using the online diagnostic tools or by sending a sample to the UMN Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic. You can use Ask a Master Gardener to share pictures and get advice.


Authors: Marissa Schuh, Extension educator, and Cindy Tong, Extension specialist

Reviewed in 2022

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