Planning a garden this summer? The gardening experts at AllAboutGardening.com say the most googled vegetable to grow in Tennessee is the potato.
Their research analyzed Google Trends data to establish the vegetable that has highest search volume for ‘how to grow’ it in each American state in the past five years.
In their research, it revealed that potatoes had the highest number of states searching for them the most, with a total of 14 states, including Tennessee, Utah, Illinois and Montana. Coming in second was cucumbers followed by beetroots, carrots, and zucchini.
How to Grow Potatoes
Expert Logan Hailey from AllAboutGardening.com shares that the best way to grow potatoes is to purchase seed potatoes. There are a few things to look for when buying seed potatoes. Make sure that “they are disease-free and in good condition, otherwise they may rot in the ground, or worse, spread a nightshade pathogen throughout your garden,” writes Hailey.
You can get certified seed potatoes from a seed company or garden store.
In terms of planting your potato seedlings, Haily suggest the following steps:
- Prepare your garden bed by making 2-4” deep furrows, lay down the potatoes 2-3″ deep in the soil and cover them up.
- Potatoes require full sunlight to thrive. Choose an area of the garden that gets at least 6-8 hours of direct sun every day with no shade from buildings or trees.
- Potatoes generally need 1 to 2” of water per week. Whether through rainfall or added irrigation, be sure that they don’t dry out. The soil should always be moderately damp.
- A slightly acidic pH (6.0 to 7.0) is best and can be achieved with additions of quality compost, leaf litter.
- Mounding or hilling potatoes is the only laborious maintenance required for this crop. They absolutely need to stay underground to prevent the formation of green skins with higher levels of solanine. Once foliage has reached 6-8” tall, it’s time for the first hilling. To hill your potatoes, use a hoe or rake to mound soil from the aisles up along the plant bases.
- Time for harvest. Potatoes take anywhere from 60 -120 days to mature. All you need is a digging fork and a crate. First, push aside any extra mulch on top of the mounds. Dig the garden fork about a foot away from the base of the plant to gently lift the roots without stabbing the potatoes.