So, How Far Apart to Plant Potatoes?

Every gardener knows that ensuring you get a successful harvest full of high-quality fruits and veggies down the line begins with getting the most basic elements of planting right.

a few pounds of harvested potatoes on wooden table
a few pounds of harvested potatoes on wooden table

Amending the soil with nutrients, working it to the right consistency and if necessary getting containers or raised beds to maximize your plant’s chances for success.

But one element of planting that is sometimes overlooked is the necessity of proper spacing between plants. Overcrowding plants will usually only harm them, and leaving them too far apart can do the same.

Today we will look at potatoes. So, how far apart should you plant potatoes?

Potatoes should be planted about 1 foot (30 cm) apart to allow room for proper root development and also for hilling as needed. In the ground or in raised beds, rows should be around 3 feet (90 cm) apart.

Potatoes are one of the most ubiquitous vegetables around, but they aren’t quite as common in home gardens as you might think. This is because some people seem to think they’re complicated to grow.

Luckily, that just isn’t true but you will need to get the spacing right if you want to grow potatoes yourself. I’ll tell you everything you need to know in the rest of this article.

Why Potato Spacing is Important 

Getting the spacing of potatoes right is important when planting because it allows each potato plant to have enough space to grow and develop fully, while also allowing you room to hill up the soil around the growing plants.

If the plants are too close together, they will have to compete for resources like sunlight, water, and soil nutrients. This can obviously stunt their growth and result in smaller yields.

On the other hand, plants that are too close are also highly vulnerable to pests, diseases and other threats that will then be able to easily spread between plants.

Crowding means air circulation will be restricted, facilitating mold and fungus that directly attacks greenery on the plants.

When you hear about blight and other diseases wiping out potato crops wholesale, it is usually because of improper spacing and overcrowding.

At the very least, proper spacing ensures you will have enough room to move around, inspect, and care for your plants without risking damage…

How Far Apart Should You Space Potatoes Rows?

Potato rows only need to be about 3 feet apart, though you can leave more room if desired.

This will give you plenty of room to move between the plants, help prevent disease, and also allow for air circulation and sunlight to reach all the plants effectively.

Do Different Potatoes Varieties Require Different Spacing?

Different varieties of potatoes require various amounts of spacing when planting. For example, larger varieties such as Russet or Kennebec potatoes need more space between them compared to smaller varieties like Fingerling or Yukon Gold potatoes.

This is because larger potatoes require more nutrients and space to grow to their full size, meaning they’ll start to crowd even sooner in their growth cycle.

In general, larger potatoes should be planted no less than 12 inches (30 cm) apart and preferably 16 inches (40 cm) or more.

Smaller potato varieties, on the other hand, need less space between plants since they don’t require as much room above or below the soil to grow.

They can be planted from 6-8 inches apart, and row spacing can be as narrow as 2 feet apart (assuming this is navigable for you!).

Small varieties like Fingerling potatoes are trendy and popular for confined areas due to their unique shape, size, and texture.

It’s important to research the specific variety of potatoes you want to grow and understand their growth requirements to ensure optimal spacing is achieved.

What Happens if You Plant Potatoes Too Close Together?

Potatoes that are planted too close together will usually suffer. At first, germination will be sluggish, typically, as plants compete for resources.

As the plants grow, they will start to crowd each other out physically, root and leaf, leading to stunted growth and reduced yields. This crowding will also leave your potatoes prone to diseases and pests, as mentioned above.

In the end, the plants will be entangled and cramped, of lesser quality and difficult to work with. Some plants are also likely to fail and die.

Other Spacing Requirements for Planting Potatoes in Ground

None. Follow all of the guidelines above. You can choose to dig a continuous trench if you don’t want to dig individual holes for each potato.

Either way, make sure you leave plenty of room between rows as described above according to your variety.

Spacing Requirements for Planting Potatoes in Containers

Potatoes are suitable for growing in larger containers, but now you must be sure they have plenty of space to the sides and below so they don’t bind up.

The best container sizes for potatoes are generally at least 12-20 inches deep and wide. When planting in a pot, the spacing depends on how many you can fit inside – usually, it’s best to plant one potato per container.

Spacing When Planting Potatoes in Raised Beds

Planting potatoes in raised beds is much like planting them in ground directly. Follow all of the above guidelines depending on the type of potato you have: typically 12 inches (30 cm) apart, and keep 2 to 3 feet between the raised beds.

If you can do that you will have a much better time tending to your potatoes since they are much easier to reach!

Are Potatoes Suitable for Square Foot Gardening?

Yes, extremely so! The typical spacing requirement of potatoes means that they are a great fit for many square gardening techniques.

Square foot gardening, which uses 1-square foot grids to plan and plant, can be an excellent option for potatoes since it allows precisely the right amount of space between plants (depending on the variety).

This means that in the common 4×4 planting arrangement you can get 16 potato plants in a highly compact and space efficient configuration- and that doesn’t include all of the complimentary plantings you can fit in there, either!

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