Why should I transplant potato plants?
Can you transplant potato plants to any spot in your garden? I say yes. And there are plenty of reasons why you should.
I'm happy that so many of you decided to save your potato plants for a second harvest. I want to hear all about your results!
If you haven't read my previous post about saving potato plants, it's simply about giving your plants a chance to produce new potatoes, by planting them again in either soil or mulch.
I got a few questions about how it's done, this was apparently the burning question:
Can't you simply leave the potato plant in the soil it was growing in before?
You can, but there are few good reasons why it's a better idea to transplant potato plants:
- If you put the potato plant in a bucket, the mulch/soil will get extra nice and warm in summer, which makes it easier for the potato plant to root and produce more tubers.
- It's more convenient to water the plant in a bucket, it can be a bit sensitive when you transplant it and the transition to a bucket might be better.
- You can move the bucket to a sheltered spot in fall.
The biggest reason why you might want to consider putting the plant in a new spot actually has to do with the old one, where the potato used to grow.
If you have any experience growing potatoes, you know how wonderfully airy the soil where potatoes have grown is. You basically only need to use your hand to prepare a new sowing. The soil is so easy to work with. I want to use this top-quality soil for new projects that I can enjoy in summer, fall and winter. The potatoes, that are quite low-maintenance, can grow in a bucket with some old plant parts and still produce a really nice harvest. They don't need these top spots as much as some other vegetables do. This might be the best reason to transplant potato plants.
More about potatoes: Get an early harvest of potatoes
The best spots
I grow the early potatoes in some of the best-sheltered spots in the garden. This year, I'm growing them in a polytunnel and I have grown them in pallet collar beds or other sheltered areas in the garden before. These areas are so valuable. I use them for the vegetables I grow for a late harvest, so the already established potato plants will have to be moved. I will write more about how you can use the newly harvested area later.
The top picture shows the potatoes in my polytunnel, I'm growing it in three rows. I expect that I can count on a harvest from the plants in my pots and buckets just around the time when the three rows in my tunnel are done.
Read more about potatoes: Chitting potatoes indoors
Remove the potato leaves
Someone posted a question about why I cut the potato leaves. Well, the potato is quite sensitive to being moved and it's really important to give the roots an opportunity to grow properly in its new spot. This happens a lot easier if the plant doesn't have to support large foliage. Cutting the leaves off simply helps the plant focus on establishing strong roots in a new location.
So to sum it up, you can basically transplant potato plants to any given spot in your garden. It might be a good idea to think about how you plan on using the spots later during the season though. Some vegetables are ideal to sow in summer and if you, like many others, feel like you won't have that many good locations later, then you might as well put them in a bucket!