How To Grow Potatoes In Colorado

Welcome to our guide on how to grow potatoes in Colorado! If you have a backyard and a passion for gardening, you can achieve a bountiful harvest of potatoes right here in the beautiful state of Colorado. With the right techniques and a little bit of care, you’ll be able to enjoy the satisfaction of growing your own delicious potatoes.

Colorado’s unique climate may present some challenges, but with proper soil preparation, the right potato varieties, and careful attention to watering and pest control, you’ll be well on your way to a successful potato garden. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to grow potatoes in Colorado.

Key Takeaways:

  • Choose the right potato varieties for Colorado’s climate and your desired use, such as russets, reds, and specialties.
  • Purchase certified seed potatoes from reputable sources like garden centers or your local CSU Extension Agent.
  • Prepare your seed potatoes by chitting and cutting them into sections with at least two eyes each.
  • Ensure proper soil preparation by testing pH and nutrient levels, and adding organic matter like finished compost.
  • Plant your potatoes at the right time, taking into consideration soil temperature and spacing requirements.

Types of Potatoes to Grow in Colorado

Gardeners in Colorado have a wide variety of potatoes to choose from, including popular types like russets, reds, and specialties. Fingerling potatoes are also a great option for those looking for something unique. Consider factors like the length of the growing season, disease resistance, and desired use when selecting the right variety for your garden.

Popular Potato Varieties in Colorado

Here are some of the popular potato varieties that thrive in Colorado:

Variety Description
Russets Known for their starchy texture and versatility, russet potatoes are excellent for baking, mashing, and frying.
Reds Red potatoes have a smooth, thin skin and a waxy texture. They are perfect for roasting, boiling, and making potato salads.
Specialties Specialty potatoes come in a range of shapes, sizes, and colors. Some popular varieties include purple potatoes, Yukon Gold, and All Blue potatoes.
Fingerlings Fingerling potatoes are small and elongated with a firm texture. They are great for roasting and adding a unique touch to your dishes.

It’s important to choose potato varieties that are well-suited to the specific conditions in Colorado. Some varieties are more tolerant of the region’s shorter growing season and are resistant to common potato diseases like late blight. Before planting, consider the desired use of the potatoes and the flavor profiles you prefer.

By selecting the right types of potatoes, you can ensure a successful and rewarding potato-growing experience in your Colorado garden.

Getting Seed Potatoes

When it comes to growing potatoes in Colorado, it’s important to start with high-quality seed potatoes. These are specially grown and certified to ensure disease-free and productive plants. It is best to buy certified seed potatoes each spring from reputable sources like garden centers or your local CSU Extension Agent.

While it may be tempting to use potatoes from the grocery store, keep in mind that these are typically treated with a sprout inhibitor and may not grow as well if planted in a garden. Certified seed potatoes, on the other hand, have been inspected and meet the necessary requirements for disease control, giving you a higher chance of a successful crop.

By obtaining your seed potatoes from trusted sources, you are taking an important step in setting the foundation for a healthy and thriving potato garden. So, head over to your local garden center or get in touch with your CSU Extension Agent to get your hands on certified seed potatoes for your Colorado potato-growing adventure.

certified seed potatoes

Table: Pros and Cons of Getting Seed Potatoes from Different Sources

Source Pros Cons
Garden Centers Conveniently available
Expert advice and guidance
Wide variety of potato types
May require a trip to the store
Availability may be limited
CSU Extension Agent Local expertise and support
Personalized recommendations
Access to certified seed potatoes
May require contacting and coordinating with the extension office
Availability may vary
Grocery Store Conveniently accessible
May offer different potato varieties
Potatoes may be treated with sprout inhibitors
Quality and disease resistance may be unpredictable
May not be suitable for planting

Table notes: Garden centers and CSU Extension Agents offer certified seed potatoes, ensuring disease-free plants. Grocery store potatoes are typically treated with sprout inhibitors and may not grow as expected.

Preparing Seed Potatoes

Before planting your potatoes, it’s important to prepare the seed potatoes properly. This involves a process called chitting, which encourages sprouting and helps the potatoes establish better in the soil. Start by placing the seed potatoes in a cool, well-lit area for 1-2 weeks. This will allow them to develop small sprouts, known as chits, which will grow into the potato plants.

When preparing the seed potatoes for planting, it’s recommended to cut them into 1-2 inch sections. Each section should have at least two eyes, or small indentations from which the sprouts will emerge. If you’re using small potatoes, you can plant them whole without cutting. Larger potatoes can be cut into smaller pieces, making sure that each piece has at least two eyes to ensure healthy growth.

When cutting the seed potatoes, it’s important to take precautions to prevent the spread of diseases. Make sure to dip your cutting knife in a 10% bleach solution between potatoes. This will help sterilize the knife and reduce the risk of transmitting any potential infections. Once the seed potatoes are prepared, they can be planted immediately if the soil temperature is 55F or above.

Table: Seed Potato Preparation Guide

Steps Description
Chitting Place seed potatoes in a cool, well-lit area for 1-2 weeks to encourage sprouting.
Cutting Cut seed potatoes into 1-2 inch sections, ensuring each piece has at least two eyes.
Sterilization Dip cutting knife in a 10% bleach solution between potatoes to prevent disease transmission.
Immediate Planting Plant prepared seed potatoes immediately if the soil temperature is 55F or above.

Key Points:

  • Chitting seed potatoes encourages sprouting and better establishment in the soil.
  • Cut seed potatoes into 1-2 inch sections with at least two eyes per piece.
  • Dip cutting knife in a 10% bleach solution between potatoes to prevent disease transmission.
  • Plant prepared seed potatoes immediately if the soil temperature is 55F or above.

“Properly preparing seed potatoes is crucial for successful potato growth. Chitting and cutting the potatoes ensures optimal sprouting and healthy development. Remember to sterilize your cutting knife to prevent the spread of diseases. With the right preparation, you’ll be on your way to a thriving potato crop!”

Soil Preparation and Fertilization

Proper soil preparation is crucial for successfully growing potatoes in Colorado. Before planting, it is recommended to test the soil to assess its pH, organic matter content, and nitrogen levels. This information will help you determine the necessary amendments and fertilizers to ensure optimal potato growth.

One way to improve soil structure and fertility is by adding organic matter. Incorporating well-rotted compost or aged manure into the soil can increase its water-holding capacity, enhance nutrient availability, and encourage beneficial microbial activity.

Did You Know? Adding organic matter to the soil can also improve its drainage, which is important for preventing waterlogging and root rot.

In addition to organic matter, a balanced fertilizer with a proper ratio of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (N:P:K) is essential for healthy potato plants. A popular choice is a 10-10-10 fertilizer, but be sure to follow the specific recommendations for your soil test results.

Soil Testing and Fertilization Strategy

To determine the nutrient needs of your soil, it is advisable to conduct a soil test. This test will provide accurate information about the pH level, nutrient deficiencies, and excesses in your soil. You can obtain soil testing kits from your local cooperative extension or hire a professional soil testing service.

Once you have the soil test results, develop a fertilization strategy based on the specific nutrient requirements of potatoes. This strategy should outline when and how often to apply fertilizers throughout the growing season. Remember to follow the recommended rates and application methods to avoid over-fertilization, which can lead to environmental pollution and plant stress.

By implementing proper soil preparation techniques and developing an effective fertilization strategy, you can provide your potato plants with the optimal conditions for growth and maximize your harvest.

Table: Nutrient Recommendations for Potato Fertilization

Nutrient Recommended Level Application Method
Nitrogen (N) 60-120 lbs/acre Split application: 1/3 at planting, 1/3 during tuber initiation, 1/3 during tuber bulking
Phosphorous (P) 60-120 lbs/acre Incorporate in soil before planting or apply as a side-dressing when plants have established
Potassium (K) 80-160 lbs/acre Incorporate in soil before planting or apply as a side-dressing during tuber initiation

soil preparation

Planting Potatoes

planting potatoes

Now that you have prepared your seed potatoes and your soil, it’s time to plant them in your garden. Follow these steps to ensure successful potato planting:

  1. Check the soil temperature: Before planting, make sure the soil temperature is at least 55F during the day and 45F at night. This ensures that the potatoes will have the right conditions to germinate and grow.
  2. Prepare the planting area: Dig a trench about four inches deep, one foot apart, in rows that are about three feet apart. This spacing allows the potatoes to have enough room to grow.
  3. Plant the seed potatoes: Place the seed potato pieces cut side down into the trench, ensuring that each piece has at least two eyes. If your potatoes are small, you can plant them whole without cutting. Larger potatoes can be cut into smaller pieces.
  4. Cover and mound the soil: Cover the seed potatoes with soil and lightly press it down. As the potatoes grow, continue to cover the stems with soil until you reach the top of the trench. This mounding process helps prevent greening of the tubers and encourages more potato formation.

Remember to water the newly planted potatoes well and monitor their progress throughout the growing season. Proper planting and care will increase your chances of a successful potato harvest.

Watering and Care

Proper watering is crucial for the health and productivity of your potato plants. Consistent soil moisture is key to ensuring that the tubers develop properly and that your plants can withstand the challenges of Colorado’s climate. It’s important to monitor the moisture levels and adjust your watering schedule accordingly.

Mulching is a beneficial practice that can help retain soil moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weed growth around your potato plants. You can use organic mulch materials such as straw, grass clippings, or compost. Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plants, taking care to avoid covering the foliage.

Pest and disease prevention is essential for maintaining a healthy potato crop. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of pests, such as Colorado potato beetles or aphids, and take appropriate measures to control their population. Implementing integrated pest management strategies can help minimize the need for chemical interventions.

“Consistent soil moisture is key to ensuring that the tubers develop properly and that your plants can withstand the challenges of Colorado’s climate.”

Pest and Disease Prevention

There are several effective ways to prevent pests and diseases in your potato garden. Consider implementing crop rotation, which involves planting potatoes in a different area of your garden each year. This practice helps disrupt pest and disease cycles and reduces the likelihood of issues recurring.

Companion planting is another useful strategy. Some plants, such as marigolds or basil, can help deter pests that commonly affect potatoes. Plant them alongside your potatoes to create a natural barrier against pests.

Regular visual inspection is crucial for early detection of pests or diseases. Check the undersides of leaves, stems, and the soil surrounding your plants. If you notice any signs of trouble, promptly address the issue using organic or suitable controls.

Pest Description Control Methods
Colorado Potato Beetle A voracious feeder that can defoliate plants Handpicking, insecticidal sprays
Aphids Suck sap from plants, leaving them weak and stunted Beneficial insects, insecticidal soap
Early Blight Fungal disease that causes dark spots on leaves Regular pruning, fungicidal sprays

By following proper watering practices, implementing pest and disease prevention measures, and promptly addressing any issues that arise, you can cultivate healthy and productive potato plants in your Colorado garden.

Watering Potatoes

Common Potato Pests and Diseases

When growing potatoes in your Colorado garden, it’s important to be aware of common pests and diseases that can affect your crop. By understanding the signs and symptoms, you can take proactive measures to control and prevent damage to your plants. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most prevalent potato pests and diseases in Colorado.

Potato Pests

One of the primary pests that can wreak havoc on potato plants is the Colorado potato beetle. These small yellow-orange insects with black stripes can cause significant damage by feeding on the leaves. Another common pest is the aphid, which can transmit viral diseases to your potato plants. Flea beetles are another pest to watch out for, as they can chew small holes in the leaves.

To control and prevent these pests, consider implementing integrated pest management strategies. This involves regularly inspecting your plants for signs of infestation and using organic pesticides or natural predators when necessary. Additionally, practicing crop rotation and interplanting with companion plants that repel pests can help deter these unwanted visitors from your potato patch.

Potato Diseases

When it comes to diseases, one of the most notorious is late blight, a fungal infection that can quickly spread and devastate an entire potato crop. Symptoms include dark lesions on leaves and stems, which eventually lead to plant death. Another common disease is early blight, which causes dark spots on leaves and can affect tuber quality.

The key to preventing potato diseases is practicing good hygiene and sanitation in your garden. Remove and destroy any infected plants or leaves promptly to prevent the spread of disease. Additionally, using disease-resistant potato varieties and providing proper spacing between plants to promote air circulation can help reduce the risk of infection.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to managing potato pests and diseases. By taking proactive measures and staying vigilant throughout the growing season, you can ensure a healthier, more productive potato crop in your Colorado garden.

potato pests and diseases

Harvesting and Storing Potatoes

Harvesting potatoes is an exciting and rewarding part of the potato growing process. When the plants have died back and the tubers are mature, it’s time to dig up your delicious potatoes. Start by gently digging around the plants using a garden fork or shovel, being careful not to damage the potatoes in the process. It’s important to harvest them before the first frost, as cold temperatures can damage the tubers.

After harvesting, take a moment to appreciate your bountiful crop of potatoes. Sort through them and set aside any green or damaged potatoes, which should be discarded. Green potatoes contain a toxic compound called solanine, which can cause illness if consumed in large quantities. To ensure the longevity of your harvested potatoes, it’s essential to store them properly.

Storing potatoes in a cool, dry place is crucial to prevent them from spoiling. The ideal storage conditions are a temperature between 45-50°F (7-10°C) and a humidity level of approximately 70-80%. Avoid storing potatoes in the refrigerator, as the cold temperature can convert the starches to sugar and affect the flavor and texture. Instead, find a cool spot in your home, such as a basement or pantry, where the temperature remains consistent.

Harvesting potatoes

When storing potatoes, it’s essential to keep them in a well-ventilated area to prevent moisture buildup and the growth of mold. You can store them in mesh bags, paper bags, or wooden crates to ensure proper airflow. Avoid storing potatoes near onions, as onions produce gases that can cause potatoes to sprout prematurely. Regularly check your stored potatoes for any signs of spoilage and remove any that show signs of decay to prevent the spread of rot to the rest of your crop.

By following proper harvesting practices and storing your potatoes correctly, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor for several months. Whether you plan to bake, roast, or mash them, your homegrown potatoes are sure to be a delicious addition to your meals.


Congratulations on completing this comprehensive guide to potato gardening in Colorado! By following the tips and techniques outlined in this article, you are well on your way to growing a successful potato crop right in your own backyard.

In your journey to becoming a potato gardening expert, you’ve learned about the different types of potatoes that thrive in Colorado, the importance of using certified seed potatoes, and the proper preparation and planting techniques for a bountiful harvest. You’ve also gained valuable insights into soil preparation, fertilization, and watering strategies to optimize potato growth.

Remember, maintaining a healthy potato crop requires vigilance in identifying and preventing common pests and diseases. Regular inspection and proper harvesting and storage techniques will ensure that you can enjoy your homegrown potatoes for months to come.

Thanks for joining us on this potato gardening adventure. We hope you find success and enjoyment in your future potato growing endeavors in the beautiful state of Colorado!


Can I grow potatoes in Colorado?

Yes, potatoes can be successfully grown in Colorado home gardens.

What are the types of potatoes I can grow in Colorado?

You can choose from popular types like russets, reds, specialties, and fingerlings.

Where should I get seed potatoes?

It is best to buy certified seed potatoes from reputable sources like garden centers or your local CSU Extension Agent.

How do I prepare seed potatoes?

Seed potatoes should be chitted, cut into 1-2 inch sections, and dipped in a 10% bleach solution. They can be planted immediately if the soil temperature is 55F or above.

What soil preparation and fertilization do potatoes require?

It is important to test the soil and add finished compost. A balanced fertilizer with a ratio of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (N:P:K) such as 10-10-10 can be applied before planting and throughout the growing season.

How do I plant potatoes?

Dig a trench about four inches deep and one foot apart. Place the seed potato pieces cut side down and cover with soil. Continue to cover the stems with soil as the potatoes grow.

How much water do potatoes need?

Potatoes require about two inches of water per week. Monitor the weather, soil type, and water needs of other plants in your garden to determine the appropriate watering frequency and duration.

What pests and diseases should I watch out for when growing potatoes in Colorado?

Common pests and diseases include aphids, blight, Colorado potato beetles, and flea beetles. Regular visual inspection and preventive measures are important for maintaining plant health.

When and how do I harvest and store potatoes?

Potatoes can be harvested once the plants have died back and the tubers are mature. Gently dig around the plants to avoid damaging the potatoes. Store harvested potatoes in a cool, dry place.

What is the conclusion of growing potatoes in Colorado?

Growing potatoes in Colorado can be a rewarding experience with the right techniques and care. By following proper soil preparation, selecting suitable potato varieties, and implementing good watering and pest control practices, you can enjoy a successful potato harvest in your own backyard.

Source Links

Press ESC to close