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Potato spacing - rows vs grids

 
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Hi,

All the potato growing recommendations describe planting potatoes in rows spacing them 30-37cm / 12-15'' apart, and spacing the rows roughly 60-75cm apart. I'm guessing part of the reason for this recommendation is for ease of planting/harvesting if you are using animals or machinery.

I prefer growing potatoes in a triangular grid in beds about 4' wide. I did this last year and my yields were fine as far as I could tell, but I didn't weigh anything or compare them to anything.

Does anyone else grow potatoes in a grid rather than in rows? What kind of spacing do you use between potatoes? If 12-15'' works within a row, would that be fine to use in a grid?

It would be great to hear if anyone else does a similar thing and what your observations have been, or if you've adapted the spacing advice in other ways.

Thanks!
 
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Hi Meg.  Personally, I don't see any drawbacks to planting in a grid.  I have planted potatoes pretty much every way you can think of and they all work pretty well.  I most often plant them in grids, if I'm understanding you correctly.  I plant them in rows, with the next row staggered.  I have planted them in raised beds made of various things and then I just kind of stick them in anywhere sort of equally spaced but with no real rhyme or reason.  I have planted them in smaller containers that have 3 plants in a triangle.  Potatoes are pretty easy.  I usually put mine a couple feet or so apart, but it depends on the space I'm planting and how many seed potatoes I have on any given year.  The only thing I wouldn't do is put them really close together.
 
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Since my deer protected garden has limited space, i often take the spacing and apply it both directions. If its 15" apart in rows 30 " apart  i go 15" both ways. This may be the grid you referenced to. Alternating each row at a diagonal can gain a little more breathing room.
 
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I am going to transition from ground planting potatoes to raised bed planting, probably this year depending on condition of the bed which I will be checking soon. This is as part of my switch-over to all framed raised beds which are easier on me as I get older. I figure to plant them in a grid, about 12” apart one direction and about 24” apart in the other. The reason for the wider distance is to allow me to hill them up a bit as they grow.
 
Meg Davies
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Thanks for your replies!
Yes by triangular grid I mean rows that are staggered, and evenly spaced in every direction.
If the official advice says 15" apart, and rows 30" apart, but you want to plant in a grid, what I'm wondering is if the best spacing would be 15" apart in every direction, or to increase that spacing a little, say to 20" in every direction.

I guess the best way to find out would be to plant two beds and weigh the results.


 
Meg Davies
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Trace Oswald wrote:Hi Meg.  Personally, I don't see any drawbacks to planting in a grid.  I have planted potatoes pretty much every way you can think of and they all work pretty well.  I most often plant them in grids, if I'm understanding you correctly.  I plant them in rows, with the next row staggered.  I have planted them in raised beds made of various things and then I just kind of stick them in anywhere sort of equally spaced but with no real rhyme or reason.  I have planted them in smaller containers that have 3 plants in a triangle.  Potatoes are pretty easy.  I usually put mine a couple feet or so apart, but it depends on the space I'm planting and how many seed potatoes I have on any given year.  The only thing I wouldn't do is put them really close together.



Hi Trace, thanks for your thoughts. How did you come up with a 2' spacing? What would you say is too close together?
 
Meg Davies
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wayne fajkus wrote:Since my deer protected garden has limited space, i often take the spacing and apply it both directions. If its 15" apart in rows 30 " apart  i go 15" both ways. This may be the grid you referenced to. Alternating each row at a diagonal can gain a little more breathing room.



Yes this is what I mean, and what I did last year. I want to plant as much as possible in the available space.
 
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I don't see any problem with a 15" equidistant planting for russet, Yukon gold or red potatoes, these plants seem to keep the tubers close together and they do love to grow up instead of out.

We use 25 gal totes to grow our sweet potatoes in, they are 18 inches deep. For the above potatoes I use 40 gal tree potting containers that are 24 inches deep, I plant three plants in each of these containers and use composting straw as the hilling material.
Each of our russet containers usually yields about 10 lbs. of good sized potatoes and we usually get about the same yields for reds and golds.
This is from plants that are around 12 inches apart but only 2 inches from the outer wall of the container, the tubers form towards the center of the containers.

Redhawk
 
Trace Oswald
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Meg Davies wrote:

Trace Oswald wrote:Hi Meg.  Personally, I don't see any drawbacks to planting in a grid.  I have planted potatoes pretty much every way you can think of and they all work pretty well.  I most often plant them in grids, if I'm understanding you correctly.  I plant them in rows, with the next row staggered.  I have planted them in raised beds made of various things and then I just kind of stick them in anywhere sort of equally spaced but with no real rhyme or reason.  I have planted them in smaller containers that have 3 plants in a triangle.  Potatoes are pretty easy.  I usually put mine a couple feet or so apart, but it depends on the space I'm planting and how many seed potatoes I have on any given year.  The only thing I wouldn't do is put them really close together.



Hi Trace, thanks for your thoughts. How did you come up with a 2' spacing? What would you say is too close together?



Certainly nothing scientific 😊  I just looked at how far away from the main plant the potatoes were when I dug them,  and gave them a few extra inches. 2 feet or so seemed about right. I don't think it would hurt yields much,  maybe at all if they were closer. I have the room,  so i give them a little extra.  Other people may have better answers for you.  Personally I wouldn't put them closer than a foot apart if I had limited space,  but it's just a gut feeling that a closer spacing may hurt yields.
 
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:composting straw as the hilling material.



This is the key point - if you are accustomed to pulling the soil up to stop the potatoes going green, growing them in a wider spaced row makes it simpler.  But if you can mulch for the same purpose, a grid is fine.
 
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