Growing Yellow Potatoes

Easy-to-grow yellow flesh potatoes are a bit sweeter and have more antioxidants than America’s more popular white fleshed potatoes.
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How to Grow Potatoes 05:02

Joe Lamp'l shows how to plant, grow and harvest potatoes.

Yellow flesh potatoes, which get their color from a natural plant pigment called anthoxanthin, are much more popular in Europe than in America but are becoming more widely grown for their color, firm texture, and luscious flavor. Like blue and purple varieties, they are loaded with antioxidants, making them a healthier choice than white-flesh varieties. Yellow potatoes also tend to be somewhat sweeter and require less flavorings than the starchier white varieties.

Yellow Potato Varieties

Yukon Gold is by far the most popular yellow potato. The medium to large oval tubers have a thin gold skin and light yellow flesh, and the eyes sometimes have a pinkish color. Other yellow varieties include the heirloom Yellow Finn with its unique pear shape, Delta Gold, Bintje, and Saginaw Gold

Charlotte is a relatively small, round yellow potato with creamy yellow skin and light yellow flesh. Peanut Fingerling is a small, teardrop-shaped potato with a nutty flavor. Its early harvest makes it ideal for climates with short cool seasons, or for growing in containers.

Growing Yellow Potatoes

Yellow potato plants need seven or eight hours of sunshine, well-drained moist soil, and good fertility. Plant potatoes during cool weather when there is no danger of a freeze but when temperatures remain below the mid-80s: higher temperatures reduce tuber formation.

Find “seed” potatoes online, but be sure to order early while supplies last. Cut seed potatoes into small pieces, each with one or two small leaf bud “eyes.” Plant three inches deep and a foot or so apart in rows, hills, raised beds, or containers. Work in an all-purpose fertilizer before planting and add an extra bit around the sides of plants a month after plants start growing.

Potato tubers grow on short stolons on lower stems, which can turn green if exposed to sunlight. Avoid this and its bitter flavors and the buildup of a poisonous plant alkaloid called solanine by piling soil or thick mulch around small plants, repeating as needed until six or eight inches of lower stems are buried.

Harvesting Potatoes

Small “early” tubers can be dug by hand about three months after planting, but for larger, mature tubers wait another month or when plants begin to turn yellow. Dig carefully to avoid cuts and bruises, gently brushing off soil instead of washing which can lead to decay during storage.

Store mature tubers in a cool, dry, dark area for a few weeks to three or four months, checking regularly for shriveling and decay. 

Next Up

Growing White Potatoes

White potatoes are classics with light tan skin and pure white flesh, and are indispensable for using in nearly any recipe but are superb when boiled or fried.

Growing Organic Potatoes

Growing organic potatoes requires careful attention to soil preparation, choosing early-producing disease-resistant potato varieties, and following good cultural practices, and using natural fertilizers, crop rotation, row covers, and if necessary, the careful application of organic pesticides.

Growing Small Potatoes

Many gardeners love hand-harvesting small, immature potato tubers early in the season from beneath still-growing plants. They tend to be extra sweet and tender.

Growing Waxy Potatoes

Waxy potatoes can be any shape, size, or color, but tend to be relatively low in starch, which causes them to retain their shape when cooked, making them ideal for boiling and chopping, not for mashing or baking.

Growing Fingerling Potatoes

A fingerling potato is grown to maturity like most other potatoes, but comes from a special variety known to produce unusual tubers which are small and long, shaped much like fingers.

Growing Blue Potatoes

Blue potatoes are not just fun-to-grow, interestingly-colored for cooking, but also often have subtle flavors and are very high in antioxidants, making them extra nutritious.

Growing Heirloom Potatoes

Heirloom potatoes have been passed down, year after year, for many decades, and offer unique shapes, colors, and cooking qualities worth trying in the home garden.

Growing Purple Potatoes

What are purple potatoes? They are natural varieties with deep purple skins and flesh, high in antioxidants which makes them extra healthful to eat.

Growing Red Potatoes

Red potatoes are generally easy-to-grow small potatoes with thin, edible red skins and white flesh, and are the most common potatoes used for boiling and steaming.

Growing Russet Potatoes

Russet potatoes are classic big, brown cut-and-fry or baking potatoes – large, uniform, and dependable producers in the home garden.

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