The poor potato doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Most people fixate on its carb content, but this tuber provides about 70% of the required daily values of vitamin C and healthy doses of vitamins B6, B1, B3, and potassium.
There are hundreds of early, mid-season, and late-season varieties to choose from if you're looking to grow your own fresh-from-the-garden potatoes. Plant seed potatoes in rows, hills, raised beds, or containers, and, within a few short months, you’ll be harvesting your favorite spuds.
The oblong russet potato is high in amylose starch but low in moisture. Although it’s a great choice for baked potatoes, latkes, or hash browns, they tend to fall apart in soups or stews.
This type of potato has thick skin, so it won’t grow well in hardiness zones above zone 8. The russet is a mid-season variety, and you can harvest it between 95 and 110 days after planting. In warmer zones, like zone 8, plant tubers as early as midsummer, and they’ll be ready for harvesting by fall.
One of the best types of potatoes for mashing, the Yukon Gold is a low-starch, yellow-fleshed variety with a moist texture and smooth, fragile skin.
They love cool or cold climates and are early season cultivars. Start them from small tubers or from pieces of larger potatoes that have at least one “eye.” Plant in March or April in trenches around six inches deep and 10 to 14 inches apart. Yukons need a minimum of six hours of sunlight per day along with consistent moisture. They’re usually ready to harvest in late June or July, depending on your climate.
An all-purpose potato, the Kennebec is a large, white-fleshed potato with a thin, smooth skin and a starchy texture.
This variety features good resistance to both viruses and disease, and it produces high yields. It stores well for longer periods, making it a great choice for home gardens. It’s a mid-to-late-season potato, so sow in rows in early spring, close together to prevent plants from growing too large. Since this variety tends to sunburn, make sure your Kennebecs get some afternoon shade if you live in warmer, sunny climates.
Fingerling potatoes like the Russian Banana are small, elongated, crescent-shaped potatoes with yellowish, khaki-colored skin. This variety is a waxy potato with a thin skin, making it an excellent choice for roasting, smashing, or potato salad. It adapts well to different types of soil, maturing between 100 and 130 days after planting.
Gardeners in zones 3 through 9 will find this easy-to-grow variety has good disease resistance and high yields.
New potatoes aren’t a specific variety. Just about any potato harvested while it’s still young and smaller in size is a “new” potato. They tend to be waxier, sweeter, and contain lots of moisture. If this is the type of potato you’re seeking to grow, plant tubers when soil temperatures are between 60 and 70 degrees. If it’s an early-season variety, plant six to eight inches deep, eyes up, in March or early April. You can plant late-season types in July. Most varieties will be ready to harvest within eight to ten weeks, depending on your local climate.
If you’re seeking a flavorful, impressive fingerling potato for soups, purees, sauces, and salads, plant this one in your garden. It has beautiful, rose-colored skin and moderately dry flesh, making it a popular mid-to-late-season waxy potato that matures in 80 to 90 days.
Plant in well-drained soil, ensure it gets full sun, and that’s all it requires to thrive. Stick with certified, disease-resistant seed potatoes for optimal yields.
An all-purpose potato with a dark-blue skin, the mid-season Purple Majesty is packed with flavor. Its deep-purple flesh is due to high levels of carotenoids and anthocyanins, which are super-potent antioxidants. Plus, the purple pigment doesn’t disappear during the cooking process, making for striking dishes.
The tubers are small, so no need to cut them up into smaller pieces before planting. Harvest mature potatoes after the plant turns yellow, usually about four months in.
These delightful, all-purpose potatoes aren’t easy to find at local grocers, so solve the issue by growing them yourself. They’re a medium to large tater with a buttery, smooth consistency and sweet taste. Like other potatoes, this variety thrives with full sun and well-drained soil.
Avoid planting the German Butterball in spots where you’ve previously planted tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, or other types of potatoes to avoid disease issues.
One of the most popular red-skinned varieties, the Red Bliss has a high sugar content and a moist white flesh. It’s a waxy variety and an excellent choice for roasting or potato salads, but not for mashing. Its red skin indicates that it’s rich in antioxidants.
When harvesting this variety, wait until two weeks after the vines have faded and dried. It allows the potato skin to toughen and increases its shelf life. Once removed from the ground, lay them out in a shady spot. Wash them, then allow them to dry overnight.
Falling somewhere between waxy and starchy, this versatile potato is a fairly new species. The white-skinned, white-fleshed Marcy is a late-maturing potato that’s also a high yielder. It is highly resistant to brown rot, common scab, and the golden nematode, although it can fall prey to late blight and potato wart.
Unlike many other potato varieties, Marcy thrives in southern climates such as Florida. Plant these tubers in rows spaced 40 inches apart and allow eight inches between plants. Prevent excessive soil moisture for the best results.