Indeterminate Potatoes vs Determinate Potatoes – Growing Tips, Facts, and More!

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Potatoes are one of the best foods in the world!

Red potatoes, purple potatoes, yellow potatoes – I love them all!

Not only are potatoes delicious and hardy – but they’re also affordable and fun to grow.

With the cost of food and commodities skyrocketing these days, potatoes are more popular than ever with my homesteading friends.

That’s why you might wonder about indeterminate potatoes vs determinate potatoes.

  • How long do they take to grow?
  • Which is best for gardening newbies?
  • Is there a difference in taste?
  • The seven best ways to eat homegrown potatoes!
  • And more!

I’ve been growing potatoes for years (among other delicious tubers like Jerusalem artichokes), and I’m happy to share my best potato insights with you.

Let’s talk potatoes, shall we?

Indeterminate Potatoes vs Determinate Potatoes – What’s the Difference?

fresh potatoes from the garden
Check out these harvested beauties! It looks like enough fresh potatoes to last for an entire season. Plenty of home fries and mashed potatoes for everyone!

Everyone knows about indeterminate tomatoes.

But what about indeterminate potatoes vs determinate potatoes?

Is there a difference in how they grow – and taste?

Here’s the primary difference between indeterminate vs determinate potatoes:

  • Indeterminate potatoes are late-season potatoes.
  • Determinate potatoes are early season potatoes.

When most gardeners I know talk about indeterminate potatoes vs determinate potatoes – they’re talking about late-season potatoes vs early-season potatoes!

Determinate potatoes have the distinction of growing in single layers. They’re usually smaller than indeterminate potatoes.

Indeterminate potatoes are different because they grow in many layers and the potatoes are usually much heavier and thicker.

When it comes to potatoes, here’s a sample sliding scale of maturity to consider.

How Long Does it Take for Potatoes to Mature?

  • Very determinate: Less than 70 days
  • Slightly determinate: 70 – 85 days
  • Midseason: 85 days – 100 days
  • Slightly indeterminate: 100 days – 135 days
  • Very indeterminate: More than 135 days

What Do Potatoes Need to Grow on Time?

  • Plenty of sunlight (at least 6 hours per day)
  • Warm temperatures (around 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit is best.)
  • Adequate water (at least 2 inches of water per week.)
  • Rich soil (at least 5-8 inches deep.)
  • No fancy fertilizers, insecticides, or artificial chemicals are needed! (compost works best!)

Indeterminate Potatoes vs Determinate Potatoes – Which is Best to Grow for New Gardeners?

freshly harvested potatoes in garden soil

Determinate potatoes are probably the better choice because they’re smaller and easier to grow.

But, the answer isn’t that straightforward.

Your best potato choice also depends upon how quickly you want to harvest your potatoes.

If you want a potato cultivar that harvests quickly, then I recommend a determinate potato variety.

But, if you enjoy the advantage of a long growing season, or if you crave heavier potatoes, then I recommend indeterminate potatoes.

So, which sounds better to you?

I’ve grown several potato varieties and, I’ve also devoured countless potato dishes over the years. I love them all – sweet potatoes and their fun companion plants are among my favorites!

The following are my top potato choices for early, mid, and late-season potatoes.

Let’s take a look!

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Best Determinate Potatoes (Early Season)

Best Midseason Potatoes

Best Indeterminate Potatoes (Late Season)

Indeterminate Potatoes vs Determinate Potatoes Growing Tips

organic potatoes freshly harvested from garden
Look at these organic potatoes freshly harvested from the garden. They look beautiful! Time to gently rinse them off. And then – let them cure in the basement for a week. Or two!

Let me share the most vital potato growing tips I’ve ever learned after potato gardening for years.

The first tip is all about timing.

If you live in a cold New England climate, then you probably realize that in the world of gardening – timing is everything – doubly so for indeterminate potatoes!

Potatoes are rugged and can tolerate cool weather – even 50 degrees at night.

But beware!

Your potatoes are still susceptible to frost – so you need to time your crop carefully so you can harvest your potatoes before cold weather wreaks havoc upon your crops!

Always check your last frost date with the Old Farmer’s Almanac and plan your potato planting accordingly!

Do Indeterminate Potatoes Grow Underground?

Another question a lot of potato growers ask is if all potatoes grow underground – even indeterminate potatoes.

The answer is yes!

Determinate and indeterminate potatoes grow underground!

You’ll notice that potato plants have a beautiful small tree above the soil.

But, the potato tubers develop around the original potato seed roughly 8-12 inches deep in the soil.

Your determinate (and indeterminate) potatoes love moist and nutrient-rich soil around 6-10 inches deep – at least.

There’s another reason that your potatoes must grow underground – because direct sunlight hurts them – kind of like in the movie Gremlins!

If your potatoes experience intense direct sunlight, they may develop a potentially deadly alkaloid called solanine.

That’s also why I urge my gardening friends to plant their potatoes at least 5-6 inches deep and consider adding fresh layers of soil atop your potatoes as they develop to prevent sunlight from damaging your crops.

Potato Blossum
Most indeterminate potato cultivars I’ve grown take up to four months to mature. Sometimes, a little longer. But – don’t grow potatoes with a stopwatch! Instead, pay attention to the potato leaves and plant flowers. When the potato leaves wilt, it’s a good indication your potatoes are ready for harvesting!

Genius Potato Planting and Spacing Tricks

Here are some genius planting tricks for indeterminate and determinate potatoes.

Try to plan for enough room as possible for your potatoes! If you can space your spuds about 10 – 16 inches apart, that’s perfect.

If you cramp your potatoes, your spuds won’t have enough room to develop to their best potential. Doubly so when they’re 6-10 inches deep and competing for soil room, oxygen, and nutrients!

When planting, make sure that the eye of the potato points upward and toward the sun!

If your soil is hard and clumpy, then take the time to rototill your soil for at least 6-8 inches deep – go 6-12 inches deep (or more) if you have the inclination and the energy.

Once your spuds develop, remember that they get thirsty! Give your potato plant a few inches of water per week – if you live in a hot arid climate, consider more.

When the stalks and vegetation of your potato plant begin to yellow and droop late into the season – it’s a good sign that your potatoes are ready to harvest!

Grab your favorite shovel, a basket (or bucket), and begin to dig up the potatoes!

After you harvest your taters, you may want to spray them with a hose to rinse them off.

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Do Potato Growing Bags Work for Indeterminate Potatoes?

Many of my gardening friends ask me if potato growing bags work for growing potatoes on a budget.

I think so, yes!

I think that a solid, deep, and thick potato bag can work wonders – all potatoes love rich, deep, and nutrient-dense soil – whether in the garden, on the farm, directly into the garden soil, or a potato growing bag.

Here are my favorite potato growing bags:

Amazon product

Remember that your determinate and indeterminate potatoes also require six hours of direct sunlight per day – no matter where or how you grow them!

There’s another little-known advantage of growing potatoes in a bucket or a bag.

You can move your potato growing bag around your yard throughout the day so that your spuds enjoy the most and best sunlight possible.

Determinate and Indeterminate Potato Pests

Delicious Home Fries
Homemade potato home fries are the best! They transform your first daily meal into an epic and savory breakfast. All you need now is a few farm-fresh eggs. And toast! Don’t forget to add a small side of ketchup. Or – if it’s later in the day, sour cream! 🙂

Be cautious!

Garden pests eagerly plan to gnaw at the stalks of your potatoes – and worse.

One of the most famous potato pests your early season potatoes will encounter is the infamous (and dreadful) potato beetle!

Some of my gardening friends ask me how to stop the pesky potato beetle from eagerly chomping on their potato spuds mercilessly and without relent.

There is no easy answer – you need to manually scan your potato vine for potato beetles and other pests. (Also, beware the hornworm – which indiscriminately snacks upon your tomatoes and potatoes!)

If you only have a few potato bags or potato containers – scouting for potato beetles isn’t hard.

Take a few minutes per day and carefully inspect your potato vine. Do you see any creepy crawlers?

Manually remove any potato beetles from your potato plant – and toss the beetle into a jug of water.

Add a small dash of natural dish soap into the bottle to help eradicate the beetles.

If you feel the urge to use pesticides or synthetic herbicides – don’t!

Not only are potato beetles infamously resistant to pesticides – but who knows how the unnatural chemicals can harm your spuds.

The 7 Best Ways to Cook Homegrown Potatoes

It doesn’t matter if you prefer indeterminate vs determinate potatoes – the best part comes when you eat them!

I’ve had debates with my fellow gardening friends about how early season potatoes taste compared to late-season potatoes.

Some potatoes are sweet, some are buttery, some are smokey, and some have a nutty taste! All potatoes are different – and I think it’s tough to classify potato tastes based upon their maturity date.

Some health gurus also say that potatoes aren’t healthy – but I’m not so sure.

Potatoes have oodles of magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and fiber.

Potatoes are also hardy and can fill you up and fuel a morning of manual weed removal, studying for school, or hustling in the office.

That’s why I’m happy to share 7 of the best ways you can cook and serve potatoes to your family – whether you prefer indeterminate or determinate.

# 1 – Potato Nachos

If you’re ready for a significant snack or if you want to turn your homegrown determinate potatoes into a succulent feast, then potato nachos are my top pick.

Add a thick layer of melted cheddar cheese, diced onions, guacamole, chopped tomatoes, and sour cream to a heaping mound of thick-cut, crispy homemade fries.

The results?

I promise your entire family shall savor the gesture and thank you profusely! Make sure to serve the potatoes and cheese warm – and the sour cream, guacamole, and tomatoes cold.

The contrast in temperature and flavors will make your tastebuds dance!

# 2 – Homemade Steak Fries

Steak fries are the best way to make use of your oversized, plump, and delicious indeterminate potatoes!

Nothing supplements a big fat juicy steak, a toasted tuna fish sandwich, or a zesty veggie burger like thick-cut homemade steak fries!

Drizzle your freshly-cut fries with a dash of virgin olive oil and Himalayan sea salt for an all-natural snack that will drive your tastebuds wild.

# 3 – Waffle Fries

There’s a farm stand near my house that serves thick waffle fries fresh from the oven.

The fries are crispy, lightly salted, and taste heavenly when dipped in a honey barbeque sauce. You can enjoy the same thing at home if you have fresh backyard potatoes.

Snag this nifty potato cutter on Amazon for a couple of bucks if you want waffle fries that your kids (and family) will savor.

# 4 – Mashed Potatoes

Here’s something that works perfectly for indeterminate or determinate potatoes.

Mashed potatoes!

If you want the secret to delicious homemade mashed potatoes, it’s to add a dash of all-natural butter.

Also, don’t skin the potatoes! The potato skins add a marvelous texture and contain loads of nutrients!

Don’t forget to smother your freshly mashed taters with some homemade gravy for the ultimate dinner dish worth serving during your next family barbeque.

# 5 – Hash Browns

Food is one of the only things that can motivate me to get out of a warm, comfortable bed in the morning!

But, not just any food – I’m talking about something crispy, hardy, flavorful, and savory. I want the ultimate breakfast. Something that goes together wonderfully with scrambled eggs – with a splash of ketchup.

I’m talking about homemade hash browns!

Very easy to make, hash browns are probably the best way to upgrade your eggs.

Try using this waffle maker machine if you want the perfect homemade hash brown every time – no fancy culinary skills required.

# 6 – Homemade Potato Chips

I’m ashamed to say that I’m addicted to potato chips – they’re one of my favorite foods!

The problem with most potato chips is that they have loads of unnatural ingredients and processed oils that I wouldn’t recommend to anyone.

That’s why homemade potato chips are far superior to store-bought! You can season with olive oil and salt for an all-natural flavor.

Consider reading about this Mandoline food slicer if you want an elegant way to cut perfect potato chips without fuss.

# 7 – Potato Salad

Potato salad is the perfect companion for any barbeque when you’re grilling chicken, ribs, brisket, or burgers for your family get-together.

If you want the best flavor, keep it simple. Add a pinch of mayonnaise, fresh ground pepper, a tiny dash of salt, diced celery stalks, and optionally, a hard-boiled egg or two.

I guarantee that when you tell your friends that the indeterminate and determinate potatoes they’re eating came from your garden – they’ll crack a smile and enjoy the meal all the more.

Do You Have Any Indeterminate vs Determinate Potato Growing or Recipe Tips? Please Share!

Okay fine.

I confess!

Potatoes are probably my favorite food!

I love the taste of thin and crispy home fries fresh from the frying pan – and mashed potatoes drowning in homemade gravy.

For bonus points – add two fresh fried eggs over easy!

My mouth is watering as I write this article.

Because I want potatoes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – determinate and indeterminate both.

What about you?

Do you love potatoes as much as I do?

Please let us know your favorite types of potatoes to grow in your garden!

Indeterminate potatoes vs determinate potatoes – which potato do you like more?

Which potatoes are the easiest for beginners?

Also, which potato recipes are your favorite?

We love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for reading!

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  1. I don’t think you meant to say that indeterminate potatoes develop tubers 8-12 FEET under ground. I think you meant 8-12 INCHES, right?

    1. Hey there Bob!
      I couldn’t find a definitive answer as to whether they’re determinate or indeterminate!
      Strangely, suppliers often don’t specify which type the potato is – it would be helpful if they did!
      I’ll leave the comment here – hopefully, one of our readers has grown Midnight Purple before and can enlighten us 😀

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