Indeterminate vs. Determinate Potatoes + The Best Potato Varieties

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Potatoes are a staple food in many households around the world and are one of the most popular and versatile crops that can be grown in a home garden. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, growing potatoes can be a fun and rewarding experience.

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Before getting started on your potato garden, it’s important to know what kind of potato you’re growing and how to best support it for a large and healthy harvest! First, you must decide what variety of potato is going to suit your families needs in taste, texture and how you’re going to use it in the kitchen. Next, you will need to determine the best way to grow those potatoes. Knowing whether those potatoes are determinate or indeterminate is going to be helpful in its growing conditions and how you need to treat the plant.

Check out how to grow potatoes in our ultimate guide!

potato varieties

Indeterminate vs Determinate

Potatoes can be divided into two main categories: indeterminate and determinate. These terms are used to describe a particular variety of potato plant based on the growth habit of their foliage and stems.

Indeterminate Potatoes

Also known as long-season potatoes, indeterminate potatoes continue to grow and produce leaves and flowers throughout the growing season. On average, it takes about 80 to 120 days for the plant to fully stop growing, making them best suited for regions with long growing seasons.

This type of plant requires a mounding technique to get the most out of the plant. This is achieved by continuing to pile loose soil, straw or other mulch material on top of the plant so that only 2 inches of the top is exposed at all times.

Mounding is done for indeterminate varieties because the plant will continue to produce layers of tubers as it grows. These potatoes are often grown in commercial operations due to their high yields.

Some common indeterminate varieties include some Russets (burbank, ranger, century, nugget, canela), German Butterball, Red Pontiac, Red Maria, and Elba.

Determinate Potatoes

On the other hand, determinate potatoes are grow in a more compact form and produce a shorter stem. They are considered the fast-growing option because they only produce tubers where the seed was planted and slightly above.

These potatoes are often referred to as short-season potatoes and are best suited for regions with shorter growing seasons or succession sowed for multiple harvest throughout the growing season. They are typically ready for harvest 70 to 90 days after planting. Determinate varieties really only need about 4 inches of soil, making them great for small spaces in home gardens.

Some common determinate potatoes include Caribe, Norland, Russet Norkotah, Red Norland, Yukon Gold, Sierra Gold and Rose, and Gold Rush.

It will always be best to check with the supplier of your seed potatoes to determine if your potato variety is a indeterminate or determinate. There are also some varieties that grow both as a determinate and indeterminate potato. Trial and error is the best way to determine the potatoes growth habit and then save, or specifically breed, your harvest for the next year.

types of potatoes

Varieties of Potatoes

There are many different varieties of potatoes that can be grown, each with its own unique taste, texture, and cooking properties.

Russet

These are the most common type of potato and are best known for their use in baking and frying. They have a fluffy texture and a neutral flavor that makes them a versatile option in the kitchen.

Red

Red potatoes have a thin, smooth skin and a moist, waxy flesh that makes them a good option for roasting, boiling, and steaming. They have a slightly sweet flavor that sets them apart from other potato varieties.

Yellow

Yellow potatoes have a buttery flavor and a dense, creamy texture that makes them a good option for mashed potatoes and gratins. They are also a popular option for roasting and frying.

how to garden potatoes
Adirondack Blue Seed Potato

Large, oblong tubers feature lovely deep purplish-blue skin and flesh. Color may leach when boiled, but remains when baked or microwaved. Matures in 80-90 days.

how to grow a potato plant from a potato
Caribou Russet Seed Potato

The very best baking potato! Developed by the University of Maine, Caribou Russet is a mid-season potato with real flavor and good keeping ability. Medium yields of good-looking, oval russeted tubers love cold climates

how to grow spuds
Dark Red Norland Seed Potato

Widely adapted! Plant has a spreading habit and purple blooms. Smooth, oblong tubers are slightly flattened with shallow eyes. Good for boiling, baking and frying. Matures in 65 days. 

sow potatoes
Keuka Gold Seed Potato

High yields of uniformly-sized potatoes. A boon for organic gardeners, as this variety is comparable to Yukon Gold (though not quite as early) but far easier to grow organically. The brawny vine produces very pretty white flowers and wheat-colored potatoes with pale yellow flesh. Use as you would Yukon Gold, especially for mashing. Mid-season. Resistant to scab and golden nematode.

growing potatoes
Yukon Gold Seed Potato

Superior taste. Slightly oval tubers have a yellow skin and flesh. Good for all cooking types, especially frying. Retains yellow flesh color when cooked. Matures in 65-70 days.

Fingerling

different potato varieties

Fingerling potatoes are small, narrow potatoes that have a nutty flavor and a firm, waxy texture. They are often roasted or boiled and are a popular option for salads and side dishes.

Purple

Purple potatoes have a unique, vibrant color and a slightly sweet, nutty flavor. They are often roasted or boiled and make a beautiful addition to any dish.

Purple Majesty

This purple-skinned and purple-fleshed potato has a nutty flavor and is a good option for boiling, roasting, or grilling.

All Blue

This blue-skinned and blue-fleshed potato has a firm texture and a slightly sweet flavor that makes it a good option for roasting or grilling.

No matter what type or variety of potato you decide to grow, adding potatoes to your garden is a valuable step in creating self-sufficiency. Potatoes are extremely filling, versatile and delicious! Let us know in the comments, what is your favorite potato to grow?!

Welcome! We are Wild N Free Farms! Though we call ourselves a farm, self-sufficient homestead is a more accurate description. We live a simple life and strive to do everything as self-sustaining as possible. We teach homesteading, gardening, food preservation and natural remedies, everything you could possible need to know to live a natural and nature filled life style! We are so glad you’re here and can’t wait to connect with you!

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