Thursday, March 18, 2010

Growing Potatoes in Kihei


Potatoes are a cool season crop and they're challenging to grow in the Kihei climate. I've planted them in the late fall, winter and spring. So far, my best results were from the December plantings.

All Blue

Last fall I purchased 5 varieties of organic seed potatoes from Potato Garden - Caribe, Purple Viking, All Blue, Yukon Gold and Yellow Finn.   

All Blue - Just Planted

I planted them in 15 gallon Smart Pots during the last week of December. Potato Garden provides instructions on how to cut and plant the potato pieces. You can also find planting advice and photos on the Love Apple Farm website.

All Blue at 40 Days

The plants need full sun in order to grow well and produce edible size potatoes. Cutting back the stalks that grow from the seed potato pieces reduces the number of potatoes and increases the size. If you want to grow medium size potatoes remove all but 2 stalks.

Caribe and Yukon Gold
30 days

Around 35 days, the Caribe started to flower- it's the only variety I've grown so far that produces flowers. After 60 days, all the plants began collapsing at the same time as the temps were back in to the 90's. I stopped watering the pots and harvested the potatoes this week at 70 days. All together my potato harvest was over 15 lbs from 5 lbs of seed potatoes.

Purple Viking, Yellow Finn, All Blue,
Caribe, Yukon Gold
The Caribe, Purple Viking and Yukon Gold are early varieties - they produce a medium size potato in about 60 days. The All Blue and Yellow Fin are mid-season and need closer to 80 days to grow to a medium size.  At 60 days, the All Blue grew into a beautiful small potato but the Yellow Finn grew to only "new potato" size.

I haven't been successful with any of the late season varieties like the Fingerlings as they need a longer period of cooler weather than we have in Kihei

Seed potato suppliers that will ship to Hawaii:

This is a lovely salad  and unfortunately. there are no photos online with the recipe. I'll add a photo the next time I make it. It's faster to make the salad with 4 ring molds but ring molds retail for at least $10 each and aren't an everyday item in most kitchens. The salads can be made individually with just one 3 or 4 in. ring mold.


  1. That must be one challenging crop in your area. But you can grow spinach so you I'm not surprised you can find some potatoes that can grow there too.

  2. Hi Daphne! I think it's because I don't give up that easily - potatoes are really temperamental that's for sure!

  3. Those blue potatoes look beautiful.

    You inspire me to grow potatoes in Smart Pot.
    I have been wanting to grow some potatoes, but I don't want to dig trenches and "hill up" as they grow. A cloth pot seems to be the answer, can you reuse the pots again?

  4. Hi Mac! The Smart Pots are really sturdy and I use them again and again. They're great for growing potatoes as you can fold the edge over and then roll it up as you add more soil. The Smart Pots were recommended by Gardener's Supply for growing potatoes - there are photos and other information about using them on their website. The All Blue were the most uniform in shape and size of all the potatoes I grew this winter.

  5. That's a great picture of the All Blues. Thanks for posting it to our Facebook page. Ronniger Potato Farm.

  6. Hi Craig! I'm so glad you liked the photo of your All Blue potatoes! They are really tasty too!

  7. Aloha Jane! Have you grown Okinawa purple sweet potato, white In the outside purple In the inside? I bought one foot long tuber and It seems to have been cut In a Asian market. I have It In water I want It to make slips but It has even rooted can you please give me some tips. I don't want It rot because I had to drive to Miami (I live In Key West) for this tuber and it was the only one left. Thanks

    1. Aloha Frank! I haven't grown any sweet potatoes. The local school has a garden program and website and they grow sweet potatoes - I don't know if they've grown Okinawan though. The garden is independent of the school and they would probably be happy to share what they know with you. The link is There are a few mail order seed companies that sell Okinawan slips. I can't remember who at the moment but search online.

    2. The sweet potato is actually very fresh and has a lot of bumps where the slips and roots come through. It's not rotted and does the school have a website?


      It's possible the sweet potato is very fresh and not ready to sprout. Freshly harvested potatoes and ginger won't sprout - they normally need a few months.

  8. The Okinawa sweet potato still has not sprouted and its rotting. Should I grow purple potatoes instead can I use store brought?

    1. Bummer that your sweet potato didn't sprout. I know nothing about growing sweet potatoes but I have grown lots of potatoes. Yes you can use store bought but I suggest using organic potatoes that are starting to sprout. Just be aware that mainland gardeners do advise other gardeners not to do this as store bought potatoes tend to be prone to bacterial and fungal diseases. I grow mostly early varieties and I haven't encountered any problems planting store bought.

  9. hi i live on oahu and would like to know if you reccommend an online store that that has no problem shipping the following products to Hawaii: organic certified bareroot for sweet potato, bareroot for strawberries, bareroot queen anne rasberries and seeds for Ma Yuen soft shelled jobs tears( these are edible after soaking & boiling and are a nutrious subsitute for rice). You've already solved the never ending search for on online nursery that will sell certified seed potatoes to hawaii with this wonderful blog, it the first i've seen from a hawaii gardener.thank you from Yuklan

    1. Hi Yuklan! I purchased organic strawberry crowns from I suggest sending them an email to inquire what strawberry crowns they will have available this spring - they accept pre-orders.

      I've not ordered sweet potato slips so I don't know where to order those. You might ask Natural Gardening if you inquire about the strawberries.

      Try Tradewinds Fruit for Jobs Tears (I don't know if they have organic).

      As for raspberries you could try Bay Laurel Nursery under "Berries")but they have a $50 shipping charge to Hawaii and I don't know if their raspberry canes are organic.