This year I decided to try my luck at growing potatoes. Potatoes are far and away my favorite vegetable but I have never tried to grow them before because they are so inexpensive where I live near the potato capital of the country. I planted red and Yukon Gold potatoes back in mid-April. To do this I dug trenches about 6" deep and 2 ft wide, and then placed the seed potatoes in the bottom of the trench 10-12" apart, then covered up the trench to ground level with loose dirt mixed with compost.
As of this writing the potato plants have been growing well and the plants are over 2 ft tall. I have heaped up more dirt and compost around the base of the plants. However, a few weeks ago some of the red potato plants began turning yellow and withering. I assumed this was due to the heat (summertime highs are usually in the 90's to low 100's where I live). I tried to give them extra water but many of them continued to wither so those I dug up this weekend. The potatoes looked healthy, but most were very small, which I attribute to premature harvest. Several of them, however, had very fine dark spots all over the skin that are rough to the touch, almost like sandpaper. I am not too concerned about the edibility of the potatoes, as the spots do not penetrate into the interior of the potato, though I will probably peel them. But I am curious about whether or not this is typical, and what might be causing it. Also, I welcome any other suggestions about growing potatoes. Thank you.