German Butterball Potatoes: A Guide To Planting, Growing, Harvesting, & Recipes

Looking for a potato with a naturally buttery taste? Time to try the German Butterball Potato!

German Butterball Potatoes are a gourmet potato variety with a brown peel and yellow flesh. These specialty potatoes have a buttery melt-in-your-mouth flavor and flakey texture. German Butterball Potatoes are most commonly used as baking potatoes but can also be fried or roasted. This is a late-season variety that generally takes 110-135 days to grow to mature size in the garden.

Read on to learn all about German Butterball Potatoes!

German Butterball Potatoes

Introduction To The German Butterball Potatoes

The German Butterball Potato is one of the most popular potato varieties for baked potatoes. These potatoes are also wonderful roasted, either on their own or alongside a roast. This heirloom variety is known for its dense waxy texture and buttery creamy taste.

Where To Buy German Butterball Seed Potatoes

If you are looking to grow German Butterball Potatoes in your garden, you can purchase seed potatoes online or from specialty gardening stores. Some local farmer’s markets and nurseries may also carry these gourmet potato varieties. When purchasing seed potatoes, be sure to look for healthy, disease-free tubers that are firm and free of blemishes.

Preparing German Butterball Seed Potatoes For Planting

When planting German Butterball Potatoes, it is best to start with seed potatoes that have been cut into small pieces, each with 2-3 eyes or buds. Use a clean knife to cut up large seed potatoes into a few pieces. Let the pieces dry so the cut surfaces heal over. Small seed potatoes (1-2 ounces), also called mini tubers, do not need to be cut into pieces.

Once the cut seed potato pieces have dried, place them in a cool dry location out of direct sunlight for a few weeks to sprout. This process is called “chitting” the potatoes. Plant the potatoes once the sprouts are an inch or two long.

How To Plant German Butterball Potatoes

German Butterball Potatoes are generally planted 2-4 days before the date of the average last spring frost. In most climates, this means planting in March or April, but it may occur in February in the south. Don’t delay planting as these potatoes require quite a long growing season.

German Butterball Potatoes need full sun to produce the best yield, but they will still do well with partial sun. The plants require well-drained soil that is high in organic matter. Add compost or well-rotted manure to the planting area a few weeks before planting.

This potato variety is suitable for growing in all USDA planting zones. However, it is a late-season variety, so gardeners in colder climates may find that the growing season here is too short to get full maturity before the first frost of fall.

Dig 6″ deep holes for your seed potatoes. Place a piece of seed potato in each hole with the sprouts facing upwards. Replace 3-6 inches of dirt. To achieve optimal yield and quality, the plants should be spaced at least 12-18 inches apart.

How To Grow German Butterball Potatoes

Seed potatoes generally take a couple of weeks to sprout outdoors. Once the sprouts are about 4″-6″ above the soil, mound some soil around the stem to “hill” up the potatoes. Leave about 2″ of the stem/foliage exposed to the sunlight. Keep hilling up the plant as it grows by burying the bottom portion of the exposed stem.

Watering Requirements For German Butterball Potatoes

German Butterball Potatoes require regular watering to thrive and produce a good yield. In general, you should water your plants about once or twice per week, depending on the weather conditions and soil type. The best time to water is in the morning, as this will help prevent the plants from experiencing fungal diseases. It is important to keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged. Allow the top few inches of soil to dry out between watering.

Fertilizing German Butterball Potatoes

German Butterball Potatoes will benefit from regular fertilization throughout the growing season. Use a balanced fertilizer and apply it according to the instructions on the packaging. Fertilize again once the plants start to flower, and wait a few weeks after mounding up the soil around your potato plants before you apply more fertilizer.

Harvesting German Butterball Potatoes

German Butterball Potatoes are ready for harvest about 4 months after planting, with average days to maturity range of 110-135 days in optimal conditions. To harvest these potatoes, gently dig around the plants with a spading fork or your hands. Be careful not to damage the tubers. Brush off excess dirt and set them in the sun for a couple of hours. Then brush off more dirt.

German Butterball Potatoes are excellent long-term storage potatoes. Once you have harvested your German Butterball Potatoes, they need to be cured before they can be stored. Curing helps to heal any cuts or scrapes on the potatoes. Place the potatoes on a wire rack or in a cardboard box, and store them in a cool, dry location with plenty of air flow. Ideally, your potato storage location should be at 45-50 degrees F, but they can last up to 5 months if you can maintain temperatures around 35 degrees F.

Companion Plants For German Butterball Potatoes

Some good companion plants for German Butterball Potatoes include: carrots, peas, parsley, and lettuce. These plants can help improve the yield and quality of your potatoes. They also help to deter pests and diseases. Additionally, these plants can add valuable nutrients to the soil.

Pests Affecting German Butterball Potatoes

Some common pests that affect German Butterball Potatoes include: aphids, Colorado potato beetles, cutworms, and white grubs. These pests can cause serious damage to your plants and reduce the yield of your crop.

To control these pests, you can use a variety of methods, such as: traps, natural predators, and chemical pesticides. For instance, you can use floating row covers to prevent insects from laying eggs on your plants, or release beneficial insects like ladybugs to prey on harmful pests. Additionally, you can try using organic pesticides like neem oil or pyrethrin to control unwanted insects and keep your potatoes healthy. With regular monitoring and a little effort, you can keep these pests under control and enjoy a bountiful harvest of German Butterball Potatoes.

Diseases Affecting German Butterball Potatoes

Several diseases can affect German Butterball Potatoes, including: early blight, late blight, fusarium wilt, and Verticillium wilt. These diseases can cause serious damage to your crop and reduce the yield of your potatoes.

To prevent these diseases, you should start by planting certified disease-free seed potatoes. Additionally, you can use crop rotation to break up the life cycle of fungal pathogens in the soil. You may also want to try using organic fungicides such as copper sulfate or sulfur to prevent diseases from taking hold. With a little effort, you can keep your German Butterball Potatoes healthy and disease-free.

German Butterball Potatoes - Recipes

Recipes Using German Butterball Potatoes

German Butterball Potatoes are perfect for making baked potatoes and also for roasting, boiling, or frying. Here are some ideas for cooking with your potatoes.

Baked German Butterball Potatoes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Scrub the potatoes and dry them with a towel. Prick each potato several times with a fork. Rub the potatoes with olive oil or vegetable oil. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until they are tender when pierced with a fork. Serve with butter, sour cream, chives, bacon bits, grated cheddar cheese, or other gourmet toppings.

Roasted German Butterball Potatoes

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Scrub the potatoes and dry them with a towel. Cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Toss the potatoes with olive oil or vegetable oil. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes, or until they are golden brown and tender when pierced with a fork. Serve with ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, or other dipping sauces.

Fried German Butterball Potatoes

Heat a few inches of vegetable oil or ghee in a deep heavy-bottomed pot until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the potatoes into thin, bite-sized slices. Soak the potatoes in cold water for 10 minutes to remove excess starch. Toss the potatoes with all-purpose flour or cornstarch. Carefully add the potatoes to the hot oil and fry for 3-5 minutes, or until they are golden brown and crispy. Drain the potatoes on a paper towel-lined plate and serve with salt and pepper.

Boiled German Butterball Potatoes

Scrub the potatoes and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Drain the potatoes and serve with butter, sour cream, or other toppings.

Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a gardening expert and founder of Home for the Harvest. She's also an engineer and certified permaculture garden designer. Mary Jane has been featured by publications such as Real Simple, Mother Earth News, Homes & Gardens, Heirloom Gardener, and Family Handyman.