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How To Plant Seed Potatoes

Feb 14, 2018


Potatoes are now the 4th most important food crop in the world, exceeded only by wheat, rice and corn. Americans eat more potatoes than any other vegetable—about 120 lbs. per year per capita. The ideal time to plant seed potatoes is in early spring when soil can be worked or in midwinter where frosts are not severe. For fall and winter use, plant in mid May to mid June.

Soil Preparation - Potatoes need a rich, loose, slightly acid soil.  An All Purpose or Garden Fertilizer works well.  Recommended pH is 4.8 to 5.4.  If the soil is not acidic enough, scab disease may occur.

Planting -   Expect 10 times more potatoes than you plant.  Cut potatoes in 2” squares with at least 2 good eyes.  Let dry for 48 hours before planting.  Plant 4” deep with eyes up and 1 ½ ft apart.  You can also plant small potatoes whole.  Potatoes need a steady moisture supply.  If soil dries out after tubers begin to form, growth stops, then starts again after soil is watered.  The result of this stop and starts growth is misshapen, knobby, split or hollow tubers.  Try to keep the soil moist to 1 foot.

Harvesting - Pick “new” potatoes as soon as tops flower.  “New” potatoes are not a variety, but simply any potato harvested before full maturity.  They are smaller and tenderer, but will not store.  Do not try growing plants from potatoes purchased at the grocery store.  They may carry disease, and are often treated to prevent sprouting.