How to Plant Potatoes

how to plant potatoes

Potatoes are one of the earliest vegetables adapted to gardens, and are considered as important of a staple crop as rice or wheat. Learn how to plant potatoes to add cool-season vegetables to your garden. Potatoes are started from the “eyes” of larger potatoes, which are cut into pieces or whole small potatoes are used. The garden area you choose for growing your potatoes will have to be tilled deeper than usual to accommodate the roots and tubers of the plant. You can also use straw for growing your potatoes.

How to Plant Potatoes

Step 1

Select an area with well-drained and loamy soil for planting your potatoes. Mix compost into the top 4 inches of soil.

Step 2

Cut your seed potatoes so that there is one “eye” located on each seed piece. Place the cut seed potatoes in a cool, dark location for two days to allow the cuts to heal before planting.

Step 3

Dig trenches that are at least 4 1/2 inches deep. Plant each seed piece just below the soil surface in the trench. Space the plantings 12 inches apart in rows 24 inches apart.

Step 4

Layer about 5 inches of straw over the seed pieces in the trench, and between each planting row. Add more straw throughout the summer as the straw begins to decompose.

Step 5

Water your potato vines each day to a depth of an inch. Add fertilizer once plants are 6 inches tall. Place fertilizer in bands about 3 inches from the base of the plant at a rate of 3 pounds of 10–20-20 fertilizer per 100 square feet. Make sure to place the fertilizer at a depth below where you planted your seed potatoes.

Step 6

Begin harvesting your potatoes two weeks after the potato vines have died in the fall. Retrieve potatoes by removing the straw and picking up the tubers that lie on the soil surface.

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Ohio State University Extension; Growing Potatoes in the Home Garden

University of Illinois Extension; Watch Your Garden Grow: Potato

University of Florida Extension; Growing Potatoes in the Florida Home Garden