FoodProduction101

How to plant potatoes

April 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Potatoes

Friday 4-27-2012

A week or so before you plant your seed potatoes you will want to set them on a window sill inside where it can get sunlight and exposure to 60-70 degrees. This will help to start the sprouting process. You can also slice the seed potatoes into smaller pieces a couple of days before planting to ensure cut hardens. Make sure you have at least two eyes per cut piece. When you plant make sure eye is up, and cut part is down. Be really careful when handling the potatoes, it is easy to damage the eyes.

   

German Butterball                                                                          All Blue

 

Cut 2 days before planting leaving two or more eyes

 

Types of seed potato:

I would recommend that you purchase good seed potatoes. You could conceivable buy potatoes from the grocery store, but you do not know if it has been treated to inhibit sprouting. Typically, you get poor results this way.

 

German butterball: I really like this yellow potato. It’s great for roasting and mashed potatoes, and excellent for long term storage in a root cellar.

 

All Blue: This potato is new for me this year. I love to try different varieties that you can’t get at the grocery store. This potato is supposed to be great for baking, frying, and a cool idea for colorful chips.

 

Tools & materials needed?

Shovel

Metal rake

Hand trowel

Seed potatoes

 

Timing?

The earliest you should plant your potatoes would be about 2 weeks before your zones last frost date. In areas where summer temps don’t get into the 90’s very often, you can plant as late as mid-June if you want a late season potato crop.

 

Soil type?

Potatoes actually like an acid soil, so don’t lime before you plant. They will grow in most soils, but they love peat and compost. Make sure you have not planted potatoes in this area for at least four seasons.

 

Companions that potatoes love?

Horseradish, corn, cabbage can improve growth and taste of potatoes. Coriander or cilantro and catnip can help to repel the dreaded Colorado potato beetle.

 

Depth?

This is where it gets complicated. I have read anywhere between 3-6 inches deep, to just putting them on the surface then mulching heavily with straw or leaves. I personally make mounds, and plant them about 4-5 inches deep in the middle of the mound, but they are actually level with the soil around the mound, or just slightly under. This lets me plant my potatoes deep enough that I don’t get too many exposed potatoes, and high enough that they don’t rot. The method you typically read about is to dig a 6-8 inch trench and put the potatoes in the trench. I have tried this method, and I would not recommend it. It is a lot of work, and all my potatoes rotted out.    

 

Spacing?

If you have a lot of space, I would plant them 18” apart, if you have less space, 12” inches would suffice.

 

How to plant the seed potatoes?

1. I mulch my garden, so I first take my metal and pull the mulch away from the area I am going to plant.              

                                                               

2. I make mounds from my aged compost that measure approximately 4” inches tall and 2’ feet wide.

 

3. I use my hand trowel to plant my seed potatoes about 4”-5” inches deep in the center of my mound.

 

4. I put the mulch back to inhibit weed growth.

 

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