Planting Potatoes: Planting Tips

A Complete Guide to Planting Potatoes

A Complete Guide to Planting Potatoes
planting potatoes
Vegetables are a mainstay of the American diet, and by planting potatoes in your garden, you will have provided yourself with the most popular starting point of just about any meal.

Deciding which of the many different varieties of potato to plant may be your biggest difficulty.  The list below shows some of the most popular varieties and the time of year in which they mature:

  • Early Season:                        Yukon Gold, White Rose, Norland
  • Mid Season:                          Superior, Russet
  • Late Season:                         Red Pontiac, Kennebec, Russet Norkotah

Another point to take into consideration when planting potatoes is their best purpose.  Some, such as the Yukon Gold, Superior and Norland are good all-purpose potatoes, and can be prepared boiled, mashed and baked.  Others, like the Kennebec, are better for baking and frying.  Some potatoes do not store well such as the White Rose, so that fact could be a deciding factor in which type is chosen.  The chosen type of potato can then be purchased as certified seed potatoes, or potatoes that have been especially designated as disease free and will produce high yields.  Supermarket potatoes should not be used.

Before planting potatoes, the seed potatoes should be placed in a warm area where they will receive plenty of light.  These conditions will prompt the seeds to begin sprouting.  When this happens, the seed potatoes should each have a number of “eyes”; they can then be cut into pieces for planting.  Each cut piece should have at least one “eye”.   After cutting, allow the potatoes to sit for a day or two to allow the cuts to callous over.

When planting potatoes, cooler weather is the best time to start.  The sets can actually be placed into the ground as soon as it can be worked in early spring, but planting after the danger of frost has passed is the best time.  The potato plant does best in full sun.  Planting potatoes in a row is the most common method; they can also be planted in mounds if space is an issue.  Spacing will depend on the size of potatoes you wish to harvest; closer spacing results in smaller potatoes and vice versa.  Dig a “moat” that is around 4 inches wide, 6 inches deep with the length at your discretion.  Placing the potatoes cut side down, cover with only about 4 inches of soil; forming an indentation.  The potato plants will begin to emerge as sprouts within 2-3 weeks, at which time more soil should be added to reach half way up the stem.  Repeat again in another 2 or 3 weeks.  This is done to prevent the growing potatoes from being exposed to light; making them green and possibly toxic.

About two weeks after the plants flower, little baby potatoes may be harvested.  For a full, large sized potato, harvest your crop before winter. 

Planting potatoes can be a successful and satisfactory gardening venture.  You will be reminded of your efforts every time the harvest is enjoyed at a meal.

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