How to Grow Seed Potatoes

How to Grow Seed Potatoes

Where to Start?

Before picking out your favorite seed potatoes, think about where you would like to plant.  Avoid planting seed potatoes right next to tomatoes.  Because the two are in the same Night Shade family, they are both susceptible to the same diseases.

Potatoes grow best in well-drained, loose soil that is high in organic matter.  Many home gardens may need the soil amended.  Potatoes also do best in, slightly acidic soil.  A pH between 5 and 6 will help prevent diseases, such as potato scab.

And, as always, most vegetable crops do best in full sun, seed potatoes included.

How do you prep your "seeds"?

Now that you know where to plant your potatoes, it is important to understand the steps of preparing your potatoes for planting.

  1. 1. Place potatoes on an open box tray or in an egg carton, in a warm sunny window for 2 weeks (or until green shoots form).  The seed end should be pointing up.  This is the end with the most concentrated dimples, which is where the sprouts will start to grow from.
  2. 2. Once you have 1/2" or greater green shoots, cut 1 ½ to 2 inch squares, that include 1 to 2 eyes in each piece cut.  If you are growing a small potato with only a few eyes, the whole potato can be planted.
  3. 3. Once cut, it is important for the cuts to callus over (dry slightly).

If your shoots grow prior to favorable weather for planting, move your potatoes to a cooler room.

How to plant your potatoes?

  1. 1. Dig a trench 6-8 inches deep
  2. 2. Plant each potato piece cut side down, allowing the shoot to be facing upward
  3. 3. Plant a piece every 12-15 inches (or according to your package, smaller potatoes often require less space)
  4. 4. Space rows 3 feet apart to allow for plenty of space for the potatoes to grow.
  5. 5. Cover initially with 4 inches of soil and slowly fill in the soil as the growing season continues.  The soil will be mounded by the time you harvest.

Avoid planting seed potatoes until the ground temperatures are around 45 degrees.  Potatoes can withstand a light frost, but do not tolerate frozen ground temperatures.

 

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