Potato Planting Pointers

Some potato planting pointers to help with growing and harvesting seed potatoes.

Small seed potatoes (1 to 2″ diameter) should be planted whole. Larger seed potatoes should be cut into 2″ pieces, with 2 to 3 sprouting eyes per piece, the day prior to planting. Seed pieces should be planted 10 to 14″ apart and 4 to 5″ deep for best production. For small new potatoes, plant seed pieces 8″ apart and harvest every other hill when potatoes are small.

The best soil for potatoes should drain well, have a pH of 5.3 to 6.0, and contain plenty of organic matter. Use finished compost, such as EKO Compost, as a source of organic matter. Fresh manure should be avoided unless it is applied and worked into the soil in the fall.

Mulch with 6″ of straw to keep potatoes covered, to avoid greening of the tubers as a result of exposure to light, and to maintain consistent moisture in the soil and prevent fluctuations which can promote disease and cause misshapen potatoes.

At harvest time, remove leafy above ground parts 10 to 14 days before potatoes are to be dug. This causes the potatoes to develop sound, protective skins and to concentrate the starches in the tuber, both of which improve the potato’s long-term storage qualities. Avoid scraping or bruising potatoes when digging, and do not wash them after they are dug. Air dry in a dark place for several days, then store in a cool humid place with good ventilation and a temperature of about 40 degrees.

Enjoy your fresh home grown potatoes!