Friday, April 2, 2010

Planting Potatoes

To grow potatoes, you plant potatoes.  By March, your local garden center should have seed potatoes available.  Seed potatoes are just potatoes that are certified to be disease free.  We've also grown potatoes from the grocery store produce section.  I don't recommend getting them from the grocery store because they are treated to delay the eyes from sprouting.  

Once you've grown your own potatoes, you'll have your own seed potatoes from the previous year's harvest sprouting in the pantry. 

As far as the timing goes, you can plant anytime in the Spring.  If you want to plant really early like in February, don't cut the potatoes.  If you wait until the soil warms, you can cut the potatoes, just be sure to let the cut dry overnight.

Dogs like potatoes

The eyes have sprouted
The plant (stems and leaves) grow from the eye.  

There are a couple ways to plant.  You can plant in a large pot or in the ground.  The potato plant will grow upwards from the potato.  If planting in a pot, put a couple inches of soil in the bottom.  Place the potato in with the eyes pointing up.  Put a couple inches of soil on top.  Allow the plant to grow about 6 inches tall.  Add 3 inches of soil.  As the plant grows keep adding soil until you're within an inch of the rim of the pot.  Potatoes will grow all along the underground stems.  

If you're growing in a bed, create a trench.  Place the potatoes in the bottom with the eyes upwards.  Pull a couple inches of soil over the potatoes.  As they grow, pull more soil around the stems until the trench is full.

The potato tuber stores water, so you shouldn't have to water until we get warm and dry Summer weather.  

Next Topic: Fruit Trees 


  1. I got a question, how do those seed potatoes get certified as being diseased free? Do they just grow potatoes in a green house that they know has no disease or something?

    Also, how do the potatoes from the store get treated to delay sprouting? Some kind of chemical or something?

  2. I think an inspector must inspect and certify the potatoes. Also, they are sprayed with a hormone that inhibits the eyes from sprouting. They eventually will grow, but it takes longer to get going.

    Someone at your school's ag program would know the details.