Planting Potatoes


I’ve been so busy in the garden lately, I haven’t had time to write about what I’m planting and how I’m doing it. I’ll attempt to catch up a little tonight. One of the things I’ve planted this week is potatoes. Here’s what I did…

First of all, I didn’t realize that at least a day before you plant potatoes, you have to cut the seed potatoes up and let them “heal over” to help prevent decaying. You can leave them cut up to 10 days before planting.

Here is what the seed potatoes looked like:

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Really, they are regular potatoes that have been left sitting and the eyes have begun growing. To prepare them to be planted, cut each potato in half or quarters, making sure that each piece has an eye on it, like this:

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When you go to plant the potatoes, make sure to put the cut side down and an eye facing up. This will help the plant get established properly.

I’ve read in my books a couple of different methods for planting potatoes, so I thought I’d give two different ways a try and see which works best for me.

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The first row I planted was using a deep hole method. Using a post hole digger, I dug 10 holes 12″ deep, spacing them 12-18″ apart. You’re supposed to put 2″ of compost in the bottom of the hole, but I didn’t have any, so I didn’t put anything. The theory is that if you dig a deep hole, and just fill it in a little every time the plant starts growing up, it will save time and effort in the long run.

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So, once my holes were dug (the project I had been working on in between chasing my chicken) Jada was sweet enough to help me place a cut seed potato in each hole. As she planted she said, “Mommy! This is like burying treasure!” I said, “You’re right, baby! And in a few months we can be pirates and dig it up again!” I was glad she enjoyed it, she saved me from a lot of bending! Once they were all in we covered them over with 2″ of dirt and watered them.

Then it was on to the next set. I spaced the rows of potatoes 24″ apart from each other.

The next two rows I did using the traditional mounding method. Using a hoe I dug a trench about 3″ deep.

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Next we placed the potatoes in the trench, cut side down and eye side up, 12-18″ apart. Titus toddled over and wanted to get in on the action too, so I let him help.

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Once they were all in place, we covered the trench back over with dirt, and watered it. I used wooden stakes to mark the rows.

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I ended up planting 5 lbs. of Yukon Gold potatoes (36 pieces) in these three rows. As the plants grow, you’re supposed to mound the dirt up around the plant to keep the “tubers”, or baby potatoes, protected from the light which will damage them if exposed.

Can’t wait to see how they do!

If anyone has any tips or advice for me, as always I’d love to hear from you!


Kendra
About Kendra 1103 Articles
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.

9 Comments

  1. Thanks for this blog post, I am trying this for the first time, and it’s super useful! I am wondering how did it work out? Which method seemed to do better? Any advice for those of us venturing behind you?

    • Sara,

      Great question. I realize that I need to update this post with the results!! So… at the first good rain we got, all of the holes I’d dug got filled with water. The ground did not drain well at all, and unfortunately almost all of the potatoes sat in water and rotted.

      The mounding worked a little better. Though I was horrible about keeping up with it, and didn’t hill them as much as I should have. Plus, the dumb animals kept getting in there (including my chickens) and digging up the potatoes. Once they are exposed to sunlight and turn greenish, they are poisonous.

      With all that said, my potatoes that first year didn’t do well at all. Last year (my second attempt) was a *little* better. I tried the no-dig method of just covering them with straw as they grew. But again, my chickens got in there and scratched the bed all up looking for bugs, and ruined a ton of the potatoes. This year I might try that method again, but COVER them with something to keep the animals out!

      Hope that helps 🙂

  2. using the trench method, cover the potatoes when the reach 6″ tall – you can use soil or mulch or straw – making sure you keep the topmost leaves uncovered. potatoes will grow ABOVE the actual seed you set into the ground, so plant deep enough or you will get low yields or green potatoes.

  3. I also planted some potatoes this year, although I hadn’t planned to. They were headed for the compost pile, but I tucked them into a spare area of the garden instead. They look pretty good so far…we’ll see if I can harvest anything!

  4. This year we are planting the Yukon gold potatoes too! We went to a wholesale produce house and just bought a 50 lb. bag. It was about 15.00. I also planted any potatoes that sprouted that I had bought from the store. When the anti-sprouting chemical wears off, they will sometimes sprout. Hope you have a blessed productive garden this year!!

    • Nancy M.-

      One of my books says that once the plant is 6-8 inches tall you can begin hilling it (pushing the dirt up around the stem). The whole point is to keep the tubers (baby potatoes) covered from sunlight, and to force the plant to grow taller, making room for the tubers to grow below. Bring the soil as far up the stem as possible without covering the leaves. You’ll need to hill them about 3 times during the growing season. Hope that helps!

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