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How To Plant Potatoes


How To Plant Potatoes

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How To Plant Potatoes

How To Plant Potatoes

A Comprehensive Guide to Planting Potatoes: From Seed Selection to Harvest

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, growing potatoes can be a rewarding experience. These versatile root vegetables are relatively easy to cultivate and provide a bountiful harvest of delicious, nutrient-rich produce. To ensure a successful potato crop, it’s essential to follow proper planting techniques. This article will provide a comprehensive guide to planting potatoes, covering everything from seed selection to harvest.

Choosing the Right Seed Potatoes

The first step in planting potatoes is selecting the right seed potatoes. Seed potatoes are specially certified potatoes that are free from disease and have been treated to promote growth. When choosing seed potatoes, consider the following factors:

  • Variety: There are many different varieties of potatoes, each with its unique characteristics. Choose a variety that is suitable for your climate and soil type.
  • Size: Smaller seed potatoes (1-2 ounces) can be planted whole, while larger potatoes should be cut into pieces.
  • Condition: Select firm, disease-free potatoes with no signs of sprouting or bruising.

Preparing the Soil

Potatoes prefer well-drained, fertile soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5. To prepare the soil, follow these steps:

  • Clear the area: Remove any weeds, rocks, or debris from the planting bed.
  • Till the soil: Till the soil to a depth of 12-18 inches, breaking up any large clods.
  • Amend the soil: If the soil is poor, amend it with compost or manure to improve fertility and drainage.

Planting the Seed Potatoes

Once the soil is prepared, it’s time to plant the seed potatoes. Follow these steps:

  • Spacing: Plant seed potatoes 12-18 inches apart in rows that are 3 feet apart.
  • Depth: Plant seed potatoes 4-6 inches deep, with the eyes facing up.
  • Hilling: After planting, gently hill up soil around the base of the plants to prevent them from falling over.

Growing and Care

After planting, potatoes require regular care to thrive. Follow these tips:

  • Watering: Potatoes need regular watering, especially during hot, dry weather. Water deeply, allowing the water to penetrate to the roots.
  • Fertilizing: Fertilize potatoes once a month with a balanced fertilizer.
  • Weed control: Keep the planting bed free of weeds, as they can compete with potatoes for water and nutrients.
  • Mulching: Mulching around potatoes helps retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.

Hilling and Maintenance

As potato plants grow, they will develop mounds of foliage called "hills." Hilling is a process of adding soil around the base of the plants to encourage tuber formation and prevent the potatoes from being exposed to sunlight. Follow these steps to hill potatoes:

  • Timing: Hill potatoes twice during the growing season, once when the plants are 6-8 inches tall and again when they are 12-15 inches tall.
  • Method: Gently mound soil around the base of the plants, creating a hill that is 6-8 inches high.

Harvesting Potatoes

Potatoes are ready to be harvested when the foliage has turned yellow and died back. To harvest potatoes, follow these steps:

  • Timing: Harvest potatoes 2-3 weeks after the foliage dies back.
  • Method: Use a digging fork or shovel to carefully dig around the plants and gently lift the potatoes from the ground.
  • Curing: After harvesting, cure the potatoes in a cool, dark place for 7-10 days. This process helps them develop their skin and improve storage quality.


Proper storage is essential to preserve the quality of harvested potatoes. Store potatoes in a cool, dark place with good ventilation. Ideal storage conditions are a temperature of 40-50°F and a humidity of 85-95%.


Q: How often should I water potatoes?

A: Water potatoes regularly, especially during hot, dry weather. Aim to water deeply, allowing the water to penetrate to the roots.

Q: What is the best fertilizer for potatoes?

A: Use a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10 or 15-15-15, to fertilize potatoes once a month.

Q: Do potatoes need full sun?

A: Potatoes need full sun to produce the best yields. However, they can tolerate partial shade, especially in hot climates.

Q: How deep should I plant seed potatoes?

A: Plant seed potatoes 4-6 inches deep, with the eyes facing up.

Q: How long does it take for potatoes to grow?

A: Potatoes take approximately 2-3 months to reach maturity from planting to harvest.