Kennebec potatoes have been around for at least five decades, but they've only recently made a splash in the culinary world. Kennebecs are large, white potatoes with thin skins that makes them both easy to peel, and delicious when cooked and left unpeeled. They stay fairly firm even after they're cooked, making them a good choice for French fries. Kennebec potatoes are pest and disease resistant, and easy to grow from seed potatoes.
Things You'll Need
- Certified Kennebec seed potatoes
- Compost or peat moss
Purchase some Kennebec potatoes from a nursery or garden center. Be sure they are certified seed potatoes, which are bred to grow in the garden and free of disease and insects. Certified seed potatoes are readily available during spring.
Use a shovel or hoe to cultivate the soil to a depth of at least 10 inches. Although potatoes aren't demanding as far as soil is concerned, working in a few shovels of compost or peat moss will improve drainage and enrich the soil.
Hoe a trench with the corner of the hoe, and plant the seed potatoes in the trench about 12 inches apart. Leave 2 to 3 feet between each row. If the potatoes are small, plant the entire potato. For large potatoes, cut them into chunks with 2 or 3 "eyes" on each chunk. The eye will look like a small hole or dent, which will eventually turn into a bud.
Cover the seed potatoes with about 2 inches of soil. When the plants are approximately 8 inches tall, hoe a mound of soil up to about 4 inches. After they grow another 8 inches, mound the soil halfway up the plant one more time. After the second hilling, add an inch or two every week to keep the new potatoes from being exposed to light.
Water the Kennebec potatoes deeply once a week, but don't let the soil become soggy. Regular watering will prevent bumpy potatoes.
Harvest the potatoes when the tops of the plants begin to bloom. Use a shovel to loosen the soil around the plant, then remove the largest potatoes and leave the small ones to continue growing.
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