Planting Instructions for Potatoes


Potatoes are not the easiest of crops to grow, but if done properly, will provide potatoes for a family's table for an entire season. Planting instructions for potatoes include the "green sprout" method that helps develop short, strong, rapidly growing sprouts. Potatoes are frequently classified as early, mid-season or late, but additional factors to be considered are disease resistance, intended use and desired flavor. Certified seed potatoes provide better potato production and may be purchased through catalogs or gardening centers.

Things You'll Need

  • Certified seed potatoes
  • 10-10-10 fertilizer
  • Spreading area
  • Planting bed
  • Purchase and store certified seed potatoes in a cool place for two weeks.

  • Spread seed potatoes two weeks after purchasing, in a single layer in a greenhouse, room or barn that receives light. This is the start of a process known as "green sprouting."

  • Provide high humidity for seed potatoes by misting the area lightly once daily.

  • Turn the seed potatoes every four to five days to encourage strong, uniform sprouts.

  • Work 10-10-10 fertilizer into planting bed soil, using 3 pounds per 100 square feet, before planting seed potatoes. This prevents feeder root burning and decay.

  • Plant seed potatoes in the spring when soil has warmed to 45 degrees, in a furrow or hill 4 to 6 inches deep, spaced 8 to 10 inches apart in rows, from 32 to 36 inches apart. Cover with about 2 inches of soil.

  • Mound soil up around plants when they are 5 or 6 inches tall, a technique called "hilling." Continue the process until the plants are 12 to 15 inches high. Cover any weeds while hilling, but do not totally cover potato plants.

Tips & Warnings

  • Potatoes may be harvested any time after blossoming.
  • Dig the crop when soil is dry, lifting tubers and setting them on top of soil to dry for one to two hours.
  • After harvesting, store potatoes in a dark, 37 to 40 degree area.
  • Use pallets to keep potatoes off the floor to avoid potential storage rot.

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