How to Plant Potatoes

30# of seed potatoes cut for curing

Seed potatoes cut for curing outside in the sunshine

Oh! I am very so glad you could join me today. Grab a cup of fresh coffee from the pot and let’s have a little chat about potatoes.

Since potatoes are a surprising source of vitamin C and are ever so prolific and easy to grow, let’s give it a go.

For each pound you plant an okay yield is about 10 pounds and a great yield about 20 pounds.

Personally, I forget to weed them, or forget to hill them enough as they grow or forget to even harvest them… once. I yield around 10 pounds per planted pound. Obviously, if you try, I’m sure you could do better.

Let’s begin.

Start with nice seed potatoes… oh, any kind you like is fine. Russets seem to have a zillion eyes and are usually an easy start. Katadin, Kennebec and Yukon Gold are all good keepers and generally easy enough to find. Well, at least at the seed and feed in my neck of the woods.

Cut each potato with a clean, sharp knife so that each piece contains one or (better) two eyes and is no smaller than an inch. Avoid putting the freshly cut side against the cutting board or touching it any more than necessary. Think of it like an open wound. You don’t want to introduce germs or viruses.

Carefully lay the pieces on their skins, in a single layer on any flat thing you’ve got. Place them in the sun for at least one whole day for the cuts to cure.

Why?

So they are less prone to disease when you plant them. If you cut your hand wide open, would it be wise to jam it directly into the soil or might you give it a little healing time?

Planting:

I like deep beds. They are like raised beds minus the expensive, bug-attracting wooden sides. The 4’wide bed is never walked on and entirely reachabe from one side or the other.

Now imagine a domino. A double five to be exact. Okay with an extra dot between the left 5 and right 5. This is my planting pattern. A little staggered with no plant any closer than 20″ for maximum yield in a minimum space.

Now imagining that pattern, plant your seed potatoes 3 of 4 inches deep. The first five potatoes you plant will look just like the 5 from a pair of dice.

You know, I was going to take a picture, but by the time I finished putting them in and hiked back up the hill…I was just too pooped to care.

Hopefully, this makes sense.

Feel free to ask for clarification. In tomorrow’s “Neighborly Advice Vol 4” there will be another method. And they took pictures. In my defense, there are 4 of them planting and just one of me.

Did anyone understand that?

Where the heck did I put that tube of muscle rub?

If you go to the kitchen, could you grab me a cup of coffee, please?

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. We have a question, when the potato blossom dies and there is a little round ball or seed where the blossom was. We would like to know exactly what this is and is there a use for them?

    Thank you

  2. since your have a perpetual plethora of potatoes, this might be a pleasing presentation.
    http://kingbiscuitpants.wordpress.com/2009/05/05/doms-olive-oil-mashed-potatoes/

  3. Theoretically, yes.
    Supposedly the grocery store ones are treated to stop them from sprouting. However, I have successfully grown grocery store potatoes that got forgotten and sprouted. You could give it a try.

    Allegedly you are supposed to begin with certified virus free or disease free or free of some blasted thing. Anyway, any good gardening place should have them. The best prices usually come from a seed and feed… AKA Agway. Usually any place that sells livestock feed and garden goodies will have seed potatoes. Most of them will sell you however many or few pounds you want. Call ahead to make sure they carry what you want and make sure that you don’t have to buy a 50# bag.

    Johnny’s is a very reliable source for any kind of seeds … and make sure they send you a catalog. The catalog has more information than any gardening book. Ever!
    http://www.johnnyseeds.com/

  4. A question from the clueless: Are seed potatoes different from the ones you buy at the grocery store? And if so, where do I find them??

  5. I don’t wash them. I did one year and they mildewed before they cured. Very sad. Cut them up today, and if I don’t write a post about planting container potatoes tomorrow, give me a goose.

  6. p.s. (i like your picture too!)

  7. neighbor nancy, you are awesome. you know that, right? okay, i love all this practical stuff you teach us. so, this might be a stupid question (but i’m going to ask anyway because i don’t know these things) do you have to wash all the potatoes really good before you slice them up? or would that be a bad idea for some reason? thanks for this post. i still think i want to plant potatoes into a big trashcan or something like that because i’m lazy & it just sounds more doable for me/us. your explanations made perfect sense and are all very helpful to us who don’t know these things. 😉 thank you again!


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