Planting Seed Potatoes

By Western Farm Center Travel, Nature
Planting seed potatoes is a fun and cost effective way to add more fresh produce to your table. There are a variety of ways to plant them, most requiring only a small area to grow a large amount of potatoes.  They are very adaptable and will most often times produce a respectable crop, even when the soil conditions and growing seasons are less than perfect. Potatoes always do best with lots of sun. They are aggressively rooting plants, and you will find that they will yield the best crop when planted in a light, loose, well-drained soil. Potatoes prefer a slightly acidic soil with a PH of 5.0 to 7.0. Always keep your potato patch weed-free for best results. Potatoes should be rotated in the garden, never being grown in the same spot until there has been a 3-4 year absence of potatoes to allow the nutrients to build back up. (planting something like our OSB-Organic Soil Booster mix and tilling it back in can accelerate the reintroduction of nutrients)   ?  Plant seed potatoes (pieces of whole potato or a small whole potato, with at least 2 eyes per piece) 0-2 weeks after last spring frost. ?  If you are cutting up potato pieces for planting, do so a 1-2 days ahead of time. This will give them the chance to form a protective layer, both for moisture retention and rot resistance. ?  You may start planting earlier, as soon as soil can be worked, but be aware that some crops will be ruined by a frost. ?  Spread and mix in rotted manure or organic compost in the bottom of the trench before planting. ?  Plant seed potatoes one foot apart in a 4-inch deep trench, eye side up.   Baby potatoes typically can be harvested 2-3 weeks after the plants have finished flowering. Gently dig around the plants to remove potatoes for fresh eating, being careful not to be too intrusive. Try to remove the biggest new potatoes and leave the smaller ones in place so they can continue to grow. Only take what you need for immediate eating. Homegrown new potatoes are a luxury and should be used the same day that they are dug. Potatoes that are going to be kept for storage should not be dug until 2-3 weeks after the foliage dies back. Carefully dig potatoes with a sturdy fork and if the weather is dry, allow the potatoes to lay in the field, unwashed, for 2-3 days. This curing step allows the skins to mature and is essential for good storage. If the weather during harvest is wet and rainy, allow the potatoes to cure in a dry protected area like a garage or covered porch.