Potatoes are an easy and fun to grow vegetable! A small area can provide a nice yield of this tasty vegetable. One of the bonuses of growing potatoes is that you can eat them at various stages of growth. The young 'new potatoes' are often harvested and cooked, while most are allowed to reach maturity and eaten or stored for use throughout the winter.
Select a sunny location and plant them in early spring. Potatoes grow in average soil, so a great deal of soil preparation is not needed. The addition of some compost or peat moss is beneficial. Avoid adding fresh manure or lime, as it tends to cause scab on the potatoes. The addition of either 5-10-10 or 10-20-20 fertilizer is recommended. Mix the fertilizer into the soil prior to planting. Till or spade the soil to a depth of 10-12”.
No cutting is required if the seed potatoes are small to medium sized--just plant the whole potato. If they are large sized, you can cut them in half, or quarter them. Each section should have 2-3 growth eyes. After cutting, let the cut surface callus-over before planting. Plant the seed 4 -6” deep, about 12-15” apart, in rows spaced 2-3’ apart. Typically, 1000-1300 lbs. of seed potatoes are planted per acre, depending on the seed size and your spacing. The plants reach a spread between 18-24”. New young potatoes are harvested as the potato plant begins to flower, usually about the time when peas are ripe.
Black or hollow centers on potatoes are often caused by over-watering. Irregular watering also causes irregular shaped or knobby potatoes. As a guideline, water potatoes weekly during warmer summer weather. If you want full sized potatoes for storage, harvest when the vines turn yellow or have died-back in August and September. Store potatoes in the dark, where temperatures are about 40° F.
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Potato Planting Instructions