Growing Guides

How To Plant and Grow Seed Potatoes

Table of Contents

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.

What Are Seed Potatoes?

Seed Potatoes are tubers that have been grown the previous season and stored through the winter.

Do Seed Potatoes Rot?

Fungal growth and freezing temperatures are the most common causes for a potato to rot. Do not allow your tubers to experience freezing temperatures.

Avoid fungal growth on your tubers by unboxing immediately and providing adequate ventilation in a cool, dry spot. 

Receiving Care

  • Open-box immediately upon receipt to provide airflow.
  • Store tubers in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area until they can be planted.
  • Planting as soon as possible is ideal, but tubers can store in ideal conditions for weeks.
  • DO NOT allow tubers to freeze.
  • DO NOT put tubers in soil or water before planting.

Soil Preparation

Potatoes grow best in loose, well-drained soil high in organic matter.

What pH Should You Plant Seed Potatoes in?

A pH between 5.8-6.5 is ideal for seed potatoes.

If your soil is low in organic matter, the addition of some compost or a little peat moss is beneficial. Avoid using fresh manure or lime in the soil, as it tends to cause scabs on the potatoes. 

Should You Fertilize Seed Potatoes?

Add a 5-10-10 or 10-20-20 fertilizer as needed. Mix the fertilizer into the soil prior to planting. Till or spade the soil to a depth of ten or twelve inches.

Tips for Planting Seed Potatoes

When Do You Plant Seed Potatoes?

Seed potatoes are shipped in early spring based on zip codes. Select a location that gets full sun and plant your potatoes in spring, as soon as soil can be worked.

Should You Plant Entire Seed Potatoes?

Generally, no cutting is required. Large seed potatoes with many ‘eyes’ can be cut into halves or quarters before planting. Cut pieces with a clean, sterile, sharp knife. Allow the cut surface to callus over for a few days before planting.

How Far Apart Should Seed Potatoes Be Planted?

Each section should have two or three 'growth eyes'. After cutting, let the cut surface callus over for a few days before planting them.

Potatoes can be spaced in many different ways. The more room you give the plant to grow, the better chance the plant has to produce a decent amount of well sized tubers.

Ideally, the pieces can be planted in a trench 6-8 inches deep, spaced about a foot apart. Space trenches two to three feet apart. 

Seed Potato Best Practices

Plant your seed potatoes with the “growth eyes” facing up. Cover tubers with about an inch of soil.

Pull in additional soil over the foliage as plants develop to create a hill or mound. Potatoes may also be grown in barrels or potato patio planter bags. Partially fill the barrel or planted bag with at least 6-8 inches of soil.

Place your potato in the container and cover with about 1 inch of soil. As the potato grows, continue to fill the container with soil, covering the foliage.


Consistent soil moisture produces the best results. Black or hollow centers on potatoes are often caused by overwatering. Irregular watering causes irregularly shaped or knobby potatoes. 

How Much Water Should You Give Seed Potatoes?

As a guideline, water potatoes approximately 1" per week in warmer summer weather.

Seed Potato Harvest and Storage Tips

Your potatoes are fully mature and ready for harvest once the foliage dies back. This typically occurs in late summer.

Dig potatoes from the soil, taking care not to cause wounds to the flesh of the tuber. Wounds allow disease to enter the tuber and will decrease storage ability.

Remove soil by brushing off or washing and allow tubers to dry thoroughly. Minimize light exposure during cleaning. Store in a cool, dark spot with high humidity and good ventilation.

Shop High-Quality Seed Potatoes From Harris Seeds

Harris Seeds has been providing the highest quality seed potatoes to customers for over 100 years. Shop our wide variety of Seed Potatoes from our online store today!