What Are the Best Tips for Planting Seed Potatoes?

Dan Cavallari

Planting seed potatoes is a great way to get delicious food without worrying about excess chemicals often added during food processing or shipping. It is best to determine what type of soil is present in the area in which the potatoes will be planted, as well as what the growing season is in that region. Planting seed potatoes doesn't actually involve seeds at all; instead, it involves the use of potatoes that have sprouted eyes and are certified as seed potatoes. It is best to buy these from a reputable dealer or procure them from one's own existing garden.

Potatoes that have sprouted are known as seed potatoes.
Potatoes that have sprouted are known as seed potatoes.

The soil needs to be prepared before planting seed potatoes. It is a good idea to keep a compost pile so organic matter can be added to the soil. This ensures the plants will have plenty of nutrients at ready disposal, thereby improving their quality and growing patterns. The soil should be moist but not soaked before planting. It is often a good idea to prepare soil in the late fall or early winter so it is ready to be turned and used for planting in the spring. After planting seed potatoes, the gardener should expect to wait anywhere between two and four months before the potatoes are ready to be harvested.

Seed potatoes with sprouted eyes can be cut into pieces and planted.
Seed potatoes with sprouted eyes can be cut into pieces and planted.

Dig the soil fairly deeply before planting seed potatoes, especially if rodents are a common problem in the garden. This will prevent unwanted pests from eating the seed potatoes; some gardeners do prefer to leave the potatoes shallow in the soil, which is all right if the gardener is confident that pests will not be able to dig the seed potatoes up. It may be a good idea to build a fence or enclosure around the garden to prevent such pest problems, though digging the potato deeper usually solves the problem anyway.

It can be difficult to determine when harvesting is appropriate. It is usually not possible to monitor the growth of the potatoes after planting seed potatoes, since they grow underground, but it is possible to dig them up if they are not kept out of the soil for a prolonged period of time. When the tops of the plants begin to wilt and die off, this is usually a good indication that it is time to start harvesting the potatoes. This can, of course, vary by specific potato variety, so be sure to do a bit of research into the type of potato being grown.

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