Planting Potatoes in the Northeast


Potatoes are a relative of the tomato, and both are in the same family as toxic nightshade plants. The stems, fruits and leaves of the potato are toxic. The potato itself is a tuber rather than a root and contains all the genetic material required for a new plant. Potatoes grow in sizes from fingerling and round to those that are 1 pound each, and in colors that include brown, purple, gold, blue and red.

Step 1

Plant potatoes between March 10 to April 5 in the Northeast, when the soil temperature is at least 45 to 50 degrees F at a depth of 2 inches. A more optimal temperature is between 55 to 60 degrees F.

Step 2

Dig the soil to a depth of 24 inches. Mix in compost and organic materials. Dig holes 12 inches deep and wide for each seed potato. Space the holes at least 2 feet from the center of each hole.

Step 3

Plant the potatoes and cover them with 3 inches of soil. Cover the seedlings with plastic jugs that have their tops cut off.

Step 4

Fill in the holes with 5 inches of soil and 1 inch of compost when the potato plants reach 8 inches tall. Fill in the hole completely, half with compost and half with soil, when the plants are 5 inches above ground level.

Step 5

Water on a consistent basis to supplement rainfall, as potatoes should receive 1 inch of water per week.

Step 6

Mound the soil 12 inches tall over the potato plant as it grows for the first two months.

Step 7

Hand remove any insects or spray with an insecticide specific to the pest. Wash aphids off with a strong stream of water.

Step 8

Harvest the potatoes by carefully digging them up about two weeks after the plant has turned yellow and withered.

Tips and Warnings

  • Wash hands after handling potato plants to remove any toxins.

Things You'll Need

  • Seed potatoes
  • Shovel
  • Compost


  • University of Maryland: Growing Potatoes
  • "The Country Garden"; Charlie Ryrie; 2003

Who Can Help

  • Botanical Online: Potatoes
Keywords: growing potatoes Northeast, grow potatoes, growing potatoes east

About this Author

Katie Rosehill holds an MBA from Arizona State University. She began her writing career soon after college and has written website content and e-books. Her articles have appeared on, eHow, and GolfLinks. Favorite topics include personal finance - that MBA does come in handy sometimes - weddings and gardening.