Red potatoes are a delicious vegetable which can be eaten hot, mash, or chilled after cooking to make potato salad. If you want to enjoy the ease of growing red potatoes in your own yard there are a few things you need to do to prepare red potatoes for planting.
Before you can begin, select red seed potatoes a week before planting, which don't look damaged. The seed potatoes should not have cuts, scrapes or gouges in their skins. According to the University of Florida Extension, gardeners should use only certified seed potatoes. They will be free from disease and ready to sprout--grocery store potatoes are often treated with a sprout inhibitor.
Spread out the red seed potatoes inside the shallow box or an egg carton and keep the potatoes from touching one another. Set the box or carton in a sunny room where it is at least room temperature, but in a place where the potatoes won't receive direct sunlight.
Let the box or carton sit undisturbed for one week. Sprouts should begin to emerge by the end of that time. If there are any damaged or rotting potatoes, discard them immediately.
Check the potatoes and count the number of sprouts. Each potato should have no fewer than two or three sprouts in order to grow successfully, so leave them to sit for another week if too few sprouts exist. If any of your seed potatoes are larger than a golf ball, cut them in half, but make sure you have two to three sprouts on each half.
Set the cut red potatoes in the sun outside for three to four hours with the cut surface facing up to heal over. To avoid setting them in the sun, you can use garden lime to dust the cut surface of any of your potatoes to help heal them over and keep disease from starting.
Plant your seed potatoes 2 inches deep spaced about 10 to 12 inches apart down a row. As your sprouts grow to 4 inches tall, mound up soil or dried leaf mulch to cover the bottom 2 inches of the plants. Continue to add soil as the potato plant grows until you have created a 10-inch mound.