Planting Process of Potatoes

Overview

Potatoes are cool season vegetables. Potatoes are not the roots of the potato plant, but an energy storage device called a tuber. Soil temperatures of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for potato growth. Potato plants tolerate light frosts in the spring and fall. Most potatoes are planted in March or early April after the soil is workable. For a late crop of potatoes, plant them by the first of July. It takes 100 to 120 days for full growth of potatoes. A 10-foot row will produce 6 to 15 pounds of potatoes.

Step 1

Remove the weeds, grass, brush and debris from a planting site located in full sun exposure. Loosen the soil up to the depth of 12 inches with a shovel. Remove buried rocks and root masses.

Step 2

Spread 2 inches of peat moss on top of the soil. If your soil contains an abundant amount of clay, then add 2 to 4 inches of sand. Work the soil amendments in with a shovel or rototiller. Rake the soil smooth.

Step 3

Create a 3- to 5-inch deep row 10 feet long with the edge of a garden hoe. Create the rest of your rows 24 inches apart so the shade from the potato plants will keep the soil cool. Sprinkle 1 tbsp. of 10-20-0 fertilizer per 10 foot row in the bottom of the furrows.

Step 4

Cut your seed potatoes into 1 1/2 to 2 ounce or 1 1/2 inch cubes with a sharp knife. Check to make sure that there is at least one good eye or bud per piece. Whole small potatoes can be used as well. The seed potatoes need to be firm to the touch and unsprouted.

Step 5

Place a potato piece in the row with the cut side facing down every 10 to 12 inches apart. Cover the potatoes with soil. Sprinkle the area with water until the soil is wet to the touch.

Tips and Warnings

  • Sunburn on potatoes look like green or dark spots on the skin. This is caused by exposure to the sun from potatoes not planted deeply enough. If you can see potatoes poking through the soil, add more soil to cover the tubers.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Peat moss
  • Sand
  • Rake
  • Garden hoe
  • Fertilizer
  • Seed potatoes
  • Sharp knife

References

  • University of Illinois Extension: Watch Your Garden Grow---Potato
  • AZ Master Gardener Manual: Vegetable Garden---Potatoes
Keywords: potato planting process, planting potatoes, planting vegetables

About this Author

Karen Carter has spent the last three years working as a technology specialist in the public school system. This position included hardware/software installation, customer support, and writing training manuals. She also spent four years as a newspaper editor/reporter at the Willapa Harbor Herald.