How to Prepare Seed Potatoes for Planting

Overview

The fast-growing nature of potato vines, paired with each vine's abundant production of underground edible tubers, makes it perfect for the backyard garden plot. Start your own potato plants by sowing seed potatoes, which can be collected from a grocery store or a previous year's crop. Each seed potato should be prepared appropriately to ensure a healthy and vigorously growing start for your backyard potato crop.

Step 1

Wait for the outdoor soil temperature to reach 40 degrees F or warmer before you begin preparing seed potatoes. Cornell University advises this is the coldest temperature at which the seed potatoes will germinate.

Step 2

Weigh the potatoes on a scale. The ideal seed potato weights approximately 1.5 to 2 ounces, according to the University of Illinois.

Step 3

Cut the seed potato into smaller pieces with a knife if it's too large. Each cut piece needs a minimum of one eye. The eye is the circular dot on the potato skin where the potato vine will sprout.

Step 4

Sterilize the seed potato. This prevents potato fungus diseases that may destroy your entire potato crop. Use a commercially prepared potato fungicide according to its labeled guidelines. Alternatively, Oregon State University recommends soaking the seed potatoes in a mixture of 1 part standard household bleach to 10 parts water for 10 minutes.

Step 5

Plant the seed potatoes. Bury the potato 2 or 3 inches deep and 1 foot apart, according to the University of Illinois. Cornell University advises the potatoes will sprout within four weeks.

Things You'll Need

  • Scale
  • Knife
  • Fungicide
  • Bleach
  • Water
  • Bucket

References

  • "How to Grow Potatoes: A Practical Gardening Guide for Great Results"; Richard Bird; 2009
  • Oregon State University: Seed Potatoes
  • University of Illinois: Potatoes
  • Cornell University: Potatoes
Keywords: prepare seed potatoes, grow potatoes, ready seed potatoes

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.