How to Start Seed Potatoes


Potatoes have a long history in many cultures as being a staple food, not only in times of need and famine but also as gourmet staples. Most seed potatoes are cool season varieties, but depending on your planting time and region, you can grow potatoes from USDA zone 3 all the way south. Seed potatoes are the key to growing potatoes as these are what you start with. The key is to prepare the soil correctly and choose the ideal planting time for your potato seed variety.

Step 1

Pick a planting site that receives full sun with loose, well-drained soil. The ideal soil is a combination of high potassium and phosphorus and low nitrogen.

Step 2

Dig holes for each potato piece that is 8 inches deep and about 1 inch apart. Remove and discard of any debris you encounter such as rocks and broken roots. Work in a generous amount of compost. In zone 6 and colder, plant seed potatoes right before the last expected frost. Zones 7 and 9 plant seed potatoes from February to March. In the southern regions, plant seed potatoes in September.

Step 3

Cut seed potatoes larger than 2 inches wide in half. Plant them cut-side down so the stems will grow up to the surface, forming potatoes along the way.

Step 4

Backfill the seed potato holes with the excess soil, keeping it light and loose on top. Water thoroughly after planting.

Things You'll Need

  • Trowel
  • Compost
  • Knife


  • Mother Earth News: When and How To Plant Potatoes
  • Ed Hume Seeds: Potatoes are Easy Vegetables to Grow
Keywords: planting potatoes, growing seed potatoes, starting potatoes

About this Author

Lauren Wise has more than eight years' experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food, wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in various magazines, including "Runway," "A2Z," "Scottsdale Luxury Living" and "True West." Wise holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Arizona State University.