The potato plant, grown primarily in Northern states, produces greater yields when grown throughout the North's several cool months. The term "tuber" refers to the plant's growing potatoes, and the best tuber growth occurs at temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees F, according to the University of Illinois Extension. Potato plant production depends on a variety of factors, starting with the potato you use.
Purchase certified disease free potatoes, available from garden centers, online or through catalogs. Most grocery store potatoes are treated with a sprout retardant and have not been tested for disease, and a potato from your own garden could be infected with viruses or diseases.
Plant potatoes in March or early April. Planting too early in cold or damp soils can cause potatoes to rot. Wait until the soil is dry.
Cut the potato into smaller seed potatoes, about 2-oz. pieces, with a sharp, clean knife. Make sure one "eye" appears on each piece.
Apply a 1-inch layer of compost to the top of the soil and rake in to keep garden soil fertile and loose.
Plant seed potatoes 1 to 3 inches deep and 12 inches apart. Set rows 24 to 36 inches apart.
Water consistently throughout the season with a light spray of water from a hose. Only water until moist to prevent causing the potatoes to rot.
Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as grass clippings, after potato plants emerge to retain moisture and prevent weed growth. Hill the soil around the plants with a hoe as they grow to prevent the tubers from sunburn.