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How to Grow a Potato Plant

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How to Grow a Potato Plant

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Overview

Potatoes are one of the easiest plants to grow because they are not extremely picky about the soil that they are grown in. Growing the best potatoes, however, requires preparation and diligence during the growing stages. As potato plants spread and the potatoes start to grow, the gardener needs to be sure that the tubers remain covered with soil.

Step 1

Chit (pre-sprout) the seed potatoes. This step is optional but recommended. Cut out the crown sprouts or eyes to allow the potato to grow sprouts from the shoulders and sides. To find the crown sprout, look closely at the potato for a cluster of more than four or five eyes. Cut out these eyes with a potato peeler and set the potatoes in an egg carton, crown side up.

Step 2

Check the potatoes every few days and mist them lightly with a water/fertilizer mix. When the sprouts have grown to about an inch, they are ready to plant.

Step 3

Clear the planting area of all weeds and debris, using a shovel and garden rake. Remove any rocks and roots, as they can interfere with the growth of the potatoes. Prepare the soil to approximately 1 foot deep.

Step 4

Spread a 2-inch layer of compost or planting mix onto the cleared soil and mix in with a shovel. Dig into the soil with the shovel and turn the dirt several times until the compost and soil are mixed thoroughly.

Step 5

Plant the sprouted (or unsprouted) seed potatoes at a depth of about 1 inch and about 1 foot apart. If the seed potatoes are small, less than 2 oz. each, they do not need to be cut; if they are larger than 2 oz., cut the potatoes into chunks that include at least one eye each. Each chunk should be no smaller than 1 square inch.

Step 6

Water the potatoes thoroughly at least once each week. Over-watering will cause potatoes that have black centers, but potatoes need to be watered consistently to avoid misshapen tubers.

Step 7

Check the leaves and stems daily for insect damage and treat as necessary. Bring in dirt from other areas of the garden to bury the tubers as they grow in size; do not let the potatoes become uncovered while growing.

Step 8

Harvest the potatoes at any desired stage of growth. New potatoes are small, tender potatoes and are used in many recipes. Allow baking potatoes to grow larger.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden rake
  • Shovel
  • Compost or sandy loamy planting mix
  • Certified seed potatoes
  • Sharp knife

References

  • Growing Potatoes
  • Ed Hume: Growing Potatoes
  • Ohio State Univ.: Growing Potatoes

Who Can Help

  • Chitting or Sprouting Potatoes
Keywords: grow a potato plant, seed potatoes, chit seed potatoes

About this Author

Robin Lewis Montanye is a freelance artist, designer and writer. Her articles have appeared in newspapers, national magazines and on several self-help areas of the web. Montanye specializes in gardening articles with information from several universities. She has Internet articles published on Gardenguides.com, eHow.com and Suite101.com.