When & How to Plant Seed Potatoes


Potatoes planted in the spring can yield a bountiful harvest of tubers in the fall. Properly stored, potatoes keep well and can be the accompaniment to or basis for many satisfying meals. Potatoes are grown from seed potatoes--potatoes which are beginning to sprout. You can plant potatoes from a bag you purchase at the grocery store, but you'll get the best results by planting potatoes sold specifically for seed.

Step 1

Test the temperature of your garden soil. If the soil is above 40 degrees it is safe to plant potatoes. Potatoes need a long growing season, so plant as early in the spring as possible.

Step 2

Dig a shallow trench in the garden, about 4inches deep and wide enough to accommodate the seed potatoes. Space trenches 3 feet apart.

Step 3

Apply a line of fertilizer or compost in the trench and mix it with the soil. Use a fertilizer for potatoes or a rich compost.

Step 4

Plant whole potatoes or cut each potato into several chunks with a knife, each piece containing two or three eyes. Lay them in the trench about 12 inches apart and mound soil over the potatoes about two inches deep .

Step 5

Water regularly, keeping the soil moist but not soggy. As plants emerge from the soil, continue to mound soil with a hoe around the plant stem.

Step 6

Harvest potatoes two weeks after the plants begin to wither and yellow in the fall.

Things You'll Need

  • Thermometer
  • Shovel or hoe
  • Fertilizer or compost
  • Knife


  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Planting Seed Potatoes
  • Cornell University: Potato Growing Guide

Who Can Help

  • Ohio State University: Growing Potatoes in the Home Garden
Keywords: plant seed potatoes, grow potatoes, harvest potatoes

About this Author

Cynthia James is the author of more than 40 novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from Modern Bride to Popular Mechanics. A graduate of Sam Houston State University, she has a degree in economics. Before turning to freelancing full time, James worked as a newspaper reporter, travel agent and medical clinic manager.