Potatoes require only minimal care during the growing season if the soil is properly prepared. They produce an abundance of underground tubers, proving themselves one of the simpler crops for the home garden. Potatoes grow best in well-drained soils that are rich in organic matter. Overly-wet soils cause the tubers to rot, while sandy soils drain too quickly for the potatoes to access the proper amount of moisture. Prepare the garden bed prior to planting so that your potatoes have the best chance at healthy growth and production.
Dig the garden bed down to a depth equal to the length of the blade on your spade, or approximately 8 inches. Remove the soil and place it in a wheelbarrow. Loosen the soil in the bed down another spade's depth, but leave this soil in the bed.
Loosen the soil in the bed down another spade's depth. Leave this soil in the bed.
Spread 2 inches of compost over the loosened soil in the bed. Add the soil from the wheelbarrow back to the bed then mix the compost layer into the soil.
Apply 1.5 lbs. of 10-10-10 analysis fertilizer per every 100 square feet of bed. Work the fertilizer into the top 6 inches of loosened soil with a hoe or your spade. Use a slow-release fertilizer formula.