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How to Plant Red Potatoes

By Meg Butler ; Updated September 21, 2017

Red potatoes are a delicious potato variety with a number of culinary uses. So many in fact, that it may be tempting to plant a few tubers from this week's grocery run and start your own crop. But while growing red potatoes can be a great idea, you should only use certified seed potatoes to plant in your garden. Grocery-store potatoes may harbor disease, and most are treated with a growth retardant to keep them from sprouting. Once you find a quality seed red potato, plant it two to four weeks before the last frost date for your area or when the soil temperature has risen to at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cut your red potatoes into chunks that have one or more eyes per chunk. The fewer cuts you make, the better. Your chunks should not be much smaller than a small egg.

Spread the cut red potato chunks on a flat surface to dry for two days.

Dig a trench that is 8 inches deep and 8 inches wide. Spread a 2-inch layer of compost on the floor of the trench.

Mix the excavated soil with an equal amount of compost.

Lay the red potato pieces in the trench so that their eyes are facing upward. Each piece should be 8 inches away from its neighbor. Subsequent trenches should be dug at least 2 feet apart.

Cover the potatoes with enough soil to form a slight ridge along the trench.

Water the ridge thoroughly, but do not soak the soil. Water growing potatoes enough to provide them with 1 inch of water per week. Do not allow the soil to dry out.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Compost
  • Thermometer

Tips

  • Once red potato sprouts emerge in one to two weeks, "hill," or pile soil, on top of the ridge to raise it 2 to 3 more inches. This will prevent the potatoes from becoming exposed to the sunlight.
  • Plant red potatoes in an area where they can receive full sunlight.
  • Measure your soil's pH. Red potatoes need acidic soil (pH 5 to 6). Add sulfur to lower your soil's pH if necessary.

Warning

  • Do not plant red potatoes where you have grown potatoes, tomatoes, peppers or eggplant in the past two years.

About the Author

 

Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.