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How to Plant Red Potatoes in Texas

seed potato image by hazel proudlove from

Potatoes are grown from seed potatoes which you can purchase at a nursery or garden center. Red potatoes grow well in Texas; in fact, they are commercially grown in certain areas. Red potatoes need cool night temperatures (below 68 degrees F) and lots of light in the daytime, which is a typical May cycle in Texas. Red La Soda and Viking are the most commonly grown red-skinned potato varieties in Texas gardens, according to agriculturalists at Texas A&M University. Start your seed potatoes one week before you plan on planting them in the garden. When you shop for seed potatoes, look for those that are listed as certified and are smaller in size than an egg.

Place the seed potatoes in an egg carton or other box-type container and leave them in an area with lots of light, with a temperature that remains between 60 and 70 degrees F. As the seed potato sprouts, remove all but the top four sprouts, by rubbing them off the surface.

Plant the red seed potatoes in mid-February in all parts of Texas except for the Rio Grande Valley, the Rolling Plains and the Panhandle. According to agriculturalists at Texas A&M University, gardeners in the Rio Grande Valley should plant their red potatoes in late December, Rolling Plains gardeners should get their planting done in late February to March, and those in the Panhandle should wait until April.

Dig up the planting area to a depth of 8 inches, turning the soil and crushing any large clods.

Amend the soil by laying down a 3-inch layer of coarse sand and a 4-inch layer of compost. Mix these materials into the top 8 inches of soil, using the gardening fork.

Water the area well and allow it to drain completely.

Plant the seed potatoes 5 inches into the soil, 7 to 9 inches apart and in rows 32 inches apart.

Pile the soil over the seed potatoes into a 3- to 4-inch tall hill or mound.

Water the potato plants again in April, with 1 1/2 inches. In May they will need 7 inches and in June, 12 inches. In July, cut back to 6 inches of water, just prior to harvest.

Feed the potato plants every other week with a 10-20-10 fertilizer.

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