Growing Potatoes

Before planting you need to first “chit” your potatoes. This means to allow them to grow shoots (or eyes). To chit your potatoes, lay them in a single layer in a warm spot with indirect light. A good way to prevent rot during this stage is to place your potatoes in an egg carton. Once your potatoes put out shoots that are 1” long they are ready to plant. This could take 2-3 weeks.

Cut the potatoes in to pieces, each piece should contain at least two eyes.

Wait for the cut surfaces to “callus over” by leaving them to sit for a few days before planting.

Garden potatoes can be planted 2 to 4 weeks before the average last frost date. Place the potato chunks with the cut side down and “eye side” up about 2 inches deep, 8-9 inches apart.

You’ll need a location with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight and fertile, loose, well-drained soil.

Water, water, water! This is really important because potatoes are lush and leafy plants and those tubers take a lot of effort to swell. So if it’s dry, water thoroughly. Maintain even moisture, especially from the time after the flowers bloom. Potatoes need 1 to 2 inches of water a week. Too much water right after planting and not enough as the potatoes begin to form can cause them to become misshapen. Stop watering when the foliage begins to turn yellow and die off.

Once the plants have grown to about 8”, it’s time to “hill” your potatoes, adding enough soil to bury except for the top 3 inches. Continue to cover new growth every few weeks, leaving the top 3 inches of the plant exposed each time.

For harvesting potatoes, wait until the foliage of the plant dies in late summer and then harvest and store correctly.

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