The Q&A Archives: Planting potatoes

Question: I am interested in planting potatoes, hopefully, this weekend. I was going to plant from potatoes that have grown "eyes" that was purchased in the store. Could you please let me know how to go about this.....from beginning to end.

Answer: Potatoes from the grocery store are not good candidates for growing in your garden. They've grown in a completely different climate from yours, have been sprayed with a growth inhibitor to retard sprouting, and may carry disease pathogens that you wouldn't really want to introduce into your garden. Instead, purchase certified disease free seed potatoes for planting in your garden. Now for the culture: potatoes need space, sunshine, and fertile, well draining soil. Plant seed potatoes whole, or cut them into pieces, each with 2-3 eyes. Space the pieces 6" apart and cover them with 4"-5" of soil. As the vines grow, hill soil, leaves, straw or compsot over them to keep the developing tubers covered. Once the plants blossom, stop hilling up the soil and apply a thick mulch to conserve moisture and keep down weeds. When the foliage wilts and dies, harvest your potatoes carefully, brush off excess dirt and allow to cure for a few hours in a sheltered, airy place. Then store in a cool, dark location (40F is ideal).

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