Potatoes are among the most productive vegetabes for home gardens. For every pound of seed potatoes you plant, expect to harvest three to five pounds of spuds in return.Plus, with the long storage life of potatoes and the myriad of ways you can prepare them, they are a must-grow crop for many gardeners. And, to sweeten the deal even more, potatoes are a simple crop for beginner gardeners to grow. Every potato-growing adventure starts with seed potatoes. In this article, we’ll look at what seed potatoes are, how to plant seed potatoes, and how to grow them successfully – no matter how much, or how little, space you have to grow.
Seed potatoes are not actually seeds at all. Instead, they are simply potato tubers that are used for planting. Most often, they are saved from last year’s harvest and stored over the winter under exacting conditions to keep them firm and free. Rather than saving some of your own harvest for replanting the next year,seed potatoes at the start of each growing season.
Why cut seed potatoes for planting
New potato plants sprout from the buds (called eyes) on the surface of potatoes. The eyes appear as dimples in the potato’s skin. You’ve probably had a potato sprout new growth if you’ve left it in the pantry too long. Each eye has the potential to grow into a whole new plant. Because of this, seed potatoes are typically not planted whole. Instead, they are up into pieces prior to planting to yield more plants from each seed potato.
seed potatoes into pieces that are about the size of a golf ball. Each piece should contain at least 2 eyes. You can force a seed potato to sprout prior to it up by putting it in a well-lit place at room for a few days (just not in direct sunlight). Or you can the seed potato first, and then let the sprouts develop under the ground. This is my preferred method as it is much easier to plant an unsprouted seed potato than one that’s developed fragile new sprouts that are easy to off during the planting process.
Where to plant?
There are three main ways you can plant seed potatoes. They can be planted directly into the ground (or in a raised bed); they can be planted in containers; and they can be planted under straw. Rotate crops so your potatoes are not planted in the same spot each season. the seed potato-planting method you choose, select a site that receives at least 6 hours of full sun per day and wait until soil have warmed before planting and soil moisture levels are good. Let me walk you through each of these three methods so you can determine how to plant seed potatoes in your own garden.
How to plant seed potatoes in the ground?
If you want to know how to plant seed potatoes in the ground, the first step is to pay attention to the depth and spacing of your seed potato pieces. When planting seed potatoes in the ground, either an individual hole for each piece of seed potato or use a garden hoe to a trench to plant several of them in a row 10 to 12 inches apart. The hole or trench should be 4 to 5 inches deep. If you plan to plant multiple rows, space the rows 18 to 24 inches apart.
How to plant seed potatoes in straw
Growing seed potatoes in straw is an excellent and easy way to get lots of spuds with minimal work. If you’re wondering how to plant seed potatoes in a way that makes them easy to harvest and keeps the spuds clean, then growing in straw is the way to go.
To plant seed potatoes in straw, prepare an in-ground garden bed or a raised bed for planting. Then, nestle each piece of seed potato down into the soil by no more than an inch or so. Some gardeners who plant seed potatoes in straw don’t even them at all; they simply toss the pieces on top of the soil. Once the seed potato pieces are placed, cover them with 5 or 6 inches of straw. As the plants grow, add more straw to the top, covering all but the very top leaves of the plant, until the bed has 8 to 10 inches of straw. Though the layer of straw serves as an excellent mulch, keep the bed well-watered through the growing season.
How to plant seed potatoes in pots and grow bags
You may also be wondering how to plant seed potatoes in containers. This second method of growing spuds is great for folks with limited space or no in-ground garden. It’s easy to do, and though the yields are often slightly smaller than growing seed potatoes in the ground, it’s the perfect option for anyone.
To plant seed potatoes in a container, begin by sourcing the right kind of container. When it comes to growing potatoes in pots, the bigger the better. Each piece of seed potato needs at least 2.5 – 3 gallons of potting soil to grow into a full-sized plant. That means if you use a container around the size of a 5-gallon utility bucket, you can plant 2 seed potato pieces inside. Larger pots can host even more seed pieces. Be sure the container has in it and use a high quality potting soil with a fertilizer mixed 50/50 with compost. The general potting soil mix found in our DIY Potting Soil Recipes post is an excellent choice. You can also bagged potting soil and bagged compost and mix the two together.