- Exposure: Full sun
- When to plant: Early spring to early summer (although sowing on March 17 is a planting tradition)
- Pests and diseases to watch out for: Flea beetles, Colorado potato beetles, scab
- Recommended varieties: Purple Viking, Yellow Finn, Yukon Gold
How to Plant Potatoes
Plant or cut large ones into golf-ball size pieces. Each chunk should have one to two “eyes” or buds. Dig holes 8 inches deep and a foot apart. Place each piece in a hole with the eye facing up. Fill the hole with half the soil you removed, then add the remaining four inches of soil once vines have grown six to eight inches out of the soil.
How to Care for Potatoes
Fertilize your potatoes with a or compost at planting time. Keep plants consistently moist, especially when flowering, as this is when tubers form. If any pop out of the ground when growing, cover them up with soil or they’ll turn green and bitter.
What happens if I plant a potato from my kitchen?
Most of the time, they’ll grow. However, some potatoes are treated with chemicals to inhibit sprouting. And because potatoes are disease-prone, it’s better to to protect your garden.
How long does it take potatoes to grow?
They’re a quick crop, maturing about three to four months after planting.
When should I lift my potatoes?
Harvest some as tender “new” potatoes about 60 days after the plants emerge. Leave the rest in ground for about two more weeks to cure (the skin toughens up a bit, so they’ll keep longer). Then harvest everything when the vines have turned yellow and died back. Any potatoes you nick with your shovel when digging should be eaten right away because they will spoil fast.
How do you plant potatoes in a container?
Bigger is better, so use the largest container you have. Place about four to six inches of soil in the bottom of the container, then the potato, then about four more inches of soil. When the stems pop up, cover all but the tip of the plant with soil, repeating the process each time new growth emerges until you reach the top of the container. The more of the stem you bury as it grows, the more tubers you’ll get at harvest. Overall, container potatoes will be smaller and the yield slightly less than when planted in the ground.
“Planting in hills or long trenches and scooping soil on top in stages as they grow yields more potatoes,” says Colin McCrate, founder of Seattle Urban Farm Company, author of and , and producer of the podcast. “Some people use straw instead of soil to top the plants as they grow. Tubers still set but they’re easier and cleaner to harvest.”