Potatoes are a semi-hardy vegetable that grow best in a sunny location.
Plant potatoes 3 weeks before the frost date.
Since they are a tuber, potatoes grow from “seed potatoes.” Seed potatoes look like regular potatoes, but they have not been treated to prevent sprouting, and they are certified to be disease free. It’s recommended that you purchase only certified seed potatoes, which can be purchased at a home and garden store, or local nursery.
Let the potato seeds sprout. Then, plant the whole potato or cut them up and plant the pieces–just be sure each piece has 2-3 eyes and weighs at least 2 ounces. Set the cut pieces out and allow a crust to form before planting (a couple of hours to one day). Otherwise, they will just rot.
Traditionally, potatoes are planted in rows and as the plant grows dirt is added to the sides, “hilling” around them. This is because between the seed and the top of the soil is the stem. Tubers grow from the stem, and that is where the potatoes develop. The more space you have under the soil, the more potatoes you will grow.
Believe it or not, you CAN grow potatoes in a square foot garden. You need to have at least 10-12 inches of soil to grow potatoes.
Simply take out the soil until there is about an inch or two left on the bottom. Plant one seed potato (or one piece) per square foot. Cover with about an inch of soil.
As the leaves grow and come out of the soil, cover them up with more until the garden is filled to the top.
Soil and Fertilizer
Potatoes grows best in a rich, well-draining soil; amend with lots of compost and fertilizer (chemical or organic) at planting and once during the season.
Fertilizer: 16-16-8 at planting, 21-0-0 six weeks later. Too much fertilizer will lead to lots of leaves but few potatoes.
About 2 weeks after the potato plants flower, you can harvest “new potaotes” (small, thin skins). Or, wait until the plants die. Dig up the “late potaotes” (larger, tough skins) and brush off the dirt. Store in a cool, dark, dry place until ready to eat. Don’t wash until just before you cook them.