Potatoes: How To Plant, Grow, & Harvest Potatoes
One thing my mother taught me was the fact that if you can grow and harvest potatoes, you will never starve. She was so right! The bonus is that you can replant and have continuous crops forever. Of course, you must buy good potato seeds and have great soil. If you buy the best seeds the first time, such as certified organic and non-GMO, the seeds will keep on giving for years, if not forever.
My first crop of the year is planted around the end of March for my Memorial Day picking. My grandkids sometimes come that time of year and they love to “dig” for potatoes. They giggle as they dig and find more and more potatoes. There is nothing better than freshly picked potatoes that you bake, mash, or fry with butter.
Please keep in mind the seeds sell out fast, you may not be able to get any right now. Just giving you the heads up. Typically you need to order them in the early spring. This is why it is critical we save potato seeds to use year after year.
Potatoes: How To Plant, Grow, & Harvest Potatoes
Potato Seed Varieties
- All Red
- Dark Red Noland
- Purple Viking
- Amarosa Fingerling
- Red Chieftan
- Yukon Gem
- Yukon Gold
- Burbank Russet
- German Butterball
- Rose Finn Apple
- Russian Banana
Soil Amendments/Planting Tips
- Organic Compost
- Miracle Grow Potting Soil
- Worm Casings
- I prep my soil in the spring and in the fall
- I never fertilize once they are planted
- No bug spray is required if you purchase good seeds and use good soil
- Please plant in the sunshine
- The temperature must be 45 degrees for the seeds and plants to thrive
- They are cool weather plants
- Soil must have a pH5.8 to 6.5
- Dig the holes at least 4-6 inches deep to plant the seeds with the eyes facing upwards
- Cover with soil and continue to build up the soil
- Potatoes will become green if exposed to sunshine
- The soil must be wet, but not waterlogged
- Choose Organic, nonGMO seeds
- When the little plants reach 8 inches tall, start building up the soil around them
- Rotate where you plant them every three years
- You can start digging about 2-3 weeks after the flowers bloom
- It’s easier to dig for potatoes in dry soil if you have rain delay digging
- Don’t wash your plants if you are going to store them
- In order to “cure” potatoes for the winter, store them in a humid room at 55 degrees for two weeks
- If planting in the ground, plant about 2-3 feet apart
- You can plant them with a little soil then cover with straw (easy to dig for potatoes)
- Let the cut fleshy section of the potato with the “eye” dry before planting
Where I buy my seeds: Organic Non-GMO Seeds
Where You Can Grow Them
- Raised garden beds with good soil
- 18-inch deep pots with good soil
- In the ground, if the soil is loamy, you will trench at least 12-inches deep to look for rocks or debris
- Heavy-duty bags filled with amended soil
- Black garbage bags are not good to use
- You can build a wooden box without a top about 18-inches tall and 18-inches in diameter (easy for harvesting)
- Square-foot gardening is great for planting these
Planting The Best Potatoes
As stated above, dig the holes at least 4-6 inches deep to plant the seeds with the eyes facing upwards. Cover with soil and water the soil, but do not over water.
You can see these how these have started to flower below.
Wait until the leaves have withered and died back before you harvest your mature potatoes. You can use your hands with gloves or a small pitchfork, but be careful as to not puncture the skins. You can still eat the damaged ones, but they will not be good for storing through the winter.
I hope you can harvest potatoes that you can grow and then save the seeds for next summer. There is nothing more exciting than seeing those plants peek through the soil. Please be prepared for the unexpected. May God Bless you and your family.
My Favorite Soil Amendments:
Unco Industries Wiggle Worm Soil Builder Earthworm Castings Organic Fertilizer, 15-Pound
Miracle-Gro Nature’s Care Organic Bone Meal, 3 lb.
Espoma VM8 8-Quart Organic Vermiculite
Rows of potatoes: AdobeStock_42370722 by Digitalpress
Planting seeds: AdobeStock_152938221 by Fotoduets
Mature plants: AdobeStock_60611786 by Ruud Morijn
Harvesting: AdobeStock_43713997 by Imaginatino
Harvested: AdobeStock_70962287 by Pixavrl
Growth Chart: AdobeStock_113417338 by KazaKova Maryla
10 thoughts on “Potatoes: How To Plant, Grow, & Harvest Potatoes”
Great article especially the sentence about “if you grow potatoes you will never starve” It is so important to be self sufficent & not have to depend on someone else for you next meal. Read the book 1 minute after… that will convince everyone to be on their own….so important
Hi, Tom, thank you for your kind words. I wish everyone would read that book, One Second After, the prescriptions and the cars not working makes you really think. Also, people change when they get hungry and not in a good way. My other favorite book is Lights Out by Ted Koppel. Our government is so unprepared for a grid down. Good grief!! May God bless this world. Thanks again, Linda
Do you cut the potato eye’s into individual sections? We have done this for several generations. Be sure to allow the cut fleshy side to dry a little bit before planting. You can get a lot more seedlings that way which results in more potato’s.
Hi Emm, thanks for reminding me about letting the potato pieces dry, I cut them and then let them dry on the counter before planting. I’m going to add that to the list. I have never cut the eyes into sections, do you do that? I just make sure I have one eye per hole. Thanks for commenting, Linda
I’ve read somewhere, that if you plant a large potato seed you will gather a much bigger yield with much bigger potatoes.
Can anyone tell me if that is true? Would love to know before I plant my taters for this year.
Thanks so much,
Hi Suzanne, I only plant mine with a chunk of the potato, not the whole potato. Let’s see if someone else has the answer to this question. Linda
How do you save them for planting next year? I don’t have a root cellar and wondered how others save potatoes for planting.
Hi Mary, I need to write a post about how to save them. I will do that. I basically store the potatoes unwashed, brushing off the excess dirt and place them in a cool place. I don’t have a root cellar so I store them in my cool garage in the winter. Or anyplace that will be protected from critters around 50 degrees. The temperatures will vary but it works. I can grow potatoes 9 months out of the year. I hope this helps, Linda
Good info,. in this article. One thing that I have done the last few years to keep the moles,voles and mice away from my potatoes is to grow them in extra large pots. To maks sure the critters stay away is every 3 years I grow garlic in the same pots over the winter(I plant organic garlic). They do great that way and are ready to harvest just before I want to plant my potatoes. The potatoes don’t have a garlic taste to them but the critters think there is still garlic in the container and leave the potatoes alone. It has worked great and I get a good harvest of both.
Hi Cheryl, I love hearing this about the garlic! I grow my potatoes in pots as well. And I never run out. I bought Non-GMO organic seeds once and they just keep producing. They do not produce in December or January but when the temps warm-up I see new sprouts! Great tip! Linda