Planting potatoes has to be one of the easiest and most rewarding plants to plant in the edible garden. Even a child can succeed.
You can start with “seed” potatoes bought a garden catalog companies, or you start with a potato from the market. One thing market potatoes are known for is the sprout inhibitors sprayed on potatoes to prevent roots from developing.
But as you know, roots develop on many potatoes anyway. You can plant these. Best for a backyard garden are the small red and white potatoes. From one, you’ll have 20 or more in just a matter of months.
Since potatoes grown entirely underground, you’ll want to loosen the soil in a 3 by 3 foot area. Add compost or organic soil amendment if you have it.
Plant your sprouted potato about 6-inches below the soil. Water only when dry. You won’t want the soil sopping wet to rot your potatoes, but the potato plant will need adequate moisture to grow.
In a few weeks after planting potatoes you’ll see green growth above the ground. Each potato will grow into a plant 3 by 3 feet wide. While the top is growing, the roots are developing more potatoes.
After the plant flowers, wait a few weeks until the top of the plant begins to yellow and dies back.
Here’s where it gets fun: start digging. And keep digging because you’ll find all kinds of potatoes up to 3 and 4-feet away from the original potato you planted. Think of it like an Easter egg hunt, but underground.
Dirt Couture has a great garden rake for harvesting potatoes.
You can plant potatoes year round in many areas. But check with your local nurseryperson to find out what planting and harvesting dates are best where you live.