Planting Potatoes In The Garden

Last weekend we got our potato starts in the ground.  (These could have been planted early in the month, but I was busy and didn’t get around to it until now.)  I am following Steve Solomon’s recommendations from his vegetable gardening book entitled Gardening When It Counts.  Back in February, I started the seed potatoes inside under lights to get them to sprout–here’s how to do that.  Now the next step was to plant them outside, and here is what we did:

1.  We dug one foot deep and one foot wide trenches in the garden beds 36 inches apart.  In the bottom of these trenches I generously sprinkled potato organic fertilizer, which is Solomon’s complete organic fertilizer minus the lime.  So basically it was 4 parts alfalfa meal, one part bone meal and a half-part kelp meal.  This got dug into the bottom of the trench.  Then there is all the dirt that you dug out of the trench, and on top of this you generously cover it with compost, and then push all of the dirt and compost back into the trench, so you have a  fertilized soil strip with nicely loosened soil.

2.Then you plant the seed potatoes.  I planted mine 8 inches apart, and four inches deep.  Water, and they will start growing vines.

That’s all there is to it.  I have made many mistakes starting potatoes in the past, so I am giving this method a try to see if it works.  I can tell you that it won’t work to skimp on compost or fertilizer, because the potatoes will not grow well and produce any sort of a crop.  The spacing is also important, because if you try to cram too many potato starts into too small of a space it won’t work either.

I will keep you updated on their progress, and also on how to hill them up as the vines grow in an upcoming blog post.  If you waited to get seed potatoes, I noticed that the local Bi-Mart still had some for sale last weekend, but your mileage may vary.

Feel free to leave a comment–which potato varieties have you planted with success?

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3 Comments

  1. minervasgardenwriter said,

    May 9, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    I planted a variety of seed potatoes, including German Butterball potatoes, and I noticed on May 8th, yesterday, that they were sending shoots above ground. The Butterballs are the first of the baby potatoes that I have seen emerging, so more will be coming soon! German Butterballs are supposed to be 80 days to maturity, so maybe we’ll be eating home-grown potatoes by the end of July or so.

  2. minervasgardenwriter said,

    May 11, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    It’s May 11th, and all of the potato starts now have little shoots that have appeared above ground. I planted, in addition to the German Butterballs, Yukon Gold, Dark Red Norlan, and Kennebec. I got my seed potatoes at Portland Nursery and Bi-Mart this year.

  3. May 20, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    […] growing potatoes Just a quick note to show you the progress of the newly planted seed potatoes.  Here is my original post about planting them.  I planted them on April 25th, and this picture below was […]


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