I’m an Idaho girl who believes there aren’t very many things that taste better than a brand new, fresh out of the ground, red potato! Today I’m sharing a few tricks I’ve learned about planting potatoes in my own garden.
Some of my neighbors plant hundreds, even thousands of potatoes every year. You know, Idaho is the potato state? Those potato farmers are experts. I try to watch them and copy what they do. In the spring, I watch the farmers to see when they plant their potatoes. My growing season is shorter than it is in many other areas. The soil needs to be about 45 degrees, not soaking wet, and you should be past the hard frost season before planting.
I love everything about my garden. It’s so fun to watch everything come up. You can’t beat picking and eating produce straight from the garden. I have to say, the very best part is spending time outside with my boys. They are the best helpers! I guess they should help since they eat and incredible amount of food!
We borrow a tiller from my in-laws and till the potato spot in the garden into hills. It’s actually not we; it’s my 14 year old that does the tilling.
I buy my seed from a local greenhouse. I usually plant a few rows of red potatoes and a few rows of Yukon Gold potatoes. Red potatoes don’t store as long as Yukon Gold potatoes do, so I plant a few of each kind. Sometimes I save a few potatoes from the previous season’s crop and use them for seed potatoes. Don’t worry if they are wrinkly, they will still grow just fine.
If I am feeling ambitious, or if I have extra kids that need a job, I have them cut the potatoes into pieces.
Please don’t tell my middle child that I borrowed his thrift store knife! He wouldn’t be happy with me if he knew I dulled his knife!
Each piece of potato you are using for a seed must have an “eye” on it in order to grow a new potato plant. The eye of a potato is the spot where a new sprout will grow. See that eye?
If you really want your kids to love you start singing, “I’ve got the eye of a tater, I want to see you grow-ow-ow-ow!”
I like to have my kids help me in the garden, and planting potatoes is a great job to have them help with. Once the seed potatoes are ready this is how I get them planted. I step on my shovel until the head is buried level with the ground. Then I push the dirt forward creating little hole in the ground.
I have one of the kids toss a potato seed in the hole. I pull the shovel out of the ground and the dirt covers the potato seed.
This potato planting method is so much easier and quicker than digging a hole for the seed, tossing the seed in then covering the seed back up. It’s also much easier on my back than crawling around trying to dig holes and plant seeds.
I space my potatoes seeds about 12 inches apart and they end up being about 6-8” deep.
If you haven’t ever planted and grown potatoes before you will be surprised at how easy they are to grow. You are going to fall in love with digging a hill of potatoes and finding some perfectly shaped potatoes. I lay the potatoes on the lawn and spray them off with a hose. Then I take them in the house and give them a little scrubbing, and cook them up! Fresh potatoes are almost creamy!
The hardest part of planting potatoes is waiting for them to be mature enough to eat! Once they are ready, you are in for a treat!