from the ground up

Grow. Gather. Enjoy.

Plant potatoes to get more potatoes. Yes, you heard that right. Now, you can’t necessarily just go to the store and buy any old potato, unless you buy organic, that should work fine.

We recommend visiting our Resources page and choosing one of the companies we love and order what are called “seed potatoes”. They offer wonderful heirloom potatoes of all colors and are super fun to grow.

Potatoes will be shipped to you in a bag just before planting time. Open them right away and check to see they are firm – no mushy tots. Keep potatoes at room temperature for about 1 week and they will start to grow “eyes”, which sprout into the plant.

The day before planting (end of April), grab a sharp knife and cut the each potato in 1/2, making sure you have at least a couple of eyes on each 1/2. If the potatoes are small, skip this step and plant the potato whole.

Right: each potato 1/2 has at least 2 eyes. Remember, that is your future plant.

Lay your potatoes out and let the cuts heal over until you plant them tomorrow. This will discourage rot. Don’t wait more than a couple of days to plant them after cutting or they will start to shrivel.

Time to plant. Dig a trench down the middle of your bed, mounding the soil up along either side of the bed. Plant the potatoes alternating back and forth across the center line about 12″ apart and 6″ deep. Notice below, we space them out before digging them down to make sure our spacing is correct.

Notice the pink “eye” at the top. This potato is small, so we did not cut it.
Left: potatoes sprouting up. Right: potato plants with flowers.

When the plants reach about 8″, you will start mounding the soil from the edges back towards the center over the potatoes so just a couple inches sticks out. This may feel strange to do, but your plants will produce more potatoes if you mound them. If you skip this step you will still have potatoes, just not as many as you could have.

Potatoes are ready once the plants grow (they will get about 2′ tall), flower, and then start to brown. They will look like they are dying – get your fork and start digging.

The potatoes are mostly clustered around the base of the plant, but they also spread out a bit, so always start digging about a foot back from the base of the plant and work your way in so you don’t accidentally spear a potato (guaranteed this will happen to you, don’t worry, just eat those for dinner that night).

Brush your potatoes off but do not wash them until you are ready to eat them. They will store better if you don’t get them wet.

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