Planting Potatoes

Whew – it takes FOREVER to plant potatoes when you don’t crowd them.  According to my favorite gardening book main crop potatoes should be planted 15″ apart in rows 30″ apart.  I planted 10# of Red Pontiac potatoes in rows this way.  I cut them in to pieces with at least 1 or 2 good “eyes” on each piece.  They’ve been sitting around on a cookie sheet for weeks now waiting for the garden, the weather, and the worker to all be ready at that same time.  It took 3 days but they’re in!

I even used a couple step in posts and string to make my rows straight this year. What's wrong with me, trying to do things "right" for once!? To the left of the post are several rows already planted.

The potatoes all chitted and ready to go. By day 3 I got smart and set them up on the fence instead of on the ground. There's less squashing of the child this way. 😉

I have a hoe that the flat piece broke off of so now it's basically a hook on a handle. I used that first to mark a line under the string. In the foreground I used a shovel to make a shallow trench. The book suggests 4" of soil over the potatoes is enough to start with.

I used a yard stick to get uniform spacing. Again, 15" apart. Note for my own reference: the west half of the southernmost row is spaced about 7.5" apart just to avoid putting in a partial row. We'll see how the yield compares.

You may remember that last year we planted our potatoes in tubs instead of in the ground.  Our yields were pretty poor and the potatoes we did get were small.  However, I believe we would have had a lot better results if we had water the plants regularly.  The tubs dry out easier than the ground anyway but we just happened to try it during one of the hottest, driest summers I can remember.  In a normal year we could have kept up with the watering but last year was too extreme and the plants suffered.  I’m not sure how the weather will be this year but with the baby coming midsummer the plants need to be as low maintenance as possible.  That means in the ground and heavily mulched to hold the moisture in.

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2 thoughts on “Planting Potatoes

  1. Scrappy_Lady

    Growing up, we’d plant potatoes as a pair. Dad would have the rows marked. (Evenly spaced, using a special, from-scrap-wood thing that he built one year.)

    With an ice cream bucket of potatoes, one of us kids would follow Dad along as he’d step a shovel into the ground, then lift just enough for us to get our fingers and the potatoe piece in behind the shovel. He’d then pull out the shovel, allowing the dirt to fall back into place, while he took a step forward to start the next hole. We kids would walk across the already-planted spots as we progressed to the next hole.

    It was a quick process. Find a teammate and I bet you’d be able to speed up the planting process considerably. 🙂

    Reply

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