How to Plant Potatoes

One of my favorite activities with the kids is gardening.  Moreover from a freedom perspective I think everyone should know how to garden/grow food and understand where it comes from (why would you eat something you don’t understand?).  In the video above we show you how to plant the potatoes in the ground, below I’ve got some extra resources that I hope you find helpful.

Potatoes are probably my favorite crop to grow as they’re easy to grow (you don’t have to be an expert), they don’t take a lot of maintenance, and they’re generally pretty forgiving (so not everything has to be perfect).  They can also be continually harvested over the period of several months, first as “new” potatoes as soon as they’re large enough to start using all the way through autumn (you just want to get them out of the ground before it gets too wet or cold).  Did I mention they are easy to store as well?

For me in the Pacific Northwest this generally means it’s easy to grow a supply of potatoes that I can continuously harvest from July through October and eat through the Winter.

Watch, Read, Learn then get out there and grow!

Tools you’ll need

You need only a few tools and supplies for this project, the items you’ll need are (click for Amazon links):

Wooden Stakes

Twine

Trench Shovel

Soil Prep

Your soil should be prepared for planting beforehand by removing any existing plants and tilling the soil.  The scope of which goes beyond this article (however there are tons of great articles out there on this topic).  At some point in the future I may write an article of my own on this topic.

Lining Up the Rows

After your soil is prepared for planting place the wooden stakes at the end of rows placed about 3 feet (1 meter) apart – if you’re space constrained you can go closer (14-30 inches apart) however if you have the space I recommend at least 3 feet as it means you’ll have space to walk in-between the rows.

Tie the twine to the stakes giving you a straight line for each of the rows.

Stakes in the garden
It’s a stakeout

Digging and Prepping your Trenches

Using your trench shovel dig a trench next to the twine down the entire length of the row to a depth of about 6 inches (12 cm).  The goal here is that once you back-fill the soil the potatoes will be about 4-5 inches underground.

After

Planting Potatoes

Place your seed potatoes about 12-14 inches about with the eyes (sprouts that come out the side of the potatoes) pointing upward.  After you’ve got them placed in the row gently (so as not to knock them over) fill the trench with dirt.  Note that if you have shoots coming out of the potatoes (as I do in the picture below) you should take care to not damage them and to bury them with the shoot upward.

Potatoes in the Trench
Potatoes in the Trench

Bury them so there is about 4-5 inches of soil over the top of the shoot.  If the shoots are long mound up the soil as I’ve done with this row.

Potato Mound
Potato Mound

Earthing Up the Potatoes as they Grow

Lastly, as the potatoes begin to grow you’ll need to mound up soil around their base fully covering any new tubers near the surface.  The reason for this is that potatoes that are on the surface (in the light) will start to produce a toxin (the same toxin the plants produce in the leaves to discourage animals from eating them).  Mounding up the soil will also help increase the yield and protect from some blight infections.

I hope you can come join me in a few months with a follow-up article on how to harvest your potatoes!

Erik

Technology, science, building things and experiencing the world. What more could anyone ask for?

FreeLearner.how founder and doer of many things

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