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Potato Planting Guide
When to Plant: Mid March – St. Patrick’s Day – is a traditional time to plant spring potatoes in KS, while early to mid-July is the time to plant for a fall harvest.
Cutting and Preparing Seed: Select firm, solid seed potatoes. Cut the tubers into 1.5 to 2-ounce pieces. An average sized potato is cut into four pieces, while a large potato is cut into six. Store the cut seed in a warm humid location for 2-3 days to allow the freshly cut surface to “heal”. This prevents the seed piece from rotting when planted. Always purchase new potato seed. Do not use potatoes from the produce section.
Space: Plant seed 12 inches apart in rows 3 feet apart. Plant the seed less than 2 inches deep in the spring, or 4-5 inches deep for a fall planting.
Care: Potatoes develop along the main stem of the plant, above the seed piece. To encourage large yields and to prevent sun burning, potatoes should be hilled or ridged, pulling loose soil along the row as the crop is growing. This ridge or hill eventually should be 8-12” tall. Potatoes like a fertile well-drained location with loose soil. Potatoes need consistent watering. Irregular watering lowers yield and may result in rough knobs on the potatoes. A layer of mulch can help in holding moisture near the plant.
Harvest: Early or new potatoes can be harvested as the plants are growing by gently removing some plants in the row. Begin digging potatoes when the vines are about half dead. Remove excess vines and carefully dig the tubers. Allow them to surface dry out in the sun for a day or more to toughen the skin. Then move potatoes into a cold dark location for storage. Ideal storage temperature is below 40º F.