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How to Prepare Seed Potatoes for Planting

Here’s what you need to do to your seed potatoes prior to planting to maximize your potato harvest! It isn’t hard, but you don’t want to skip these steps to make sure your potatoes don’t rot in the wet spring ground.

How to prepare seed potatoes for plantingI started growing potatoes about five years ago and they have quickly become one of my favorite veggies to grow. They’re easy, they’re fun, and harvesting them is like going on a treasure hunt. I also feel like I get a big bang for my buck – conventional potatoes are very heavily treated with chemicals and are at the top of the dirty dozen list, so I prefer to buy organic potatoes. However, organic potatoes aren’t that easy to find and they’re expensive. Growing my own potatoes is a great option for me.

How to Prepare Seed Potatoes for Planting

1. Encourage sprouting by placing potatoes in a sunny location.

2. Cut big potatoes into at least 1″ pieces – making sure each piece has a sprouting eye.

3. Let cut potatoes cure 1-2 days, so they develop a protective crust.

How to prepare your seed potatoes for plantingI order my potatoes from Seed Savers Exchange and they’re mailed out when growing conditions are conducive to planting. I love finding that box of potatoes on my door step each year!

How to prepare seed potatoes for planting - cutOnce your potatoes have arrived, take them out of the bags and examine them. If they haven’t sprouted much, put them in a sunny location to encourage sprouting. Bigger potatoes can be cut – make sure each potato piece has at least one eye and that it’s not too small. Around an inch is the recommended size for seed potatoes.

How to prepare seed potatoes for planting - keep trackFingerling potatoes can be kept whole or cut down the middle or crosswise. Again, just make sure that each piece has at least one eye on it. If there’s no eye, the potato won’t grow.

How to prepare seed potatoes for planting - crusty

I spread my potatoes out on cookie sheets {disregard my rusty cookie sheet – I promise I don’t use it for baking…} and put them in a sunny location. It’s important to let them cure for 1-2 days so the cut spots will form a protective crust against rot. It’s pretty wet and chilly in the spring – perfect conditions for rot. See the crust on the cut potato? These potatoes are ready to plant!

Quick tip – I write down how many seed potatoes I end up with on the little tag that came with the potato, so I can keep track of what’s going on in my garden. I’ll also write down the date on the same tag and a few harvesting notes as well. I always forget what I’ve done in my garden so having these little notes really helps me stay on track. AND – don’t throw out those awesome seed potato bags! They make great, reusable produce bags to take to the grocery store or farmer’s market!!

This year, I’m growing German Butterball, Yukon Gold, and La Ratte potatoes! I’ve grown Yukon Golds for a number of years, but the other two varieties are new to me. What’s your favorite type of potato to grow?

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If you liked this post on preparing seed potatoes, you will want to read these posts too:

Growing Potatoes the No-Dig Method

Updates on the No-Dig Method

Must Know Gardening Tips for Beginners

Where to Find Free Mulch



Tuesday 10th of January 2017

I am ordering my potatoes from Seed Savers...I hope it goes as well as yours do :) Do you hapeen to have a coupon code to share?

Michelle Marine

Wednesday 11th of January 2017

I don't, Ann. They share them on facebook sometimes! I will be on the lookout as I want to order my potatoes as well.


Tuesday 12th of April 2016

Oh this is so neat! I have to do this for us this summer! We always do a small garden, would love to grow potatoes!

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As an Amazon Associate Michelle Marine, SimplifyLiveLove, earns from qualifying purchases.