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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.

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?

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

 

Scalloped Potatoes and Bacon for Slow Cookers

I’ve been giving my crockpot a workout the last couple of weeks. It’s helping me a lot to get dinner on the table at an earlier time. Honestly, we usually eat kind of late – around 7 pm, but with 3 kids in an assortment of sports, activities, and practices, it’s really important that I feed my family earlier right now. I’ve tried out a lot of different recipes recently, and this one, Scalloped Potatoes and Bacon for Slow Cookers, is a winner!

Scalloped Potatoes and Bacon for Slow Cookers

scalloped potatoes and bacon for crockpots
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How to Store Potatoes Over Winter

How to store potatoes over winter

2014 marks the second year I have planted potatoes following the no-dig potato planting method. I first tried this method in 2013 after reading about it in my Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening. Last year, I had an awesome potato harvest – well over 200 pounds. And this year, I ended up with about the same. I don’t have quite as many to store this year because we’ve eaten more of them so far, but since many people have asked me how my potatoes fared last year, I thought it was time for a post!

My method of potato storage last year was really high tech. I threw all my potatoes together in wooden bushel baskets I found a while back at Goodwill (they’re for sale on Amazon too, if you’re looking for some) and then stored them in my barn kitchen. When I needed potatoes, I just grabbed some out of the baskets and cooked them. A few did rot, but for the most part, my family of 6 was able to eat most of them over the winter and spring with little spoilage.

Since then, I have been thinking maybe I should do a better job of storing my potatoes. So, I’ve done a bit of research and here’s what I fount out.

How to Store Potatoes Over Winter

Plant the right type of potato

I planted four types of potatoes this year, and one criteria I always look for when choosing which varieties to plant is how well they store. Some potatoes, like Yukon Gold, are better keepers than other potatoes. For a comprehensive list of potatoes types and qualities, read this article from WSU, or read seed catalog descriptions too. That’s what I do, and here’s a list of my favorite free seed catalogs.

This year, I planted about 18 plants of each of the following potato varieties:

  • Yukon Gold
  • Kennebec
  • Purple Viking
  • Yellow Finn

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