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How to Plant Cuttings of Potatoes

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How to Plant Cuttings of Potatoes

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Overview

Potatoes are starchy, tasty root vegetables that are easy to start from cuttings of other potatoes. From French fries to scalloped to baked, potatoes have a wide range of uses in many different types of dishes. If you have an area of your garden that has light, deep, slightly acid, well-drained soil, consider starting a potato patch. Even if your soil is not perfect for growing root crops such as potatoes, they can be forgiving and reward you with a decent crop even if their growing conditions are not perfect, according to Seed Savers, an online gardening resource.

Planting Potato Cuttings

Step 1

Purchase potatoes called "seed" potatoes from a nursery, seed catalog or Internet site for the best results in sprouting and growing potatoes to maturity. Any potato with robust eyes will grow into another potato plant if you treat it as you would a seed potato.

Step 2

Expose your seed potatoes to direct sunlight and temperatures ranging from 60 to 70 degrees F for two weeks before you plant them in spring.

Step 3

Cut your seed potatoes into pieces about 2 inches square, making certain to include one or two eyes in each chunk. Allow the cut pieces to sit at room temperature for one or two days, which will cause a callous to form over the cut areas--the calloused skin will help to prevent the potato cutting from rotting after you plant it.

Step 4

Prepare your planting area by digging in at least a third the volume of soil with compost and other organic materials. Straw is a good addition to the soil in which you plan to grow potatoes.

Step 5

Dig a trench about 8 inches deep in the area you prepared for your potatoes. Then set each cut potato piece into the trench with the cut side facing downward and the eye facing upward. Leave about 1 foot of space between the potato cuttings. If you want to grow more than one row of potatoes, create multiple trenches 3 feet apart.

Step 6

Fill the trench half full with additional soil/compost/straw. Add more soil mixture as your potato plants start to grow---when the entire trench is full, you can mound more soil mixture around the base of each plant. This is called "hilling up" as the soil mixture forms a hill around the growing plant, allowing more room for tubers to form.

Things You'll Need

  • Seed potatoes
  • Knife
  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Straw

References

  • Seed Savers: Potato Growing Guide
  • Farm For Fun: Potatoes
Keywords: potatoes growing, starting seeds, cuttings root vegetables

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.

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