You’ll Dig Growing Your Own Potatoes

David Yost, Merrifield Plant Specialist

I can’t imagine life without potatoes. Can you? Baked, mashed, boiled, fried … nutritious and delicious. I love them all.

Seed potatoes are very easy to grow. Now is the ideal time to plant them because they grow best during cool weather.

First of all, I must say that seed potatoes aren’t seeds. They’re actually small, undersized potatoes. But they’re very different from the ones you would find in grocery stores, which have been treated to prevent sprouting, making them unsuitable for planting. We carry seed potatoes with purple, yellow, red or brown skin. Just plant them directly in the ground, 2” deep and 12” apart.

If the seed potatoes are big enough, you can cut them into pieces to make even more. Each piece needs to have two to three buds or eyes and should be about 2” in diameter. When I cut seed potatoes, I allow the exposed flesh of the potato to air dry for a day or two before planting.

Seed potatoes grow fast and can be ready to harvest in 10 to 12 weeks when they begin to flower. If you’re patient and allow the plants to continue growing, you’ll be rewarded with even bigger potatoes later in the season. I like to plant them in early April and keep them in the ground until late August or early September. At this time, it may seem like your lush, healthy plants have died. But if you carefully dig into the soil, you’ll find your hidden treasure. The potatoes will seem drab, but put them under water and they’ll look like gem stones with their true colors revealed.

You’ll be surprised how good these potatoes taste. They’re juicy and creamy and fragrant. Life is good. But only if you take that first step and come to Merrifield Garden Center and buy seed potatoes while supplies last.