When you grow your own potatoes, you know without question what your potatoes have been exposed to when you dig them out of the ground. Planting your potatoes properly will help ensure that the crop grows and breaks the ground when you expect them to. Treat the plants carefully to avoid damaging the tubers.
Create a furrow in the ground 3 to 5 inches deep. Space the potato rows 2 to 3 feet apart. Place the seeds in the furrows 12 inches apart. Cover the rows with fresh soil. Make sure that the planted seed pieces include at least one eye in good condition to achieve crop production. Use seed potatoes to obtain the most successful seed pieces for new crops.
Plant your potato seeds starting in early March, continuing through the end of June for the latest varieties. Select early-production varieties for March plantings. Do not plant potato seeds too early. If the ground is too cold or still too damp, the seeds may rot before they are able to fully develop. Wait for frost risk to pass, though potatoes will survive a random frost should it occur.
Apply a fungicide and pesticide weekly to protect your potato plants from infestations. Apply a mulch layer to preserve moisture once the potatoes break the ground. Hoe the soil around the plants into a row to create loose soil mounds against the production rows. The mounds created during this repeated process discourages weed production, protects shallow tubers from sunburn and aerates the soil for optimal plant production.
Wait for the vines to die before harvesting the potatoes. Dig the potatoes up carefully to avoid damaging the plant. Rest the potatoes on the surface of the garden to allow them to dry before you remove them. Store your potatoes in a cool, dry place to extend their shelf life. Select an environment where the temperature stays at 40 degrees F or lower for winter storage.