Do you have a favorite crop? Without a doubt mine is potatoes. They are easy to grow, they have very few issues with insects or disease and the yields can be very large. The potato rule is that every pound that is planted will yield from 5 to 10 pounds. Potatoes can grow in most soil types but prefer loose soil. We have Red Lasoda, White Kennebec, and Yukon Gold. I have grown all three but have had the best success with the Red Lasoda.
February is the start of potato planting season. Many years ago I was told to plant potatoes on Valentine’s night by the light of the moon. I have never made that date but I try to get them planted around the middle of February.
Potato picking and preparation are next on the list. How do you pick a good potato? You look it in the eyes. When you cut a potato for planting each piece should have at least 2 eyes. In a perfect world, I will cut potatoes 7 to 10 days before planting. Before planting some folks will soak the cut potatoes in water. Some will roll them in powdered sulfur or wood ashes before planting. I have used a lot of different pre-plant methods for potatoes. They all have merit. Nowadays I cut them and put them in a dry paper bag for about 5 days before planting.
There are literally hundreds of ways to grow potatoes. In tires, burlap bags, pots, buckets, tubs and I’ve seen pictures of potatoes growing in an old boat. You can mound them, plant them in pits and in a trench. I like the trench method. Once the 6 to 7-inch deep trench is dug I put enough Jump Starter or bone meal in the bottom so I can’t see dirt. Then cover with about .5 inch of dirt. You can also use rock phosphate, superphosphate, or triple superphosphate. By the book, potatoes are planted 12 to 16 inches apart. I plant them closer to 6 to 12 inches apart. The planting depth is 3 to 5 inches. As always follow label directions.