Updated: Mar 18, 2020
With St. Patrick's Day already here, it is time for us to start putting potatoes in the ground! Potato planting for us is a pretty big event that usually spans a few days. It's not only time consuming from the sheer volume of potatoes we plant, but also because the process requires some time and attention to detail.
Potatoes are not grown from seeds or transplants like your traditional crops are. They are instead started by what is called a seed potato. However, don't be confused. A seed potato is actually a potato that is harvested from potato plants that are grown specifically with the intention of producing seed potatoes. These potatoes are usually left to go a little longer than food crops then, left to sit in conditions that help initiate "eye" development. A potato "eye" is what you call the small buds that grow on potatoes that become new plants.
Each seed potato can be divided into individual pieces that will become potato plants. You can average about 2-4 pieces per potato. This is best done with a clean, sharp knife. Make sure to wear a pair of gloves that will help protect your hand from cuts and dirt.
When each potato is cut into pieces, each piece needs to be placed relatively gently into a basket or bin that allows air flow and some light penetration. Being aggressive with the seed potatoes can result in damage to the eyes which will result in reduced germination. Air flow and light penetration are important because they will cause the potatoes to produce calluses over the areas exposed by cutting. This is important to help prevent disease and to initiate root development.