Presidents Day is always the third Monday in February and my family celebrates by planting potatoes. I’m not aware of any link between American Presidents and potatoes, but it’s a great reminder to plant them. I’m rarely so organized that we plant ON Presidents Day, but I try to get them in the ground within a week-ish.
Would you like to plant potatoes this year? They take some preparation but the whole process is fairly simple. Follow these steps and you’ll be ready to plant come Presidents Day.
Purchase a variety that is well adapted for your area. If you’re in Central Texas, I’ve had good luck with: All Blue, Red LaSoda, White Kennebec and fingerling variety Austrian Crescent. Check here for a list of other varieties for our area.
Potatoes show up every year on the Dirty Dozen list. If possible, start with organic seed potatoes.
When you get your potatoes home:
Don’t wash them.
Do let them sit for two weeks in a well lit area until they sprout.
2 Leave Some Eyes
If your potatoes are smaller than a golf ball, such as fingerlings, you can plant them whole.
Larger seed potatoes could also be planted whole but there are two reasons you may want to cut them up.
1. It’s frugal. You’ll get double or triple the number of potato plants from the same number of seed potatoes.
2. Too many stems from a single potato may result in small spuds.
Place the cut up seed potato chunks inside a large paper bag as well as a 1/4 cup of sulfur. Close the bag and shake gently to lightly coat the potatoes. Shaking too vigorously could rub the eyes off, so be gentle and do small batches.
If the potatoes aren’t well covered, add another 1/4 cup.
The final step in preparing your cut potatoes is to allow them to cure for a few days before planting. You can leave them in the paper bag that was used in the previous step or spread them out on newspaper.
Get the latest gardening tips and recipes sent directly to your inbox.
Send us your gardening question and we will give you our best answer.