This is my second year ordering potatoes so you could say I’m pretty much an expert. Except, I’m not. Our first crop of potatoes turned out just fine. It’s storing really well so far and we are super impressed. This is my sister’s first year ordering potatoes though and I’ve had to walk her through a lot of the processes. I figured if we were struggling with it then other people probably are too. Here is my guide to ordering seed potatoes.
First, you should figure out how many pounds that you need. This will dictate how many pounds of seed potatoes you are going to buy. On average, one pound of seed potatoes will yield you ten pounds of edible potatoes. The average person eats 75-200lbs of potatoes per year. For our home of two people we will plant 15-25lbs of potatoes. This should yield us 150-250lbs of edible potatoes. We try to only eat potatoes once or twice per week so this is plenty for us. This year we may plant more and try to eat them a little more often. I’ve demonized potatoes (as carbs) for a long time so we are slowly adding them back into our diets more often.
The other thing you need to figure out is your growing room. Each plant needs around 10-12 inches of growing room between it and there should be about 3 feet between the rows. There is also a 1:10 ratio here. One pound of potatoes will cover about 10 feet. They take up quite a bit of space so make sure you plan your garden accordingly! There are also ways to grow them in containers which is what I’m currently trying to learn. I haven’t done it so I can’t speak to how to quite yet. Look for that sometime in the future. For this article, let’s assume we are just planting them in rows in the ground.
This is one thing that I was absolutely shocked to learn- there are many varieties of potatoes! I’m use to going to the store and having a few to choose from. Red skin or russet, you know? When you go to the seed websites there will be a lot to choose from. The thing to remember here is what you are growing them for. Are you just going to eat them fresh out of the ground? Are you going to can them? Will you freeze them? Will you try to store them over the winter? Generally, there are different categories for you to choose from based on what you want to do with your potatoes.
We chose kennebec last year because they are known for their ability to store well. As I mentioned, they seem to be doing really well. We do not have a root cellar, just a dark cool basement that they are in. So far, they aren’t sprouting and we are into December. In actuality, we will most likely go with these again this year. I like the taste and storing ability.
When you are ordering seed potatoes you should be aware that they will ship based on what zone you are in. That is one of the coolest things that I’ve found about these companies. You need to buy your seed early- in either December or January. By the end of January the best varieties will be sold out and you may have to settle for a type you don’t want. From what I’ve found most companies open their ordering in late November so that is the perfect time to order. They will hold your order until you are almost ready to plant them.
The one thing that I want to point out here is sweet potatoes. The sweet potatoes open around the same time but don’t ship until much later in the year. The “regular” potatoes will ship early in the year. They need planted as soon as you can work the ground. The sweet potatoes, however, don’t get planted until later. You can still order them the same as you would any other potato they will just ship later.
Places To Order
I first want to say you can just buy seed potatoes right at your local farm store. This is one of the easiest ways to do it and they typically have varieties that grow well for your area. The other way to do it is online. I order mine from the Maine Potato Lady and I’ve had great experiences. I know that Johnny’s usually offers seed potatoes as well. I’m not versed in a lot of it because I was one of the “late” orderers last year. I didn’t get a lot of choices simply because they were already sold out and ordering was closed.
When Your Seeds Arrive
Don’t just go throwing those potatoes in the ground either. They will need some prep work once they get to you! Once we get a little closer to the growing season I will also share some of that information. For now, just make sure you are getting your order in on time and then just sit back and dream about all of the potato plants that will look so beautiful in your garden. Winter is the best time for planning your garden!
This is my best advice for ordering seed potatoes! As with anything we do, it’s mostly a trial and error type thing. We do our best and see if it will work. Thankfully, I also do a ton of research before we try things. This is all the information that I’ve found compiled into one spot for you. What types of potatoes will you be ordering this year?