How to Manage Pests
Pests in Gardens and Landscapes
Certified seed pieces
Use seed pieces that are certified to be free of pests
and diseases, and not of a named cultivar. Do not use
grocery store potatoes. Use tubers that are cut into
1.5- to 2-ounce pieces; make sure each piece has an "eye" in
it. Store the freshly cut pieces at room temperature
for 1 to 3 days, which cures the cut areas and makes
them less susceptible to decay.
Potatoes can be planted from seed. However, the resulting
tubers take longer to produce and have more variation at
harvest than do potatoes that are planted from seed potatoes.
If planting from seed, plant on raised beds made by adding
large amounts of sifted compost or other soil amendments
so that a bed is established above the previous level of
soil. Seed can also be started indoors in flats, peat pots,
or other small containers 8 weeks before the last frost date.
After the danger of frost has passed, transplant into the
garden. Seed potatoes can also be planted in mulch piles
or in cages. Plant seed pieces the same as above. Loosely
shake mulch over the bed until it is 6 to 10 inches deep.
As the plants grow, continue to add more loose straw. Keep
tubers covered at all times. To plant in cages or bins or
cribs, again plant the same way, covering the plants with
4 inches of soil. After the plant emerges, continue to add
well-aged compost, mulch, or soil. Because the cage is above
ground, potatoes dry out quickly, so this method will require
more frequent irrigation.
When transplanting potatoes, place the seed pieces or whole
small seed potatoes into 3-inch deep furrows, spaced 6 to
12 inches apart. The closer the spacing the smaller the harvested
potatoes will be. Fill the furrows to ground level with soil.
Leave them until the shoots emerge from the soil. Once the
shoots are about 8 inches long, gently hill them over with
more soil. Leave about 4 inches of the top of the plant exposed.
Repeat this operation once again in about 2 to 3 weeks and
then once more in another 2 weeks. Avoid damaging the plant.