Potatoes thrive in cool, humid conditions. They are not well adapted to long, hot summers. Ground for them should be sunny, well-drained, and fertile. Work composted or well-rotted manure and or bone meal into soil prior to planting. Avoid fresh manure and lime as this encourages scab disease.
Prior to Planting
For planting, “seed” potatoes are used. These are not seeds, but are small-sized tubers selected for the purpose. Small ones may be planted whole, but it is more usual to cut bigger ones into chunky pieces containing two eyes per piece. Cutting should be done one or two days prior to planting so they can callous over; this reduces the chances of disease organisms invading the tuber. You may also wish to dust them with sulphur or some other fungicide.
Plant two weeks before the average date of the last killing frost in spring (early to mid May). Space seeds 1 foot apart in trenches that are 4 to 5 inches deep. Trenches may be spaced 1 to 1 1/2 feet apart. Loosely cover with a couple inches of soil; do not tamp the soil. When plants are 3 inches high, hill soil up to them to form ridge along each row. A second or third hilling will be needed as the tops lengthen. Never hill potatoes when the plants are in bloom. Lateral shoots that produce tubers could become damaged, lowering your yield.
**note: it is a good idea to rotate your potato crop (plant in a different area each year – rotate between 4 areas) as this helps to reduce the incidence of disease, insects and fungi.