Here is how to plant the potatoes....
Folklore offers many “best days” for planting potatoes:
•Old-timers in New England planted their potato crops when they saw dandelions blooming in the open fields.
•The Pennsylvania Dutch considered St. Gertrude’s Day (March 17, aka St. Patrick’s Day) to be their official potato-planting day.
•Many Christians believed that Good Friday was the best day to plant potatoes because the devil holds no power over them at this time.
When to Plant Potatoes
Potatoes prefer cool weather.
In Northern regions, some gardeners will plant the first crop of early-maturing potatoes in early to mid-April, 6 to 8 weeks before the average last frost date or as soon as the soil can be worked; they can survive some cool weather but the threat of frost is a gamble. If there is a threat of frost at night, temporarily cover any sprouted foliage with mulch or an artificial covering such as old sheets or plastic containers (and be sure to remember to remove the coverings in the morning).
•To avoid frost, consider starting potatoes 0 to 2 weeks after your last spring frost. You may plant earlier, as soon as soil can be worked, but be aware that some crops may be ruined by a frost or overly wet soil.
•The soil, not the calendar, will tell you when it’s time to plant. The temperature of the soil should—ideally—be at least 50°F (10°C). The soil should also not be so wet that it sticks together and is hard to work. Let it dry out a bit first. Like other seeds, potato seed pieces will rot if planted in ground that’s too wet.
In Southern regions, potatoes can be grown as a winter crop and planting times range from September to February. Where winters are relatively mild, you can plant a fall crop in September. In central Florida, gardeners plant potatoes in January; and in Georgia they plant in February.
Preparing the Planting Site
•Potatoes grow best in cool, well-drained, loose soil that is about 45° to 55°F (7° to 13°C).
•Choose a location that gets full sun—at least 6 hours of sunlight each day.
•Grow potatoes in rows spaced about 3 feet apart.
•With a hoe or round-point shovel, dig a trench about 6 inches wide and 8 inches deep, tapering the bottom to about 3 inches wide.
•Spread and mix in fully-rotted manure or organic compost in the bottom of the trench before planting. (Learn more about soil amendments and preparing soil for planting.)
How to Plant Potatoes
•In each trench, place a seed potato piece (cut side down) every 12 to 14 inches and cover with 3 to 4 inches of soil.
•If your garden soil is very rocky, put the seed potato pieces directly on the ground. Sprinkle with a mix of soil and compost. Cover them with straw or leaves, hilling the material up as the potatoes grow.
•The best starters are seed potatoes. Do not confuse seed potatoes with potato seeds or grocery produce! Select seed potatoes which have protruding eyes (buds).
•Use a clean, sharp paring knife to cut large potatoes into pieces that are roughly the size of a golf ball, making sure that there are at least 2 eyes on each piece. (Potatoes that are smaller than a hen’s egg should be planted whole.)
•If you are cutting up potato pieces yourself, do so 1 to 2 days ahead of planting. This will give them the chance to “heal” and form a protective layer over the cut surface, improving both moisture retention and rot resistance.
•12 to 16 days after planting, when sprouts appear, use a hoe to gently fill in the trench with another 3 to 4 inches of soil, leaving a few inches of the plants exposed. Repeat in several weeks, leaving the soil mounded up 4 to 5 inches above ground level (this is called “hilling” and is explained more here.).
•After the potato plants have emerged, add organic mulch between the rows to conserve moisture, help with weed control, and cool the soil.
taken from https://www.almanac.com/plant/potatoes
till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse Dougherty Iowa firstname.lastname@example.org