If you have never grown potatoes before, then this is the year to try according to Kelly McGowan, horticulture educator with University of Missouri Extension.

“Potatoes are easy to grow, they are good producers, and they are delicious,” said McGowan.

A successful crop depends on a successful planting. McGowan says planting can begin anytime between now and mid-April.

“I recommend starting with a seed potato,” said McGowan. “Grocery store potatoes are sprayed with a chemical that restricts their growth.”

Cut the seed potato in pieces. Each “eye” on the potato should produce a sprout. Plant in rows 12 inches apart, four inches deep, and cover with garden soil.

It is also possible to plant potatoes in a container.

Harvest early varieties like red or “new” potatoes when the plant begins to bloom. Harvest later varieties when plants yellow and die back (normally in July).

Dig the potatoes up to harvest them. Each plant will have several potatoes attached to the root area.

Dry the potatoes thoroughly in the sun then store them in a dark and cool location

Potatoes are high in vitamin C, potassium and fiber.

“Potatoes are also low calorie before the butter and sour cream gets added,” said McGowan.

Learn more about this subject online at http://extension.missouri.edu/greene or by calling the Master Gardeners of Greene County hotline at 417-874-2963.