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Potatoes

Plant potatoes after danger of frost has passed and up to mid June. To avoid diseases, plant where potatoes or related plants (tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants) have not grown for at least a year. Set the seed pieces in 4- to 6-inch-deep planting holes or trenches. Space seed pieces about 18 inches apart in rows 3 feet apart. Potatoes need a loose, deep, sandy, or sandy loam soil, or soils generously amended with organic matter such as compost. All potatoes need regular irrigation or rainfall throughout the season. Once the plants have emerged from the ground, hill soil up, covering all but one-third of the sprout. Repeat hilling three to four weeks later. Alternatively, a trench can be dug and the potatoes placed in there. As the plant grows soil can be filled in until eventually the trench is full. The plants will continue to grow but the ground can be mulched with straw or chopped leaves.Mulch the rows with a 4- to 6-inch-thick layer of straw mulch when plants emerge to help conserve moisture and stop weed seeds from germinating.
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