Growing your own potatoes can be a rewarding experience. To get some of the best results out of your potato plant, though, you may consider planting it under plastic mulch. Plastic mulch is a thin layer of plastic you can place over your plants. Plastic mulch benefits your plants by retaining moisture and heat while blocking weeds from growing. Follow a few simple guidelines to plant your potatoes under the protection of plastic mulch.
Choose the right location for your potato plants. Potatoes prefer loose, well-drained soils with a high level of organic matter. Clear the area of debris using a rake. Pull up any weeds and grass in the planting area as well. If no soil in your garden currently meets with these specifications, till up the area and add new soil.
Create mounds for your potato seeds spaced 8 to 12 inches apart from each other and 4 to 5 inches deep into the soil. If you are planting the potatoes in rows, space the rows 15 to 18 inches apart. This gives the plants plenty of room to grow without competing. Feel free to plant the seeds by hand if you are just creating a small potato patch.
Punch holes into your roll of plastic mulch. The holes should be 3 inches in diameter and spaced evenly along the roll's length. Space the holes to correspond with the placement of your potato seeds. Your potato plants will grow through the holes that you have made.
Roll the plastic mulch over the potato plot. You can use breeze blocks, stakes or landscaping stones to hold the plastic mulch down over the potato plot, but make sure it is secure. If the wind blows your mulch off the plot, it can damage your potato plants as it moves.
Water your potato plants at least once a week during the growing season. For small plots, you can water using a hose or container, pouring water directly into the opening where the plant is growing through. For larger potato plots, you may want to consider a drip irrigation system. Drip irrigation is a system of tubes or pipes that run under the plastic mulch and deliver water to your plants.
Any weeds or debris you remove from your plot can go into a compost pile. A compost pile is a place where you can store organic matter, let it decompose and later recycle it as fertiliser for other plants. Potatoes, for example, thrive when planted in an area with a lot of organic matter.