For years, I bought organic seed potatoes to grow my potatoes. But last year, these huge Yukon potatoes dared me to cut them up to make my own “seed” potatoes. I don’t back down from a challenge. Well, my harvest last year was about the same as the year before. So, why spend the money? Here is how you can have your dough and your potatoes too.
Potatoes should be planted a couple of weeks before your last frost date. Plant too early and you run the risk of soggy, rotten potatoes.
How Many Potatoes Will You Need?
Before we talk about sprouting, figure out how many potatoes you will need. Generally, you plant potatoes 8 to 12 inches apart in a 4 inch wide trench. Rows should be 2 to 3 feet apart. (The more space, the bigger the potatoes.) I will be discussing in another post how to plant potatoes.
Cutting are the size of an ice cube or 1.5 to 2 ounces.
I plant in potato bags which can only hold 4-5 pieces each.
Sprout the Potatoes.
So once you figure out how many potatoes you need, decide which organic potatoes you want to grow. There may not be that many varieties at the store. I buy organic Yukon potatoes because they are my favorite potato, which are abundant in the stores.
Seed companies over a lot more variety. I have grown blue potatoes in the past but were disappointed with the harvest. The flowers from the blue potatoes were amazing.
Back to the bag:
I put them in a single layer of potatoes in a grocery bag in my kitchen. (You may need a few.) Fold over the top. Others suggest laying them out in a tray in a warm area away from direct sunlight.
Don’t buy ordinary potatoes from the store since they could be chemically sprayed to stunt their growth. Stick with either organic potatoes or seed potatoes from companies I have listed below.
Okay, back to the brown bag. The potatoes will start to sprout in a few days to a couple of weeks. I find that it takes about one to two weeks for them to start sprouting. I am nosy and periodically peer into the bag to see how the taters are doing.
Houston, are we ready to plant? Cutting Seed Potatoes.
When you are ready to plant them in the garden, look for white eyes about an inch long. Sometimes you will pull out a potato and see this huge eye staying at you. Don’t worry, it is okay. However, you want to see a potato with several eyes which aren’t longer than an inch. Otherwise, your potato is too old. (See HERE for a picture of the right aged potato.)
Don’t use shriveled up potatoes. See picture above. I did one year and the harvest was horrible.
Rule of thumb:
1. You want at least one eye and preferably two or three in one cutting.
2. Your cutting should be the size of an ice cube and no smaller. Technically, the cut seed should be 1.5 to 2 ounces.
Once you cut them, I have heard different theories. Some say, let the pieces cure for 2 to 3 days. I put them back in the bag. Others say plant right away.
I used to be the person who stuck them in the ground right away until I realized that it makes better sense to let them cure in my zone 6.
According to National Gardening Association, some researchers feel that curing the cut seeds keep them from drying out and provide a protective barrier against rotting organisms. The Association further states cure seed cutting at 70 degrees in a humid environment. Put them on a paper towel cut side down and put them back in the bag.
Cutting Up Potatoes Are Not My Thing–Bring on the Seed Potatoes Companies.
I hear you. Here are some places were you can order organic seed potatoes. Remember. these companies have much more variety then the store.
Next up. How to plant them.