Just about everybody enjoys potatoes, served as French fries, mashed, baked, or perhaps with in recipes. It’s also a pretty common occurrance to find people who have purchased potatoes that have grown old witness their potatoes growing sprouts, sometimes to their dismay.
Despite the comical appearance of potatoes growing sprouts in your cupboard, the upside to this phenomenon is that you can actually plant these potatoes in your garden and grow new ones.
The shoots on the potatoes growing in your home are actually sprouts. If handled the right way and replanted, this will give you a new supply of potatoes rather than them just going to waste.
For those that have some garden space to devote to growing potatoes from sprouts, there are certain steps you need to know in learning how to plant potatoes right in your home.
Potato Crop Field – Image via Pixabay
Steps To Growing Potatoes From Sprouts
There are certain steps that everyone needs to know about how to plant potatoes with sprouts. If you follow the following steps carefully and do everything you’re directed to do, you are almost certain to be able to plant potatoes with sprouts effectively.
There are four main steps you need to follow as listed here:
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Prepare the potatoes
The first thing you need to do in order to plant your potatoes sprouts is to prepare the sprouts properly. In some cases, it is advised to cut away the excess potato around the sprouts, leaving only enough potato to hold the sprout, approximately the size of an egg.
You can use a potato peeler to take away enough of the potato from the sprout or you can also use a small paring knife or other instrument. You should keep in mind that the sprout is actually the stem of the potato and great care should be taken to not damage it or its connection to the potato.
Initially, the sprouts will draw water from the soil through the potato remains to nourish and grow over time. Eventually, the potato remains will rot away and will also provide some amount of nutrients to the soil surrounding the roof sprouts.
If the potato remains are smaller than an egg, or if the potato itself is smaller than an egg, you can plant the potato and sprout completely whole into the soil.
When getting the potato remains with sprouts attached to them ready for planting, after cutting away the excess potato you will want to lay them on a corrugated cardboard box to dry out for a period of 4 to 7 days.
Prepare To Plant The Potato Sprouts
You will have to also prepare your soil, and that can mean weeding and hoeing and getting the dirt ready to accept the transplanted potato sprouts.
When you are actually planting your potatoes, and you are doing so in the spring, make sure to plant them 14 to 21 days prior to the last frost or when the ground has thawed out completely and is suitable for tilling.
Your soil should be of a sandy-loamy type and exposed to the sun, and you should plant them potato sprouts in the soil to cover about 12 to 15 inches apart.
If you can add compost soil you should do so when planting as this will improve soil drainage in moisture retention.
Adding fertilizer is also one step you can take if really want to learn how to plant potatoes in an efficient way. Most importantly, this should be done if the soil is not rich with nutrients.
Caring For The New Plants.
After you plant your potato sprouts, they will begin to grow over time, sometimes quickly. You will need to water them on a regular basis, but make sure not to flood the area or water them too much.
Check your rainfall regularly in your area to see if it is sufficient, usually regular rain will be all you need in many areas to grow potatoes. As your potato sprouts grow, they will develop stems that have leaves and will continue to do so throughout the growing season.
When the plants are about a foot high, pile the soil around them into mounds on top of the potatoes about 4 inches high. This process is known as hilling and will allow your potatoes to produce a greater number of potatoes by reducing sunburn for overexposure to the sunlight.
This is a result of stems forming in the potato roots under the ground. When there is too much sunlight, less stems will form which would result in a lower yield of potatoes.
Continue to water the potatoes and weed around them to prevent any obstruction of roots into the potato mass.
Do not apply pesticide to the area during the growing season if at all possible.
When the plants are actually starting to flower, you will need to stop the hilling process and begin to dig out the baby potatoes. These small potatoes are delicate within skins and are easily damaged so be very careful with them.
Another basic thing in learning how to plant potatoes is to spread mulch around the remaining plants. The plants will begin to brown over time and when they do, cut them down to soil level.
Afterwards, dig out the rest of the potatoes within 2 to 3 weeks after this process.
You should try to do this work during dry days and not when it is raining or after you have watered your potatoes.
Harvesting The New Potatoes
We know you are eager to get your reward, but you will have to go through a short process of harvesting and curing your potatoes before they are ready for consumption.
When the plant stem cells begin to yellow and turn black, usually between 18 to 20 weeks after you initially plant them, this will be the time for harvest.
Using a small shovel or spade, dig up your potatoes and initially you should leave them lying on the open ground for several hours in the open air.
Do not wash them or attempt to do anything with them at this point.
After they have been sitting there a short while, gather up your potatoes and place them in a container where they are open to each other and not piled on top of one another.
You will need to store these new potatoes in a cool and dry environment for two weeks in order to effectively cure the potatoes before they are ready to be eaten.
After the potatoes have gone through this curing process, remove the excess dirt from the surface of the potato and store them in a dry dark area such as a cellar. Potatoes should be stored in an area between 35 to 40 degrees for best keeping.
Now, you know the basic steps in how to plant potatoes with sprouts. Anyone can actually follow this with sufficient preparation materials and garden space.
Results will vary and you will have to be careful to follow these instructions carefully in order to get a yield of potatoes that is satisfactory.
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More Things To Consider When Learning How Plant Potatoes With Sprouts
Growing your own potatoes can be exciting and fun, and garden grown potatoes are a tasty alternative to paying for them at the supermarket.
If you’re thinking about growing your own potatoes and want to plant potatoes with sprouts, besides the steps that were outlined above, there are certain other things you may want to think about before you get started.
The type of potato that you are growing makes a difference as to what kind of yield you’re going to have for your trouble. Small red potatoes grow quickly and are fun and can be used in many different types of recipes such as salt potatoes.
Large baking potatoes take a lot longer to grow especially in hot muggy areas. Keep these things in mind as you prepare to harvest your potatoes.
In some cases, you may want to harvest a small amount of potatoes early in order to eat them right away before the growing season is fully completed. This is possible to do in some cases.
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When preparing your potatoes for planting you will make sure you want to include a bud or an eye in the piece of potato that the sprout is attached to.
Make sure your soil is loose and completely drained of excess water. You definitely don’t want too much water for your potatoes as they may rot in the ground or not grow well.
You will want to start your crop with certified disease-free potato sprouts, and if they came from your kitchen, you will have to wash off the potato as it may contain pesticide. If the mother potato is in poor health, you can remove the sprouts and grow them effectively in many cases.
If you take the necessary precautions, you will not need to worry about disease borne viral infections in your garden.
Never plant a potato with sprouts that has any question of potential diseases as it can not only ruin your garden, but it can also spread to other areas and cause widespread damage.
You may want to learn more about growing potatoes and how to fertilize soil, or you may already know something about the subject. In any case the more informed you are, the better off you will be if you attempt to grow potatoes from sprouts.
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