When I sat down this fall to plan out my spring garden, I realized that I really wanted to try my hand at growing potatoes, so just a couple weeks back I bought a few bags of seed potatoes. However, I quickly realized that I needed a refresher on how to prepare seed potatoes for planting. I did it once before on a farm that I worked on but I wasn’t sure about cutting them and placing them and prepping them, etc. etc. and so on.
So, I took to the internet and my few favorite gardening books and this is what I ended up doing.
How to Prepare Seed Potatoes
When you decide to plant potatoes it is best to start with potatoes that are specifically made for planting and growing potato plants. They should also be organic (in my opinion). Sure the ones that you get in the grocery store may sprout and may actually grow, but there is no way to know that they will grow “true to form” or that they haven’t been treated with some yucky chemical.
A lot of seasoned farmers will recommend “chitting” your potatoes. Mine came “pre-chitted” (I think I just made that term up) because they were already sprouted when I took them out of the bag. Seed potatoes stored at 40 degrees will not sprout but will remain dormant. By moving the seed potatoes to an area of 60 degrees and slightly humid, you’ll find that the eyes start to sprout. This will help speed up the growing process.
Some seed potatoes you will want to cut into smaller pieces. I planted mostly red potatoes and most of the seed potatoes were relatively small. However, if your potato is more than an inch and a half in diameter or so, you’ll want to cut it. When you cut it, make sure that you leave at least one eye per piece of potato. Each piece should be about 1-1 1/2 inches across. After you cut the potato, you’ll want to be sure to let it sit to “crust over” on the parts that you cut. I’ve read varying advice about this. Some say to leave it for 24-48 hours, some say 10-14 days. I suppose it depends on how humid your conditions are. The reason you are doing this is to prevent the potato from rotting in the ground before it has a chance to grow.
And that’s about it! You’ve learned how to prepare seed potatoes and you’re ready to plant. I’ll show you that in another post but for now, check out these awesome plans (pictured below) for a potato growing bin that my husband designed. They are now for sale on our site. I’m really proud of his work. (You’ll get to see the bin in action in the next post that I do on planting potatoes.) In the meantime, let me know if you have any questions or any further advice on how to prepare seed potatoes!
Click here to buy this set of 5 page plans for building your own potato bin. (Please note: These are the plans for building the bin, not the actual bin itself.)
– In the garden….Potatoes from the blog SchneiderPeeps
– Cutting and Sprouting Seed Potatoes from the blog Better Hens and Gardens
– Growing Potatoes in Pallets from the blog Little Mountain Haven
– Potato Patch from the blog ImaginAcres