When we sat down this fall to plan out our spring garden, we realized that we really wanted to try growing potatoes, so just a couple weeks back we bought a few bags of seed potatoes. However, we quickly realized that we needed a refresher on how to prepare seed potatoes for planting. We had done it before when working on a farm wasn’t sure about cutting them and placing them and prepping them, etc., etc. and so on.
So, we took to the internet and a few favorite gardening books and this is what we 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. Ours came “pre-chitted” (we may have just made that term up) because they were already sprouted when we 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. We 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. We’ve read varying advice about this. Some say to leave it for 24-48 hours, some say 10-14 days. It may depend 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. We’ll show you that in another post. In the meantime, if you have any questions or any further advice on how to prepare seed potatoes, let us know!
Here are some great posts to learn more about growing potatoes:
– In the garden….Potatoes from the blog SchneiderPeeps
– Cutting and Sprouting Seed Potatoes from the blog Better Hens and Gardens