Unlike planting from seeds, growing Seed potatoes is much more successful. To do this, you simply plant portions of the root structure known as seed potatoes. Planting these will result in genetically identical potatoes that will be used to grow new plants and eventually produce more potatoes.
What are seed potatoes?
Though its name may be misleading, seed potatoes aren't actually seeds; they're tubers that you can use to grow new potatoes. Similar to any other seed, seed potatoes are potatoes whose purpose is to be replanted and eventually produce more potatoes.
When do you best plant Seed potatoes?
Potatoes love the sun and need plenty of sunlight to grow. They can be planted from early to late spring, two to four weeks prior to the expected last frost date. Keep in mind that they may not grow until the soil temperature reaches at least 5 degrees Celsius. You can plant a second crop as late as mid-june, and harvest them when they are still growing! The potatoes will tolerate a light frost, but protect plants from freezes by covering them with row covers or harvesting them before a freeze arrives.
Prepare your garden for Seed potatoes
Potatoes prefer light, loose, and well-drained soil. They are aggressive rooting plants that will produce the best crop when planted in a light, porous soil with a pH of 5.0 to 7.0 acidic to neutral. However, potatoes are profuse growers and usually adapt to poor soil and climate conditions when needed; make sure you rotate where you plant potatoes in your garden! Before planting them (or chit'ing) the seed potatoes, consider "chit"ing (pre-sprouting) them so they will have two or four weeks of growth before harvest time.
Tips for successful growing your own Seed potatoes
Chit your potatoes
Although potatoes will sprout in the dark, you'll get long, pale shoots that easily break. For strong healthy shoots; put them in a cool spot with bright light for 2 to 4 weeks. This way, the sprouts will grow stocky and sturdy, and dark green. You can place your seed potatoes upright in an egg carton or box on a tray or screen with the majority of buds ("eyes") facing up. Do not pile them on top of each other!
Plant your sprouted potatoes
Plant the potatoes as soon as the sprouts are one to two cm long. Handle the seed potatoes with care, so they don't become damaged or break off. Plant with the sprouts facing up and cover lightly with soil.
You best plant your seed potatoes in rows
Plant your Seed potatoes in rows. Rows of Potatoes will grow best spaced about a meter apart. Dig a trench 15 to 20 cm deep, make sure to have some good garden tools! and place the potatoes cut side down with eyes facing up, then fill it with soil. As the plants grow, add more soil until you reach the desired height
Make sure you potatoes get enough water
When you water your seed potatoes, make sure to do it well. They need 3 to 5 cm of water per week for their tubers to grow and produce well.
Harvest your Seed potatoes in time
When foliage turns yellow, stop watering to begin the curing process for harvesting. You can harvest potatoes two to three weeks after flowering ceases. Dig around the plants carefully to remove new potatoes for fresh eating, and leave the smaller potatoes to continue growing. For potatoes you plan to store, harvest the crop two to three weeks after the foliage dies back. Carefully loosen the potatoes with a garden fork and remove them from the bed. If there is weather that is dry, leave them in place (unwashed) until they cure- typically 2-3 days or move them into a more protected area such as a garage or shed.
How to get the most tasty Seed potatoes
For the most tasteful production of Seed potatoes, it is important to chit them when they start to sprout.
Remember more eyes per piece you plant, equals more potatoes but less eyes means bigger potatoes.
If you have to postpone planting because of weather or other reasons, move the seed potatoes to a cooler spot so they don't grow too fast!
Potatoes also perform well in grow bags- this is an option if you have issues with voles in your garden. Fill a grow bag halfway with potting mix, plant the seed potatoes, and continue adding more soil as they grow.
High quality seed potatoes at Horticentre
We at Horticentre have all the knowledge to help you grow your own fresh seed potatoes! Come visit our garden center and we'll provide you with a wide range of high quality Seed potatoes to choose from. We offer pick-your-favorite products in our webshop, so there is no need to worry about planting them wrong! You can also get in touch with us for questions regarding planting potato seeds! Give us a call or come by and ask our staff!