How to grow potatoes

How to Plant a Sprouted Potato

When you plant, depends on where you live. Generally, early spring is when you will want to plant. You will need to make sure the ground temperature does not drop below 40°F (5°C). Generally the ground is warm enough 2-4 weeks before the last frost of the spring.

How to Grow Potatoes From Potatoes

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Growing potatoes is surprisingly easy—but you’ve got to know what you’re doing:

How Do Potatoes Grow?

Unlike many vegetables, potatoes thrive in darkness—that’s why they grow underground.

The potatoes themselves are called “tubers” and they grow on a stem called a “stolon.” The main stems, which grow above ground (that’s how gardeners can easily find their potato plants), are bright green and produce non-edible flowers.

What’s the Best Climate for Growing Potatoes—And When Should You Plant Them?

Potatoes can grow well in all sorts of climates. It’s important to note, however, that potatoes prefer cool (but not frosty) weather.

The best time to plant your potatoes depends on where you live.

“In Southern regions, potatoes can be grown as a winter crop and planting times range from September to February,” according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. “Where winters are relatively mild, you can plant a fall crop in September. In central Florida, gardeners plant potatoes in January; and in Georgia they plant in February.”

Gardeners who live in colder climates, meanwhile, should plant 0 to 2 weeks after their last spring frost.

The most important thing to consider when choosing a planting time is the temperature and texture of the soil, not the season.

The ideal soil temperature for planting potatoes is at least 50°F (10°C).

“The soil should also not be so wet that it sticks together and is hard to work,” the Almanac advises. “Let it dry out a bit first. Like other seeds, potato seed pieces will rot if planted in ground that’s too wet.”

How Long Does It Take to Grow Potatoes?

Depending on the potato variety you’re growing, they’ll be ready to harvest anywhere from 70 to 100 days.

How to Grow Potatoes

When was the last time you saw potato seeds for sale? Probably never (though it is possible). Most potatoes are produced by vegetative propagation, which means a new plant grows from a fragment of an old plant (farmers replant potato pieces and new potatoes grow from those pieces).

This doesn’t mean you can use any old grocery store potato, though. Often, those potatoes have been treated with growth inhibitors to keep them fresh for longer. Organic potatoes may not work either, as any diseases from the previous year will carry over into this year.

Your best bet for a successful potato crop is using certified seed potatoes, which means they’ve been declared disease-free by a government authority. You can get seed potatoes at your local gardening center.

Once you have your seeds potatoes, you can cut them into smaller pieces—just make sure each piece has at least one “eye,” or bud.

Do this a couple days before you plant. Letting the cut pieces sit for a while can help them seal, which can prevent rotting and disease.

Potatoes grow best in rows in a garden, but you can also grow them in containers (like these). Pick an area that gets at least six hours of full sunlight every day.

  1. Dig trenches that are about eight inches deep. Keep the rows about three feet apart.
  2. In the trenches, plant a seed potato every 12 inches or so. The “eye” should be facing upward. Cover each potato with about three inches of soil.
  3. After a few weeks, the potato plants will begin to sprout. Then you can gently fill the trench with another few inches of soil, leaving the top of the plant exposed. This is called “hilling” and it protects the potatoes from the sun, as well as supports the plant.
  4. Hill the potatoes every 1-2 weeks. Maintain even moisture throughout the growing process—1-2 inches of water per week is ideal.

How to Plant a Sprouted Potato

How to Plant a Sprouted Potato

Did you discover the potatoes you bought from the grocery store awhile back and forgot about have suddenly sprouted in the depths of your pantry? What should you do? Toss them out? No way! They’re still good! You can actually plant those sprouted potatoes to regrow new potatoes and I’m going to tell you how to do it.

Can you plant sprouted potatoes?

Yes! You can plant a sprouted potato and grow more potatoes.

You will actually get several potato plants and ultimately a bunch of new potatoes from just one sprouted potato if you do it right.

How to Regrow Sprouted Potatoes

You can plant any kind of sprouted potato from sweet potatoes to yellow or white potatoes.

Sprouted Potatoes

First, don’t plant the whole potato in the ground. You’ll need to do a little bit of prep to get your sprouted potatoes ready for planting for best results. Don’t worry, it’s easy. You don’t need to be a gardening expert to pull off growing potato plants. Just follow these steps.

Planting a Sprouted Potato - Growth Cycle

Step 1

First, prep your garden bed by mounding soil into rows.

You’ll want to plant your potato sprouts within 2-3 days of preparing them so it’s best to get your garden bed ready to go, first.

Potato plants grow best when you mound the dirt. This is because potatoes grow underneath the soil. The leaves of the potato plant grow above ground but the roots and potatoes will all develop underground. So the bigger the mound of dirt you create, the more room the potatoes will have to grow.

You can easily mound the soil in your garden by scooping the dirt on either side of the row you create and piling the dirt up in the middle. You want the soil to mound between 8″ and 12″ tall.

Mound Dirt 8

I don’t use a special tool for this other than gloves. I just mound the soil with my hands. For larger gardens, you can use a shovel, gardening hoe or rake.

Rows should be about 1 foot apart.

FAQ: When should I plant my potato sprouts?

When you plant, depends on where you live. Generally, early spring is when you will want to plant. You will need to make sure the ground temperature does not drop below 40°F (5°C). Generally the ground is warm enough 2-4 weeks before the last frost of the spring.

Note: Potato plants grow best in soil with a temperature of 45-50°F (8-10˚C). However, can grow in warmer conditions as well.

You can start your potato plants indoors for before transplanting to the ground if the soil temperature is still too cold.

Step 2

Count your potato sprouts.

The number of plants you’ll be able to get from each potato will depend on how many sprouts the potato has.

A potato sprouts from the eyes on the potato. Each sprouted eye can be cut and grown into a plant. If an eye has multiple sprouts, go ahead and leave those grouped together when you make your cuts.

Sprouted Potato

Each sprouted potato will offer a different number of sprouts.

Step 3

Cut each sprout using a serrated kitchen knife.

Cutting Potato Sprouts

Separate the sprouts by cutting away each sprout or group of sprouts, leaving a small amount of potato attached to the sprout.

You’ll want to plant your potato sprouts within 2-3 days of cutting. Ideally, you will want the skin to dry enough to seal out disease but not too much so that the sprouted parts dry up. You do not need to store the sprouts in water or soak them before planting. Do store them in a cool, dry place after cutting.

Step 4

Plant your potato sprouts.

Potato sprouts should be planted cut-side down, sprout-side facing up. You’ll want to plant each sprout 3-4″ below the surface of the soil. Plants should be spaced out at least 12″ apart so the plants have room to grow both below and above ground.

Planted potato sprouts will take about a weeks to push through the soil and open up their leaves. Keep the plants watered and make sure they get plenty of sun.

Potato plants in mounds of soil

Step 5

Continue to water and weed around your potato plants.

Fertilize your soil if its not very rich. As the plants grow, you can continue to mound soil around the base of the plant.

In general, potatoes need about 3 months to grow and produce a harvest. Some varieties may require more or less time.

Step 6

Harvest your potatoes.

Holding Potatoes

Since the potatoes grow underground, its tricky to tell what you’ll get in terms of size or number of potatoes. However, you’ll known that your potato plants are ready to be harvested when the visible plant dies off either after the first frost or on its own, usually in the fall.

Then for the fun part! Harvesting potatoes is like digging for treasure. Grab a garden fork and/or some garden gloves if you want to use your hands and dig in! Sift throw the mounded dirt until you find your potatoes. You’ll likely get a variety of sizes.

Do not wash your harvested potatoes. You want to keep potatoes dry to avoid rot. To clean off the dirt, use a dry, soft vegetable brush. Store them in a cool dry place. Potatoes can usually be stored for up to 6 weeks or more.

If your potatoes begin to sprout before you get to use them. well, now you know what to do! Use that sprouted potato to grow more potatoes!

Harvested Potatoes

Potato Hardiness

The best potato growing season is spring through summer with a fall harvest but that can vary depending on where you live.

Potatoes grow best in cooler climates with at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. Potatoes will not typically survive temperatures less than 40˚F. Too warm isn’t good either though. Soil temperatures warmer than 80˚F may fail to produce to potatoes.

Storing Seed Potatoes

If you’re not in a location where temperatures are warm enough to plant your sprouted potatoes, you can store them.

To store them, you want to put them in a location that is between 35-40˚F. A cool, dark and dry place is key. Your refrigerator or a cold basement would work. These conditions will force them to go dormant until you’re ready to plant.

When you are ready to re-activate them, move them to a warm location. It’s OK if they have become dry and wrinkled as long as they are not mushy and rotten (if they smell bad they are rotting). Some light and a little moisture can help them sprout again.

You do not want to freeze them or leave them outside if temps drop below 35 or go above 50˚ at any point in time. The ideal temperature range should remain between 35-40˚ Refrigerators are typically 40˚.

Did you know you can also plant sprouted onions?

Now let’s make some food!

While you’re here, check out my easy recipes to get ideas for what to make with your garden-fresh potatoes!