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Information and discussion for successfully cultivating potatoes, the world's fourth largest crop.

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Old January 26, 2017   #1
MuddyToes
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Default Sprouting eyes

I read on SSE that you should place potatoes in a sunny window to get the eyes to sprout. I read on another website (I can't remember where) to keep the potatoes in the dark until the eyes sprout. Which is it? I bought regular grocery store Yukon golds. I realize they may be treated to prevent sprouting but I thought I would give it a try. Potatoes are pretty inexpensive around here.
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Old January 26, 2017   #2
PhilaGardener
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Presprouting potatoes in light (a process called chitting) stimulates growth but keeps the shoots short while getting you off to a quicker start in the garden. It also lets you see if your tubers don't spout because they have been treated with an inhibitor, saving time if they aren't going to grow. As I am sure you know, exposure to light also triggers greening of the tuber and the accumulation of compounds that make the potato toxic so that isn't a good idea if you are going to eat them (but might be protective when planted in the garden).

All that said, potatoes with long, white sprouts that grew in the dark also do just fine when planted; they are just a bit harder to handle.

Note that a lot of the potatoes sold in stores labeled as Yukon Golds are not true to type. Getting seed potatoes from a reliable source is expensive but one of the best ways to get healthy material that is true to variety.

Good luck!
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Old January 26, 2017   #3
twillis2252
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I tried Worth's suggestion last year and purchased an eight lb. bag of Russets to set out. He suggested I wash the potatoes thoroughly by hand to assist removing any of the applied inhibitors. The potatoes only cost $1 as they were reduced because of shelf life. I planted these potatoes in mid March and attained a 50% germination rate. I also purchased other seed potatoes from a seed/feed store (Kennebec, Yukons, and Russets).
My garden is located in Zone 6 in the NC mountains. Other gardeners in my area said I was starting a couple weeks early but I had a very good harvest. Pleased with the results and will do likewise this year. Purchasing my seed potatoes next week or two and will store outside in a protective area.
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Old January 26, 2017   #4
MuddyToes
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Default Yay! Sprouting eyes

Thanks for the help, PG and twillis.
Noticed these little buds today.
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Old March 14, 2017   #5
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Sprouting potatoes also called greening or chitting can give you a head start. However , the commercial farmers just would plant without doing that.
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Old March 14, 2017   #6
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They can sense Spring has to be on the way!
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Old March 14, 2017   #7
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Put them in a dark closet that is room temperature and forget about them.
They will sprout then take them outside on what eer and cut the sprouts off the potato and leave some skin on.
Bury it and they will grow.
My compost bin is full of them by accident.
The sprouting inhibitor only last for a sort time.
Your biggest worry is bringing in blight to your garden.
There are ways to help prevent this but it escapes me now.
Seed potatoes are grown in areas or fields where there is no blight.
Grocery store potatoes dont have to follow these regulations as strictly.

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Old March 14, 2017   #8
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In the pictuer those little buds are all you need.
You can cut the bud out with some potato on it and let it dry for 24 hours and bury it in the ground as deep as you are supposed to and side dress with some plant tone or your favorite.
Some time later you will see a plant coming out of the ground.
This will happen many days later dont give up on them.
Do not over do it on nitrogen this will cause the inside of the potatoes to have black hollow cracks in them.

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Old March 14, 2017   #9
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Some years I chit my seed potatoes by simply placing them in bright light usually in an egg carton. They often dry out. They grow but look sort of unhealthy.
This year I placed some in a small pot filled with my seedling soil. The soil was just slightly damp. The potatoes grew green sprouts in about two to three weeks. Far greater growth than simply chitting without the soil. The soil in some cases was too wet and the potatoes rotted in the pots, so just damp is the criteria.
Such an improved method is acceptable my case, since I only grow about 75 plants.
http://durgan.org/2016/April%202016/19%20April%202016%20Planting%20Potatoes/HTML/ 19 April 2016 Planting Potatoes

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Old March 14, 2017   #10
MuddyToes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worth1 View Post
Put them in a dark closet that is room temperature and forget about them.
They will sprout then take them outside on what eer and cut the sprouts off the potato and leave some skin on.
Bury it and they will grow.
My compost bin is full of them by accident.
The sprouting inhibitor only last for a sort time.
Your biggest worry is bringing in blight to your garden.
There are ways to help prevent this but it escapes me now.
Seed potatoes are grown in areas or fields where there is no blight.
Grocery store potatoes dont have to follow these regulations as strictly.

Worth
The buds are much bigger now. I was planning on putting them in 10 gallon grow bags with garden soil and straw mulch but now I have to wait for this snow/ice to melt. I'm on the southern tip of the Nor'easter. I was thinking of adding some Black Kow but the thought of manure on my taters kind of creeps me out, even if it is composted first. What kind of fertilizer do you recommend?
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Old March 14, 2017   #11
Worth1
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I think a well balanced one would work fine.
Depends on organic or not what you get.


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Old March 14, 2017   #12
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I have on hand MG 24-8-16 (the little blue crystals) and Bio-Live 5-4-2.
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Old March 15, 2017   #13
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Remember ,potatoes set tubers on the stem coming up from the seed, not on the roots of the seed. Like tomato grows on the stem not on the roots.
So when planting , have to have room to hill around the stems, to hold the tubers.
Also, it is the root that needs the fertilizer/food not the tubers. So it pays to put seed potato on fertile soil with added fertilizer. You can of course give it fertilizer later but it has to get down to the root zone quickly.
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Old March 15, 2017   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gardeneer View Post
Remember ,potatoes set tubers on the stem coming up from the seed, not on the roots of the seed. Like tomato grows on the stem not on the roots.
So when planting , have to have room to hill around the stems, to hold the tubers.
Also, it is the root that needs the fertilizer/food not the tubers. So it pays to put seed potato on fertile soil with added fertilizer. You can of course give it fertilizer later but it has to get down to the root zone quickly.
Hmmm. Makes sense. So maybe I should put some compost under my sprouts along with some slow release fertilizer. I think the grow bag is deep enough to hill up around the stems. I also have 15 gallon bags if the 10's are not big enough. I was hoping to use the bigger ones for sweet potatoes though.
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Old March 17, 2017   #15
Durgan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gardeneer View Post
Remember ,potatoes set tubers on the stem coming up from the seed, not on the roots of the seed. Like tomato grows on the stem not on the roots.
So when planting , have to have room to hill around the stems, to hold the tubers.
Also, it is the root that needs the fertilizer/food not the tubers. So it pays to put seed potato on fertile soil with added fertilizer. You can of course give it fertilizer later but it has to get down to the root zone quickly.
How a Potato Plant Grows

Posted on January 26, 2011 by Durgan
This is new pictures to make viewing easier.
http://www.durgan.org/URL/?ZFZLX
http://www.durgan.org/URL/?QHBIN 21 August 2009 How a Potato Plant Grows
There is a great deal of information on the Internet about growing potatoes in tires, boxes and indicating that large quantities of new tubers can be produced with high vertical hilling. The view propagated is that potatoes grow from branches all along the main stalk. This is utter nonsense, as the pictures indicate. New tubers are formed around the seed potato and always slightly above it.
My potato growing test box was opened today. The pictures speak for themselves. Clearly there is no advantage in carrying out excessive hilling when growing potatoes. The purpose of hilling is to insure the tubers are covered, since light affects potatoes producing a green appearance, which is an indication of solanine, which is harmful if ingested in large quantities.. For comparison one Pontiac Red was dug in the same row, which was almost identical to the test box potato in appearance.


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