Do you know how to sprout potatoes so you could get to harvest them a little earlier than the expected growth time?
Potatoes do not have seeds, so they grow in a different process than other vegetables. Potatoes grow from their products that you set aside as seed. These seeds must have ‘eyes’ where the new sprout will form. These eyes sprout and form new tubers that grow into potatoes.
A potatoes ‘eyes’ form and sprout under the right conditions. Let’s look at the right conditions needed for chitting potatoes.
What do Potatoes Need to Sprout?
- Organic Potato Seeds. It’s best to use organically grown potatoes as seed. Chemically grown potatoes have a sprout retardant that slows down sprouting or completely stops them.
- Darkness and Light. Let’s understand this point here. Potatoes like to sprout in darkness. But you need to expose them to light when they begin sprouting. They are like other seedlings; they will need light to grow. You can keep your potato seeds near a bright window or a fluorescent light to sprout them.
- Moisture and Warmth. To speed up the sprouting process, keep your potato seeds in an area with good warmth and moisture. Do not put them in standing water as they will rot. You can layer them in damp leaves indoors to create the right environment. When the sprouts are about 1 cm long, they are an ideal length for planting.
How to Sprout Potatoes the Right Way
Start sprouting your potatoes three to four weeks before planting them.
- Get your Seeds Ready – Buy your seeds from a reputable potato seed seller or get your own from a previous harvest. Your potato seeds must be organic. Never use potatoes that are treated as they may not sprout.
- Place your Potato Seeds where you want them to Sprout – Some people use an open egg carton to sprout their seeds. Put them in a dark place where there are enough warmth and moisture. Once they start sprouting, get a fluorescent light, or keep them near a window. Ensure you keep the potatoes stable so that the fragile sprouts do not get broken. In about 1 week, you will notice that the potatoes are sprouting. After 3 to 4 weeks the potatoes are ready for planting.
- Plant the Sprouted Potatoes in the Garden – the same way you would plant un-sprouted potatoes. Be sure to plant the potatoes with the sprouts facing up handling them with care not to break the shoots.
Read about How to grow Alfalfa Sprouts
A Bonus Tip
Did you know you can increase the size of your potatoes? Yes, it is possible to do so! Rub off some of the shoots from the tuber before planting to remain with 1 or 2 healthy sprouts. If you leave all the shoots intact, you end up encouraging too much competition on the plant. The produce will be small potatoes.
Now that you have learned how to sprout potatoes, go ahead and grow your own. You will enjoy a good potato harvest a little earlier. You will love the taste of your early harvest with their skins on and deliciously waxy texture!