In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How to plant a potato that has sprouted?”, discuss answers to other related questions like how to take care of potato plants and how to harvest potatoes.
How to plant a potato that has sprouted?
To plant a sprouted potato and get healthier plants and more potatoes, you should keep a few things in your mind:
Wait for the right weather conditions
First of all, you have to wait for the right weather conditions. For this, you must know the first and late frost dates as late frost can cause the killing of the seedlings. Before planting, the temperature of the soil should not be frozen but thawed and its temperature should be in a range of about 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. NOTE: if the potatoes start to sprout early, plant them in potting soil in a bucket and place them to grow under light or near a window.
Prepare potatoes for planting
To prepare the potatoes for planting, you have to take them through the processes of chitting and cutting. Chitting is the process of sprouting potatoes that results in the formation of buds in the form of eyes. In cutting, you have to cut the potato into smaller pieces such that each smaller piece gets an eye. Now leave the cut pieces in the air for some days to promote scabbing. Doing so will help you keep potatoes from rotting after planting.
Choose the right spot to plant potato
Once you have prepared the potatoes for planting, choose a garden site and prepare it for planting sprouted potatoes. Potatoes are not that picky but the following things must be considered to allow them to thrive:
- Make sure that the chosen spot is sunny and the soil over there is well-drained. The ideal garden site is the one that gets 6 to 8 hours of full sun during the day and partial shade during the night. Also, potatoes will not grow in soil that is too soggy. To test the soil for drainage, dig a hole in the soil and fill it with water. If the water drains in 10 minutes, the soil is well-drained. If not, improve the drainage by adding compost or aged manure.
- Adjust the soil pH and nutrients. For this, you can send the soil sample to your local agricultural extension or do it yourself by using a home test kit. Keep in mind that potatoes thrive in acidic soil within a pH range of 4.8 to 5.5. If your soil is too acidic, you can add elemental sulfur to counteract. And if the soil is deprived of nutrients, you can add a standard 10-10-10 fertilizer for the adjustment of nutrients.
- In the end, you have to choose the right container or dig trenches for planting the sprouted potato. If you are to dig trenches, there are two ways to go with:
- Dig 4-inches deep holes in a row with a distance of 1 foot between them
- Dig a 4-inch deep trench along the entire row. For 10 potato plants, make the trench 10-feet wide.
Make sure to maintain the difference of 3 feet between the rows to allow for weeding, hilling, and watering. Use markers like a stick or plastic labels where you planted the potatoes. If you are planting the potatoes in a container, make sure to leave enough space for hilling.
Plant the sprouted potatoes
Finally, dig the dried and scabbed over pieces of potatoes in the holes or trenches and ensure that there is a distance of 1 foot between the trenches so that the potatoes can grow without competition for nutrients, light, water, and other resources. Cover the potatoes with 4-inches of soil.
How to take care of potato plants?
To take care of the potato plant, start watering the plant as it emerges from the soil. It will need a lot of water and grow rapidly. It is recommended not to water the plant during the early stages as this can lead to the rotting of potato sprouts.
For stronger and bigger potato plants, it is important to build a mound of soil around potato shoots. Doing so also helps in preventing the plant from sun damage.
How to harvest potatoes?
For harvesting potatoes, you can simply dig by hands, by a trowel, or by a pitchfork.
Digging by hand is a slower process to harvest potatoes, but chances of damaging and bruising potatoes are reduced to a minimum.
Digging by trowel, pitchfork, or any other tool is a faster process, but there are more chances of damaging and bruising the potatoes.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “How to plant a potato that has sprouted?”, discussed answers to other related questions like how to take care of potato plants and how to harvest potatoes.