In this article, we will answer the question “How to plant sprouted potatoes?”, and when and how to harvest potatoes?
How to plant sprouted potatoes?
Wait for the right weather conditions
Late frost will kill the seedlings. Therefore, you should know the first and last frost dates. The temperature of the soil should be 45-50 ℉.
The soil should not be frozen but thawed. If the potato starts to sprout early, plant them in potting soil in a bucket and place them under grow light or near a window.
Prepare potatoes for planting (chitting and cutting)
Prepare the seed potato. Chitting is the process of sprouting potatoes that results in the formation of buds in the form of ‘eyes’. Then cut the potato into smaller pieces such that each piece gets an eye.
Leave the cut pieces in the air for some days to promote scabbing. This prevents the potatoes from rotting after planting.
Choose and prepare a garden site for planting sprouted potatoes
Potatoes are not picky but the following things must be considered to allow them to thrive.
Choose a sunny spot and ensure well-drained soil
The ideal garden site is the one that gets 6-8 hours of full sun during the day and partial shade during the night.
Potatoes won’t grow in soil 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 soil ph and nutrients (Do a soil test first)
Send a soil sample to your local agricultural extension to test for nutrients and ph or do it yourself using a home test kit.
Potatoes thrive in acidic soil with a ph ranging between 4.8-5.5. To counter too acidic soil, add elemental sulfur. If the soil is nutrient-deprived, add a standard 10-10-10 fertilizer to adjust the levels of 2 basic nutrients i.e NPK.
Dig the Trenches for planting your sprouted potatoes (Or choose the right container)
There are two options to dig the trenches.
- Dig 4-inches deep holes in a row with a distance of 1 for between them.
- Dig a 4-inches deep trench along the entire row. For 10 potato plants, make the trench 10 feet wide.
A distance of 3 feet must be maintained between the rows to allow for weeding, hilling, and watering. Use markers like a stick or plastic labels where you planted the potatoes. When planting the potatoes in a container, leave enough room for hilling.
Plant the sprouted potatoes
Dig the dried and scabbed over potato pieces in holes or trenches. Leave a distance of 1 foot between the trenches so that the potatoes can grow without competition. The potatoes should be covered with 4-inches of soil.
How to care for potato plants?
Once you have planted the potatoes in well-nourished soil in the right area with enough sunlight, you need to worry about watering and hilling.
Watering potato plants
You need to water the soil when the top 1-inch of the soil becomes dry. When the soil becomes dry depends on temperature, humidity, soil, and water consumption of the soil. Check the soil with fingers for dryness.
Water If needed. It is recommended to water the soil less during the early days to keep the potatoes from rotting. When you start to feel potatoes forming underground, make sure you put loads of water in the soil.
Adding soil to potato plants (hilling)
Hilling involves building heaps or mounds of soil around the potato plant to promote the growth of the stronger plant. Hilling also keeps the sunlight from reaching the tubers that appear on the plant.
This prevents sprouting and formation of a toxic compound i.e Solanine. After every 6-inches of potato plant growth above ground, cover the plant with soil.
When to harvest potatoes?
The potato should be harvested after 90-120 days or 13-17 weeks after planting. Sometime before 12-17 weeks, the potato plant starts to decay. This is an indication that the potatoes will be ready for harvest in 2-3 weeks.
How to harvest potatoes?
Use your hands to dig the soil and reap your harvest. Wear gloves If the soil is cold in the fall. This method minimizes the risk of bruising or cutting during harvest.
Alternatively, use a trowel, pitchfork, or another tool. This method is fast but comes with a risk of damaging the potatoes.
Potential Potato problems
Potato blight or late blight, which caused the Irish potato famine is a common disease of potatoes. Besides, Potato Beetle is responsible for potato plant defoliation.
In this article, we answered the question “How to plant sprouted potatoes?”, and when and how to harvest potatoes?