The potato is an easy to grow vegetable, with an early harvest, a good yield, a long shelf life and undeniable nutritional qualities (rich in slow sugars, vitamin C, minerals and proteins). Follow our video tips for successful potato planting: how and when to plant potatoes.
Why sprout potatoes?
Pre-sprouting potatoes is not essential.
If you put your unsprouted potatoes directly in the ground, they will sprout…
But this process will be longer (we will see why a little lower) and sometimes more random (for example, if the ground is cold, or even simply very wet, the tubers risk to rot before germinating…).
Sprouting potatoes is therefore preferable to ensure a good start of the crop.
When to sprout potatoes ?
In good conditions, the sprouts will be developed, as it is appropriate for the plantation, approximately 1 month after the setting in germination.
You should therefore germinate your potatoes 1 month before the planned planting dates.
For example, if you have planned to plant new potatoes in mid-March, sprout them now (publication of this article in mid-February).
And for your storage potato crop, planned for say mid-April, you would sprout the tubers in mid-March…
How to plant sprouted potatoes ?
Plant the sprouted tubers from March to April, once all risk of frost is eliminated. The blooming of the lilac is a good reference!
They can be planted earlier in coastal regions or under plastic tunnels.
To grow potatoes, the preparation of the soil is essential. The location must be well exposed to light, preferably a place in full sun.
Pay particular attention to crop rotation: after potatoes, grow beans and root vegetables such as daikon and turnips. This will prevent the spread of diseases from one crop to another year after year, such as late blight.
Find all our gardening tools online selected by Gamm vert experts to plant your potatoes. Discover the hand gardening tools
The soil must have been previously prepared in winter, light and loosened to a depth of 8 inches, enriched with a potassium-rich fertilizer.
Form furrows. Then, when the plants have developed, stub the stems to avoid exposing the tubers to the sun, which could turn green (and thus become unconsumable). You will also facilitate water drainage to prevent the potatoes from staying wet.
Space the plants 18 inches apart, and the rows 20-28 inches apart. Count about 40 plants for 10 m².
The planting is done in two steps. In a hole 4 to 6 inches deep, the plant is placed vertically, sprouts up. It is covered with a few inches of soil, without pressing too much. Fifteen days later, fill the hole to the surface, still without packing too much.
Sprouting potatoes from unsprouted plants
Here is the right technique to help your potatoes sprout before planting them.
- Use a crate or an egg carton
- Arrange the potatoes without stacking them
- If there is a sprout, it should face upwards
- Place the potatoes in a light, dry, cool and airy place
- The ideal germination temperature is between 50 and 59°F
- Germination time is about 4 to 6 weeks
Use your own potato plants for germination
It is quite possible to use the previous year’s potatoes to sprout them.
- Harvesting is done about 4 weeks before the potatoes are harvested
- Select disease-free potatoes from vigorous plants
- Let the potatoes rest on the ground for a few days
- Finally, select the tubers that have resisted the best, without rotting
- Store them in a cool and airy place until the following year
- Around February-March, start sprouting as explained above.
A few weeks after you start sprouting your potatoes and when the soil temperature is around 54°F, it’s time to get them in the ground and grow your potatoes for a great harvest!
A good way to know the ideal planting time is when the sprouts turn purple..
Why don’t ware potatoes sprout?
They are usually treated with an anti-sprouting treatment to ensure a better preservation. If you rinse them with hot water, you can remove some of the product and succeed in making them sprout.
How to prevent potatoes from sprouting?
How to prevent potatoes from sprouting There is a grandmother’s trick that consists in putting an apple in your potato basket to prevent them from sprouting. Indeed, the presence of the apple reduces the formation of sprouts, which allows you to keep your potatoes for more than 2 months without sprouting! In fact, the apple gives off a gas (ethylene) that prevents the potato from sprouting.