How To Plant Potatoes That Have Sprouted [ Full Guide ]

Potatoes are a versatile and widely consumed vegetable that can easily be grown at home. If you have some potatoes that have started to sprout, you might wonder if you can still plant them. The good news is that sprouted potatoes can indeed be planted and grown in your garden or even in containers. This article will guide you through the process of planting sprouted potatoes, from identifying the right ones to selecting the planting area and preparing the soil. By following these steps, you can turn those sprouted spuds into a bountiful harvest of fresh, homegrown potatoes.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Potatoes That Have Sprouted

If you’re in a hurry and looking for a quick guide on how to plant sprouted potatoes, here’s a step-by-step process:

  1. Identifying sprouted potatoes: Look for potatoes with firm, healthy sprouts about 1-2 inches long.
  2. Preparing the planting area: Choose a location with well-draining soil and ample sunlight.
  3. Selecting a suitable time for planting: Plant sprouted potatoes after the last frost in your area.
  4. Choosing the right type of soil: Opt for loose, well-draining soil with a slightly acidic pH.
  5. Planting the sprouted potatoes: Cut the potatoes into chunks, ensuring each piece has at least one sprout. Plant the chunks a few inches deep and cover with soil.
  6. Caring for the plants: Water the potato plants regularly and provide proper hilling as the plants grow.

Now, let’s delve into each of these steps in more detail.

Identifying Sprouted Potatoes

When planting sprouted potatoes, it’s essential to select the right ones for the best chance of successful growth. Look for potatoes with firm, healthy sprouts that are around 1-2 inches long. Avoid potatoes with shriveled or mushy sprouts, as they may not grow well. If you’re unsure about the sprouts, you can also perform a simple test to check the viability of the sprouted potatoes.

To test a sprouted potato’s viability, fill a glass or jar with water and suspend the potato in the water using toothpicks. The sprouts should be above the water while the rest of the potato is submerged. Place the glass in a warm, sunny spot and observe the sprouts for a few days. If the sprouts continue to grow and develop, the potato is likely viable for planting. If there is no growth or the sprouts deteriorate, it’s best to discard the potato and choose another one.

Preparing The Planting Area

Before planting your sprouted potatoes, it’s important to prepare the planting area to provide the best conditions for their growth. Choose a location that receives full sunlight for at least six to eight hours a day. Additionally, ensure that the soil in the chosen area is well-draining to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to rotting of the potatoes. Avoid compacted or clayey soils, as they can hinder proper root development and tuber formation.

If you’re planting potatoes in the ground, prepare the soil by loosening it to a depth of at least 8-10 inches. Remove any debris, such as rocks or roots, and incorporate organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to improve soil structure and fertility. For container planting, choose a large container with drainage holes at the bottom to allow excess water to escape.

Selecting A Suitable Time For Planting

Potatoes are sensitive to frost, so it’s crucial to plant them after the last frost date in your region. For many areas, this means planting in the early spring, once the soil has started to warm up. To determine the average last frost date in your area, consult a local gardening guide or a reliable online source. Planting too early can expose the young plants to potential frost damage, while planting too late may result in a shortened growing season and reduced yields.

Choosing The Right Type Of Soil

The type of soil you plant your sprouted potatoes in can significantly impact their growth and productivity. Potatoes thrive in loose, well-draining soil with a slightly acidic pH ranging from 5.8 to 6.5. Sandy loam and loamy soils are generally well-suited for potato cultivation, as they provide good aeration and drainage while retaining adequate moisture for the plants.

Before planting, you can conduct a soil test to assess the pH and nutrient levels of the soil. Soil testing kits are readily available at garden centers, or you can send a soil sample to a professional testing facility for more detailed analysis. Based on the test results, you can amend the soil with organic matter, lime to raise pH if necessary, or elemental sulfur to lower pH, ensuring that the planting site provides an optimal growing environment for your potatoes.

Planting The Sprouted Potatoes

Now that you have identified suitable sprouted potatoes and prepared the planting area and soil, it’s time to plant the sprouted potatoes.

  1. Cutting the Potatoes: If the sprouted potatoes are large, you can cut them into smaller pieces to plant. Each piece should contain at least one healthy sprout, also known as an "eye." The ideal size for planting chunks is around 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter, and each piece should have 1–2 sprouts for best results.

  2. Drying the Cut Potatoes: After cutting, allow the potato chunks to dry and form a protective layer over the cut surfaces. This process, known as "suberization," helps prevent rotting and disease by sealing the wounds and reducing the risk of infection.

  3. Planting the Potatoes: Once the cut potatoes have dried, it’s time to plant them. Dig furrows or individual planting holes around 3–4 inches deep and spaced 12–15 inches apart in rows, for ground planting. For container planting, fill the container with 6–8 inches of soil and place the potato pieces on top, then cover with an additional 3–4 inches of soil.

  4. Covering with Soil: Gently cover the planted potato pieces with soil, ensuring that the sprouts are facing upward. Firm the soil lightly to secure the potatoes in place.

  5. Watering: After planting, water the soil thoroughly to encourage the initial growth of the potato plants. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged to support healthy sprout development and root establishment.

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Caring For The Plants

Once your sprouted potatoes are planted, it’s essential to provide appropriate care to ensure their optimal growth and development.

  1. Hilling: As the potato plants grow, they will produce stems with foliage above the soil surface. To protect the developing tubers from being exposed to sunlight and turning green, it’s important to hill the plants by mounding soil around the stems. Begin hilling when the plants are around 6–8 inches tall, and continue to mound soil gradually around the stems throughout the growing season.

  2. Watering: Potatoes require consistent moisture for healthy growth, especially during the tuber formation stage. While it’s important to avoid waterlogging, ensure that the soil remains evenly moist by providing regular, deep watering, particularly during dry periods.

  3. Fertilizing: Depending on the initial soil fertility and the growth stage of the plants, you may need to provide supplemental fertilization. A balanced fertilizer with a higher potassium content, such as a 5-10-10 formulation, can support tuber development. Apply the fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s instructions, typically as a side-dressing around the plants when they are actively growing.

  4. Pest and Disease Management: Monitor the potato plants for signs of pest infestations or disease, such as potato beetles, aphids, or fungal infections. Consider using organic or targeted interventions to manage any issues that arise, such as handpicking pests, applying beneficial insect releases, or using natural fungicides.

  5. Harvesting: The time to harvest your potatoes will depend on the variety you planted and your growing conditions. You can start harvesting new potatoes when the plants begin to flower, typically 7–8 weeks after planting. For mature potatoes, wait until the tops of the plants have died back, then carefully dig up the tubers, taking care not to damage them.

Planting sprouted potatoes can be an exciting and rewarding experience, resulting in a bountiful harvest of fresh, homegrown tubers. By selecting healthy sprouted potatoes, preparing the planting area and soil, and providing proper care throughout the growing season, you can enjoy a successful potato crop in your own garden. Whether you choose to plant them in the ground or in containers, the process of growing potatoes from sprouted spuds offers a hands-on opportunity to connect with the natural cycle of plant growth and cultivation. With the knowledge and tips provided in this guide, you can confidently embark on your potato planting journey and look forward to enjoying the fruits of your labor as you harvest your homegrown potatoes.

Preparing The Sprouted Potatoes For Planting

Potatoes are a versatile and popular vegetable that can be easily grown in your own backyard. In fact, you don’t even need to buy seed potatoes from a store. If you have some potatoes that have begun to sprout, you can actually plant them and grow your own crop.

Before you begin planting, it is important to properly prepare the sprouted potatoes. This preparation will help maximize their chances of successfully growing into healthy plants. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Select the Right Potatoes: Choose sprouted potatoes that are firm and healthy. Avoid any that are soft, mushy, or have any signs of rot. Look for sprouts that are around 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inches long.

2. Cut the Potatoes: If the sprouts on your potatoes are longer than 1 1/2 inches, it is recommended to cut them into smaller pieces. Each piece should have at least one sprout. Cutting the potatoes helps to ensure that each sprout will have enough nutrients and space to grow.

3. Cure the Potatoes: Before planting, the cut pieces of potato should be left to cure for a few days. This process allows the cut surfaces to dry out and callus over. Curing helps to prevent rot and diseases from affecting the potatoes once they are planted.

4. Prepare Containers: If you don’t have a garden bed or if it’s not the right time for planting potatoes outdoors, you can plant them in containers. Fill the containers with well-draining soil, such as a mix of potting soil, compost, and sand. Make sure the containers have proper drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.

Creating Planting Trenches Or Mounds

Potatoes can be planted in either trenches or mounds. Both methods have their advantages, and the choice depends on your personal preference and the available space in your garden. Here is how you can create planting trenches or mounds:

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1. Trench Method: If you choose the trench method, dig a shallow trench in your garden bed. The trench should be around 6-8 inches deep and about 2 feet apart. If you plan to plant multiple rows, create additional trenches with adequate spacing between them.

2. Mound Method: For the mound method, you will be creating small hills or mounds of soil in your garden bed. These mounds will help with drainage and prevent the potatoes from getting waterlogged. Each mound should be around 6-8 inches high and spaced 2-3 feet apart.

Planting The Sprouted Potatoes

Once you have prepared the planting area, it’s time to plant the sprouted potatoes. Follow these steps to ensure proper planting:

1. Place the Potatoes: Take the cured and cut potatoes and place them in the trenches or on top of the mounds. Make sure to position them with the sprouts facing upwards. Space the potatoes around 12-15 inches apart in both the trench and mound methods.

2. Cover the Potatoes: Gently cover the potatoes with soil, ensuring that the sprouts are still exposed. If using the trench method, you can gradually mound soil around the plants as they grow. For the mound method, make sure the entire potato is covered to prevent greening from sun exposure.

3. Water the Potatoes: After planting, give the potatoes a thorough watering to settle the soil and initiate growth. Ensure the soil is moist but not waterlogged. Throughout the growing season, maintain consistent moisture, especially during dry spells.

4. Mulch the Area: Once the potatoes have sprouted and are around 6 inches tall, apply a layer of mulch around the plants. Mulching helps suppress weeds and conserves soil moisture. You can use straw, grass clippings, or compost as mulch.

Proper Spacing And Depth For Planting

The spacing and planting depth are crucial for the successful growth of your potatoes. Follow these guidelines to ensure proper planting:

1. Spacing: When planting sprouted potatoes, it is important to give each plant enough space to grow and develop a healthy root system. Space the potatoes 12-15 inches apart in both the trench and mound methods, with 2-3 feet between rows.

2. Planting Depth: The planting depth depends on the size of the sprouts. The general rule of thumb is to plant the potatoes with the sprouts facing upwards and cover them with about 4 inches of soil. As the plants grow, gradually mound soil around them to protect the developing tubers from sunlight and promote higher yields.

Planting sprouted potatoes is an excellent way to grow your own crop without needing to purchase additional seed potatoes. By preparing the sprouted potatoes correctly and planting them in the right way, you can ensure a successful harvest of delicious, homegrown potatoes. Remember to select healthy sprouted potatoes, cut them if necessary, cure them, and prepare the planting area. Whether you choose the trench or mound method, providing adequate spacing and planting the potatoes at the right depth is crucial. With proper care and attention, you’ll soon be enjoying the satisfaction of harvesting your very own potatoes.

Caring For The Planted Potatoes

Planting potatoes that have sprouted is a great way to utilize those potatoes that have been sitting in your pantry for too long. When a potato sprouts, it means it is ready to grow and planting it can lead to a bountiful harvest.

To begin with, it is important to prepare the soil prior to planting the sprouted potatoes. Potatoes thrive in loose, well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. You can start by adding compost or well-rotted manure to the soil to improve its fertility and structure.

Once the soil is prepared, dig a trench or create raised beds where you will plant the sprouted potatoes. Ensure that the trench or bed is wide and deep enough to accommodate the tubers comfortably. Ideally, the depth should be around 4-6 inches (10-15 cm).

Now it’s time to place the sprouted potatoes in the prepared trench or bed. Make sure to plant them with the sprouts facing upwards and space them approximately 12-15 inches (30-38 cm) apart. This spacing will allow the growing plants to receive sufficient sunlight and have enough room for the tubers to develop underground.

Cover the sprouted potatoes with a layer of soil, leaving a small mound or ridge on top. As the plants grow, you can continue to add soil around the stems to encourage more tuber formation and protect them from direct sunlight, which can cause them to turn green.

Watering Requirements For Growing Potatoes

Watering is crucial for the healthy growth of potatoes. After planting, it is essential to keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy. Water the plants thoroughly immediately after planting and then regularly throughout the growing season.

A good rule of thumb is to provide about 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) of water per week, either through rainfall or irrigation. However, it is important to monitor the soil moisture level and adjust the watering accordingly. Overwatering can lead to root rot, while underwatering can result in stunted growth and reduced yields.

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Mulching can be beneficial in potato cultivation, as it helps to conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and maintain an even soil temperature. Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or wood chips, around the plants, ensuring that the sprouts are still exposed.

Protecting The Sprouted Potatoes From Pests And Diseases

Potatoes can be vulnerable to several pests and diseases, but with proper care, you can minimize the risk and protect your crop. Here are some common pests and diseases to be aware of and preventive measures you can take:

  1. Potato beetles: Colorado potato beetles can be a common pest in potato cultivation. Monitor your plants regularly and remove any visible beetles or larvae by hand. If the infestation is severe, you can consider using insecticidal soap or organic insecticides labeled for potato beetles.

  2. Aphids: Aphids are small, sap-sucking insects that can cause damage to potato plants. Regularly inspect your plants for aphids and control them by spraying a strong stream of water or using insecticidal soap.

  3. Late blight: Late blight is a fungal disease that can devastate potato crops. To prevent late blight, choose disease-resistant potato varieties and ensure proper spacing between plants for good air circulation. If late blight is present in your area, consider applying fungicides labeled for late blight prevention.

  4. Early blight: Early blight is another fungal disease that affects potatoes. It manifests as dark spots on the leaves and can lead to defoliation. To prevent early blight, avoid overhead watering, as moisture on the leaves creates favorable conditions for the disease. Apply fungicides labeled for early blight prevention if necessary.

Regularly inspecting your plants and taking immediate action at the first sign of pests or diseases is crucial to prevent further damage and ensure a healthy crop.

Harvesting And Storing The Potatoes

The time to harvest your potatoes will vary depending on the variety you planted. Early or new potatoes can be harvested as soon as the plants start to flower, usually around 2-3 months after planting. These potatoes are small and tender with thin skins. Mature potatoes, on the other hand, can be harvested when the plants have died back and the skins have set, typically 3-4 months after planting.

To harvest your potatoes, gently loosen the soil around the plants with a garden fork or your hands. Be careful not to damage the tubers as you dig them up. Start harvesting from the outer edges of the bed and work your way towards the center.

Once harvested, brush off any excess soil and allow the potatoes to cure in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated area for 1-2 weeks. During this curing period, the skins will thicken, and the potatoes will become less prone to bruising and rotting.

After curing, sort the potatoes and remove any damaged or diseased ones. Store the good-quality potatoes in a cool, dry, and dark place, such as a cellar or basement. Avoid storing them near onions or apples, as these can hasten sprouting.

Conclusion

Planting potatoes that have sprouted is a great way to make use of those potatoes that may otherwise go to waste. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can successfully plant and care for sprouted potatoes to enjoy a bountiful harvest. Remember to prepare the soil, provide adequate water, protect against pests and diseases, and properly harvest and store the potatoes. With proper care and attention, you can reap the rewards of your efforts with a delicious and homegrown potato crop.

FAQS

How Do I Prepare The Soil For Planting Potatoes?

First, choose a sunny spot with well-draining soil. Remove any weeds or rocks from the area and loosen the soil to a depth of 8-10 inches.

When Should I Plant Sprouted Potatoes?

Sprouted potatoes should be planted in late spring or early summer, when the soil temperature reaches at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal planting time can vary depending on your climate and growing zone.

How Do I Plant Sprouted Potatoes?

Cut the potato into smaller pieces, each with at least one sprout. Each piece should be about 2 inches wide. Plant the pieces in the prepared soil, with the sprouts facing up, and cover them with 3-4 inches of soil.

How Far Apart Should I Space The Potato Plants?

Potato plants should be spaced 12-15 inches apart in rows that are 30 inches apart. This spacing allows enough room for the plants to grow and spread out.

Do I Need To Water The Potato Plants After Planting?

Yes, it is important to keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged, throughout the growing season. Water deeply once or twice a week, depending on rainfall. Stop watering a few weeks before harvesting to allow the soil to dry out and make it easier to harvest the potatoes.