How to Plant a Potato with Sprouts?

How to Plant a Potato with Sprouts?

Planting potatoes from tubers with sprouts is a common way to start a potato crop. Sprouted seed potatoes allow you to skip the sprouting process and plant immediately. With the right planting techniques, sprouted potatoes can grow into a plentiful harvest.

When to Plant Sprouted Potatoes

Sprouted potatoes are ready to be planted into the garden once the sprouts are 1/4 to 1/2 inch long. This usually takes 2-4 weeks after sprouting begins depending on temperatures. Some key timing tips:

  • Plant sprouted potatoes 1-2 weeks before your last expected spring frost date.
  • Wait until daytime soil temperatures reach at least 45°F.
  • In fall, plant sprouted potatoes 8-12 weeks before your first expected frost.
  • Start seed potatoes sprouting indoors about 6 weeks before your ideal outdoor planting date.

Planting sprouted potatoes at the right time prevents frost damage and avoids overly mature sprouts. Potatoes sprouted too long tend to grow weaker plants.

Where to Plant Sprouted Potatoes

Potatoes grow best in full sun locations with fertile, well-draining soil. Choose a site that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. Ideal soil conditions include:

  • Loose, crumbly texture that is easy to dig in
  • pH between 4.8-5.5
  • Rich in organic matter like compost
  • Free of stones, clods, or debris

Potatoes can handle partial shade but may yield less. Avoid heavy, wet soils prone to compaction.

How to Prepare Soil for Planting

Prepping your planting area properly helps potatoes get off to a strong start:

  • Loosen soil at least 8 inches deep using a shovel or tiller. Break up any large clumps.
  • Mix in 2-4 inches of aged compost or rotted manure.
  • Rake smooth to create a level, uniform planting bed.
  • Just before planting, create 4-6 inch tall raised soil mounds spaced 12-15 inches apart.

Proper soil fertility and mound formation encourages maximum tuber production.

Planting Sprouted Potatoes

Once your planting spot is prepped, follow these steps:

1. Select quality sprouted potatoes.

Choose firm tubers free of rotten spots, growths, shriveling, and mold. Avoid tubers with overly long, pale sprouts.

2. Allow potatoes to further green up.

Place sprouted potatoes in a sunny indoor location for 1-2 weeks until sprouts turn green. Greening strengthens sprouts.

3. Cut potatoes into smaller pieces.

Cut each potato into pieces with 2-3 sprouts per section. Pieces should be 1.5-2 ounces.

4. Plant cut pieces sprout side up.

Place pieces sprout side up in mounds, 4-6 inches deep and 12 inches apart. Space different varieties at least 18 inches apart.

5. Cover pieces with soil.

Add a few more inches of soil to backfill each mound after planting pieces. Water thoroughly.

Caring for Newly Planted Potatoes

With newly planted sprouted potatoes, it’s important to:

  • Water frequently to keep soil evenly moist until plants emerge
  • Use row cover or mulch to retain warmth and moisture
  • Hill or mound soil around stems once plants are several inches tall
  • Provide consistent moisture and nutrients throughout growth
  • Control pests like potato beetles which target young plants

With good care, your sprouted potatoes will establish quickly and grow vigorously.

Harvesting Potatoes Planted from Sprouts

Depending on the variety, potatoes grown from sprouted tubers are ready to harvest in about 60-100 days. Test maturity by digging around carefully in soil to check tuber size. Avoid bruising tubers. Cure freshly dug potatoes in a dark, cool location before long term storage.

FAQ on Planting Sprouted Potatoes

Can I plant a potato that has sprouted in the pantry?

Yes, as long as sprouts appear healthy. Cut away any moldy or rotten parts before planting sprouted pantry potatoes.

What is the best temperature to sprout potatoes for planting?

Around 60-70°F is ideal. Avoid letting tubers sprout in temperatures over 75°F which causes weak sprout growth.

How long do I let potatoes sprout before planting?

Let sprouts grow to about 1/4-1/2 inch long before planting. Avoid letting sprouts get excessively long (over 1 inch) which weakens plants.

Can I plant a potato that has sprouted multiple times?

Potatoes that have been repeatedly sprouted and stored have less energy. But as long as the current sprouts look healthy, they can still be planted.

Is it okay to plant sprouted potatoes still in the fridge?

Yes, sprouted tubers can go straight into the ground from the refrigerator. Just allow soil to warm up first before planting.

Starting with quality sprouted seed potatoes and giving them proper care results in a vibrant, high-yielding potato crop. Pay close attention to timing, soil conditions, and plant health when planting sprouted tubers.

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