We’ve all had those times where we forgot about the last couple of potatoes, and when we find them, they’ve sprouted. Those tendrils coming from your spud are a sign it wants to grow.
Unlike most produce, potatoes are their own “seed.” You can’t just take a strawberry and stick it in the ground and expect more strawberries, but you can with a potato. It’s easy to let your energetic potatoes do their thing and bring you even more potatoes. All you have to do is plant it. You can start them in water or plant them right in the ground.
Store-Bought Potatoes and Seed Potatoes
While you can use any potato in your kitchen that starts showing signs of growth (the eyes begin to tendril out of the potato), seed potatoes are said to be better growers. I’ve grown from the tubers right from the grocery store and gotten nice, albeit small, batches of potatoes without having to purchase anything special.
There are a plethora of articles online for and against using store-bought potatoes. Many of them say that you should only use seed potatoes, and there are reasons for that.
- Seed potatoes are created to grow abundant crops of potatoes, ideal for farms.
- Some seed potatoes are bred to be disease-free.
- Store-bought potatoes can carry disease that can damage crops and the soil.
However, if you’re growing a potato in your small home garden or a large pot on your porch, there’s less worry about possible damage from the use of a store-bought potato.
How to Prep Your Potato for Planting
If you have potatoes in your kitchen that are past their prime for eating, rather than tossing them away, why not see if you can grow something from them. The following video explains a little bit about why it may be recommended in the United States to use seed rather than store potatoes, but if you’re buying organic you should be okay.
Prepping your potatoes can also start with proper washing, which will help clean off pesticides and other chemicals used on crops that may cause difficulty in growing your potatoes. Once the sprouted spuds are clean, it’s time to get planting.
All of the instructions you need to have the best luck with your potato growing can be seen in this video:
You can grow your potatoes in containers like in the video, or you can choose to plant them in the ground. Some people simply plant them a foot apart, down a few inches in the dirt, and cover them with soil. Others build up hills (called hilling up) to plant them in (which gives them more growing room underground).
How to Harvest Your Potatoes
Once it’s time to harvest your potatoes, usually about 10 weeks after you’ve planted them, it’s easy to dig them up. If you did them in a container garden, you can dump your container out and grab out your taters. If you planted them in a garden, you can dig them up (gently) with a shovel.
Growing your own food at home is fun, and it makes the food taste better. (Okay, maybe your homegrown potato will taste identical to store-bought ones, but the effort makes them extra delicious.) You can save money on potatoes by growing your own, and all it takes is a bag of sprouted spuds.