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Picture this: you discover the potatoes you bought from the grocery store awhile back and forgot about have suddenly sprouted in the depths of your pantry. What should you do? Toss them out? No way! They’re still good! You can actually plant those sprouted potatoes and I’m going to tell you how to do it.
So, you can actually you plant sprouted potatoes?
Yep! You can plant a sprouted potato in order to grow more potatoes. You will actually get several potato plants and ultimately a bunch of new potatoes from just one sprouted potato if you do it right.
You can plant any kind of sprouted potato from sweet potatoes to yellow or white potatoes.
First, don’t plant the whole potato in the ground. You’ll need to do a little bit of prep to get your sprouted potatoes ready for planting for best results. Don’t worry, it’s easy. You don’t need to be a gardening expert to pull off growing potato plants. Just follow these steps…
First, prep your garden bed by mounding soil into rows.
You’ll want to plant your potato sprouts within 2-3 days of preparing them so it’s best to get your garden bed ready to go, first.
Potato plants grow best when you mound the dirt. This is because potatoes grow underneath the soil. The leaves of the potato plant grow above ground but the roots and potatoes will all develop underground. So the bigger the mound of dirt you create, the more room the potatoes will have to grow.
You can easily mound the soil in your garden by scooping the dirt on either side of the row you create and piling the dirt up in the middle. You want the soil to mound between 8″ and 12″ tall.
I don’t use a special tool for this other than gloves. I just mound the soil with my hands. For larger gardens, you can use a shovel, gardening hoe or rake.
Rows should be about 1 foot apart.
Count your potato sprouts.
The number of plants you’ll be able to get from each potato will depend on how many sprouts the potato has.
A potato sprouts from the eyes on the potato. Each sprouted eye can be cut and grown into a plant. If an eye has multiple sprouts, go ahead and leave those grouped together when you make your cuts.
Each sprouted potato will offer a different number of sprouts.
Cut each sprout using a serrated kitchen knife.
Separate the sprouts by cutting away each sprout or group of sprouts, leaving a small amount of potato attached to the sprout.
You’ll want to plant your potato sprouts within 2-3 days of cutting. Ideally, you will want the skin to dry enough to seal out disease but not too much so that the sprouted parts dry up. You do not need to store the sprouts in water or soak them before planting. Do store them in a cool, dry place after cutting.
Plant your potato sprouts.
Potato sprouts should be planted cut-side down, sprout-side facing up. You’ll want to plant each sprout 3-4″ below the surface of the soil. Plants should be spaced out at least 12″ apart so the plants have room to grow both below and above ground.
Planted potato sprouts will take about a weeks to push through the soil and open up their leaves. Keep the plants watered and make sure they get plenty of sun.
Continue to water and weed around your potato plants.
Fertilize your soil if its not very rich. As the plants grow, you can continue to mound soil around the base of the plant.
In general, potatoes need about 3 months to grow and produce a harvest. Some varieties may require more or less time.
Harvest your potatoes.
Since the potatoes grow underground, its tricky to tell what you’ll get in terms of size or number of potatoes. However, you’ll known that your potato plants are ready to be harvested when the visible plant dies off either after the first frost or on its own, usually in the fall.
Then for the fun part! Harvesting potatoes is like digging for treasure. Grab a garden fork and/or some garden gloves if you want to use your hands and dig in! Sift throw the mounded dirt until you find your potatoes. You’ll likely get a variety of sizes.
Do not wash your harvested potatoes. You want to keep potatoes dry to avoid rot. To clean off the dirt, use a dry, soft vegetable brush. Store them in a cool dry place. Potatoes can usually be stored for up to 6 weeks or more.
If your potatoes begin to sprout before you get to use them… well, now you know what to do! Use that sprouted potato to grow more potatoes!
The best potato growing season is spring through summer with a fall harvest but that can vary depending on where you live.
Potatoes grow best in cooler climates with at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. Potatoes will not typically survive temperatures less than 40˚F. Too warm isn’t good either though. Soil temperatures warmer than 80˚F may fail to produce to potatoes.
Did you know you can also plant sprouted onions?
Now let’s make some food!
While you’re here, check out my easy recipes to get ideas for what to make with your garden-fresh potatoes!