Potatoes are a staple food item used in almost every household. They are multipurpose food items. You can boil them, fry them or bake them. As such, they are bought and stored in abundance in every household.
More often than not, if your potatoes have been held for too long, they start sprouting, or “eyes” start developing on them. Well, the good news is that you can cut these sprouts and eat the potatoes safely. Or you can also let them grow into full-fledged plants, which will produce more potatoes for you. If you are somebody whose potatoes have developed sprouts and you are now wondering how can I plant potatoes that have sprouted? This article has answers to all your questions.
Before discussing what to do with sprouted potatoes? Let us first comprehend why potatoes grow in the first place.
Also Read: Why Potato Leaves Turning Yellow or Black?
What Causes Potatoes to Sprgrowout?
Potatoes reproduce quickly. They just need a warm environment to begin sprouting.
Potatoes, like any other plant, have an end goal to reproduce and generate more offsprings. Moreover, potatoes contain an adequate amount of nutrients and starch. They use these resources to produce.
Every sprout developed on the potatoes has the potential to grow into full-fledged potato plants on its own.
Although, as mentioned above, you can remove these sprouts and eat the potatoes safely, you must avoid eating any green parts of the potato. When the potato plants are exposed to extreme sunlight, it leads to the development of solanine. Solanine is harmful to human beings and hence should not be consumed.
Potatoes thrive in light, warm and damp conditions. So if you don’t want your potatoes to sprout, avoid keeping your potatoes in these conditions. Instead, store them in a dark, cool, and dry place. This will slow down the process of sprouting in potatoes. You can also pick potatoes that have greater dormancy periods. Certain varieties of potatoes begin to sprout early. Hence if you want to avoid sprouting, do not buy such varieties.
Even if you have tried all the ways to avoid sprouting, but your potatoes have sprouted, here’s what to do with your sprouted potatoes.
- Cut the eyes or sprouts developed on the potato. The potatoes will be safe to eat by you.
- Allow them to grow into plants. You can allow the plants to continue their growth. Later on, they will develop into full-fledged plants and produce more potatoes for you.
In case you have decided to let your potatoes grow, here are the tips for planting the sprouted potatoes.
How to Plant Potatoes that Have Sprouted?
Potatoes are multipurpose plants and can be used for cooking various items. These are also easy to grow. You do not need to put in a lot of effort while growing potatoes. Just keep in mind the basic precautions while planting sprouted potatoes.
#1 Plant the potatoes during the right weather conditions
Potatoes need warm weather conditions to grow. Frost could kill your potato plants. Therefore, make sure that you do not start your journey of planting potatoes in winter times. Usually, mid to late summer is considered to be the best time for planting potatoes.
#2 Prepare the plant seed
The plant seed, in this case, is potato sprouts. As we have already discussed, each sprout can grow into a full plant of its own. Therefore it is essential that you allow the sprouts to grow properly. Keep your potatoes in a warm and damp environment. This will allow the plant to develop sprouts that are healthy.
It must also be noted that since each sprout is capable of growing into a full plant, it’s better to cut the potatoes into pieces and plant them separately. This will allow the plant to grow in a much more healthy way. Otherwise, the plants will have to compete with each other for nutrients, and thus the growth will be hampered.
Also Read: What Are the Easiest Potatoes to Grow?
What do you require to plant potatoes?
If you are thinking, can I plant potatoes that have sprouted in my cupboard or pantry then your answer is yes. Potatoes do not need much care if they are sown in suitable weather conditions and in a garden that has plenty of nutrients required for the growth of a healthy potato plant.
The 1st and most important aspect to consider in your garden is to choose a sunny area for the plantation of your potato plants. Potatoes need an abundance of sunlight to be able to grow and produce healthy potatoes for your consumption. Ensure that the area of your garden that you are choosing to plant the sprouted potatoes has access to sunlight for at least 6 to 7 hours during the day.
The next important aspect of being considered while planting your sprouted potatoes Is to make sure that the soil in which you plant your potatoes has a proper drainage facility. You do not want your soil to be moist or damp for most parts of the day, as this will cause the roots of the potato to rot. Moreover, since the potato plants produce a new generation of potatoes completely under the soil, it is important that the soil is not wet for most parts of the day.
While preparing your garden for the plantation of your potatoes, also make sure that you check the pH and nutrient level in the soil. The optimum pH level for the plantation of potatoes is considered to be between 4.8 and 5.5.
However, potatoes can survive in high pH soils, the quality of potatoes can deteriorate. Therefore it is advisable to have a check on the pH level of the area where you wish to plant your potatoes. Also, make sure that there are sufficient nutrients available in the soil to feed your potato plants. In case you notice a scarcity of nutrients, add composed and fertilizers to make up for the deficiency. It is important to have sufficient nutrients in the soil because the lack of nutrients can lead to various diseases and will also lead to competition amongst the various plants for survival, leading to deterioration in the quality of plants grown.
Once you have checked the nutrients and added fertilizers if it was needed, the next step would be to dig places where you will be planting your sprouted potatoes. While digging your garden, make sure that you leave at least three inches of space between two areas that you have dug. This is vital because potato plants produce potatoes completely under the soil, and hence they need sufficient space to spread their roots and grow. Therefore avoid digging places completely next to each other as this will not allow the roots to completely grow.
Once you have prepared your garden for the plantation of potatoes, the next step is the actual plantation of sprouted potatoes. Be careful while planting your potatoes. Do not plant them deep into the soil. Keep the potatoes at least under 4 inches of soil. This allows them to grow in a healthy way.
Also, make sure that you do not plant your potatoes close to tomato plants as both these plans are susceptible to similar kinds of diseases, and planting them side-by-side increases the chances of both of them catching the diseases and spreading it does your whole garden.
Taking care of potatoes
Once you have planted the sprouted potatoes, the next step in line for you is to take care or look after the health of your potato plants. Although, as mentioned before, potato plants do not require a lot of time and effort in their caring, you need to be careful about a few things to ensure a good quality of the harvest. Let us have a look at the things you need to be careful about while growing your potatoes.
#1 Watering your plants
Like any other plant, potatoes need a good supply of water to grow into healthy plants and to generate a healthy harvest. Potatoes can easily get dried up if there is an absence of watering, and they can also easily become rotten if there is overwatering. So you need to create a balance between watering and overwatering your plants.
Do not leave the soil dry for too long. It has a negative impact on your crop’s health. Check the dryness of your soil at regular intervals. If it feels dry, immediately add water.
It must also be noted that potatoes cannot survive in moist places. So do not over-water your soil as it does more damage than good to your plant.
The next most important thing that you need to pay attention to while planting potatoes is hilling. This is a process of collecting soil over your potato plant to protect it from being damaged by you or pests.
Since potatoes grow under the soil, there are high chances that people may walk over the area where the potatoes are growing and damage your crop. In such situations, hilling protects your plant from such potential damages. It ensures that people, including you, do not walk over your crop and destroy it. Moreover, it also protects your crop from pests such as the potato beetle, which can completely destroy your crop.
Storing and Harvesting Potatoes
With proper care and attention, potatoes are all ready to be harvested between 90 to 120 days. You can figure out the harvesting time of your potatoes by noticing the health of the potato plant, which grows above the soil. Once the potatoes have fully matured, the plant starts turning yellow and eventually dries up. This is a clear sign that your harvest is ready.
At this stage, you need to reap what you have sown. While reaping your harvest with your hands is the safest way of harvesting your crop without causing any damage to it, it is a tedious task and requires a lot of time and effort. You can also use other harvesting tools to bring out the potatoes from the ground but make sure that you do not hit the ground too hard as it can damage the quality of your potatoes.
Once you have taken out all of the potatoes from beneath, clean them with a cloth and let them dry for some time. Do not keep it didn’t direct sunlight as it will damage the potatoes and lead to the generation of solanine.
This chemical causes the potatoes to turn green, and it is also not good for human consumption.
Once the potatoes have been dried up, you can store them in a light warm, and damp place.
Let us now discuss the problems that can be encountered while growing potatoes.
- A potato blight looks like a water mold on the potato. It transfers to all the potatoes in the garden very quickly.
- The next problem that gardeners encounter is controlling pests while growing potatoes. Potato beetles often damage the whole crop if they are not controlled initially. These beetles are capable of reproducing offsprings at a very great pace and hence can destroy the complete plantation of potatoes if left unchecked. These beetles have also adapted over time and are difficult to manage.
- You can use hilling as a technique to prevent beetles from attacking your plant, but make sure that you do not cover up a huge portion of your plant as for the process of photosynthesis to take place, leaves and stem of the plant must receive sunlight and must be visible.
- To avoid the potato blight disease, make sure that you do not overwater your plants. Overwatering of your plants can not only cause potato blight, but it can also lead to rotting of the roots and hence can destroy your whole plant.
Potatoes are easy to grow multipurpose plants that require minimal care and effort. Even if you are a beginner in the domain of gardening, you will not face severe difficulties while growing potatoes in your garden. Always keep the points mentioned in the article in your mind before beginning the journey of planting potatoes so that you produce a good quality of the harvest.