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How to prepare seed potatoes for planting

Posted on 09 January 2015   potatoes

How to prepare seed potatoes for planting

In our area, the “old-timers” always said that February 14th was the traditional day to plant potatoes (and cut back rose bushes; maybe an excuse to get away from the house on Valentine’s Day?). The Texas Agrilife Extension service more or less confirms this (see this list of planting dates – http://easttexasgardening.tamu.edu/homegardens/VEGeTABLE.html).

For our personal use, we always try to shoot for early February potato planting. This past year, due to some an unexpected trip out of town, we were a little late in planting our potatoes. But I’ve been late in planting potatoes before, and still had reasonable success. For people in most of USDA zone 8, planting time is now through mid-Feb. – and for those of you in zones 7 and north, check your local extension office for planting dates.

Our seed potatoes are certified disease-free. The term “seed potatoes” is really a misleading term. Potatoes don’t grow true to seed; that is, the plants produce seeds, but the seeds do not make potatoes that are like the parent plants. The seeds may produce potatoes of inferior quality. Seed potatoes are young potatoes grown and harvested for the express purpose of vegetative propagation.seed potatoes

We’ve had a few questions about how to plant seed potatoes, so this is the first of two blog posts about planting these baby spuds.

To begin, you receive your little box of seed potatoes from Legg Creek Farm. You marvel at their beauty.

seed potatoes in box

You take those beautiful little potatoes and put a knife to them, all while dreaming of roasted new potatoes in a few months. Cut the seed potatoes so that there are 2-3 “eyes” on each slice (or each slip, as some people call it).

cutting seed potato

Now comes the hard part – waiting. If the freshly cut potatoes are placed directly into the ground, they will rot, thanks to the natural soil microflora that are just looking for something soft and juicy to decompose. To prevent this, leave the freshly cut potatoes in an area where they will remain dry and out of direct sunlight. Leave them there for 24-72 hours – after that, you’re ready to get your hands dirty in the garden. seed potatoes laid out to dry

When they’re ready to plant, you’ll see a nice callous over what was once the tender, juicy potato flesh.

cut seed potato

I’ll be posted about planting seed potatoes sometime soon.

Thanks for reading! We currently still have stock of all three seed potato varieties we carry: Red La Soda, White Kennebec, and Yukon Gold.

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