Growing potatoes can be a rewarding experience for any gardener, provided the plants are healthy and productive. With the right care, when it comes time to harvest your crop of potatoes you can set aside a few potatoes to become your “seeds” for next year. However, you’ll need to ensure you us the right method to store potatoes for seed so they don’t go bad over the winter.
Dig up the potatoes you have grown, selecting the potatoes from your healthiest disease-free plants for collecting your seed potatoes. Use potatoes that are the size of an egg or smaller. Larger potatoes can be used if necessary if no small potatoes are available.
Check your potatoes for scratches, insect holes, cuts in the skin, or any signs of rotting or softness. Discard or use immediately the damaged potatoes and keep the potatoes that appear to be intact to be your seed potatoes.
Let the skin of the potatoes dry and toughen by placing them in a single layer in the sun, leaving them there for three to four hours. Knock off any dirt from the potatoes after they are dry and check the skins one last time for damage.
Bring the seed potatoes indoors to your home, garage, or a shed and place them in a cool, dry, bright window but not in direct sunlight. Leave the potatoes there for two or three days.
Set your potatoes into a cardboard egg carton, or fill a cardboard box with a layer of balled up newspaper at the bottom and add a single layer of seed potatoes over the paper. If you have a lot of seed potatoes, use a second egg carton or make a new layer of newspaper over the potatoes already in the box.
Close the lid on the egg carton or box and place the seed potatoes in a cool, dry place that stays dark but has good air flow, such as in a basement or garage. Each week, look over the potatoes and smell the air around the box or carton to make sure nothing is going bad. Discard any rotting potatoes.
Bring the seed potatoes back out in early spring to sit in a warm, sunny room and chit, or sprout, for a week before planting. If any of the potatoes look wrinkled, feel soft or smell bad, don’t use them.
Things You Will Need
- Spading fork or pitchfork
- Cardboard egg carton
- Cardboard box, if necessary
- Old newspaper, if necessary
- If you have to store larger potatoes for seed then be sure to cut them after they have sprouted to leave two to three sprouts on each piece.
- Never use potatoes from plants that have been diseased or highly infected with insects, as you want the best possible specimens for your seed potatoes.