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How to Make Your Own Seed Potatoes

seed potatoes image by hazel proudlove from Fotolia.com

Potatoes grow easily from seed potatoes. You've probably unintentionally started a few of your own just by keeping a bag of potatoes around long enough for them to sprout. The potato is a tuber, which contains all the material necessary to start new plants. The tubers grow underground from the stem, not from the roots.

Look for potatoes that already have dimples. That's where the eye of the potato will grow. The eye is actually the beginnings of a new plant. Grocery stores often have several different kinds of potatoes, including red, fingerlings, russet, purple and Yukon gold. Potatoes in stores are treated to resist sprouting. Either buy organic potatoes or buy more potatoes than you think you'll need for sprouting.

Place potatoes where they will receive light but not where it's hot and dry. The potatoes should send up sprouts in a week or two. One trick is to place the potatoes in cardboard egg cartons so they don't roll around.

Cut the potatoes so that each piece has one or two sprouts and a good amount of potato, about 1 1/2 inches square for each seed.

Let the cuts heal over into a callus, which should only take a day or two. Your seed potatoes are now ready to plant.

Plant Seed Potatoes?

You can plant seed potatoes as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring, making sure to choose a sunny location. The tubers need room to grow, so plant them about 3 inches deep and 12 inches apart within the rows, leaving about 3 feet of space between the rows. When planting, you should make sure the soil is moist. The number of buds or "eyes" the seed potato has can affect the potato growth. If this occurs, cover them with extra soil or straw. Potatoes need at least 1 to 2 inches of water each week. You may harvest crops once the plant leaves die back. The best temperature for potato storage is between 35 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. When choosing varieties to grow with storage in mind, consider russets and carola, as they are the best choices if you want to keep potatoes.

Tip

While it's fun to make your own seed potatoes, it's better to buy certified disease-free potato seeds.

Warning

All parts of the potato plant except the potato tuber are toxic. Wash your hands after handling.

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