How to grow potatoes from true seed.

By Chris Homanics

 

 

Starting potato seeds is remarkably like growing tomatoes.

 

There are as many methods as there are people, so choose the way that works best for you. With that said, what does differ is that potato seedlings must be transplanted just after the development of the first true leaf. If they are left in their original growing medium they will find the edges of that medium and determine its time to set tubers far too early and your yield will be severely reduced.

 

You may transplant into larger pots before putting out into the field or place seedlings directly into  the field. Potato seedlings are surprisingly much hardier than tomato seedlings as long as they receive the kind of care and attention a tomato growers would give their new seedlings. Just watch for pests early on like flea beetles or slugs. I set them out about the time the danger of nighttime frosts has passed. Once established, seedlings only need periodic watering just like normal potatoes.


I usually plant my seedlings in about a 1ft trench and about 1 – 1.5 ft apart. I fill up half the trench when they have reached the height of the trench and completely fill in the trench when they have reached 1 ft tall above the trench. One last hilling is needed when they begin to stolonize and set tubers. They generally set tubers the first year just after regularly planted potatoes.

 

From transplant date, potatoes generally need a minimum of 3 months in ground to produce tubers but it is better to give them at least 4 months or more. Just like regular potatoes, I harvest when the vines are showing signs of dying down which with vary from seedling to seedling.