Growing and Saving Seed Potatoes
Potatoes are one of the most rewarding crops to grow. With their diverse range of varieties and often generous yields, potatoes are ideal for adding homegrown goodness to the plate!
Native to the Andes of South America, potato cultivation dates back 7,000 to 10,000 years. This nutritious tuber travelled with conquistadors back to Europe in the 16th century and quickly spread across the globe as a staple food crop.
- Potatoes will not produce true seeds and therefore are typically propagated clonally from pieces of sprouted potato tuber saved from the previous year. These tubers set aside for planting are called seed potatoes. They are graded for high quality to ensure that you have the best planting stock possible.
- When you order Baker Creek seed potatoes you will recieve whole (uncut) tubers for planting.
- We suggest you store the tubers in a cool, dark, dry location until you are ready to plant them out into the ground.
- Potatoes can be planted before your last frost date in spring. Keep in mind that they prefer the soil to be above 45 F and they do not tolerate soggy, waterlogged soil.
- You can plant in ground, in potato bags or boxes, or raised beds; there are lots of options.
- Be sure to select a site with full sun and well-draining soil.
- You may choose to cut your potatoes to increase the number for planting. In this case cut tubers in half, making sure to leave 1 to 2 "eyes" on each piece (never cut micro tubers and leave uncut any tubers smaller than a golf ball to be sure they thrive).
- Plant tubers about 3 times as deep as they are wide around (usually about 4 inches) and hill the soil up along the stems as the plants grow through the season.
- Space plants about 12 to 18 inches apart in rows 3 feet apart.
- Keep plants well watered to ensure high yields, reducing water as the plants mature and foliage turns yellow.
- Harvest tubers on a dry day, a few weeks after the foliage has died back.
- Curing ensures that the tubers will not rot in storage.
- Be sure to dig potatoes on a dry day and set them to cure in a warm (ideal temp is 65 F) dark, dry location for a week to 10 days.
- Transition tubers to a well-ventilated storage area kept at 38-40 F.
- Potatoes will fruit, but the seeds will not breed true. That is why potatoes are propagated from tubers instead of seeds.
- Provide ideal storage conditions in order to keep your tubers over winter until the following spring planting date.
- Be sure to cure tubers before storing, and store cured tubers in a cool, dark, dry location. Ideal storage temperature is 38-40 F.
- Provide good air circulation in your storage area to discourage rot.
- Watch this video for a look at how we plant potatoes at Baker Creek.