Seed Potatoes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow. Even though they are referred to as seed potatoes you are actually planting a piece of a potato, because they are not true to seed. They are cool weather crops, so planting in soil that is still cool is totally acceptable! They prefer a cooler temperature in the soil, rather than warmer soil.
When selecting potatoes to plant it is not recommended that you try growing ones from the grocery store. Grocery produce is often treated with a growth inhibitor, to prevent it from sprouting. Even when planted in the garden, your grocery potatoes may never take root.
Because potatoes are propagated vegetative, any diseases from the prior year will also be carried over in those small pieces of potato. That is why it is so important to use disease-free seed potatoes. That means buying certified seed potatoes from established garden centres, rather than using supermarket potatoes.
You do not need to plant a whole, intact potato. Seed potatoes can be cut into pieces, as long as the pieces have at least one eye each. An “eye” is a bud that grows into a new plant. If you’ve ever kept your potatoes in the cabinet too long, you’ve probably seen them sprout.
If you decide you want to cut your seed potatoes into pieces, cut them about two days before you plan to plant. This allows the pieces to callus or seal which prevents rotting and provides a barrier from soil-borne diseases while the pieces sprout and take root.
You can plant your potatoes as soon as the sprouts on the potatoes are 1/2 inch to 1 inch long. Handle the seed potatoes carefully, so the sprouts do not break off or become damaged.
On average, one pound of seed potatoes should yield about 10 pounds of potatoes. Different varieties of potatoes have different days to maturity.It’s best to identify the variety you are growing and its maturity date to give you an idea of when your crop will be ready to harvest. Count the days from planting to figure out target harvest dates per potato variety. If you are growing on a small-scale, nothing is more rewarding than digging up your potato crop by hand.