What’s A Seed Potato?
The first time I ever heard someone talking about planting potatoes from seed, I wondered to myself, “Where are the seeds in potatoes? I’ve never seen seeds.” I was completely serious. I can laugh at myself now, knowing what I know, but for those who are starting out where I started out (completely naive), let me fill you in.
This, my friends, is a “seed potato”– otherwise known as an old, sprouting potato spud. Once planted, those sprouts will grow into beautiful green plants, and the developing roots will form brand new potato tubers in the ground below. Sometimes when you buy seed potatoes they may not be sprouting yet. That’s okay. The sprout will grow at the “eye” of the potato over time, whether left in a pantry or buried in the garden.
Although potato plants do bloom and go to seed if you leave them long enough, potatoes are not typically planted from these seeds. Most people plant potatoes from sprouting spuds, however you can collect the seeds from a mature potato plant and grow more plants from true seed. I have to warn you though, potato genetics are funny, and most of the time you never know what kind of potato you’ll end up harvesting when planted from true seed. It is likely it will not be the same kind of potato you originally planted. Might be a fun thing to experiment with though!
My seed potatoes are potatoes that are leftover from last year’s harvest. They’ve been sitting in a crate in my kitchen since last Fall. They shriveled before we could get to them, so I let them sit and sprout, waiting to be repurposed in this year’s garden. Every now and then I sorted through them and removed any rotten potatoes. There weren’t many, but a few.
I love growing colored potatoes alongside our white ones. These purple and red potatoes have gorgeous sprouts, don’t they?
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