Planting Seed potatoes...Soaking

slackerNovember 30, 2008

I have heard of old timers soaking corn seeds and such before planting. I think I understand why, since the seed needs to soak up 30 some percent its weight in water before it starts to germinate. Do you think that soaking seed potatoes would speed up the growing?

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The real reason to soak some seeds prior to planting is because the hard seed coat can make getting moisture into the seed to start growth difficult. There is no need to do that to potatoes since they do not have a hard seed coat and moisture gets into the seed potato quite easily.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 7:02AM
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Soaking seed potatoes would probally promote rotting and have the exact opposite effect you are looking to create.
If you want plants to start quicker, cut the potato seed, allow it to air dry for a couple of days until the cut surfaces dry up and skin-over. Some old timers dust them with supfur to0 help prevent rotting.
Then place the potato seed in a paper bag with some holes in it for ventilation, and put in a warm, dark location for about a week or 10-days.
Once the eyes start growing, but before they get more than 1/4 inch long, plant as usual. This will save you a few weeks before strong growth appears.

The Garden Guy

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 3:57PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

The term 'seed' potato is a bit misleading because this is not actually a potato seed in the way you would have corn or carrot seed. It is just a small potato tuber. The process of encouraging shoots before planting is called 'chitting'. In the UK it is advised not to cut up seed potatoes because this could allow rots to enter. But this may be because we are very likely to have wet weather with fluctuating temperatures in the Spring (and all other seasons in fact!) Seed potatoes are laid out in a light place on trays or in egg boxes two to three weeks before planting to encourage shoots. Organicguy says in a dark place so it seems there are numerous methiods which work. But soaking is not one of them. In fact in my climate soaking any seed is a bit risky because of the vagaries of our weather. A wet seed in cold wet ground will not start to grow. It will rot. I have had this happen with peas and beans.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 4:21PM
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Thanks for the input guys, that was helpful. But in the near future I am planning on doing this on a large scale, 1 - 3 thousand pounds of seed potatoes, so putting them out to grow sprouts would be out of the question, and cutting them , well , that would take a lot of time. any idea on how the "Big boys" do it. I would think they would just plant the potato and let nature do its stuff.

Thanks again

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 8:33PM
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I am experimenting with cutting them and soaking just the sliced side in a few millimeters of water in a saucer. Doing this, I've gotten as many as 6, 1/8 " sprouts after a few weeks, on one of the slips, in a room that's 55-70 degrees. I got this idea from a guy on youtube (search "seed potatoes" ). These are regular store-bought potatoes. I am new to potato growing and don't want to fork over for commercial seed potatoes.

I assume I will have to trim the soaked edge a bit and let that edge dry. The water also gets a bit stagnant and starts to dissolve the potatoes if it isn't changed.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 12:57PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

Usually when I buy a bag of seed potatoes at the farm supply store, they have nice short husky sprouts on them already. You can plant the large ones without cutting I suppose.
If I was planting large scale I would consult with a knowlegdeable source for my seed.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 3:25PM
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The nursery I buy from, ran out of seed potatoes. They told me to go to the supermarket and buy organic potatoes and they work just about as good as seed potatoes. One of her employees has done it for the past few years and it has worked out fine. She thinks it's because the organic have never been sprayed or treated? As far as soaking-I wouldn't.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 10:03PM
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Potatoes from the store will work just fine but they have not been certified as disease free. Potato diseases often remain in the soil for many years so using non seed certified potatoes can be risky if you plan on planting potatoes every year.

I only plant about 30ft of potatoes a year so a few pounds of seed potatoes is enough without having to cut them. Potatoes seem to grow equally well with "pre-sprouts" as without them. I've never soaked potatoes. They are already filled with water anyhow.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 9:47AM
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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

g'day slacker,

i try to get my seed potato's early enough so that i can 'chit' them, then this way i am sure of which ones are going to grow and the more growth i can get in chitting the faster they grow on the ground. this is something i picked up from what the potato farmers of the jersey islands (near england) do.

maybe researching how other farmers do it might give you some valuable advice?


Here is a link that might be useful: lens garden page

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 2:09PM
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