Gardentalk – Use seed potatoes for your summer spud crop

Certified seed potatoes on sale at a Juneau grocery store in April 2019.

Certified seed potatoes on sale at a Juneau grocery store in April 2019. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO)

Always start from seed. That’s the most important piece of advice that Master Gardener Ed Buyarski has for gardeners who want to grow potatoes this season.

Buyarski explained in the latest edition of Gardentalk on KTOO that certified seed potatoes are usually free of diseases. They also lack the chemical sprout inhibitor that is usually applied before eating potatoes are shipped to grocery stores.

There is a small exception to that rule, though: Buyarski said if gardeners have any potatoes left over from their own crop that they started from seed last year, then those can be used as seed this season as well.

Buyarski said seed potatoes can be planted once sprouts are about a half-inch long. If the seeds are bigger than a golf ball, then they can be cut up at planting so they have one or two eyes apiece.

After lining your planting area with compost, plant each seed potato about an inch or two deep with eyes pointing up.

Seed potatoes with longer sprouts can be planted in a shallow trench with the sprout laid flat just below surface.

Cover the garden bed with clear plastic to help the soil and seeds warm up over the next few weeks.

Listen to the April 25 edition about planting potatoes:

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