Germinating potatoes at the right moment

Germinated potatoes chopped up in quarters for more plants.

Germinating potato tubers before planting them helps increase growth of your young plants. It brings the harvest a few days or weeks earlier, and increases harvest size and quality.

This technique doesn’t apply to “pre-germinated” potatoes purchased in horticulture stores. Pre-germinated potatoes are already ready to plant.

Potato germination is applicable to:

  • plants purchased ungerminated
  • and potatoes harvested during the previous year.

How to germinate potatoes

This is the correct way to help your potatoes germinate before planting.

  • Use a small crate or an egg carton.
  • Line up the potatoes along the bottom, only a single layer.
  • If a bud is already present, turn it so that it faces upwards.
  • Expose the potatoes to the light in a dry, cool and well ventilated place.
  • The ideal preservation temperature ranges between 40°F and 50°F (10°C to 15°C).
  • Potatoes take around 4 to 6 weeks to germinate.

Using your own potato plants for germinating

Germinated potato being planted in the ground.It is perfectly possible to use the previous year’s potatoes to make them germinate.

  • Pull them out about 4 weeks before the potato harvest.
  • Choose potatoes that are not diseased and come from vigorous plants.
  • Let them sit on the ground for a few days.
  • Select those tubers that have resisted best, with no sign of rotting.
  • Store them in a cool and ventilated space until the following year.
  • Towards February-March, launch the germinating process as explained above.

A few weeks after they’ve begun to germinate, the soil should be averaging temperatures of around 55°F (12°C). It’s time to transfer them to the ground and grow your potatoes for a beautiful harvest!

Smart tip about germinating potato

A good way to know the right timing for planting is when the buds start taking on a purple hue… Lacking a  few to finish off the row? Slice a larger one in half with a bud on each side. Plant each half separately.

Germinating potato on social media

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Picture related to Germinating potato overlaid with the Facebook logo. Picture related to Germinating potato overlaid with the Instagram logo.

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Germinated spuds (also on social media) by Rosalyn & Gaspard Lorthiois, own work
Planting a germinated potato by Rosalyn & Gaspard Lorthiois, own work
Germinating potato bits (also on social media) by Rosalyn & Gaspard Lorthiois, own work