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
- 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!
- Here is a video on how to grow potato
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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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