Germinating potatoes at the right moment

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

This technique doesn’t apply to pre-germinated potatoes purchased in horticulture stores, which are ready-plant potatoes.

Potato germination is applicable to plants purchased ungerminated and to potatoes resown from 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

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 having begun to germinate, when the soil is averaging temperatures of around 55°F (12°C), it is time to plant them to the ground and grow your potatoes for a beautiful harvest!

A good way to know the right timing for planting is when the buds start taking on a purple hue…