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Pre-sprouting and Cutting Seed Potatoes


| 4/20/2020 10:36:00 AM


Photo by Ira Wallace. Row of seed potato pieces planted under a rope.  

Potatoes are a rewarding crop to grow, with a lot more flexibility about planting dates than the traditional instruction to plant on St Patrick’s Day might have you believe. If you have suddenly decided to grow potatoes this year, buy your seed potatoes asap and set them to pre-sprout (chit), while figuring out where they’re going to grow and preparing the soil. Then plant and, before they emerge, figure out what to do next.

As Carol Deppe points out in The Resilient Gardener (which I wrote about here), potatoes provide more carbohydrates per area than any other temperate crop, and more protein per area than all other crops except legumes. Many people are surprised to learn this. A 2,000-calorie all-potato diet contains considerably more protein than a 2,000-calorie all-rice diet. Potatoes contain 10.4 grams of protein per 100 grams dry weight, and are a good source of vitamin C and carbohydrates. Carol Deppe, has written a very interesting article The 20 Potato a Day Diet versus the Nearly All Potato Winter about the nutritional and gastronomic wonders of potatoes.  It will inspire you to grow and eat more potatoes!

Potato Planting Dates

Potatoes are a cool-weather crop, but the tops are not frost tolerant.



A traditional spring phenology sign is that daffodils should start blooming before you plant potatoes. A light frost will only nip the tops of the leaves and do no real damage (the plants will regrow), so a small risk is worth taking. It takes a temperature of 29°F (–2°C) to kill the shoots, and even then regrowth is possible.

Mary
4/23/2020 11:20:52 PM

that is the difference between regular potatoes and seed potatoes






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