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The potato is a traditional crop and a versatile staple food. If stored incorrectly, however, they quickly form long germs. They shouldn't be eaten anymore, but can you just plant sprouted potatoes?

In a nutshell

  • Germination can be delayed or accelerated under certain conditions
  • sprouted potatoes are edible as long as the sprouts are no longer than one centimeter
  • the longer they are, the more toxic substances the tuber contains
  • However, sprouted potatoes do not have to be thrown away
  • they can be planted both in beds and in planters

Don't throw it away, plant it

Potatoes that are already soft, shriveled, covered with long sprouts and may have green patches should not be eaten. They can already contain so much poison (solanine) that health problems are to be feared after consumption. However, sprouted potatoes can be used very well as seed potatoes for next year's planting and planted in the garden or in containers. This applies to tubers from the supermarket as well as from your own harvest.

Tip: If potatoes from the supermarket do not germinate at all, then they have probably been treated with a germination stop. They are not suitable for planting.

prepare the ground

The tasty tubers thrive best on light to medium-heavy soil. Accordingly, sandy soils and sandy loamy soils are optimal. They should be loosened up well and freed from old root remains and stones. In addition, a cultivation break for potatoes of at least four years must be observed in order to avoid the spread of soil-borne diseases. On the other hand, lettuce, kohlrabi, French beans and endives are good precultures.
The potato needs a lot of nutrients, but is sensitive to over-fertilized soil. It is best to mix mature compost or well-rotted manure under the soil, ideally this should be done in the autumn of the previous year. The tubers are well supplied with magnesium, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. Green manure in the spring or autumn of the previous year also has a similar effect. On rather barren soils, the yields are significantly lower. If the soil is optimally prepared, you can plant.

Plant sprouted potatoes

In the bed

For planting, the sprouts should be at least three centimeters long. Planting time depends on the variety. The first can usually be planted from April. The soil temperature for sprouted tubers should be at least seven degrees.

  • first make about 15 cm deep furrows
  • Put the tubers in with the sprouts facing up
  • Distances between new potatoes about 30 cm
  • with medium and late ripening up to 60 cm
  • if there are several rows, keep a distance of 30-40 cm
  • too small distances, predominantly smaller tubers
  • there must be sufficient soil for piling up
  • finally close the furrows with a rake
  • Cultivation period from planting to harvest about four to five months

Notice: Potatoes are sensitive to frost. If there is a threat of frost again, it is best to cover the young shoots with fleece or straw.

In the bucket

  • Plant pots should have a capacity of 20-30 liters
  • Sufficient drainage holes to avoid waterlogging
  • a 15-20 cm thick layer of potting soil in the tub
  • alternatively, use topsoil mixed with compost
  • put sprouted potatoes on the ground
  • again with the germs up
  • make sure there is enough space between the bulbs
  • in a 10 liter pot three to four tubers
  • Finally, cover the potatoes with soil and water

Tip: Special plant pots for potatoes are available on the market, from which you can easily remove the ripe tubers in portions.

Don't forget to pile up

Piling up is an important step in potato cultivation. On the one hand, it is intended to support tuber formation and, on the other hand, to ensure that the tubers are not exposed to the light. If this happens, the tubers will turn green, i. H. they form toxic solanine, which makes them inedible.

  • mound up once the herb is 10-15 cm high
  • no matter whether in beds or buckets
  • use a hoe to pull the soil towards the plant
  • Fill the stalks halfway with soil
  • repeat every two to three weeks
  • harvested when all the herb has wilted

So-called adventitious roots form on the part of the plant covered with soil, on which further potato tubers develop.

Tip: You can also get potatoes to germinate in a targeted manner by laying them out in boxes next to each other from March and placing them in a bright place with a temperature of around 15 degrees. With sufficient light, they will soon develop thick and firm germs.

frequently asked Questions

How should potatoes be stored to avoid early sprouting?

First, you should leave them in the ground for as long as possible. This gives the tubers a firmer shell, which protects them better against rot. When storing, make sure that it is neither too warm nor too cold. It is best to place them in fruit trays and put them in a dark and dry place at temperatures of 5-15 degrees. Damaged and diseased tubers are not suitable for long-term storage.

Can you only plant parts of a tuber?

This is definitely possible, for example if only a few seed potatoes are available. Then you can cut some in half with a sharp knife and plant the halves. Assuming each of those halves has eyes and germs.

Can your own potatoes be multiplied indefinitely?

After three years at the latest, you should look around for new seedlings. If you keep multiplying your own potatoes, there is a risk that diseases will spread through the tubers. In addition, the yield will soon drop significantly. Not to mention a three to four year break in cultivation.

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