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Usually you pre-sprout new potatoes for laying. Planting is also possible without. Especially with storage potatoes, you do without the additional effort. How the cultivation of potatoes works without pre-germination is explained in this text.

In a nutshell

  • Pre-germination brings advantages, but also more effort
  • Not pre-germinating has hardly any disadvantages for stored potatoes
  • the preparatory work and laying is the same for both methods
  • non-pregerminated seed potatoes usually grow slower

Why pre-sprout seed potatoes?

You should pregerminate new potatoes so that they have a head start on growth. In addition, they are said to be less susceptible to diseases and pests, which is not only explained by the pre-germination, but also by the short culture time. Pre-germinated new potatoes are ready to harvest even faster and therefore do not take up as much space in the vegetable garden. After new potatoes, other types of vegetables can also use the space in the bed.

Benefits of not pregerminating

As a rule, you should not pre-germinate storage potatoes because they take so long to cultivate that it is simply not worth it. It also saves you a lot of work. For pre-germination, the seed potatoes must be stored for a while in boxes or egg boxes at the appropriate temperatures and lighting conditions. If you have little space in your apartment or house, you may not be able to pre-sprout your laying potatoes anyway.

Notice: Another benefit is that germinated seed potatoes do not require as much care when planting. No germs can break off.

Procedure & requirements

In general, planting potatoes without pre-germinating is no different from planting sprouted layers.

bed preparations

It is best to prepare the potato bed in the previous autumn. This includes:

  • Dig up in heavy soil, spade depth is enough
  • in the case of a new installation, you can also dig twice as deep as a spade
  • only loosen light soils
  • incorporate plenty of rotted manure or compost
  • cover with a layer of mulch (leaves) over the winter

Storage potatoes are laid from March to May at the latest. New potatoes under foil are more likely. Before you get started, remove the non-rotted mulch layer. You can put the leftovers between the rows later.


You don't have to put seed potatoes in furrows, but it makes it easier to create the ridges later because you don't have to pull them up as high. In principle, you can also simply lay the tubers in rows on the bed and cover them with soil.

  • Row spacing for new potatoes about 50 cm
  • for ware potatoes up to 70 cm
  • Make furrows about 5 to 10 cm deep

put potatoes

In the trenches, seed potatoes should be spaced 30-40 cm apart. But it is also sufficient to keep a foot distance to the next one after the potato has been laid. In very dry soils, watering the potatoes has proven itself.

close furrows

If you have enough rotted compost in the garden, you can use it to fill in the ditches. Ordinary garden soil is also sufficient. The trenches are completely leveled in the first step. Do not press the soil too hard, especially not on heavy, loamy soil. Loose soil improves tuber formation and the growth of the potato plants.

pile up dams

The second step is the piling up. This is necessary so that the new potatoes form in the ridges, where they are particularly well protected from sunlight. For this reason, the piling up is also repeated two or three times after the potato plant has grown about 10 cm high. Use the rake to rake the soil over the rows, first on one side and then the other, until you have a straight, even ridge. The base should be wider than the top.

Notice: If the soil is very loose and sandy, you should tap it well to prevent the dam from slipping.

More tips on growing potatoes

1.The spacing of seed potatoes in the row and the spacing between tubers also depends on the following:

  • size of the laying potatoes
  • existing space
  • potato variety

2. If potatoes are laid without pre-germination, more time must be allowed for until the first sprouts appear.

young potato plant

3. One of the easiest ways to grow potatoes is to simply place them on the bed without pre-germination and cover them with plant material, grass clippings, hay or sheep's wool. It is important that the mulch cover is always as dense as possible. As the material rots, the potatoes are continuously fertilized.

4. Potatoes can also be grown without a ridge, so the row spacing can remain smaller. Smaller row spacings have the advantage that the potato plants overgrow the area more quickly and suppress weeds. However, this makes harvesting more difficult, as you then have to dig deep into the ground for the tubers.

5. Deep ditch culture also has advantages and disadvantages for potatoes. Not only is the work greater and the harvest more difficult, but there is also no piling up and heavy rainfall cannot uncover potato tubers because there are no dams to level or wash away.

frequently asked Questions

Can early potatoes also be planted without pre-germination?

This is possible, but the advantage of faster growth is lost. New potatoes should grow as quickly as possible and be ready for harvest. If they are pre-germinated, they can also be planted earlier in the year if protected with fleece or foil.

Does pre-germination affect the shelf life?

No, ware potatoes can be stored for a long time with or without pre-germination. Especially since the laying potato rots in the ground over time and is not harvested.

Is pre-germinating harmful to storage potatoes?

In principle, it is not harmful, but seed potatoes germinate too long outside the soil, they sprout long, thin shoots and shrivel if they are not watered regularly. The long, thin shoots break off easily when planting if not very careful.

Are germinated layers more susceptible to pests or diseases?

The susceptibility of a potato variety depends more on how long it has been cultivated than on pre-germination. In order to prevent diseases, it makes sense to select resistant or robust varieties. It helps against pests if the cultivation site is changed frequently.

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