Growing your own potatoes is a satisfying experience. You know that your potatoes are both fresh and safe. You have the pride of digging your own potatoes out of the garden and serving them to your family. But how do you get started? The first step is to select your seed potatoes.
Seed potatoes were traditionally saved from the previous year's crop in order to start the new crop. Nowadays you can buy seed potatoes. They should be inspected for diseases that would carry into next year's crop, and certified. They may also be treated to prevent them from sprouting too soon.
You can buy seed potatoes at a garden center or online. If you buy them at a garden center, North Dakota State University's agriculture department has some advice. Make sure the seed potatoes have been certified by your state's agriculture department. You can also ask where the seed potatoes were grown and ask to see inspection reports. Make sure they're from a clean environment. It's a good idea to inquire what diseases the seed potatoes have been tested for.
Look at the seed potatoes carefully. There should be few or no black spots on them. There should be no spongy or collapsed areas. They should have no pink or rough areas or white patches. They should have no black areas that look like fungus. These are all indications of rot diseases. Some potato seed diseases can get into the soil and be passed on to crops in subsequent years. They can also exist in contaminated areas for up to three years.
There are a number of sites that offer seed potatoes online, including Gurnseys.com, JohnnySeeds.com, ronnigers.com, mainepotatolady.com, and Stargazer Perennials. Most sites carry certified seed potatoes. They'll also take your order and deliver when you request, so you'll have your seed potatoes in time for your growing season. Online companies offer many unusual varieties, such as Russian banana, Purple Haze, or Adirondack Blue. Ordering online is convenient, and you can learn about different varieties of potatoes and decide which is right for you.
Whether you buy from a garden center or online, there are some things you can do to help your seed potatoes thrive. Disinfect your storage bins and the surrounding area before you store them. Keep them at about forty degrees Fahrenheit in about ninety percent humidity. About a week before planting, warm them in an environment that's about fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit. Handle them carefully, because a break may create an entryway for disease. Most problems with growing potatoes result from bruising the seed potatoes.
With some careful selection and preparation, your seed potatoes can produce a good crop of potatoes. And you'll impress everyone with your gardening skills.