When planting seed potatoes that have sprouted, do I remove the sprouts before planting?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hi, Dexter: In our region of the country potatoes can be planted two times per year: once to enjoy in the early summer and a second planting to be ready to harvest later in the fall. So for this growing season we have missed the opportunity to plant the early crop, but now is the time to get the fall harvest in the ground. You may end up with a lower yield planting at this time of the year (June) but still very much worth the effort. To answer your question, each seed piece should ideally have two or three eyes. Removing these sprouts will cause a delay in vine growth and increase the actual number of vines. This may be advantageous in some plants but not so with potatoes because it will reduce the size of each individual potato. It is perfectly okay to plant sprouted seeds. The main concern is to not let them dry out before planting and to purchase certified seed. Each seed piece should be planted 3-5 inches (early crop) or 5-6 inches (later crop) deep; 10-12 inches apart with 36 inches between rows. Harvest your fall crop after the first frost kills the foliage. Cure them unwashed in a dry shaded space for a couple of weeks and then they can be stored for up to six months. They should be stored in a cellar-like environment with cool temperatures around 40 degrees F with good air circulation.