By Heather Rhoades
Do you wish you could get your potatoes harvested a little earlier? If you try chitting potatoes, or sprouting seed potatoes, before you plant them, you can harvest your potatoes up to three weeks earlier. Sprouting potatoes before planting can also help you if you have trouble getting your potatoes to reach maturity in your area. Below you will find the steps for how to sprout potatoes before you plant them in the ground.
What Do Potatoes Need to Sprout?
Potatoes are a little like seedlings in that they need light to grow. But, unlike seedlings, they do not need a growing medium like soil to sprout. All you will need for sprouting seed potatoes is the seed potatoes and a bright window or a fluorescent lamp.
Steps for How to Sprout a Potato Before You Plant It
You will start sprouting potatoes 3-4 weeks before you will be able to plant your potatoes out in the garden.
Buy your seed potatoes from a reputable seed seller. While you can sprout potatoes that are from the grocery store, the grocery store may have diseases that will kill the plant. It is best to grow seed potatoes that have been treated to prevent these diseases.
The next step in sprouting or chitting potatoes is to place the potatoes in a bright location. A sunny window or under a fluorescent lamp are excellent choices for this.
In order to keep the sprouting seed potatoes from rolling around, some people place the potatoes in an open egg carton. This will keep the potatoes stable and still so that their fragile sprouts do not get broken.
In about a week, you should see signs that the potatoes are sprouting. After 3 – 4 weeks, you can plant the fully sprouted potatoes into the garden in the same way you would plant unsprouted potatoes. Just make sure that you plant the seed potatoes with the sprouts facing up and be careful not to break the sprouts off while you are planting them.
Now that you know how to sprout a potato, you can enjoy your potato harvest a little earlier this year. Sprouting potatoes early, also known as chitting potatoes can be useful in the garden.