How To Grow a Potato from a Potato
Did you know that there are a lot of ways how to grow a potato from a potato? The potato (Solanum tuberosum) belongs to the Solanaceae family and it’s a root vegetable. As a perennial plant and under the nightshade family, it is now considered a staple food in different parts of the world next to wheat and rice. And the good thing about this root crop is it is easy to grow both in the garden, farms and the containers. So let us tell you the ways how to grow potato in grow bag and how to grow potato from seed.
But first, let’s have a short basic background about this staple starchy tuber. The potato has about 4,000 different types. And it is said it originates from the Southern part of Central chile while some historians say this originally came from Peru. And in the middle of the 16th century, these were introduced by the Spaniards in Europe which they brought from the Americas. As of 2018, China and India lead in the production of this root vegetable and are now part of the menus of the world’s most popular fast food chains like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and KFC.
It is also not surprising why many people want to know how to grow a potato from a potato although on a farmers’ level they prefer the seeds for their farms.
How Long to Grow a Potato
Some of us who want to try to grow potatoes are also interested to know how long to grow a potato? Potatoes are basically root vegetables that are easy to grow. You can grow them from seeds, from tubers’ eyes, or the whole tuber and they will all yield good harvests as long as they receive the right care and growing requirements. You can also plant them almost anywhere like in pots, buckets, plots, soil beds, on the ground, and in the field but they prefer the loose, rich soil to enable them to produce more tubers and grow big.
Potatoes come in different varieties and each variety can represent its unique size, color and period of maturity. There are about 200 potato types that are being sold in the US today and these include the yellow, purple, russet, red, white, petite, blue, and fingerling potatoes which are the smallest.
Potatoes also have variants and each variant emphasizes its life cycle from planting to harvesting. But on average, potatoes can be harvested 70 days from the time of planting while some varieties can take up to 120 days or 4 months before harvesting. Do you want to know How to Plant Potato Eyes ?
Here are some of the common potato varieties and the duration of their maturity:
However, some factors that could enhance or delay the growth and maturity of the potatoes from the time they are planted up to the time they are harvested such as the following:
Conditions of the Soil. The soil must not be too dry or too wet or too cold. So how to grow a potato from a potato requires the proper timing so that the soil can provide an adequate living environment for the plant. Ideally, the soil must always be well-drained but quite moist, and it’s at least 4.5 degrees C or 40 degrees F. Potatoes can grow faster when it’s quite cold but they also love the sun and they need sunlight 8 hours a day. To provide them with good soil, mix organic soil with loamy soil for proper aeration, nutrition, and tuber growth.
Proper preparation of their sprouts. How to grow a potato from a potato requires knowledge and a practical approach. For example, if you want to grow potatoes eyes, you have to cut up the tuber to produce chunks with at least 2 eyes on each chunk. Then dry these parts for at least 2 days. Planting them fresh may probably rot them out or if they survive can delay the growth of the sprouts from the eyes.
Disease control. If the growing potatoes get attacked by pests such as leafhoppers, flea beetles, or aphids or diseases such as blight of potato scab, their growth can be delayed. So act immediately at the first sign of damage. You can use natural bug sprays such as Neem oil spray, Spinosad-based spray, or just DIY spray from organic soaps (not with detergent or perfumed soaps).
Proper soil cover. Potatoes need their soil to be covered with mulch for two reasons. One, you want to avoid the tubers getting exposed to the sun or they will turn green to protect themselves from direct sunlight. In this process, solanine will form and this green substance is toxic to humans. And two, the mulch can prevent the evaporation of water and potatoes need to have moist soil but not damp.
How to Grow Potato in Grow Bag
For sure, there are a lot of you who want to know how to grow potato in grow bag because planting potatoes in bags or containers is very easy to do. Here are the steps:
Prepare your materials: potatoes with eyes, potting soil (loam soil and organic/composted soil), a trowel, and a grow bag or pots.
Cut the potato tuber in chunks but make sure that every chunk has an eye or 2 eyes. Let the fresh cut chunks air dry for a day or two. While waiting for the cut chunks to dry, prepare your potting media by mixing loam soil with organic soil. Use the trowel in mixing.
After mixing the potting media 1:1 put the mixed soil into the growing bag and fill it until it reaches 6-8 inches.
When chunks of flesh are dry, place the chunks on top of the soil with the eyes pointing upward in a triangular pattern so that the three chunks are a fair distance apart. You can also put two chunks or even one depending on your choice. But three chunks is better if your grow bag is large.
After placing the chunks on top of the soil, cover them with about one inch of soil so that even the sprouts are covered. Water them using sprinklers or a garden hose with a sprinkler. You need a soft smooth flow of water. Once the water comes out from under the grow bag then put grass or straw on top of the soil to serve as the mulch.
Place the grow bag where it is sunny and check the soil everyday if it needs watering. To know quickly if your potatoes need watering, stick your index finger into the soil about 3 inches and feel the soil. To maintain moist but well-drained soil, you may need to water every other day. But if the weather is hot and windy, you may need to water everyday.
In about 5 days, the sprout will stick out from the mulch and grow longer as days pass by. But as the stem grows longer, remove the mulch, add more soil on top then cover again with mulch. The purpose of adding more soil as the potato is growing is because the bottom stem will also develop roots. So it’s not only the roots under the soil that will bear tubers but the growing stem above the soil so more soil should be added. Stop adding soil when the stem gets too long.
Based on the variety of your potato, you will also know the right time for harvesting your spuds. Other indicators for harvesting are checking the plant if its leaves are turning yellow and the plant is almost wilting. These indicate that the potato plant has reached its maturity stage and the tubers are ready to go.
And that’s how to grow potatoes in grow bag which is pretty easy and requires only a few materials. You can also plant the whole potato if it has only one eye or two and it doesn’t make any difference with the tuber production compared to the chunked. We only do the chunking to stretch out our planting materials.
How to Grow Potato from Seed
Some people are interested in how to grow potato from seed because, with seeds you can cover a larger area or in other words, a farm which is more suitable for seeding. However, the seeds should come from plant breeders and must therefore be certified. Unfortunately, planting potatoes from seeds can produce great yield, it is not advisable to produce the next generation of seeds from mature plants or the seeds could produce undesirable plants.
Here are the steps on how to grow potato from seed:
Wait for the cold season to wind down or during the last two weeks of winter when you can sow the seeds. Prepare plug trays and fill up each plug with organic soil.
Sow the seeds about 1/4” deep. When sowing, the temperature should be about 21 degrees so as not to freeze the seedling when it sprouts.
Leave the sowed potato seeds outdoors. In about 10 to 14 days, new seedlings will sprout. The tray full of seedlings can now be moved to a shaded area and you can spray foliar fertilizer for healthier growth one week before the date of transplanting.
When the seedlings reach about 2 inches or 5 cm tall, transplanting can begin. You can plant the seedlings under the tilled soil, on top of a flat soil bed, in pots or any container you want.
When transplanting, plant the seedling about 8 inches (20 cm) apart if you’re planting them in the ground and you want to harvest small potatoes. But if you want to harvest big tubers, plant the seedlings 12 inches (30 cm) apart in between rows.
Begin to practice mulching once the seedlings are transplanted.
Do the watering pattern and the soil moisture testing you have learned from how to grow a potato from a potato and add more soil as the seedlings grow bigger.
You can fertilize the growing potato using foliar fertilizer or you can incorporate organic fertilizer on the soil during transplanting.
The potatoes should be ready to harvest from 70 to 120 days depending on their varieties. So if you’re planting potatoes from seeds, read the label first. You can also observe the plants if they are showing signs of maturity like yellowing of the leaves, wilting of the stems and you can always check under the mulch where some tubers may be showing.
Sowing seeds versus planting tubers with eyes may result in the same harvest yield. However, planting from seeds takes a longer time for the tubers to get harvested but you can sow many seeds at one time with the seeds.
And that is how to grow a potato from a potato and grow in bags and from seeds. It’s not that hard is it? There are only 4 things to remember when growing potatoes wherever you want them to grow and these are, number one, always ensure that the potato plants get enough sunlight everyday.. Two, its soil must always maintain the right moisture – not wet but moist. Potatoes love the moist, soft soil to develop more tubers. Third, don’t forget to cover the soil with mulch to prevent them from getting exposed to the sun.
And finally, don’t forget to add more soil as the potato grows if you’re planting them in containers or in grow bags because this will help them develop more roots and tubers.