greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I was wondering what is the difference between seed potatoes and potatoes that sprout this time of year in the bag you buy them in. I have had people tell me there is a difference and that seed potatoes will grow much better. I have grown potatoes from the sprouted ones in the past but not large yields. Any insight into this? Terry

-- Terry Lipe (elipe@fidnet.com), January 15, 2002


My father always said that seed potatoes were grown somewhere else, this meant that potatoes grown on your land wouldn't make good seed potatos for you next year, but would in someother area. Also some of the produce you buy may have a growth retardent on them to keep them from spouting. But I never had any problems growing potatoes either from the store bag, or left overs of my own, or even seed potatoes. Funnything is When I moved to Columbus and asked for seed potatoes, they always went and looked in the seed bin, with corn, lettuce and others. Guess that's what happens when you move to the city.

-- Dave in Ohio (dr43147@yahoo.com), January 15, 2002.

Dave, that is so pathetic, how sad that people wouldn't know how to grow potatoes!

Terry, I have heard that commercial pots. have had their sprout growth retarded (I've seen some in the bottom of folks fridges that sure don't seem like they have). We have had very good luck growing either seed pots. or last years potatoes that have been stored in the root cellar. The trick with growing last years pots. is to only use those that have no sign of any disease and to plant in a different spot if you can. Having said that, we did use the same patch year with no problems but will move it this year. We will have some very fine sprouted pots. in the root cellar by march.


-- kim (fleece@eritter.net), January 15, 2002.

Terry, thought of another answer to your question. One difference might be that the commercial pots. aren't a good variety for your area. We live in the humid south and plant a variety different to commercial growers in Idaho. My best advice is plant what grows well in your area.

-- kim (fleece@eritter.net), January 15, 2002.

Hi Terry,

Seed potatoes have been grown, stored and packaged for producing more potatoes.

The potatoes you buy at the store in the sack have most often been treated with one plant hormone or another to retard, reduce, or in rare cases prevent sprouting. If they sprout, the treatment has worn off or they were not treated. Either way, they were stored differently than seed potatoes (more moisture usually, ethelene removal from the environment, CO2 scrubbing, etc.), they may be over a year old and have given up some of their vigor in the process. Seed potatoes typically have been stored drier and in a more dormant condition. They have truly been resting, they are usually last season's spuds and so they are typically more vigorous form the get go.

Add this to the great info posted regarding varieties, geography, pest management issues and the seed potatoes might just be worth it.

Good luck.


-- Oscar H. Will III (owill@mail.whittier.edu), January 15, 2002.

Thank you all for your informative comments. I guess I will buy some seed potatoes but I sure hate to throw those sprouted ones in the compose pile-maybe they will grow there if not too hot. Thanks again, Terry

-- Terry Lipe (elipe@fidnet.com), January 15, 2002.

Terry, this would be a good time todo a comparison planting and then you can let us know what worked best for you.

-- mitch hearn (moopups@citlink.net), January 15, 2002.

If i'm right I believe that at first there is no difference. They both are grown in the field and harvested at the same time. (If you have never seen potatoes harvested you should see it sometime. I wouldn't want to do it for a living. Very hard work and long hours). My dad has worked on a potato farm since I can remeber and I have a couple of brothers who have worked on the same farm for years. I said, "NO WAY!!" at an early age and high tailed it out of the area.

I believe what happens after the potatoes are harvested is that the potatoes go along a conveyer belt wher temp labor sorts the potatoes. Pulls out those that are bad and those that will make good seed potato. The rest are free to travel the conveyor belt where the end up in the bed of a truck that hauls them to a plant that either bags them and sells to food distributers or they are turned into fries, powdered potatoes or what ever else they decide to do with them. The bad potatoes are hauled out to the edge of a field somewher and dumped the potatoes that are going to be used for next years seed are handled very carefully from the time they are chosen until they are planted. They are treated for all kinds of possible deseases and put into cold storage. Where my family works the cold storage are huge tunnels under ground. Everything is controlled by computor. They even haul snow in to keep these tunnels cold. The potatoes can not freeze though and they are carefully watched to make sure that the eyes do not grow. If the eyes start to grow then more snow is brought in. When the time comes close to planting people are hired to cut the potato so that they have sections of potatoes with at least one eye. These potatoes are then planted. But the work doesn't stop there. They potatoe plants are watched very carefully and if you are ever in northern Maine from May until October you will see tractors working the fields. I have forgooten alot since I left home over twenty years ago and when I went back home had to have a quick refresher course. I was most amazed at how much the machinery has changed in the years and how exspensive it is. Could buy a real nice house for what they pay for harvesters. I want to say that this information may be wrong. I may have missed something.

-- george (bngcrview@aol.com), January 15, 2002.

And the big *premium* ones even go thru an Xray machine to make sure the center is ok! The owner of a nearby million dollar potato farm gave me a tour of his operation....most interesting!! It'll give ya a little more respect for a spud!!!!!

-- Jim-mi (hartalteng@voyager.net), January 15, 2002.

seed potatoes are 'certified' disease free.

-- carol (kanogisdi@yahoo.com), January 15, 2002.

Carol, that is right I do remember being told that.

-- george (rcoopwalpole@aol.com), January 15, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ