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When it comes to rewarding crop farming, potatoes are the best. Few crops will give you so great yield in a magical process like potatoes do. Potatoes are one of the simplest and easiest crops to grow.
After you plant your seed potatoes, you will soon see their little eyes open up and emerge from the soil. Now you can peek around the base of your plants to see the formation of the first tubers. Finally, a bountiful crop harvest of fresh potatoes awaits you. It is such a phenomenal process indeed.
What are Seed Potatoes?
Seed potatoes can get you a bit mixed up. They are not really seeds. That is why you do not see potato seeds packet put up for sale. Though they exist, they are hardly used.
A seed potato is a potato that has been grown with the sole purpose of replanting it to produce a potato crop. It is the most used way of availing potatoes to growers and farmers. It is not that potatoes do not set seed, they do. However, potatoes grow more expediently through vegetative propagation.
So all you need to grow potatoes is a mature potato of your choosing. It will grow through vegetative propagation and so you can transplant a whole or a part of the actual potato. With that, you have your seed potato, and it is time for planting!
Differences between Seed Potatoes and Regular Potatoes
Though you grow your potatoes crop from actual potatoes, there is a significant difference between seed potatoes and the regular potatoes you buy at the store.
1. To Sprout or Not To
Most of the regular potatoes you buy at the store have been treated with a sprout-inhibitor. The inhibitor works to prevent the potatoes from developing eyes. It is a way of preserving their storage and shelf-life for sale. By preventing growth, the grocery potatoes remain fresh for a long while.
On the other hand, seed potatoes are in no way treated with these growth inhibitors. The best seed potato is organically grown free of any inhibitors. It makes them more susceptible to diseases they may have carried over from their growth period. You need to make sure the seed potatoes you get are disease-free. You must also get rid of any potatoes that have cracks, bruises, soft spots and show signs of rotting.
2. Certified Disease Free
Your seed potatoes must be certified free of any diseases. Since they are organic, you need to be sure they will not be going bad before you are even able to put them under the soil. Potatoes intended to be put out for sale as seed have to undergo testing.
Seed potatoes are tested for a number of diseases before they are issued with a disease-free certificate by the government. Any of the seed potatoes that test positive for any of the panel diseases are not certified. Without certification, they cannot be sold.
You must have the assurance that the seed potatoes you purchase are safe from diseases. Otherwise, you risk introducing diseases into your crops and soil without knowing it. Such diseases could persist for many years and prove difficult to keep up with high-quality produce.
The general potatoes you outsource from the store would be too big a risk to plant. You need to be sure of the sources of your seed potatoes. It is the only way to know for sure that you are planting seed potatoes that are free from diseases.
3. High Yields and Great Quality
Seed potatoes are grown with the sole intention of guaranteed produce. Whereas the regular potatoes need to stay fresh to increase their long life, seed potatoes are cultivated in garden centers to ensure high yields.
Seed potatoes are grown in the best conditions and safeguarded from any vulnerability. The quality of seed potatoes is maintained by planting them in light, loose, and well-drained soil. The pH level of the soil is maintained at slightly acidic levels for optimum results.
On the other hand, regular potatoes are often prolific and often adapt to poor soil and climate conditions. The underlying issues exposed to regular potatoes as they grow inhibit their level of productivity and quality.
4. Can You Use Any Potato as a Seed Potato?
The best seed potato for you to grow is dependent on various factors. Your location primarily determines which varieties are well developed to grow there. In most areas, potatoes are adversely affected by late blight disease. If this disease does not eliminate your crop, it will greatly reduce it. Choose a variety that has a high level of blight resistance: it will save your potato harvest.
Your choice of the seed potato should also consider when they will be ready to harvest. The main categories according to harvest are First Early, Second Early, Early Maincrop, and Late Maincrop. If you are growing salad potatoes, early waxy varieties will be best.
Maincrop potato varieties will produce larger crops of larger potatoes in 20 weeks. They will do well until late spring. Second cropping seed potatoes are the autumn and winter crops. You will have to protect them from frost in about 11 weeks.
After settling for seed potato type, it is now time for the varieties. Varieties will be best informed by how you want to use your potatoes. Different variety of descriptions will offer you information on the best use. A specific variety could be best baked or boiled, roasted or mashed, or could just make the perfect French fries (chips).
Heritage seed potatoes will offer you different sizes of potatoes, with different colored skins and even different colored flesh. Making an informed choice on your seed potato will guarantee you quality products. You will be able to get the best seed potato for your garden, get your favorite flavor, or get the type that stores particularly well without needing sprout inhibitors.
Not any potato will serve you best as a seed potato. You must be sure it’s growth is not stunted by the use of inhibitors at the store. You also need to be sure it will not introduce diseases to your crop and soil.