I'm gonna plant them again this year. I've had problems in years past with
the seed potatoes rotting in the ground instead of growing. I've heard this
can be prevented by treating or dusting the seed taters with something
I've heard that wood ashes or sulfur will work. Any other ideas?
A tip from an old gardening book is: If you cut the seed potatoes two
or three days before you plant them, they will dry enough to form a
sort of skin or scab before too much sprouting occurs. This will help
prevent the potato piece from rotting in too-moist soil. -aem
Besides waiting for the cuts to skin over, dusting with any water repellant
substance helps. If it has anti-bacterial or anti-fungal properties, so much
the better. Sulfur and talc powders are easy to get and water repellant.
Sulfur has some antibiotic properties as does cinnamon. Wood ashes is
basically like putting lime on them. Not water repellant; antibiotic but a
little strong; adds calcium to the soil.
Basically skinning over should be enough. But to be sure, especially if
you've had bad luck in the past, any of the others used before planting
Normal procedure in UK is not to cut them as this can introduce infection
and increase the likelihood of them rotting. I'm also assuming that you do
chit them, ie, put them in boxes in the light to sprout before planting out?
I don't see a reason these practises shouldn't help in the U.S. which I
assume is where you are.
(All right, I confess I've cut a couple in the past when I was a few short
for a full row.) :-))
Well a lot depends on your planting schedule. Here, seed potatoes are
generally available from early Feb, and usually planted out around mid-late
March according to frost predictions, (weather is always a bit of a lottery
in UK), but mine generally spend about 6 weeks in boxes on windowsills.
Sprouts don't get very long, maybe an inch, but the point is if they're
already sprouted when you plant them they can't fail to sprout. The tips
need to be protected against frost though, when they're showing and a frost
is forecast, cover them with soil. They'll come through again.
Are you planting too early, when your soil is still too wet and cold?
BTW, I always cut my seed spuds, so each piece has 3 eyes or so, then
let them sit for a few days to callus-over, then plant.
Be sure to rotate your spud bed -- don't grow them in the same ground
every year. And don't plant them following tomatoes in the same bed.
(Spuds and 'maters are related, so they're prone to the same diseases.)
Jan, in Alaska
USDA Zone 3 or so
The way to a man's heart is between the fourth and the fifth rib.
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