Potatoes are excellent for people who are living off the grid and who would want to have a more self-sustaining life, even a small potato garden could end up feeding your entire family during the wintertime, so go ahead and just plant some potatoes.
You can grow potatoes from a potato by digging a trench, making compost, sprouting potatoes, preparing the sprouted potatoes, planting them, hilling them, and by harvesting the potatoes. All you need to grow potatoes is a small shovel to dig the trench, a knife to remove some of the sprouts and gardening gloves, if you have done everything correctly then you will have your first harvest of potatoes in around 6 months.
If this is the first time you are growing potatoes then my personal recommendation is to get a potato bag which will let you see the progress of your potatoes forming easily Click here to check it out on Amazon.com
One of the best food items which you should stockpile as a prepper are potatoes, not only you can use them for food, but they also have numerous other uses around your home. The best thing about potatoes is that you can grow them fairly easily and you do not actually need potato seeds to do it. People who have vegetable gardens often use only potato seeds to grow, the problem is that in an SHTF situation, it will be fairly difficult to find potato seeds.
The good news is that you can actually grow potatoes by using other potatoes. If you have ever bought a large bag of potatoes, then you have probably noticed that some of them have small sprouts on them, these are actually the beginning of a new potato plant, and if you take care of it then it will blossom and will produce more potatoes. Basically you can get a lot of potatoes from just one potato.
Growing potatoes on a larger scale will be a lot of work and you might want to use potato seeds instead of sprouted potatoes as they have a higher chance of growing into a potato plant. If you want to plant potato sprouted then make sure that you use several potatoes as oftentimes not all will grow into an actual potato plant, I will list the reasons as of why below. If you want to know the different ways for what you can use sprouted potatoes then check out my recent article What to do with sprouted potatoes? ( Top 8 Uses ).
Dig a trench
The first thing you will have to do if you want to grow potatoes from a potato is to dig a trench. The hole should be around 5-8 inches deep, this is the same for sprouted potatoes and for planting seed potatoes. Make sure that the soil is not compacted, the tougher to it is to dig in the area the harder it will be for the potato sprouts to grow and break the surface. Never dig the hole where you will plant the potato sprout while it is raining or if the ground is wet.
If you plant the potato when the ground is wet then the potato sprout will start to rot and it will not be able to grow into a potato plant. It is always a good idea to plant several potato sprouts as not all of them will grow, some of them will rot even if you have done everything correctly. Make sure that while that the potato plant has enough space to grow, if you plant them close together then they will compete with each other for nutrients and neither of them will develop correctly.
Leve around 12-15 inches of space between each potato sprouts, this way they can grow without directly competing with one another.
Although making compost isn’t necessary for growing potatoes, but trust me once you use compost to grow potatoes you will always use it, simply because the potatoes will get bigger and they will actually grow a lot faster. I highly recommend anybody who is growing potatoes every year to make compost, as the ground where you will be planting the potatoes will start running out of nutrients and after a couple of years you will notice that your potatoes are getting smaller and smaller and take a longer time to grow.
I am not going to detail how to make compost as it is fairly easy, I personally use my kitchen scraps, some leaves, grass, and I also add to the compost potatoes which start to smell, have wrinkles and are soft to the touch. Growing potatoes from scraps is done by using compost.
Sprout the potatoes
Some potatoes from supermarkets have been spared with chemicals that will stop sprouting, and no matter what you do they will never sprout. In this case, you will have to know how to sprout potatoes and this is fairly easy, provided that the potato gets some sunlight, the temperature is adequate for sprouting and there is some humidity the potato will sprout eventually. In addition to this if you place your potatoes next to your onions you will notice that your potatoes will sprout a lot faster.
If you want to sprout the potatoes as fast as possible, then place the potato in a container without a lid, put it in the kitchen as sprouting will happen in warmer temperatures. Do not add water to the container, instead sprinkle some water on the potato from time to time and you will notice that it will start sprouting within one or two weeks. It is best to use potatoes which already have small sprouts on them, you will see a lot of potatoes without any sprouts if you get them from your supermarket and odds are that these will never sprout.
Can I grow potatoes from store-bought potatoes? Yes, you can grow potatoes from store-bought potatoes, as long as they have not been sprayed with chemicals that prevent their sprouting.
Prepare the sprouted potato
Planting potatoes with long sprouts is highly recommended, although it isn’t necessary, potatoes ith smaller sprouts will develop into a potato plant eventually. A lot of people will actually cut off all the sprouts of the potatoes before placing them in the ground, do not do this as you decrease the chances of the potato plant forming. The sprouts of the potato are the begging of a new potato plant and cutting the sprouts off from the potato before putting it in the ground inst the best idea.
A lot of people will tell you to cut the sprouted potatoes into smaller chunks, do not do this as this will make the potato slices start to rot and it will limit the amount of nutrients the sprout actually gets. What you should do instead is to cut off some of the smaller sprouts and only leave 3-4 sprouts which are bigger. This way the bigger sprouts will not have to compete with the other smaller sprouts for nutrients.
My recommendation is to leave a couple of sprouts intact on only one side of the potato, you will know the reason why you should do this below.
Plant the sprouted potato
Planting the sprouted potato should be done during the springtime, and if everything goes well then you should have full-grown potato plants ready to harvest between 18-22 weeks. After you have cut down the smaller sprouts from the potato place it in the ground in such a way that the sprouts face upwards, this will make it easier for the potato sprout to emerge from the ground. Some people might say that you should add only one inch of dirt on it, and once the sprout has come to the surface then you should add more dirt and so on, but in my honest opinion, this is rather pointless.
One thing to note that while you are digging the trench or the hole where you will place the potato plant is to check the temperature of the ground. If you notice that the ground is fairly cold and somewhat frozen then do not plant your potatoes yet, as they will not survive. As a side note, make sure that the place which you have ticked to grow the potatoes has direct sunlight on it trough the day, as this will make them grow a lot faster. Can I plant a potato that has sprouted? Yes, you can plant a potato that has sprouted as these are the best potatoes that will grow into a potato plant.
Can you cut the sprouts off potatoes before planting? Yes, you can cut the sprouts off potatoes before planting, but not all of them, leave the bigger sprouts on the potato as these will have an increased chance of becoming a potato plant.
Hill the potatoes
If you have ever planted potatoes and you have noticed that your potatoes are small then you are probably not hilling them. Hilling potatoes is simply making a small hill around the plant, this is extremely important as it will make the new potatoes grow above the older ones and they will not compete for nutrients and space, thus making them a lot larger. Some people cover up the entire plant as this might result in even bigger potatoes, the problem with this is that you will not see the leaves which will show you when the potatoes are ready to harvest.
Hilling the potatoes should be done at around week 5, as at this time some of the potatoes have been formed below the ground.
Harvest the potatoes
After 5-6 months you will notice that the leaves will start turning yellow or even brownish, and the plant will either stop growing or it will start to die off. The big mistake which many people do is that they take this as an indicator that the potatoes are ready to harvest. Although these are good for being harvested, but if you want larger potatoes you will have to wait 2-3 weeks more. Just leave the potatoes to absorb more nutrients from the surrounding ground and they will get bigger.
After this additional 2-3 weeks have passed then it is time to dig up your potatoes, either use a small shower or even gardening gloves to dig them out. Do note that although the potatoes will feel hard you can easily damage them with a shovel, even hitting the plant with some force will result in the potato rotting after a couple of weeks. I personally use gardening gloves, just push out of the way all the soil and you will see that this way it is a lot easier and safer for the potatoes.
Store your potatoes correctly
If you want to increase the shelf life of your potatoes then you will have to store them correctly. The best way to store potatoes is by placing them in a large sack, in a dark room which is fairly cool. This will also lower the sprouting process, as the sprouts will convert the starch into glucose in order to grow and this will ruin your potatoes. Storing your potatoes during suer time can be difficult if you do not have a basement if you want to find out how you can cool a room where you can store your potatoes then check out my recent article How to keep a room cool that faces the sun? ( Fast & Easy ).
As you can see, growing potatoes from potatoes isn’t that hard at all, it only takes some work and knowledge. If this is your first time planting potatoes then make sure to follow the above advice and to plant several potatoes, as this will increase the likelihood of some of them forming an actual potato plant. Good luck!