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plant organic, store-bought Potatoes?

 
Jimmy Pardo
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So my buddy bought some organic potatoes from the grocery store. They've been sitting out for a while and now have sprouted leaves and whatnot. Against popular opinion he's going to attempt to plant them. Has anyone ever heard of a successful potato growth of this kind?
 
Leah Sattler
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I'm no expert but sure that will work if teh climate is right. cut the potatoes so that each chunk has an eye or a sprout on it and stick them in the ground under a few inches of soil. you can plant them in a trench and as the plant grows bury it with just the top of the foliage sticking out. you will get more taters that way. or you can pile up leaves straw and dirt around the plant to encourage more tubers also.
 
Jimmy Pardo
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Wow, that's the first positive insight I've gotten regarding growing potatoes like this. Thank you so much!
 
Susan Monroe
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Although they are treated with non-sprouting stuff, apparently some don't get treated as much as others.  If it's sprouting, it should grow. At least, if he's in a warmer type of place.  This isn't really the season to be planting potatoes. 

I tried to sprout some sweet potatoes this year, and it took about three months for some to show up.  Too late to plant, I put them under a light in my laundry room. Maybe  they'll survive until May.

Sue
 
Leah Sattler
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I have always read they are treated with an anti sprouting agent but honestly I'm not sure I have ever bought a bag of potatoes and not had at least one out ot the batch around long enough to sprout.  I think its a rumor started from a seed potato company conspiracy  there are some downsides. different varieties will do better in different areas. you may have a tater variety  that is great for growing....in brazil.
 
Susan Monroe
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I was reading about the stuff and it's an aerosol that they can apply several times.  Maybe it wears off eventually.  I've had potatoes that have shriveled and never sprouted.  Maybe they can't get all of the potatoes all the time.

But I suspect that most large producers use it to some extent. To them, it's a form of insurance that they can sell the crop before it deteriorates, and the middle men are probably going to use it for the same reason. Potatoes are stored for quite a while, and they can't use cold storage because it changes the chemical makeup of the potato.

Besides, corporate farms are so heavily into the chemical bit that they would probably buy it even if it didn't work.

Here's some info if you have any need for it: http://www.umaine.edu/umext/potatoprogram/pest%20control%20guide/sprout-inhibitors-section.pdf

Sue
 
Leah Sattler
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ick. reading about it firms my plans to triple the  size of my potato planting area. I still have a few left but certainly not enough to last the winter. A good reason to peel store potatoes (and optimistically hope that it doesn't "soak in"
 
Susan Monroe
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I grew a 12'x12' plot of Kennebec potatoes.  They really taste wonderful!  Still haven't harvested all of them yet.  But I'd better get to it before they rot.

Sue
 
paul wheaton
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If you are buying potatoes, and if you get your potatoes from the farmers market, you probably don't have to worry about that sort of thing.
 
Leah Sattler
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I guess your right paul. I would hope that since he bought organic potatoes that they wouldn't be doused in that sort of thing. From the little bit of reading I have done the sprout inhibiters work by inhibiting cel division. hmmm can you imagine what that could do to your body!!! delay healing of surface wounds would be the least of my worries. what about the constant reapairing and restructuring of our brains!!! yikes.
 
John Meshna
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When you harvest potatoes one of the best protectants you have against mold and disease is the dirt on the outside of them.  After knocking off the big clods, if any, it's best not to wash them off.  You'll need to leave them out long enough to dry a little.  Wet mud or clay can cause rotting too so give them a little time to dry out but not dry up and store them a little dirty.  The dirt is a live of defense against disease, mold and physical damage when moving and storing them.  It's important not to be too rough when moving them around too.  Bruising can cause premature rotting and fungus growth.
  Proper temperature and moisture conditions can help retard sprouting but can't eliminate it entirely.  If you plant too much and you think you might not need them all you can trade them for the excess carrots or beets some one else grew maybe.  And, don't forget, you'll need some for next year's crop so a little sprouting by early spring isn't such a bad thing.  I've found potatoes in the back of the cabinet before that had squizzled to the size of a pebble but had huge sprouts coming out of them and I planted them and they made fine potatoes in the fall.  They're an amazingly durable crop and if you plant your own sprouts year after year you'll get better crops each time because they will adapt to local conditions.  the soil get tired and sometimes infused with disease and parasites so you'll want to move the plot around from time to time to give the soil a rest.
  Unfortunately store bought potatoes are cleaned to make them look good on the rack and this makes them more susceptible to diseases and physical damage in transport and this lead to the invention of all these toxic sprays they use on them now.
  Consumer education has to become a big part of the organic food movement(if that's the right word).  Small blemishes on apples and fruit are not necessarily and indication of poor quality and dirt on vegetables can be a sign of health and not a problem that requires a remedy.
 
Susan Monroe
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Thank you for that information, John!  I didn't know about the dirt.

This leads me to another question:  I only planted my potatoes shallowly, then mulched them with straw.  My brother apparently couldn't understand the concept of "keep the chickens out of the garden", and the chickens scratched a lot of the mulch away, exposing the potatoes to sunlight, which turned them green.

I harvested all the potatoes, even the green ones. I know not to eat them.  But are they still suitable for storing over winter and planting next year?  Or does the solanine that turns them green also do something else that will encourage them to rot?

Sue
 
John Meshna
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I don't think the solanine would make them rot any faster since it has insecticidal and anti-fungal properties but I don't know if that part of the potato would grow or not.  I never tried planting the green part.
  Birds like chickens and ducks can be good for the garden but you have to keep them moving through it with a broom in your hand so they don't linger and do damage.  They do eat slugs and lots of other things you don't want in there.  They can offer very good pest control if managed properly.
  Plant your potatoes deep though.  Unless they're in really wet ground then make big hills so the water can drain away.  Mulching is a very good idea through out the season.  It keeps the potato beetles off the plants and causes the plants to make more roots than tops.  I've heard of people growing potatoes in barrels with little more than a layer of soil and continuous mulching to cover the tops as they grow.  I've never done it but it sounds plausible and a real good space saver for roof top gardens and limited spaces.
 
Susan Monroe
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I've done the mulching bit, with the seed potatoes just sitting on some compost in a barrel (perforated garbage can) and covered with straw, and wasn't thrilled with the results.  Decided to try shallow planting with a good layer of straw. Not great results, but I do have poor soil that needs improvement.

Next year.

Sue
 
Leah Sattler
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a freind of mine tried a potato bin (purchased) and was somewhat succesful. Part of the problem could have been that until the bin is filled up, the foliage is shaded much of the time from the sides of the bin. That was what I was attempting to remedy with my feed sack potato experiment. I could roll up the sack as the plant grew. failed completly 
 
                          
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I am no expert, but

From what I understand, potato growers sell uncertified potatoes to grocers because they are intended for consumption, not replanting.  I personally do not want to play with fire; ie. virus diseases coming from my planting stock.  Potatoes can be sold 'certified virus free' but do not expect that of the potatoes in the grocer as those were intended as an end product not as propagation material.  Planting the actual potato seed does not transmit the diseases common to vegetative propagation.  Growing potatoes from seed is an aspiration of mine.  Any one out there with experience in this?
 
                                              
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TFox wrote:
I am no expert, but

From what I understand, potato growers sell uncertified potatoes to grocers because they are intended for consumption, not replanting.  I personally do not want to play with fire; ie. virus diseases coming from my planting stock.  Potatoes can be sold 'certified virus free' but do not expect that of the potatoes in the grocer as those were intended as an end product not as propagation material.  Planting the actual potato seed does not transmit the diseases common to vegetative propagation.  Growing potatoes from seed is an aspiration of mine.  Any one out there with experience in this?


very limited, you might want to look up "tom wagner forum".... he is a tomatoe ad potatoe breeder.

I was going to make the same post as you. If yo have a choice do NOT plant potatoes from the grocer for the reasons Tfox said. disease is MAJOR in taters.

  If you have no choice it will work, but it sure isnt wise. try to save the TPS seeds for the next year.(you wont always get them) because those will not build up those viruses, and if you went that route do not grow taters in the same spot for a few years. those viruses build up in the soil. Its a big deal, potatoe growers go WELL out of their ways to break those disease cycles.

 
 
Mekka Pakanohida
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Jimmy Pardo wrote:
So my buddy bought some organic potatoes from the grocery store. They've been sitting out for a while and now have sprouted leaves and whatnot. Against popular opinion he's going to attempt to plant them. Has anyone ever heard of a successful potato growth of this kind?


Yes, lots & lots & lots..

They are rather easy to grow.
 
Mekka Pakanohida
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SILVERSEEDS wrote:
very limited, you might want to look up "tom wagner forum".... he is a tomatoe ad potatoe breeder.

I was going to make the same post as you. If yo have a choice do NOT plant potatoes from the grocer for the reasons Tfox said. disease is MAJOR in taters.

  If you have no choice it will work, but it sure isnt wise. try to save the TPS seeds for the next year.(you wont always get them) because those will not build up those viruses, and if you went that route do not grow taters in the same spot for a few years. those viruses build up in the soil. Its a big deal, potatoe growers go WELL out of their ways to break those disease cycles.

 



What the heck did potatoes do before humans grew them and moved them and told them they can't grow in the same place anymore.

Same goes for all other fruits & veg....

I like the work on E. Hazlip more and more... same with Fukuoka.
 
                                              
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Mekka Pakanohida wrote:

What the heck did potatoes do before humans grew them and moved them and told them they can't grow in the same place anymore.

Same goes for all other fruits & veg....

I like the work on E. Hazlip more and more... same with Fukuoka.


well they spread by seeds. TPS stands for true potatoe seeds. the plants will make flowers and set seeds. the seeds can last in the soil for 25 years...

In the area potatoes were native they ALWAYS grew them like that, from the seeds. (might be different now) it can take a long season to mature them from seeds, so  europeans grew them from the tubers....

which can catch up to you. which is why potatoe farmers go to extremes to ensure virus free potatoes are being planted. Its rather elaborate how that all works.

this disease cycle is something that anyone who grows potatoes, especially if you rely on them should get to understand. starting from seeds, youll never have issues in that regard.... It is likely to catch up to you if you ignore it. building in your soil, until you just cant grow potatoes for awhile.  growing certified seed potatoes is big business to. certified meaning they broke the disease cycle.

I learned this from tom wagner, who has bred them for decades. he is rather well known in the field. really neat guy...
 
Leila Rich
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Is it legal for organic produce to be treated with anti-sprouting chemicals in the U.S.?
 
                          
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Leila wrote:
Is it legal for organic produce to be treated with anti-sprouting chemicals in the U.S.?


It must be.  I've always heard it is common practice.

FWIW, though, potatoes often do sprout in storage.  And I've often planted those store-bought sprouted potatoes, and gotten decent harvests from them.

Sometimes I cut them into sections with one or two eyes each, and sometimes I plant the potatoes whole.  What I find is that in planting them whole you get plants sprouting from each eye, so you get more potatoes, but they're smaller.  But that's fine for me if I'm growing them to boil rather than bake.

My mom once grew a hillside of potatoes by accident because she buried some kitchen scraps for compost, and the potato peels in it sprouted!  They liked their location, I guess, because she never was able to dig out all the potatoes on that hill.  Some always got left behind and re-grew year after year. 

Another friends of mine grows potatoes in towers made of tires.  As the green part grows above one tire, another is added on top and the space is filled in with good soil, straw, and compost.  She gets her towers about five feet tall each year, and I think I heard her say she harvests about 50 pounds of potatoes per tower.
 
                                              
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  harvests will be fine with store bought potatoes, although if they arent as vigourous of plants as they should be viruses are almost certainly there.....mostly just running risk of bringing in disease. you cant wash it off the potatoes, and it builds up over years no matter what you do. unless you break the cycle, which is an elaborate process, or just go from from the TPS.

  Your also building up the disease for all your neighbors as well. It isnt easy to get out of the soil after it builds up.

  The entire field of growing potatoes has this as its center. In the industry they actually sell the seed potatoes with a number designating how many generations removed from lab grown clones (growing from tubers are clones) the seed stock is. the stuff in stores can vary, but its usually atleast G3-G6... it cant be re certified after the 6th year. So the bulk of taters in a store are towards the poorer end. Its really just not worth messing with, when there are ways to do it, that will not build up the disease.... many countries it is not even legal to plant non certified potatoes. In our country you can, but as a farmer you have to declare it, and there are many rules in different states. Its kinda like playing with fire, but in this case... if you play long enough the fire is almost assured of spreading....

 
 
Mekka Pakanohida
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Leila wrote:
Is it legal for organic produce to be treated with anti-sprouting chemicals in the U.S.?




I would say unsure, & check with your USDA extension.  However, think about the sentence.. organic, and chemical.  Those 2 words should never be in the same sentence in my world. 
 
Pat R Mann
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SILVERSEEDS wrote:
In the area potatoes were native they ALWAYS grew them like that, from the seeds. (might be different now) it can take a long season to mature them from seeds, so  europeans grew them from the tubers....


I'm still puzzled why wild potatoes wouldn't have suffered from disease buildup ... if left to themselves, potatoes will regrow from tubers left in the ground. So even if most propagation was through TPS, there'd still always be plants growing from tubers with the resultant build-up of virus. So why didn't they die off long ago?
 
                                              
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patrickmann wrote:
I'm still puzzled why wild potatoes wouldn't have suffered from disease buildup ... if left to themselves, potatoes will regrow from tubers left in the ground. So even if most propagation was through TPS, there'd still always be plants growing from tubers with the resultant build-up of virus. So why didn't they die off long ago?


Massive genetic diversity Id guess. Ive read alot on this but by no means am an expert..... the viruses are indeed always there. also like I sai, Im betting they may HAVE had large die offs in the wild as many other solanums do. Potato seeds last 25 years. different seeds will sprout different years. Kinda implies to me potatos needed that to happen at some point doesnt it?

dont take my word for it, study it. the entire industry is formed around certified seed potatoes. the culture them ALL in labs. many countries its not even legal to plant tubers in your yard if they arent certified.

people have grown them well with ignoring this for a long time, I know this... but it easily can and eventually will catch up to you. Unless you got 100 percent virus free potatoes (not likely unless it was first generation from a lab) and grew them in some excluded place... you might get lucky and pull it off your whole life..... dont rely on that working though.

there are other ways then using the actual seed to bypass the disease cycles, but all of them are rather involved. If people dont believe me, oh well... I tried....
 
Paul Cereghino
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Steve Solomon in his 'Growing when it counts' book makes a brief plug for 'certified disease free seed' which I haven't found for less than $5/lb which I understood is grown at high elevation sites from tissue culture.

He suggested that virus infected potatoes grow, but just produce fewer tubers (he reports getting 2-3 times yield from disease free seed), and serious growers apparently find the return on investment pallatable.  I bought non-certified organic seed at $1.50/# yesterday... it would be informative to do trials.

Natural stands of plants likely persist in some equilibrium with their natural diseases in a state of constant evolution, and some patches subccumb, while other patches produce little food, while other patches nearly subccumb and provide the next generation of disease resistant spawn until the disease itself mutates.  For the potato it is just a way of life.  For us we go hungry.  Since you have to 'till' to harvest, I am not confident that growing under 'no-till' culture woudl really change the game much.

This is an important question, since potato is the most land efficient way to get carbohydrates.
 
                                              
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great post paul.....  TPS seeds, are an easy fix. they break the cycle of disease, and ensure you arent building them up excessively, not that this is fool proof either, but its easy and effective.
 
John Polk
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As to the wild populations of potatoes not being affected by this, I think the following quote from Wikipedia should answer the question (the blight did not exist in the Andes):

***Quote***
The origin of Phytophthora infestans can be traced to a valley in the highlands of central Mexico. The first recorded instances of the disease were in the United States, in Philadelphia and New York City in early 1843. Winds then spread the spores, and in 1845 it was found from Illinois to Nova Scotia, and from Virginia to Ontario. It crossed the Atlantic Ocean with a shipment of seed potatoes for Belgian farmers in 1845.
***End quote***
 
                                              
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John Polk wrote:
As to the wild populations of potatoes not being affected by this, I think the following quote from Wikipedia should answer the question (the blight did not exist in the Andes):

***Quote***
The origin of Phytophthora infestans can be traced to a valley in the highlands of central Mexico. The first recorded instances of the disease were in the United States, in Philadelphia and New York City in early 1843. Winds then spread the spores, and in 1845 it was found from Illinois to Nova Scotia, and from Virginia to Ontario. It crossed the Atlantic Ocean with a shipment of seed potatoes for Belgian farmers in 1845.
***End quote***



i was curious... the first link I found...

http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.phyto.43.040204.135906 agrees with that and that many of those diseases came from mexico...
this one however went WAY deeper into studying the evolution of late blight, and postulates an andean origin...

http://www.pnas.org/content/104/9/3306.full

 
Paula Edwards
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I am not very experienced in growing potatoes, but I always did this with store bought ones and it worked all fine. Carol Deppe writes in her book that she initially buys seed potatoes when she wants a new variety and the takes her own seed potatoes, but she rogues out anything less thatn average.
How high is high enough for not having blight?
 
John Polk
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I don't think "How high" is the question.  The disease is carried by the wind.  So I guess if you can plant above the jet stream, you'd be safe.  Good mulching should help control soil borne pathogens, but is not a cure-all.
 
                                    
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According to grandma you cut your potatoes for planting into pieces with three eyes.

One for roots
One for shoots
and one to thank God.

Winter storage, remove the clumps of dirt, let them dry in the sun, store them in a cool dark dry place.

 
                    
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I have a question about the potatoes in the tire tower.  how much green leaves do you leave sticking out when you stack the next tire and soil/mulch layer?  Thanks for your time!
Rachel
 
Jack Shawburn
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The secret to Potato Towers is to plant additional potatoes once the first ones are covered about 8 inches.
Put is +- 3 seed potatoes at first.
cover the stems as they grow keeping about 3-4 inches of green stem and leaves above.
continue to do this as the grow.
once there is about 6-8inch on them then plant additional seed in between the first ones.
You can do this about 3 times.
They will use lots of water being in a container and there will be a mass of foliage one they are growing strong.
The plant will not make potatoes all along the stem to fill the tower.
 
Charlie Michaels
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its ridiculous how expensive seed potatoes are. Believe me if they weren't outrageous I'd buy em, but they are outrageous.
 
Connie Farmer
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I've grown lots of potatoes in my day, and had no diseases such as is being described here. The worst I've ever seen is a bit of scab, which is merely cosmetic. The other diseases you've mentioned are ones I've never even heard of. I plant potatoes that sprouted from the store bought bags, and I plant potatoes I buy for seed if I can get a deal. Also, I do grow very good and very large potatoes consistently. Used to sell a good portion of my crop for 3X the store prices. Tried the tower/bag things a couple times with no luck at all, and there are dozens of videos on Youtube of dismal failures also. The degree of horror being expressed here about these diseases has be completely shocked. Spuds are not hard to grow, nor are they hard to keep healthy.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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