I'm going to be growing a lot of potatoes this year and don't have a lot of extra money to buy seed potatoes (which are really quite expensive). I need to get enough potatoes in this year for eating and saving some for next year. I know that potatoes at the store are often treated with growth retardant, but is this true also for organic potatoes? Are there any other cheap sources of seed potatoes that you know of? Also, if I buy conventional potatoes that have started sprouting, does this mean that they are good to go?
When you reach your lowest point, you are open to the greatest change.
Check your local farm co-op, if you have one! I just bought my potatoes there. They weren't organic seed potatoes, but they were at least as cheap as buying organic potatoes at Trader Joe (I need to find my receipt to see just how cheap).
I also liked buying them at the co-op because they were grown locally, and I could pick a few of each variety. This is my first year growing potatoes, and I'm only growing one 2.5x10 foot bed, so I didn't need many. Buying (and paying for shipping) from a seed company was too expensive for me!
i grew shop spuds this year and they went reasonably well. i grew three varieties presumably from different supermarkets. Desiree, Kestrel and dutch cream. the Desiree had a high disease rate (about 50%) but the others had no problems. luckily the sick ones were in a separate bed and i removed any plant with the slightest sign of wilt.
apart from isolating each batch in there own section i didn't cut the potatoes when planting and discard any with cuts or marks. the other precaution would be to gently wash/sterilize them in a 10% bleach solution (do a test on a few first)
another issue you may have is glyphosate contaminated spuds .....farmers spray there spuds either by accident or purpose so this may effect growth......the next generation will be much better tho
Hey James! I've been growing small patches of potatoes for several years now, and I can at least share with you my thoughts. I personally, would choose organic. Conventionally grown potatoes are up there with conventionally grown apples as far as density of carcinogenic and toxic residues. Methyl Bromide has no place in the human body, or on this planet for that matter. It's one of the many agents commonly used in conventional potato farming. So, interestingly, a majority of common grocery store vegetables have been hybridized over the years to "grow big grow fast" for the commercial big agriculture industry. Remember, their concern is profits. In selecting these traits, what is often lost is natural disease resistance and nutrient density from the parent true varieties. This is especially true in grains like wheat and barley and rye. Nutrient density also involves soil management and is the foundation of growing healthy food regardless of organic or conventional, hybrid or heirloom, but that's another discussion. My wife and I grow half a 4x8 raised bed of Kennebecs each year because that variety does well in our region and climate and we grow a different variety in the other half. We tried Russets last year, did not do so well for us. Cheers!
"Study books and observe nature; if they do not agree, throw away the books." ~ William A. Albrecht
Regarding seed potatoes being too expensive, I'm wondering specifically what you're looking at. Our local farm stores sell them (conventionally grown) for about $0.50/lb. You can perhaps purchase table potatoes from the grocery store for a bit cheaper, but I can't imagine you'd save more than a few bucks. Organic seed potatoes can often be purchased for $60 for 50 lbs., depending on variety, though shipping won't be too cheap.
The local feedstore doesn't carry them, and neither does my hardware store. They didn't even know what seed potatoes were when I asked. I'm going to try sprouting a few from the store, and a friend is going to drive me to the next town over to get some from there
When you reach your lowest point, you are open to the greatest change.
You've already gotten many great replies but I can't help putting my two cents in.
I have been growing wonderful potatoes for several years now.
The first year I just planted some left over store bought russets. They were the biggest, creamiest, most beautiful, most delicious potatoes I had ever eaten!
The next year I bought some seed potatoes at a local nursery and planted those and my left over store bought potatoes, and once again the store bought russets far outperformed the seed potatoes in taste, size, and production.
I even had some seed pods form and planted those to get little seed potatoes which was fun but not very productive.
Anyway, I love growing potatoes, especially the russets from the store
my two cents :) As far as I can tell, "seed potatoes" are nothing more than "just potatoes" ! Shipping would be crazy expensive, so I've been buying organic Yukon gold, and red potatoes from my local health food store and growing them both successfully. Because my budget is as tight as......(you fill in the blank)..... I buy them in Jan-Feb and let them sprout in a warm closet, then cut into pieces with an eye or two each. So typically I get 3-6 plants from each potato and they're ready to go to town when the soil warms up (usually April here in southeast).
This year I'm going to try harvesting in succession to see if I get more volume and larger potatoes through the season (One Yard Revolution inspiration)
I have grown many potatoes over the years . We used to buy organic seed stock from David Ronnigers of Ronnigers in IDAHO . he was the largest curator of organic seed stock in the country . . he went out of buisness . I bought organic as well as local concentional seed potatoes from our local farm store with mixed results . I now buy organic potatoes from the store and when they sprout I but off that end with and inch or so of potato , dip the cutside in wood ash or seaweed and plant in pots and ll;ater plant outside in beds . There are differences in insect and diseasese resistance as well as production .In this way I can eat the potatoes as well as get plants for the gardens but there are only about 3 kinds available that are organic.
I've started only using grocery store potatoes for planting. I get just as good results as seed potatoes. When they go on sale at Aldi a 10# bag of russets I believe was $1.49. 5# of red(my favorite and best producer for me) was also $1.49. That about covers the cost for the area I have available for potatoes. I just set them in the window for a couple days when they start to sprout, whatever doesn't want to sprout is lunch. The price for seed potatoes at the big box store just didn't come close, and buying in bulk isn't an option for a small property.
"Stranger, you's a tresspassin' on my dirt farm."
-Cletis the slack jawed yokel
A couple of months ago I was in the grocery store and saw some red potatoes that the eyes were starting to sprout. I picked up about a dozen just to see if they will work, put them in my basement in a cardboard box and forgot about them. Last week I found them with 8" sprouts so today I put them in a container bed and i'm hoping for the best.
AM STARTING A NEW GARDEN THIS YEAR.
POTATOES FOR SURE ARE A PART OF IT.
GROUND IS STILL FROZEN WITH SNOW AND ICE.
GOING TO TRY SPREADING BLACK VISQUENE OVER GROUND TO AID IN THAWING.
PLAN ON GETTING LOCALLY GROWN ORGANIC POTATOES TO PLANT.
TRANSPLANTING RHUBARB FROM ANOTHER SITE TOO. PLANNING A SMALL GREEN HOUSE FOR DUTCH BUCKET HYDROPONIC TOMATOES.
WISH THE GROUND WAS THAWED NOW. ANY ADVICE IS SURE WELCOME.
Lee, I planted mine in a large trash can. I'm going to layer them as I add cover soil/straw. Hopefully when all is said and done I'll have potatoes from top to bottom. I'm in zone 6a so I put a light inside the can tonight since we're still getting sub freezing temps. Make sure you plant in very loose soil or you'll work hard to harvest.
I was concerned about introducing late blight to my farm via store bought potatoes. Thus I purchased certified seed potatoes my first year, grew them, and saved all the potatoes they produced for planting the following season. So I grew my own seed potatoes for my future gardens.
I hear of people using store bought potatoes. But I also hear these same people having occasional problems with various potato diseases. Quite truthfully, I haven't had any disease problems on my potatoes in the past 10 years except for root knot nematode, which was already present in my soil when I got here. But I've been diligent not to intentionally bring avoidable problems to my farm.
Just something to consider if using store bought potatoes. You never know what that field looked like from where those potatoes came from.
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
Seed potatoes are cheap! If you keep the best of your harvest for next year then spending $100 on seed is cheap as you have that cultivar of potatoes forever. Potatoes clone themselves remember. I spent $40 on some heritage seed potatoes four years ago and received a small amount now I keep 4x that amount for seed every year and have all the potatoes we need for the year.
We also now grow four heritage strains of potatoes every year.