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purple potatoes do they self-seed?  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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No matter what I plant I harvest purple potatoes. This wouldn't be too bad but most of them grow on the surface rather than under the soil and with the purple potatoes you don't see if they are green. The variety I bought initially was purple Kongo. How do they get everywhere? Sometimes there are thousands of tiny useless potatoes you never get rid of. Do potatoes self-seed? Or so mice and rats drag them around?
 
pollinator
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Location: Maine, zone 5
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Funny Angelika, I was just wondering where the purple potato came from in a variegated horseradish plant I potted up for a friend.  There are no potatoes near the horseradish plant I divided, though some cute critters out there are moving other root crops around on me (Jerusalem artichokes and crosnes) so perhaps they transplanted the purple potato into the pot too?  I suspect that I might have some chipmunk gardeners out there that share my permaculture goals!
 
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I have potatoes popping up like crazy but they aren't purple. We have potatoes in beds that haven't had potatoes planted in them for years and years. Maybe purple potatoes are especially prolific but IME they're all pretty stubborn, if you miss harvesting a potato it's just going to become a seed potato for the next generation, whether you want it to or not.

I would guess, if you don't want it to spread, stop distributing dirt between your beds, even when you think everything is dead. Also if you see your intentionally-planted potatoes blooming, pinch off the flowers. Potatoes do flower and go to seed and I'm not sure what the success rate is, but if you don't want them spreading, then there's no reason to let them go to seed.
 
Posts: 235
Location: West Midlands UK (zone 8b)
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Meg Mitchell wrote:Also if you see your intentionally-planted potatoes blooming, pinch off the flowers. Potatoes do flower and go to seed and I'm not sure what the success rate is, but if you don't want them spreading, then there's no reason to let them go to seed.



I wouldn't worry too much about that, as most potatoes end up flowering in my experience but very few actually get round to forming a fruit - when it does it is quite obvious like a small green tomato and you could easily nip it off at that stage.

The purple potatoes thing sounds quite weird to me, almost like this is some sort of wild potato relative that is confusing matters, because certainly if you plant a white potato you must get a white potato as a crop bar a few occasional sports.
 
Meg Mitchell
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Location: Banana belt of Canada, zone 9.
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Hester Winterbourne wrote:

Meg Mitchell wrote:Also if you see your intentionally-planted potatoes blooming, pinch off the flowers. Potatoes do flower and go to seed and I'm not sure what the success rate is, but if you don't want them spreading, then there's no reason to let them go to seed.



I wouldn't worry too much about that, as most potatoes end up flowering in my experience but very few actually get round to forming a fruit - when it does it is quite obvious like a small green tomato and you could easily nip it off at that stage.

The purple potatoes thing sounds quite weird to me, almost like this is some sort of wild potato relative that is confusing matters, because certainly if you plant a white potato you must get a white potato as a crop bar a few occasional sports.



The tomato-fruit thing makes sense. OP mentioned planting purple potatoes intentionally, and I'm not sure how else they can spread besides if you moved some dirt around. I haven't personally planted any purple potatoes, since the purple seems to add a flavor that I don't really like, but I definitely have had issues with migrating potatoes in my garden this year. I'm pretty sure in my case it happened when I was renovating my beds but I'm having a hard time figuring out how it could happen to a potted plant unless you're mixing dirt between your veg bed and your pots.
 
gardener
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Outside of the grass, the worst weeds in my garden every year are trees planted by wild life.  Squirrels are particularly well known for burying excess food.  I'm sure they're usually the culprits every time I have to weed a tree iut of a potted plant. Usually things like acorns and pecans, but I could see them or other wildlife doing it with potatoes.
 
Hester Winterbourne
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Meg Mitchell wrote: OP mentioned planting purple potatoes intentionally, and I'm not sure how else they can spread besides if you moved some dirt around. 



OP also said "no matter what I plant I always get purple potatoes" which sounded like they were planting one thing and getting another.

I move my potatoes round on a four-year cycle, and I always get some volunteers the next year - some are from tiny weeny little tubers but others are like "doh - how did I miss THAT one?".  I suspect that although I try and rigorously remove the volunteers, some escape my notice long enough to build up a new tiny tuber which then comes up again the next year.  Another possible source of potatoes in the wrong place, especially if they are on the surface, would be if you've added peelings to your compost and they've not been killed by the composting process and have sprouted from those.
 
Angelika Maier
pollinator
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So far I didn't care, but it seems to get more and the kids prefer normal potatoes. I don't move dirt around between beds. I wondered about mice but raw potatoes are poisonous. And the seeds of potatoes won't fly very far they drop. It is a mystery. If I get big potatoes with the pumpkins or whatever I plant I don't care but eat them. In the end what a resilient plant, we won't starve!
 
Hester Winterbourne
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Angelika Maier wrote: I wondered about mice but raw potatoes are poisonous.



Not to mice they wouldn't be.  Lots of animals will eat them.  And even if they didn't, a nice little potato would be very tempting for a mouse to carry off and bury somewhere else for later just in case.  I have been finding gooseberries in my watering cans and can only blame squirrels...
 
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