“Greensprouting” potatoes

            This refers to a method widely used in Europe to get potatoes 2 or 3 weeks before anyone else. To do this, cut your certified seed potatoes such that each piece has two “eyes” in case one doesn’t sprout. Lay them on a tray in total darkness for several weeks at temperatures of at least 70F. until sprouts begin to appear. If both eyes sprout, you can divide them. Then expose them to at least 8 hours of light for two weeks until short, thick, sturdy sprouts form. They’re ready to plant when the sprouts are an inch long. You can plant these outside a week or so before last frost date.  If your  seed sprouts are ready but the weather isn’t, keep them in a cool, dark place temporarily. This isn’t the only way to do it, but it’s the way I’ve found works best.

            Potatoes are fun crop, not only for the homegrown flavor you won’t find in a store, but for the lovely flowers the plants send up, and because reaching your hand into the hill is like finding Christmas presents under the tree.

About lifegrower

Peter V. Fossel has been gardening since he was nine, and has been an organic farmer for the last 20 years. His most recent book, “Organic Farming, Everything You Need to know” was published by Voyageur Press, Minneapolis, 2007. He’s written numerous gardening articles for Organic Gardening, Horticulture, Country Journal, Out Here, and American Profile among others. He was Gardens Manager for The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson in Tennessee before returning to Cape Cod to start his newest organic venture, Swan River Farm in Dennisport, MA.
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3 Responses to “Greensprouting” potatoes

  1. ga.karen says:

    You said to leave a comment. I find that a lot of gardeners are afraid or conditioned to NOT try things. Like it says it will only grow in zone 10 but I’m in 8…what will happen if I plant it in a sheltered place & mulch it really well???
    You can’t grow that kind of corn down here! Why not? Cause it wasn’t meant to be grown down here! So???

    You see what I mean? We need to learn to experiment more, expand our horizons or whatever you want to call it!

    I was told when I bought our land that I would NEVER be able to grow anything on it because it was played out cotton fields that had been planted in loblolly pines. Guess what? I have things growing because I put things back into the soil! Sure it has taken me a few years and a lot of work…but the satisfaction is great!

  2. Melanie says:

    Ah ha! So there is a name for that. At work we just say, “looks like it’s time to send the potatoes home with Melanie to plant in her garden.” I’ll have to tell the other cooks that we’re “greensprouting” the potatoes.

    • lifegrower says:

      Just tell ’em where you heard it. [?] Incidentall, since you cook, two of my favorite recipes are on there: cream of celery soup and Chicken kitchen…something. Good luck with the taters!

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