What are "seed" potatoes?

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What's the difference between "seed" potatoes and "eatin" taters? Can you use sprouted store-bought potatoes for planting?

-- Deborah (ActuaryMom@hotmail.com), April 21, 2000


Seed potatoes are certified to be free of various and assorted diseases, and have been stored in a manner to maintain the most possible vigor for planting. "Eatin'" potatoes are stored differently and may carry potato diseases that will not hurt people, but will hurt potato crops. Now, as for planting eating potatoes from the grocery, yes, you can. They usually produce pretty well and are a way to use potatoes that are too far gone to eat. My aunt regularly planted grocery store potatoes because we usually cannot get russet seed potatoes here, and she wanted to grow russets. They made well and were good. The chances of having potato diseases come from grocery store potatoes seems fairly remote, but truthfully, if you can get seed potatoes, they usually yield more.

-- Green (ratdogs10@yahoo.com), April 21, 2000.

It is better to buy seed potatoes for planting. Most potatoes that get to the grocery store have been treated to retard sprouting, and even if they do sprout, won't produce as well as potatoes intended for seed. Also, I think that potatoes intended for seed may be more disease free. (Though I'm not certain -- just going on observation here.) Seed potatoes are not usually more expensive than store- bought eating potatoes, and are readily available at feed stores at planting time, though sometimes varieties are limited. If you want varieties the feed stores don't have, buy from a seed catalog -- you'll pay a lot more, but if you start small and save your own stock, can build up to a larger potato patch fairly quickly.

-- Kathleen Sanderson (stonycft@worldpath.net), April 21, 2000.

Deborah: Last year I tried an experiment and planted only eating potatoes from the store, both russets and reds. They were much cheaper here, than seed potatoes at that time, although not always. To make a long story short, the russets grew fine and produced a decent crop, although not as large as when we have planted seed potatoes. The reds did not even sprout one stem. So, I presumed they were treated and the russets were not. Jan

-- Jan B (Janice12@aol.com), April 21, 2000.

There was a post earlier about the lady who had 500 pounds of russet potatoes that were sprouting, and I wondered why she couldn't put some of them in the ground, just to see what would happen.....

-- Leann Banta (thelionandlamb@hotmail.com), April 21, 2000.

I generally buy "seed" potatoes from a reputable seedsman. But I feel a seed potato is anything you didn't eat, and that has started to sprout. I have kept my own, and I have used "eatin'" potatoes from whatever source that have gotten too much by. Most "supermarket" potatoes are sprayed to inhibit sprouts. But if they sprout, they'll probably do fine. Potatoes from the farms around here usually sprout, and do fine. But you're not at all sure what variety you'll get unless you are a better man than I am, Gunga Din! Hey, try it! If it fails, what have you lost? GL!

-- Brad (homefixer@mix-net.net), April 22, 2000.

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