Start Potato Starts Indoors Anytime Now

We bought our seeds and potato starts last weekend.  A couple of days ago I started the process of getting the potato starts ready to plant outside.  This method comes from Steve Solomon’s excellent vegetable gardening book entitled Gardening When It Counts, which you should get if you do not already have a copy.  The library may have a copy for loan.  To start your potatoes, get a couple of empty egg cartons.  Place the potatoes so that they are crosswise of the egg-cup side, which will give a bit of air circulation underneath them as well.  You will want to place these in a sunny windowsill or under grow lights, as I am doing.  Be sure to keep the labels with the potatoes, because they all kind of look alike at this stage.  Keep the lights on for 14-16 hours each day, and before long you will see green sprouts growing out of them.

The idea is to start the potatoes growing sprouts roughly six weeks before our last spring frost, after which you can plant them outside.  As we haven’t had a true frost here since January, we may be out of the woods, but who knows with the unusual weather patterns we are having now.   Each potato that you place in the ground will need two growth sprouts per two-inch piece.  This could occur on a single potato, or you can cut a larger potato that has several sprouts into pieces and plant the pieces.

I have read that it is always a good idea to start with seed potatoes rather than just going to the store and picking up potatoes to plant out, and I would tend to agree with this, even though seed potatoes are more expensive than grocery store potatoes.  The grocery store potatoes may harbor a potato disease called scab, and once that is in your garden soil it is very difficult to eradicate it, so it is best to start with certified clean seed potatoes and keep your soil healthy.


  1. February 7, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    […] I got a few little jobs accomplished yesterday out in the garden.  First, I started a little bit of onion, lettuce and spinach seed inside under grow lights to get a few transplants to go outside under plastic in March.  Today I started sprouting my early Dark Red Norland seed potatoes inside under lights, as those will be planted out later around the first weekend in April, depending on the weather.  You can read how to do it here. […]

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