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Sprouting Potatoes

Sprouting potatoes are quite common if they have been stored for a prolonged period of time. 

Potato with a few sprouts

It could be a bit of a problem if you are planning to eat them; on the other hand they can be used for growing purposes. Sometimes people do not know what to do with sprouts.

In many instances you can eat potatoes that have sprouts; of course you need to proceed with care. If you just want to grow them a sprouted potato is good news as they could develop into a full potato plant.

What to do with sprouting potatoes?

When potatoes sprout you can choose between throwing them, using them for compost, eating them or simply plant them on soil. Throwing the potatoes is easy but you should probably consider it as the last alternative as you don’t want to waste money or food. When sprouts appear over the potatoes is necessary to look at them closely to determine if they are edible.

The first thing you need to do is to cut the “eyes” or areas where the potato is sprouting. Next look for any unusual discoloration; if any part of it has a green color then discard it. In addition to the presence of the eyes and the color; you should pay attention to the texture. As you grab sprouting potatoes check if they feel too soft or look too shriveled; if they are it is probably too late and are not fit for human consumption. A firm looking skin on a potato without any green should be ok.

Keeping them from sprouting

Now if you want to keep your potatoes from getting those sprouts is important to know how to store them. Potatoes at room temperature with some light and in humid environments will develop sprouts faster than you think. If you do not want them, follow these simple but efficient tips:

  1. Store potatoes in a cool dry area (around 11°C or 52°F) with very low humidity and air circulating between them.

  2. Be sure that no sunlight makes contact with the potatoes.

  3. Some people use essential oils to control sprouting.

  4. Another way is to use chemicals but this is the least recommended method.

What if you can’t eat them?

Potatoes that have too many “eyes” are better suited for planting. As long as they have sprouts you can use them to grow plants. You can choose to use the whole potato or cut it in several pieces. When you cut them; each piece can be used to grow a plant so you may get several potato plants by using one large sprouted potato. As soon as you have your pieces ready, bury them in the soil. You only need approximately 6 inches of soil over the potato and make sure the sprouts are facing up. 

If you are planting several potato pieces; remember to leave at least 1 foot of space between plants in all directions so they can have enough space to develop. When they are around 7 inches tall put a bit more soil around the plant so the new potatoes don’t get out before they have achieved a decent size.

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