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Using Grocery Store Potatoes

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Using Grocery Store Potatoes

Post  gingeandhales on 4/9/2011, 2:28 pm

I saw some posts here that said that many of you use regular old grocery store potatoes in your gardens with no problems. I just set up my deeper bed and I have a bag of disgustingly old Idaho Potatoes that are sprouting all over the place. How do I know if they are good to use? These have sprouts all over them and the sprouts are purplish with some white fuzzy stems. The potatoes are getting soft and a bit shriveled up. Should I try them out in the garden or toss them and pick up some seed potatoes?

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Re: Using Grocery Store Potatoes

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/9/2011, 2:38 pm

Since you have them, why not try? Potato sprouts usuallly look purplish and fuzzy after they lengthen and before they get leaves. When potatoes sprout, they get soft and wrinkly. Sounds like a good chance of success to me. If they don't work, what have you lost? You would normally just trash those sprouted potatoes anyway.

If you have room, maybe plant a few seed potatoes as a back-up plan. If I were planting seed potatoes, I would look for something a little different, like purple or redskin, just for the experience.
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Re: Using Grocery Store Potatoes

Post  sceleste54 on 4/9/2011, 2:39 pm

I've done that twice now, and actually the grocery store sets did better than the seed potatoes I bought ! I have some Red Potatoes and Yukon Gold growing in bags right now that I just saved out of 5 lb sacks. They look great so far !!

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Re: Using Grocery Store Potatoes

Post  gingeandhales on 4/9/2011, 3:07 pm

Thanks for the info. I went ahead and stuck them in. 3 squares worth. I love being able to save money where I can. These 12" beds are only filled half way at this point because I am short on compost. But I think that it okay with potatoes since you are supposed to plant them deep and then fill as they grow.

Do you think I can do the same with some shallots that have been sitting on top of my fridge for about 2 months now?

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Re: Using Grocery Store Potatoes

Post  sceleste54 on 4/9/2011, 10:01 pm

Absolutely !! I have 2 squares of garlic from the store as well.. Its looking great !

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Re: Using Grocery Store Potatoes

Post  Goosegirl on 4/10/2011, 7:40 am

@gingeandhales wrote:I just set up my deeper bed and I have a bag of disgustingly old Idaho Potatoes that are sprouting all over the place. How do I know if they are good to use? These have sprouts all over them and the sprouts are purplish with some white fuzzy stems. The potatoes are getting soft and a bit shriveled up. Should I try them out in the garden or toss them and pick up some seed potatoes?

I think this one qualifies for SEED HOARDERS ANONYMOUS! I have a similar bag waiting for my potato bed to be ready!
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Re: Using Grocery Store Potatoes

Post  gingeandhales on 4/10/2011, 9:56 am

Now, of course, I have to go check out that thread. If it consists of frugal gardeners with a refrigerator full of potential science projects looking to be repurposed I think that is the thread for me.

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Re: Using Grocery Store Potatoes

Post  Old Hippie on 4/10/2011, 3:03 pm

I do it all the time unless I want a specific type of potato. Seed potatoes are treated so are supposed to be free of most of the more serious diseases. Grocery store potatoes have apparently been treated to delay sprouting. But if they are sprouting they are starting to grow so why not plant them is my way of thinking. Any that I don't want just go in the compost.

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Re: Using Grocery Store Potatoes

Post  kilda on 4/20/2011, 8:27 pm

I planted grocery store potatoes by accident this year! I tossed some old potatoes in the compost pile several weeks ago and noticed a few days ago that I had potato plants growing out of the pile. I wasn't even planning to plant potatoes this year - I've never planted them before. But I'm not going to turn down a volunteer plant. So into the garden they went today. Smile

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Re: using grocery store potatoes

Post  westie42 on 4/21/2011, 12:48 am

Good job Kilda. years ago I was afraid of messing up by buying real seed potatoes so I just planted a few old withered sprouted store bought ones. Have never done it any other way since. If a potato has a lot of eyes or sprouts then I cut them up with at least two eyes/sprouts per section and let them set a few days to scab over the cuts. So far so good no plan to change my ways, yet.

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USING GROCERY STORE POTATOES

Post  graficow on 4/21/2011, 6:54 am

Maybe this is off topic but how do you tell
when the potatoes are ready to harvest?

Btw, I also used grocery store potatoes
that had sprouted and didnt want to throw
them away. I figured I had nothing to lose.
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Re: Using Grocery Store Potatoes

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/21/2011, 9:12 am

Dunno when they are ready or how to tell....my first time, too. I had a smell in my pantry. I went searching for the smell and found some potatoes sprouting in their baggie. I stuck them in a square out of the way, and we're off. I'll have to get a picture of these guys soon.
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Re: Using Grocery Store Potatoes

Post  missmarie on 4/21/2011, 9:37 am

I grew grocery store potatoes in a canvas bag last year. They produced decently.

Can I ask a related question? Is the 6 in. bed sufficient space for potatoes? Some have mentioned using the top hat boxes. But can it work ok in just the 6 in bed?
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Re: Using Grocery Store Potatoes

Post  Icemaiden on 4/21/2011, 10:01 am

@graficow wrote:Maybe this is off topic but how do you tell
when the potatoes are ready to harvest?

If left in the ground long enough, the potato plants will start to die off. After that the potatoes will still grow bigger for a couple of weeks.
If you want the biggest potatoes then you wait for that. On the other hand, if you want to eat them earlier then you can dig up a plant and see what you get - or with Mels Mix you can probably shove your hand down and feel how big the potatoes are, even pull off a few but leave the plant still growing.
The younger potatoes have a slightly earthy taste which some people like and some people like less.

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Re: Using Grocery Store Potatoes

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/21/2011, 3:07 pm

@missmarie wrote:I grew grocery store potatoes in a canvas bag last year. They produced decently.

Can I ask a related question? Is the 6 in. bed sufficient space for potatoes? Some have mentioned using the top hat boxes. But can it work ok in just the 6 in bed?



In ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING, in the Appendix, Section titled Basil and Beyond, page 222, Mel describes using a 6 inch deep SFG Box, pulling back 5 inches of soil, setting your sprouted seed potatoes, covering lightly, then as they grow, pull more MM over the plants as needed. He does suggest that deeper boxes (top hats) will produce more potaoes.

VERY important to keep the potatoes covered with soil. If the potatoes are exposed to the sun, the skin turns green and is slightly toxic.

I had very limited experience with potatoes and am using a woven poly-something sack so I can continue to bury my potatoes as they grow, up to 20 inches deep.
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