Potato Germination

heirloomjunkie(5a)May 11, 2011

I recently planted Kennebec potatoes that I had chitted for about a week. I planted them outside about a week ago, but so far, none of them have broken the soil. How long do these usually take? I can't seem to find a timeline for this anywhere, and I'm getting antsy.


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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)



    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 10:20AM
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I planted mine in March, they're just breaking through the straw now.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 11:09AM
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diggity_ma(5 MA)

Definitely, patience is rewarded. Potatoes, perhaps more than any other veggie I can think of, have their own internal clock. They do what they want, when they want, and there's really not much you can do to alter it. I'm in zone 5 too (MA), and I just saw the first of mine break the surface yesterday.

Here is a link that might be useful: Garden Imperative

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 12:16PM
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Good to know. I did just find a link that something about two weeks to germinate. But like you said diggity, there probably are a lot of factors to consider. :) Just wanted to make sure I was on the right track. I will sit back and relax now. Thanks!


    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 1:05PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Just one little nit pick. Potatoes don't actually 'germinate' (unless you've sown seeed from the tomato like fruits). They aren't seeds even though they are called 'seed' potatoes.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 11:38AM
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Yes, if planted deep enough and soil warmed some will take about 2 weeks before you see any sign. It is really hard to screw up potatoes.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 12:24PM
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I planted in March as well....not a sign of potato anywhere. Worse, I used a method where I plant them in 12 inch holes, which keep getting filled with dirt in all the rain. AHHH! Worst idea ever. I bet I've re-dug those holes every 3rd day for 2 months now. Never again.

Tomorrow I plan on digging at least one of the seed potatoes up to see if anything is happening. I might just replant and hope I at least get little new potatoes, even if they wont have time to fully develop :(

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 10:17PM
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That's one of the benefits of growing them in straw. You can push it aside in spots to check if the sprouts are developing as they ought.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 10:08AM
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Ack! Now this thread has me more concerned. My kids decided they wanted to grow potatoes and sweet potatoes this year - they know I'm a softie for any garden thing. ("It's not me getting more gardening stuff, hon, it's the kids!") We don't really have space for potatoes, but I read a great article in Organic Gardening magazine and decided to get those potato grow bags.

Only problem is, I didn't pay attention to planting schedules. Gosh, potatoes need to go out early! I had so much going on this year my seed starting was a challenge to get done, too. Am I too late? I just got some seed potatoes at my fave garden store yesterday, cut them like Ed Smith told me (Veggie Gardener's Bible), and they are curing near a window. Last frost is May 21st-ish, and first frost is Sept 11-21st. It's not like I have a huge season, anyway. I did get early potatoes at least.

I'm always up for an experiment, so this is fun no matter what. But it would be nice to get potatoes, too. I'd also love to hear suggestions for soil for my grow bags. In containers I usually do Tapla's 5:1:1 mix for annual things. But I'm not sure how the ph works out. I'm even more confused about the sweet potatoes (slips coming after the LF), because don't those want really acidic soil?

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 2:34PM
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Looks like I have potato leaves coming up. Yay! Sorry, flora, I didn't know what other term to use beside "germinate". :) I can see tiny leaves coming up now, and they have been in the ground for about two weeks.

I checked on them yesterday. In some cases, the potatoes were actually sticking out of the ground a bit. I buried those things like four inches deep! But maybe the rain washed some of the soil away.


    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 3:01PM
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Seeing as you already have the potatoes and the bags you might as well try it, you wont be any further than me. I just dug out one of my potatoes to look at it and it looks exactly like it did when I planted!!! My last frost is usually May 7th (not this year, its been so cold and rainy)!!!! I bet I dont see green shoots poking up for another 2-3 weeks!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 8:30PM
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spiced_ham(z5 OH)

Potatoes can go in early but they don't have to go in early. Really hot weather will cut down on tuber formation, so if you are in the South that will be a problem. Late spring planting will also get the tubers to emerge faster than if they are planted in March/April and sit in cold soil.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 9:40PM
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I planted both Kennebec and Yukon Gold.

It took about 19 days for the first couple of Kennebec potatoes to come up. 100% of them came up within 25 days.

The Yukon Gold seemed to take longer. Only about half of those have germinated - and they started germinating about 23 days after they were planted (day 27 today).

Here is a link that might be useful: My Garden Blog

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 8:08PM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

Moose Tubers recommends planting when the soil is 55 to 60 degrees. During this cold and wet early spring, our soil has stayed pretty cool. I'm planning to plant next weekend, along with other veggies that need 60 degree temps for germination.

I guess that does mean that if summer heats up quickly, the potatoes won't have a very long growing season. But I didn't want to put them in the ground to sit and, possibly, rot. In any case, our last frost date is about June 6, and I was also concerned that any early sprouts might take a frost.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 9:54PM
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