Pros/Cons of buying seed potatoes VS?

rjingaDecember 10, 2008

I guess the VS would be finding unique varieties at say a farmers market or organic market etc.

Then if you do buy "seed" potatoes, and say you get 1 pound of them. How do you prepare them to plant. I just spoke to a sales rep from an online organic place that said a 1 pound order will seed an 8 foot row, spaced 8-12 inches apart. So for $3 (and shipping) you get approximately 8 plants.

What would be a good quantity of plants to produce say enough for a family?

If store bought/market bought potatoes are used, is there anything different about what you will get to grow from them?


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What is VS?

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 4:06PM
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lol, well VS would be versus (seed potatoe vs store bought)

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 4:18PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

How to Grow Potatoes in the Home Garden

The average maximum production for potatoes is 1 lb. per foot of row. That is an old well-established guideline. 1 lb. of seed potatoes won't get you much. Average home gardener order is 5 lbs. minimum and that gets you a 40' row depending on how you prep and cut the eyes.

The advantages of seed potatoes over store bought is discussed often - see link below. New growers always want to try store bought. Most experienced growers who want a dependable crop will recommend certified seed potatoes.


Here is a link that might be useful: Seed potato discussions

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 4:32PM
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backyardener(z6 Idaho)

$3 per pound for seed potatoes? That seems extremely expensive. Maybe it is because I am in Idaho, but the local nursery / garden stores here have them for less than $0.70 per pound. I would go to a local store and buy certified seed potatoes if I were you. That way you can be sure they are disease free, and should cost much less than $3 per pound.

As for planting, I have tried many ways. Some say plant them whole, some say cut them up. I have tried picking small seed potatoes and planting whole, cutting up large seed potatoes, and also planting whole large seed potatoes. To be honest, I have not seen too much difference no matter which method. I usually pick small/medium size seed potatoes, cut them in half, and place directly in the ground (cut side down). Some say if you cut them they need to "cure", blah, blah, but I have never had a single problem just cutting and putting them directly in the ground.

My family loves potatoes, so this year I had 48 plants (2 dozen seed potatoes). I have no idea how many pounds of potatoes I dug, but I bet WELL over 100. That should last us (family of 4) most of the winter. I like Red Norland for early potatoes, and Pontiac Reds and Russet Burbank for later in the season / storing. Have tried Yukon Gold and Cal Whites, but I am not fond of either of them. Each year I like to try a new variety just to see which I like better.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 4:37PM
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I realize that MOST gardening we all do if it's just a hobby (and not for commercial production etc) isn't driven by economics, BUT.....based on that formula, If you are paying $3 a pound (and probably $6 to 8 for shipping?) for the seed potatoes times 5 lbs and that amount will plant a 40 ft row and that equates to approximately 40 lbs of potatoes grown, then it is costing minimum of $21 to $23 (not counting any soil implements, fertilizer, water etc). or $2 a pound??? For potatoes???? HMMM, I may have just talked myself out of it.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 4:59PM
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Backyardener, my parents live in Idaho, so maybe I'll have them get me some and mail them to me!! I'll definitely check locally here but to be honest I have never seen them in the typical places I would shop. But I certainly can and will venture out to the nurseries/feed/seed places and see what I can find.

That $3 a pound price was from 2 different sites, (one recommended here on GW the other I happened upon while searching for strawberry plants.

Thanks for the info.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 5:05PM
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Ringa, do you have a local farmers' co-op or place that sells seeds and roots for planting? Chances are that you can get certified seed potatoes, locally, for less. I'd pay the $3/lb for something I couldn't get locally. But locally we pay a lot less for see potatoes.

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 5:13PM
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Rjinga; Virtually all the seed and feeds in Georgia carry seed potatoes starting in January in south Georgia. About they ever have are Red Pontiacs and Kennebecs. Once in awhile you might find Yukon Gold. I woudl not recommend less that 5 lbs, cut two eyes to the seed piece. That will give you 4-6 plants per potato. Whether you cure the seed pieces or not is up to you. If you have problems with rot in the soil, it is a good idea to cure them. Some folks go the extent of dipping the seed pieces in dusting sulphur.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 5:30PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I agree with farmerdilla - come planting time seed potatoes are cheap and easy to find unless you want some fancy unusual variety - they will cost you! Maybe you just aren't looking for them at the right time which for you would be mid-February planting time according to Georgia Coop Extension.

Even Walmart and Home Depot sell them in Feb and March here as planting time for us is early March. Any place that sells seeds and plants including all the ones he listed above. Round here you can even buy certified seed potatoes by the pound in the grocery stores. The only reason to buy them online is if you want the rare varieties.

When you find them, buy medium size ones with good eye development and cut them in 1/2 or quarters and plant. Then hill and hill and hill them up and viola' you have potatoes. It really is inexpensive and simple. And there is no comparison between home grown and store bought potatoes.

backyardener - what variety gave you 100 lbs. of potatoes from 48 plants? I got to get some of those!! Maybe it's the Idaho soil like the Idaho Potato Commission commercials say but that would be a world record in this neck of the woods. ;)


PS: article linked below even lists all the counties/towns in Georgia that are noted for their commercial potato production and commercial certified seed stock production so finding local certified seed potatoes should be quite easy.

Here is a link that might be useful: Georgia as a Source of Certified Seed Potatoes

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 6:31PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

I have been buying a 50 pound sack of certified seed potatoes for 9 or 10 dollars at the local Rural King farm store. Garden centers cost quite a bit more.....and I like the empty burlap bags for starting lettuce seeds.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 7:37PM
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backyardener(z6 Idaho)

I get the most weight per foot with russet burbank. Some of them are HUGE, I mean like 1.5+ pounds each. They seem to get bigger every year as the soil improves, the first year they were much smaller. I am digging all summer, starting in mid July (red norlands were great for this), so I didn't actually weigh all of them. All I know is that in October when I harvested all the rest of my crop I put 60 pounds in my garage. Those were a mix of russet burbank and pontiac reds (which I think taste slightly better, and yield only slightly less). I'd be VERY disappointed if I only got 1 pound per foot.

HaHa, you get those goofy Idaho Potato Commission commercials there in Arkansas? That cracks me up. I think it is more a result of the weather / climate than the soil - anybody can build good soil. We get very long, VERY hot, VERY dry summer days. I water with canal water (lots, since it is so dry here) and the plants grow like crazy, with zero pest problems. Probably one of the most productive plants in the whole garden. And you are right, there is no comparison to the store bought potatoes, even here in Idaho.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 12:43PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

I usually always get 10 pounds for every pound of potatoes I plant. This year I planted 125 pounds of potatoes and dug well over 1400 pounds of potatoes. In fact, I still have some out in the garden that never got dug. About a 20 foot row. I may dig them later and see if they are still good.

I have about 300 pounds in the basement and I sold the rest at farmers markets.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 5:11PM
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