Potatoes are a great crop to grow in your garden, and if you save the seeds from your harvest, you can plant them again next year! In this blog post, we will walk you through the steps of harvesting and storing potato seeds. We will also discuss the best conditions for seed storage, and provide some tips on how to get the most out of your potato seed stockpile!
When to Harvest Potato Seeds?
Potato seed is harvested from the previous year’s crop, usually in late August or early September. This is usually done by hand to ensure only healthy tubers are selected for storing as seeds. The seed tubers should be large and free of blemishes, rot, or disease.
Selecting Seed Potatoes
It is important to choose the best potatoes for seed collection. Potatoes that are most suitable are large, mature, and healthy. A good seed potato should be free of disease, insect damage, cuts, or bruises and it should also not be sprouting. It is also important to select clean potatoes with good eye formation.
Seed Preparation for Storage
After harvesting, potato seeds should be thoroughly cleaned of soil and dried at a temperature not exceeding 77°F. This can take several days, depending on the moisture content of the seeds. Once dried, they should be inspected once again and any damaged tubers discarded. During the first two weeks, the optimum storage temperature is 57-64°F, during which time the dug potatoes heal the mechanical damage received during harvesting and transportation of the crop to the storage. Then the good seed tubers can be stored in labeled bags or other breathable containers at temperatures no lower than 32°F.
Conditions for Storing Potato Seeds
Potato seeds should be stored in a dry, cool environment that is well-ventilated and away from direct light or excessive heat. The relative air humidity of 85-93%. The temperature should not exceed 50°F and ideally should hover between 35° and 40°F.
When storing potato seeds, it is important to keep track of the date they were harvested and the date they will expire. Generally, potato seeds can be kept for up to six months if stored properly in a cool environment. After this time, the seed’s viability begins to decline rapidly and it is best to replace them with fresh seeds before planting.
When storing potatoes, sprouts can be cut off without harm only once. In this case, other sleeping buds wake up and new sprouts are formed in large quantities. But it is undesirable to cut off the sprouts for the second time, as it will be to the detriment of the crop. Therefore, when the sprouts are formed for the second time, the seed potatoes should be brought to the light – in the light the sprouts will turn green and will not grow. And so you have to keep the seed tubers until planting.