Potatoes can be grown from seeds
The traditional method of growing potatoes from tubers leads to the accumulation of harmful genetic changes in it. To renew the potato, it is recommended that every few years to obtain its harvest from botanical seeds.
Most vegetables are grown from seeds. However, potatoes are almost always propagated through tubers. And although this method is simple and convenient, it also has serious disadvantages. First of all, it is the degeneration of potato varieties, which is clearly manifested in different sizes of growing tubers. If varietal tubers are approximately the same size, then each bush belonging to a degenerate variety produces both large and small tubers with peas.
But the list of disadvantages is not limited only to degeneration of the variety. Tubers are the accumulators of diseases transmitted during their planting to all new growing bushes and tubers. Even with the selection of the best tubers for planting, every year more and more various diseases accumulate in them, and the taste of the tubers only worsens. Over the years, diseases of tubers are increasing, and their yield is becoming smaller.
These troubles can be eliminated by propagating potatoes with botanical seeds, in which diseases stored in tubers are not transmitted. But it should be remembered that this method will require a lot of labor. This applies primarily to the first year of growing from seeds.
Benefits of growing potatoes from seeds
For those not familiar with a similar method of propagating potatoes, we list its advantages:
- one potato seed is 25 times cheaper than the same mini-tuber;
- no need for special rooms for storing seeds;
- long shelf life of seeds - from six to ten years;
- the productivity of bushes grown from potato seeds exceeds by 8-23% the productivity of bushes from tubers;
- tubers from seed bushes are completely exempted from a number of potato diseases; they are more resistant to adverse environmental conditions and late blight.
Consequently, tubers from seed bushes are an elite planting material, which for 5 years will provide a large potato crop due to the absence of any diseases in this material.
Difficulties in growing potatoes from seeds
Having engaged in this method of growing potatoes, you will feel like a real breeder, since potato bushes always differ in the number, color and size of tubers, they have different resistance to diseases. You will select tubers for planting next year according to your own criteria.
But you will have to face the following difficulties:
- potato seedlings have a weaker root system than tomatoes, they need the most loose soil, it is better to even use sawdust as a substrate before raising seedlings to 3 cm;
- the capriciousness of seedlings that respond to any inconvenience, including strong stretching in low light;
- the need for regular use of such biological products as planriz, trichodermin, black yeast, without which potato seedlings often get sick, especially the "black leg";
- potato seedlings are fragile, which requires great care when transplanting them.
When growing potatoes from seeds, both the seedling method and the direct sowing of potato seeds in open ground are used.
Growing potato seedlings
Seedlings begin to be prepared in the early spring, when there are still 2.5-3 months before planting potatoes. First, the seeds germinate. It is best to place them on a wet towel, after which it is placed in a plastic box with a lid and placed in heat, for example, under a battery. Every day, the seeds are ventilated by opening the lid for several minutes. If the cloth is dry, then it is moistened with water. After a couple of weeks, sprouts will hatch from the seeds.
After complete germination of the seeds, they are placed in boxes with a nutrient substrate. In one box with dimensions of 60x50 cm, no more than a hundred seeds are sown to a depth of 0.5-1 cm. Then, the top layer is slightly compacted so that it does not wash off when watering. The boxes are covered with film and placed under a film greenhouse. Weed and seedlings regularly.
After a month, when the seedlings reach a height of 7-10 cm, it is transplanted into plastic cups with done drainage holes, deepened to the leaves. This should be done carefully so as not to damage the roots.
After this, seedlings are sprouted again, not forgetting to turn the sprouts in different directions towards the light. Drying soil in glasses moisten.
You can learn about modern methods of growing potatoes in our previous publications.
Planting seedlings in the ground and caring for it
At the end of May, after the threat of frost disappears, seedlings aged 40-50 days are planted in holes 0.1 m deep in open ground. 0.3-0.4 kg of humus is placed in each well, then watered at the rate of half a liter of water per well. Sprouts are buried so that there are 2-3 leaves above the ground, while in 40-day-old seedlings they are usually 5-6. Seedlings are placed according to a thickened pattern of 70 × 10 cm or by a sparse pattern of 70 × 30 cm. In the first case, the maximum number of tubers is obtained, with a sparse planting pattern, the number of tubers decreases with an increase in their size.
Look after potato seedlings according to the standard scheme with regular loosening of row-spacing, double hilling, treatment from pests and watering. Seedlings are harvested in early September. You can familiarize yourself with the technology of growing potatoes in more detail by reading the relevant material on our website.
Sowing potato seeds in open ground
The seedlingless method of sowing involves careful preparation of the soil. In the 1st decade of May, the planned rows with a pitch of 0.6-0.7 m are poured with water and sowed to a depth of 0.5-1 cm with potato seeds. After the appearance of two true leaflets in plants, closing together, thinning is carried out and the plants are planted in increments of 15-20 cm. Potato seeds are very sensitive to weeds and overdrying the soil, so you need to weed and water them in a timely manner. Tubers are harvested in late September or early October.
The vegetable grower should not be upset due to the low yield of potato seeds. Indeed, even very good soil with careful care will not produce more than 0.1-0.5 tons per hundred due to the presence of only small tubers weighing up to 40 g in the crop. But it is this sevka that is very beneficial as a planting material for next year: just 10-12 kg per hundred square meters is enough. The crop grown from the seed set will be higher than when planted with tubers, as the plants will be freed from diseases.
Of course, in the first year you will not be able to get so many potatoes from seeds to use it all winter. From the potato seeds in the 1st year there will be a crop in the form of mini-tubers of 10-50 g in weight (like onion set from onion seeds). With careful care from one bush, you will receive up to 1 kg of tubers, and some of them will be up to 0.1 kg in weight. Better will be a crop of potato seeds grown in a greenhouse.
How to grow potatoes from seeds
Next year mini-tubers will give super-elite potatoes, which have the highest quality (1st reproduction), from which there will also be super-elite potatoes, which is already just good quality, in the 3rd year, just elite potatoes will grow in the 4th year, and from 5-6 years old ordinary potatoes will go again with a decrease in yield. Therefore, after five years, you can re-grow potatoes from seeds.