Ask a Question forum: Potatoes from last year have sprouts 2-3 feet long, should I still plant them?

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Northeast Ohio
NoUsernamesAllowed
Mar 12, 2018 8:20 AM CST
I saved a couple dozen potatoes from my harvest last year, and I placed them inside paper bags, and then inside a cardboard box. I placed them in the basement in a very dark spot last year in August.
You can imagine my surprise today when I uncovered them to find such a huge length of tuber tentacles coming out from them. Each potato has 4-5 tentacles and they range from 2 feet long to 3 feet long.

I have never had to deal with such length in the sprouts... but all the seed potatoes I've had before were from the store, not from my own harvest. So I am wondering, should I cut any of these sprouts down to size, should I still plant them this year, and if so, we are still in 20-30 (Fahrenheit) weather, so is it okay for me to wait another 3 weeks or so to plant these octopus potatoes.

I would greatly appreciate your knowledge and expertise for this dilemma!

-John
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Mar 12, 2018 11:37 AM CST
Break them off or they will drain the potatoes and make them worthless for planting.
When you break them off, the potatoes will sit for awhile and then start new sprouts, often, not always.
Keep track of them, if they dry up too much they will not be worth much.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Mar 12, 2018 12:54 PM CST
I always leave the sprouts alone. Train them down the length of the row, and cover them. gives a head start.

If you can work the soil, I'd plant immediately. any vegetation that emerges above the soil line will get frosted back, but anything under the soil keeps growing.

Here's the taters here...
Thumb of 2018-03-12/stone/dba46a
Thumb of 2018-03-12/stone/6236f8

Planted last autumn...

[Last edited by stone - Mar 12, 2018 12:55 PM (+)]
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Northeast Ohio
NoUsernamesAllowed
Mar 12, 2018 3:12 PM CST
@RPR
thank you for your suggestions, it is good to know they can potentially re-sprout!

stone said:I always leave the sprouts alone. Train them down the length of the row, and cover them. gives a head start.

If you can work the soil, I'd plant immediately. any vegetation that emerges above the soil line will get frosted back, but anything under the soil keeps growing.

Here's the taters here...
Thumb of 2018-03-12/stone/dba46a
Thumb of 2018-03-12/stone/6236f8

Planted last autumn...



Thank you for the advice, stone! I would really like to plant them immediately as you have said... however, I am worried because we are still experiencing freezing temperatures(as in, it is normally below freezing currently in Northeast Ohio). If we are going to be getting temperatures of 20 (fahrenheit) each night for the next few days, are you certain they will be safe underground during that period?

Thank you very much for your information!
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Mar 14, 2018 1:48 PM CST
NoUsernamesAllowed said:@RPR
Thank you very much for your information!

NO, if they had just been left in the ground, deep, there is a fifty-fifty chance they would be fine but they are not.
Plant them now and they will rot in the ground.

When it is time to plant , if the sprouts are up to six inches long, I leave them on.
I some times break off all but a few best looking ones.
I plant deep so I often can just put the sprouts verical in the hole still several inches below the surface.
How they will do for you depends on you plant, do you hill, I do not, and your soil.
[Last edited by RpR - Mar 14, 2018 1:51 PM (+)]
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Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
Mar 14, 2018 2:04 PM CST
NoUsernamesAllowed said:Thank you for the advice, stone! I would really like to plant them immediately as you have said... however, I am worried because we are still experiencing freezing temperatures(as in, it is normally below freezing currently in Northeast Ohio).

If we are going to be getting temperatures of 20 (fahrenheit) each night for the next few days, are you certain they will be safe underground during that period?


Back when I gardened in Missouri, I saw potatoes planted in January grow and produce.

The taters that I posted?

THU 1/18
Actual Temp
48° /17°

It got cold here during bombogenesis.... in the teens... the taters were in the ground.

If you can work the soil, I'd plant. If the soil is frozen... I'd wait.

Personally, I'd plant some now, and some later.
What can it hurt?

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