Growing potatoes from seeds at home
It is unlikely that there is a garden in Russia where potatoes would not be grown. This vegetable has long become an important component of the diet of Russians, earning the respectful nickname “second bread”. Modern breeding offers the widest variety of varieties - resistant to diseases, consistently yielding crops, ultra-ripened. But over time, with the constant use of their own planting material, the quality of tubers and yields are sharply reduced. To avoid this, you need to periodically update it. A good way is to grow mini tubers from seeds.
Advantages and disadvantages of the method
Cultivation of mini-tubers from seeds at home is a procedure that has recently been rapidly gaining popularity among Russian gardeners. Basically, it is attractive because it allows significant savings on the purchase of planting material of the “elite” and “super elite” categories. On average, one seed is 25 times cheaper than a tuber.When using their own planting material for several years, the quality of potatoes deteriorates significantly, the yield drops.Seed propagation allows you to quickly and inexpensively replace it.There are other undoubted advantages of the method:
- Purchased in the store and collected independently seeds are not infected with spores of pathogenic fungi, viruses, bacteria, which inevitably accumulate in the soil, where potatoes are grown for several years. Purchased seeds of the newest varieties most often have genetically integrated immunity to most of the typical culture diseases.
- New mini-tubers in the process of growing adapt to the climatic and weather conditions of the region. Then this useful property is transferred to the potato bushes. For the next 5–8 years, planting material can be used without fear that the vagaries of the weather will affect productivity. Statistics show that, depending on the region, the number of harvested tubers increases by 10–25%.
- The possibility of long-term storage. Harvested potato seeds remain viable for 5–7 years, and even up to 10 years.However, it is worth considering that fresh (under the age of two years) germinate better than the old.
- Seeds take up very little space. They do not need specific conditions, for example, low temperature and air humidity maintained in a cellar or basement.
- When buying tubers in a store, and even more so on the market, it is impossible to guarantee that the potato variety is the one for which it is issued. Moreover, an ordinary gardener is hardly able to distinguish ordinary small tubers from super elite ones.
Growing potatoes from seeds is a unique opportunity to feel like a breeder
As usual, it was not without flaws:
- Cultivation of potato seedlings from seeds will require considerable efforts from the gardener and exact adherence to the recommendations. It is much more demanding to care than its “relatives” from the Solanaceae family - tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, which many have already become accustomed to cultivate on the windowsill.
- Grown seedlings are fragile and small in size. They are easily damaged during transplantation by breaking roots or leaves. Most likely, such a plant will not recover. They also often get sick, so the seedlings will have to be carefully examined and treated with special preparations on a regular basis. Her real scourge is “black leg”.
- Shoots grow rather slowly and “suffocate” if they choose the wrong substrate. It should be as loose and light as possible.
- Seedlings are strongly drawn out, because of this they are quite difficult to transport. The fact that the seeds need to be planted early enough in early spring. Until May, the seedlings gain a height of 15–17 cm, but they do not have a strong stem, such as tomatoes, so the seedlings easily break, deform, intertwine, and so on.
- Two-year development cycle. In the first season, it is impossible to get a full harvest from seeds. Over the summer, only mini-tubers will be formed, which will need to be preserved until next spring.
However, despite all the shortcomings, growing potatoes from seeds is a unique opportunity to feel like a real breeder.The fact is that even purchased seeds in the store, not to mention self-collected, do not guarantee the stability of varietal characteristics.On the bags specifically there is a warning about the heterogeneity of seeds in a genetic sense. Select planting material from the resulting mini-tubers will have to independently, guided by their own criteria.
When buying mini-tubers, a gardener is not always able to distinguish a real elite and a super elite from ordinary small potatoes.
It is impossible to get the same type of “offspring” in principle - this is an interesting biological feature of potato plants. But in general, such diversity is even a plus, because it allows you to make the most successful choice in order to get the same tubers next year. It is possible, focusing on the climatic and weather conditions of a particular region, to bring your own unique variety, ideal for cultivation in a particular area.
Video: potato harvest from own mini tubers
Collection of planting material
With the purchase of seeds in the store problems are not guaranteed. The most difficult thing is to make a choice, because the proposed variety is simply amazing.Experienced gardeners are advised to give preference to varietal seeds, rather than hybrids.Most often in stores there are Farmer, Ilona, Assol, Milena, Triumph, Empress, Virgo, Krasa.
The choice of potato seeds in specialized stores is very wide, there will be no problems with their purchase.
In general, if possible, it is better to collect the seeds yourself. They form in fruits similar to small green tomatoes that ripen on potato bushes after flowering.In this case, the seeds are not infected with viruses, bacteria, fungi, even if they were attacked by the bush itself.Berries should be large, dense and resilient to the touch.
Gardeners often tear off potato fruits, believing that there is no use for them, but it is from them that seeds can be obtained
Suitable fruits, waiting for autumn, are collected and hung in linen or gauze bags where the sun will fall on them. After 7-10 days, when they "podvyavyatsya" and brighten, the flesh softens, and the skin wrinkles, from them carefully extract the seeds, cutting in half a sharp clean knife. You can just knead them with a fork, and then filter the pulp through a sieve.Seeds cannot boast with a high percentage of germination, therefore it is better to provide yourself with planting material with a reserve.On average, each fruit contains 150-200 seeds.
Potato seeds should be carefully separated from the pulp so as not to damage
They are then washed, scraping off the remnants of the pulp,well dried and stored in a hermetically sealed container or a special plastic bag with a reusable clasp in a dry, dark, cool place until spring.
Pre-plant preparation will help improve the germination of potato seeds, as well as protect them from diseases that often attack seedlings. If it is planned to land in open ground, the preparation begins at the end of April or in the first decade of May, for seedlings - at the end of winter.
“Dry” potato seeds should not be planted, they do not differ in germination anyway
To reduce the time of emergence, experienced gardeners advise to warm the seeds for a quarter of an hour at a temperature of 40 ºС or slightly higher. It is desirable to simultaneously create a high humidity - 85% or more.
Sometimes they recommend “shock therapy” - for the night, the soaked seeds are placed in a refrigerator, where the temperature is maintained just above 0ºС. It is advisable to remove them away from the door to avoid it drops. In the morning, the containers are removed and kept at room temperature during the day. All preparation takes 6–10 days. Negative temperature of the seeds is strictly contraindicated.
Then the seeds are wrapped in wet gauze and put in a warm place. Well suited sun-warmed window sill or radiator. You can place them in the kitchen - there is usually warmer than in the rest of the apartment.It is very important to constantly keep the gauze in a wet state, not allowing it to dry out.After 3-6 days, the seeds should be pierced. It is better to use not simple water, but a weak (3-5 ml per liter) solution of any biostimulant — Epin, Gumistar, Heteroauxin, potassium humate. The most "budget" option is succinic acid (tablet for 0.5 l of water).
Potato seeds sprout quickly enough, especially in the heat
It is advisable to start the preparation of the seeds collected manually with disinfection, soaking them for about half an hour in a pale pink solution of potassium permanganate. Then they are washed in clean water and dried well.
Planting and caring for seedlings at home
Growing seedlings is impossible without suitable soil. It is with his training and growing seedlings.The substrate must be sufficiently nutritious, but at the same time light, well permeable to water and air.
Most often they use a mixture of loose top peat with ordinary garden soil, fertile turf and large river sand (4: 2: 6: 1). You can also buy a special seedling mixture in the store and add Nitrophoska (3-5 g / l) to it.
Potato seeds, in principle, can be grown in ordinary soil for seedlings, if you pre-enrich it with fertilizers
All components are thoroughly mixed, the finished soil is disinfected, treating with steam, “roasting” in the oven, spilling boiling water, bright pink solution of potassium permanganate or frosting in the refrigerator. An alternative is the addition of drugs of biological origin (for example, Fitosporin, Trichodermin, Glyocladin), which have the property to destroy the spores of pathogenic fungi and to promote the reproduction of beneficial microflora. The resulting substrate is dried and sieved.
Disinfection of soil is a strictly mandatory procedure, potato seedlings are very capricious and subject to various diseases
Sometimes it is recommended to use sawdust or finely chopped sphagnum moss, but this “soil” is not very fertile. Moreover, in this case it is quite difficult to adjust the watering.Moistened substrate quickly turns sour, seeds rot.
Phytosporin - a drug of biological origin, which helps to disinfect the substrate before planting seeds
The technology itself is as follows:
- The shallow, wide containers are filled with prepared primer, moderately moistened with a spray bottle and leveled.
- Sprouted seeds are spread on the surface of the soil, leaving between them 5-7 cm, between rows - 10-12 cm. On top, they are sprinkled with a thin (0.3-0.5 cm) layer of fine sand, gently compacting it.
- To create the greenhouse effect, containers are covered with plastic film or glass.
- The seeds are provided with bright diffused light, the temperature is about 25–27ºС, and, if possible, the bottom heating. As the substrate dries out, it is sprayed from a spray bottle, once a day the “greenhouse” is opened for 5–10 minutes for airing. The soil should always be slightly wet, but not wet.
- The first shoots in optimal conditions appear in 10–12 days, mass - in 15–20 days. When the plants form two true leaves, they are transplanted into small plastic cups or peat pots. In the first case, the presence of drainage holes.It should be noted that potato seedlings require much more light than, for example, tomatoes.
- When seedlings take root in a new place (a new leaf will start to appear), it is fed with a solution of any nitrogen-containing fertilizer - carbamide, ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulfate (1-1.5 g / l). After about 2-3 hours the seedlings are watered with clean water.
When diving potato seedlings, be careful - the plants are very fragile, they are easily confused.
Further care for the potato seedlings is in a timely watering (do not allow water droplets to fall on the leaves).The best option - lower watering, as for orchids, Saintpaulia or begonias.
When planting a single pot of several seeds, then the shoots will need to be weeded out
If the condition of seedlings does not suit you, you can feed it with a solution of any liquid complex mineral fertilizer (Kemira-Lux, Uniflor, Baikal-EM, Agricola), reducing the concentration of the drug by half as compared with the recommended manufacturer, or sprinkle with a biostimulator. But do not get involved in it. For all the time of cultivation (on average about two months) no more than two additional feedings are allowed.
"Black Leg" - a dangerous disease that can deprive you of the harvest at the stage of growing seedlings
10-15 days before the proposed landing in the soil, seedlings begin to harden, taking out in the day to open air or at least to a glassed-in loggia. Gradually, the time spent on the street increases from 30–45 minutes to 5–6 hours.
Sawdust - not the most suitable substrate for potato seeds - they quickly sour, provoking the development of rot
Video: planting potato seeds for seedlings
Planting seedlings in the ground and further care
Potato seedlings are planted in open ground about two months after germination. In the southern regions, it is warm enough in mid-May, in areas with a temperate climate, we will have to wait until early June.
The beds for seedlings are prepared in the fall. The soil is dug to a depth of one spade bayonet, carefully selected stones and rhizomes of weeds.Large clods of earth do not break, the surface of the beds are not leveled.
Plot potatoes take away well warmed up by the sun and protected from cold northerly winds. It is necessary to find out in advance the acid-base balance of the soil - the potatoes do not tolerate the acidified substrate categorically.If the figures differ from normal (5.5–7.5), crushed chalk, dolomite flour, egg shells (250–300 g / m²) are ground into the soil when digging.
In the spring, on a prepared bed with an interval of 20–25 cm, wells are made with a depth of 8–10 cm.The "heavier" the substrate, the smaller the fossa should be.At the bottom of each is placed a handful of humus, a tablespoon of sifted wood ash. The soil is watered, it consumes 0.5–1 l of water. When it is absorbed, a seedling is planted in the hole. It is carefully placed and covered with earth so that only real leaves remain on the surface.
Potato seedlings are planted very carefully - it has fragile leaves and roots.
To protect plants from sudden changes in temperature, precipitation, overheating, the bed is closed with any covering material that lets air through (lutrasil, agril, spunbond). It is advisable to pull it on a low arc. When the seedlings adapt and begin to form new leaves, the protection is removed.
In order to minimize the stress received during planting and to protect the seedlings from possible frost, it is advisable to tighten the bed with covering material.
During the first month, it is watered frequently (every 2–3 days), but little by little, spending 100–150 ml of water for each plant. Then the intervals between procedures are increased to 6–8 days, and the rate is increased to 0.5 l. After each irrigation, the substrate is gently loosened, breaking up a hard crust on the surface, weeding the soil. To save time on the last procedure, the soil can be mulched.
In about 30–40 days, the seedlings will turn into little visible bushes that grow from ordinary tubers with several shoots. Before the plants come together and turn into a solid green mass, they are spud.
Further care for seed potatoes is no different from the usual. During the season, spend three feeding. The first is combined with hilling, distributing Nitrophoska or Nitroammofoska (30–40 g / m²) or Kemira-Lux (10–15 g / m²) under bushes. The second is carried out in the phase of budding, making potash and phosphate fertilizers in a ratio of 2: 3. A natural alternative is wood ash (1.5-2 cups per 1 m²). The last time, in order to stimulate tuberization, potatoes are fed with phosphorus. The plant is sprayed with a solution of simple superphosphate (20 g per 10 liters of water).
Particular attention should be given to protecting potato sprouts from diseases and pests.It is advisable to use products of biological origin that are not harmful to humans, domestic animals and beneficial insects. Treatment solutions are prepared in strict accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. The use of any chemicals is prohibited for 20-25 days before the intended harvest and is limited during flowering.
Colorado potato beetle - a potato pest familiar to all gardeners; its prevention must be given special attention.
Video: technology of growing mini tubers of potatoes from seed
Technology landing in the open ground
Cultivation of potatoes from seeds in open ground is possible only in warm southern regions. The best time for the procedure is the beginning or middle of May. The soil at a depth of 10-12 cm must necessarily warm up to a temperature of 15 ° C.
- Seedbed beds are well loosened and leveled.
- The holes are formed at a distance of 10–15 cm from each other, with a depth of no more than 3–4 cm. The distance between the rows of landings is 30–35 cm. Instead of holes, you can “draw” continuous grooves on the bed.
- In each well planted 2-5 seeds. The hole is covered with thin (no more than 0.5 cm) layer of peat chips, chopped straw, sawdust, and other small mulch.
- Shoots appear in 5-12 days. It depends on the weather outside. When the seedlings form 2–3 true leaves, and the bushes begin to merge into a solid green mass, the plantings are thinned out. To make the seedlings easier to remove from the ground, about half an hour before the procedure, the bed is watered abundantly. “Extra” bushes can be transplanted to another place, keeping a distance of 20–25 cm between them.
- The growth rate of seedlings do not differ. Weeds can easily “strangle” them, they are very sensitive to drought and the quality of aeration of the soil. Therefore, it is necessary to regularly devote time to weeding, loosening and watering. It is important not to overdo it and do not turn the garden into a swamp.
- In 4-6 weeks, shrubs with several shoots will form, practically not different from those obtained from tubers. Further care is normal.
- Crop harvested in the last decade of September or early October. It depends on the variety, so you need to familiarize yourself with its description in advance. The bulk of the tubers weigh about 25–40 g, but in principle, nail-sized specimens are suitable for planting next year.The next summer you will receive a landing material of the "superelite" category from them.
Cleaning and storage of tubers
Potatoes intended for planting next year, you need to dig out only after the tops are completely dry and dry.When harvesting, be careful - do not discard even very small tubers the size of a bean or even a pea. On average, about 20 potatoes of different sizes, shapes and colors are obtained from one bush (approximately 0.5 kg by weight).
In autumn, after the landing of mini-tubers grown by hand, it is possible to harvest a plentiful harvest
The resulting crop is washed and dried for 4–7 days in a warm, dry shed, garage, basement. It can also be dried in the sun, so that the skin gets a light greenish shade and becomes more durable - this will protect the planting material from possible damage by pests during the winter. Then the potatoes are sorted by size and placed in a place of permanent storage.
The next year, despite the small size of the planting tubers, they will form plants that will yield 25-30% more than usual. If you do not just throw them into the ground, but take care during the summer, getting 280–350 kg with 100 m² is quite possible, even in the most favorable climatic conditions.At the same time, mini-tubers for planting are several times smaller than the usual seed potatoes. Accordingly, they occupy little space.
Video: the result of planting potatoes from seeds
Germination in peat tablets
Some gardeners recommend germinating potato seeds in peat tablets. The advantage of the method is that it is possible to avoid picks and the associated stress, and the risk of damage to plants is also minimized - the seedling is transferred to the new container along with the substrate. The disadvantage is the need to keep the peat moist all the time. Not everyone can keep an eye on this.
To germinate any seeds in peat tablets is very convenient, potatoes are no exception
The technology itself is not fundamentally different from the germination of other seeds:
- For 4-7 days for sowing, the seeds of potatoes are soaked and placed in a warm place, so that sprouts appear.
- Peat tablets are placed in a container with warm water. On one side most often there is a notch, it should look upwards. If necessary, water is poured, including in the center of the tablet.
- After about half an hour, they swell enough.The tablets are moved to the appropriate size for them capacity. A good option, for example, plastic or cardboard packaging from under the eggs.
- Seeds of several pieces laid out in the notches on the tablets, gently pressed into the peat. From above do not fall asleep.
- Capacities with tablets are placed in home mini-greenhouses or in ordinary transparent plastic bags.
- "Greenhouses" put in a bright warm place, the lower heating is desirable. Every day planting is aired for 25–30 minutes, the substrate is moistened 2-3 times a day from a fine spray dispenser.
- When 2-3 present leaves are formed in the seedlings, the plantings are thinned, leaving one peach tablet in each peat tablet, the most powerful and developed sprout (the others are cut with manicure scissors), the shelter is removed. Further care - as for the seedlings.
Peat tablets, in which seeds can be planted, increase in volume several times, it is not necessary to remove the shell from them so that the tablet does not fall apart
It is not uncommon for gardeners to cultivate seedlings in a so-called cochlea, which is a strip of hard, but flexible material, rolled up by a "ballet" (most often a laminate substrate is used). "Filling" in it is the soil. But for potato seeds, this technique is not very suitable.They need a very loose substrate. Seedlings, located very tightly, can disappear completely, catching some disease from each other, or hopelessly confused.
Growing potato tubers from seeds is a rather troublesome and time-consuming process that takes a lot of time and effort from a gardener. Nevertheless, there is nothing difficult in this; you just need to familiarize yourself with certain rules in advance and adhere to the recommendations. The procedure will help to save significantly - the seeds can be collected independently. In stores, elite and super elite mini-tubers are quite expensive, especially if you need to immediately update all planting material.