Some bad tips on my travel weary seed potatoes - cut off?

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Bower
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Some bad tips on my travel weary seed potatoes - cut off?

#1

Post: # 22374Unread post Bower
Sat Jun 13, 2020 8:29 am

So my poor long suffering seed potatoes which are a full month late in arriving thanks to Canada Post :evil: are finally here.
On opening the package I see most of them are still okay although some shrivelling and some long sprouts.
However on a few potatoes there is a sprout or two where the tips have turned brown or black.
Should I prune off the bad tips? The whole sprout? Or what to do for these poor things. :cry: I don't want to discard any if possible, because they cost me a fortune (mostly in shipping cost) and due to the gross lack of service by shipper, not likely to repeat.
Will be working on bed prep today in hopes to get them in before nightfall and the big rain coming tomorrow... they sure look like they could use a drink. :roll:
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Re: Some bad tips on my travel weary seed potatoes - cut off?

#2

Post: # 22381Unread post Whwoz
Sat Jun 13, 2020 10:12 am

@Bower , if there are unused eyes on the potatoes, just remove the shoots and plant as normal. I often do that, particularly with long shoots and the potatoes always come up fine.
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Re: Some bad tips on my travel weary seed potatoes - cut off?

#3

Post: # 22539Unread post brownrexx
Mon Jun 15, 2020 8:54 am

My seed potatoes usually have brown tips on the sprouts too. Maybe caused by lack of light? I don't know but I usually snap them off and let them regrow but then mine are early in the season, not late like yours. I would probably plant them as is since your seed potatoes are already starting to shrivel and it takes energy to produce more growth but I have no experience with this, it's just what I would do.

I would keep them well watered after planting.
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Re: Some bad tips on my travel weary seed potatoes - cut off?

#4

Post: # 22569Unread post Paquebot
Mon Jun 15, 2020 3:23 pm

The brown tips are from lack of moisture. They are merely drying up.

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Re: Some bad tips on my travel weary seed potatoes - cut off?

#5

Post: # 22603Unread post Bower
Mon Jun 15, 2020 9:34 pm

Thanks for the advice. Yes it is quite late to be planting them, and the potatoes were not just dried up and shriveled but very small to begin with, and didn't appear to have any extra eyes. So I planted them as is with the tips just below the soil surface, and hope for the best.
It's been raining ever since, so I guess they're getting just what they were missing. ;)
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Re: Some bad tips on my travel weary seed potatoes - cut off?

#6

Post: # 29196Unread post MsCowpea
Wed Aug 26, 2020 11:43 pm

Bower, how did your potatoes do planted as they were? I have some with long white spiky sprouts and as far as I have read it seems I should
rub off the sprouts? They won’t be planted for another month.
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Re: Some bad tips on my travel weary seed potatoes - cut off?

#7

Post: # 29205Unread post Bower
Thu Aug 27, 2020 6:50 am

@MsCowpea They came up just fine, and made a beautiful stand of potatoes. But I have some troubles now, doesn't seem to be the fault of the spuds or their sprouty beginnings though, afaik.
Here is a pic of them in July.
potatobed-july2020-154.JPG
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The trouble is, I pretty much destroyed this bed (which wasn't that deep anyway) when I transplanted the shallots out of it. I built it up with compost but I knew I would have to add more soil, and TBH, there wasn't enough available to hill them really well. And planted pretty close, a foot+ apart and about a foot between rows.
A second problem, I planted different varieties in every row, but did not realize these would be different heights. Here is a pic from early August, after I hilled them as well as I could with some coarse compost (lots of sticks and straw). I laid some comfrey leaves and tossed in some chicken pellets before I piled on the compost. They seemed to love it and grew very large, but that meant they wanted to be hilled some more and there was nought left!
You can see in this pic from the side how the different vars are different heights. All Red is not tall, and got stuck between two tall ones.
potatoes-aug2020-286.JPG
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Then August was dry and hot. The potatoes flopped over. August 13 would only be 60 days from planting, so you know it's not because they're ready! Although they finished flowering around mid month. I read about it online, that heat and drought can do that, but also of course, it could have been prevented by hilling better. Advice was to stand them up again, if they're not finished. So I just staked and tied them up yesterday. The Red Gold are pretty much done, gone yellow. And there are only two All Red plants still standing. I dug one of each that were died back, and got a handful of small tubers from each of them, about golf ball size. So it seems they needed more time, but time ran out. The ground below is also really dry. Raised bed potatoes a mistake, both for dryness and for the oops nothing to hill with. What was I thinking? :roll: I know, gotta put these somewhere! :?
potatoes-lateaug2020-052.JPG
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The Red Gold are an early potato and they're now about 70 days, so technically I could just dig em and live with the small yield. In the taste test with All Red (which wasn't all red) All Red was the clear winner. So I don't care too much.
The Bellanita are super limp and have a lot of small stems but the leaves are still green. I expected them to be early too, and they are a small potato anyway... so I am thinking maybe I should soon dig those first two rows, and use the soil to hill up the German Butterball.
GB is such a big plant, I would not have to shrink very much more to be described as 'the size of a German Butterball plant'. :lol:
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Re: Some bad tips on my travel weary seed potatoes - cut off?

#8

Post: # 29211Unread post brownrexx
Thu Aug 27, 2020 7:36 am

Potato tubers start getting bigger after flowering and they need water then but your look like they are planted pretty closely to me. When I have planted closely, I got small potatoes.

I plant my seed potatoes about a foot apart in the rows but the rows are far enough apart that I can walk between them.

If you don't have soil, you can always use straw, grass clippings or any other material. Some people even use things like newspapers and cardboard.
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Re: Some bad tips on my travel weary seed potatoes - cut off?

#9

Post: # 29212Unread post Bower
Thu Aug 27, 2020 7:55 am

Well at least we got enough rain yesterday to deal with the deep dryness, so I hope that helps. It's cooler now too.
I expect the potatoes will not be a big crop due to the close planting.
It will be enough for us to decide which ones we like and want to grow... and I sure hope there is enough to use for seed next year as well.
There was just too much work to do this year, I couldn't manage to dig the raspberry roots out of my dad's old potato bed. There's lots of space there but the job of prepping it is huge. Maybe I can get it done this fall.
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Re: Some bad tips on my travel weary seed potatoes - cut off?

#10

Post: # 29215Unread post MsCowpea
Thu Aug 27, 2020 8:25 am

Thank you for detailed report and the pictures. Very helpful. Hope you get alot of potatoes on the yet to be dug ones.
I rarely grow potatoes in South Florida - I was also afraid they would get diseased and it would spread to tomatoes. And the one disease I don’t have and don’t want is late blight. I tried in the ground once and another time in containers with an organic vs synthetic experiment. It was a lot of fun growing them but the inground ones weren’t worth the cost of the seed potato plus shipping.
You also cant get the seed potatoes when you need them.
Anyway, I became addicted to watching YouTube videos of UK allotment gardeners growing in pots and then doing a big potato ‘reveal’.
Decided to try again. Only in containers away from the main garden.

I have several varieties but one variety sprouted like this. I read online that sprouts like this are weak and should be removed and they will regrow but not sure. I guess I could remove some on a few potatoes and leave some on others and compare.

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Re: Some bad tips on my travel weary seed potatoes - cut off?

#11

Post: # 29218Unread post brownrexx
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:19 am

@MsCowpea I always remove sprouts like that and let them regrow individual sprouts. I think that each of those points will grow into a plant stem and that would be too crowded.

If you are growing in containers, make sure that they are big and also deep enough to allow for adding more soil as they grow. A friend of mine grew potatoes in pots this year and the plants grew to about 8' high but the harvest was fairly small due to the pot size.

I also fear Late Blight but have never seen it on potatoes. However it did wipe out my entire tomato crop about 4 years ago. It is seen here when days are hot but nights are cool and humid so I really only have ever seen it in Late August when we get that type of weather and my potatoes are always harvested by then. I do buy certified disease free seed potatoes to avoid getting ones harboring Late Blight spores.
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Re: Some bad tips on my travel weary seed potatoes - cut off?

#12

Post: # 29220Unread post ddsack
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:32 am

So @brownrexx What would you have done with potato sprouts like this? :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Re: Some bad tips on my travel weary seed potatoes - cut off?

#13

Post: # 29222Unread post Growing Coastal
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:42 am

Last year I had 4 left over early potatoes in the bottom of the fridge that kept well until spring. They were in great shape so I thought I'd plant them in pots. Not a great result but not bad, either. Tasty and sweet.

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Re: Some bad tips on my travel weary seed potatoes - cut off?

#14

Post: # 29226Unread post MsCowpea
Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:51 am

G.C. I think your potato harvest looks great for a small pot.
I also kept mine in the fridge though I read you are not supposed to but I had to order them far ahead of when I needed them. I thought they would sprout like crazy in the pantry closet , then rot. I didn’t think they would sprout at all in the fridge but they did. On some varieties I did take off the sprouts as they were super super long.

The UK allotment videos I watch of growing potatoes in pots need no hilling and some use 1 potato in a very small pot and it works great. I am going to try that and then 2 or 3 seed potatoes in a larger pot as well. (Added: Most seem to plant the bigger pots all the way to the top but a few go half way and then hill as the potatoes grow.)
I know there are early , mid, and late potatoes. Maybe the early ones work better in small containers. I need to go back and check what they used.

ddsack , I have never seen potatoes sprout like that. It looks like all your potato harvest formed on the seed potato.

brownexx, that is awful that late blight wiped out your tomatoes . I know it can be a big problem in the Northeast. I would hate to bring late blight into my garden for just a few measly potatoes no matter how fun it is to grow them. They are certified so should be OK— If anything they will probably get early blight from my tomatoes.
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Last edited by MsCowpea on Thu Aug 27, 2020 8:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Some bad tips on my travel weary seed potatoes - cut off?

#15

Post: # 29235Unread post brownrexx
Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:36 pm

@ddsack I have never seen anything like that! Looks like compost material to me.

@MsCowpea the local place where I buy seed potatoes starts selling them early in the season and there is always a sign on the bags of fingerlings to refrigerate them until ready to plant. Potatoes for EATING should not be refrigerated because they will convert some of their starches to sugars and affect the flavor but I think that it's fine for seed potatoes.

If your potatoes are certified disease free then I wouldn't worry about them bringing Late Blight into your garden. The year that my tomatoes got infected I didn't know what it was at first so I tried pulling infected plants and removing them from the area but in less than 2 weeks all 20 of my plants were totally dead. I never saw anything kill tomato plants so fast. LB is a real killer but luckily I have not seen any since that time and I do grow potatoes every year.
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Re: Some bad tips on my travel weary seed potatoes - cut off?

#16

Post: # 29391Unread post Bower
Sat Aug 29, 2020 8:00 pm

I pulled another Red Gold plant today that was yellowed and done. Much better yield than the plant that keeled over first. Got a few Bellanita from the row behind it, they seem to be overlapping below ground. My family came to dinner and we had roasted new potatoes, and Bellanita is delicious. The Red Gold were not half bad either. :) There is a lot of scab on the Red Gold, not much on the couple of Bellanita we got today.
Scab will affect their keeping quality. It's no big deal if you're eating them right away.
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