Can You Grow Store Bought Potatoes – Will Store Bought Potatoes Grow

Can You Grow Store Bought Potatoes – Will Store Bought Potatoes Grow

By: Laura Miller

It happens every winter. You buy a bag of potatoes and before you can use them, they begin to sprout. Rather than throwing them out, you may be contemplating growing grocery store potatoes in the garden. Will store-bought potatoes grow though? The answer is yes. Here’s how to turn this pantry waste into an edible crop.

Are Store-Bought Potatoes Safe to Grow

Growing grocery store potatoes which have sprouted can produce a delicious crop of potatoes which are safe to consume. However, there is one caveat with growing potatoes from the store. Unlike seed potatoes, which are certified to be free of disease, grocery store potatoes may be harboring pathogens like blight or fusarium.

If you’re concerned about introducing disease-producing plant pathogens into your garden soil, you can always grow sprouted potatoes in a container. At the end of the season, discard the growing medium and sanitize the planter.

How to Grow Store-Bought Potatoes

Learning how to grow store-bought potatoes is not difficult, even if you have little or no gardening experience. You will need to hold onto the sprouted potatoes until planting time in the spring. The general recommendation is to plant potatoes when the soil temperatures reach 45 degrees F. (7 C.). You can also contact your local extension office for the ideal time to plant potatoes in your area. Then, follow these simple steps for growing grocery store potatoes:

Step 1: If you’re growing potatoes in the ground, work the soil to a depth of 8 to 12 inches (20-30 cm.) a few weeks before planting time. Potatoes are heavy feeders, so it’s best to work in plenty of organic compost or slow-release fertilizer at this time.


If the plan is to grow grocery store potatoes in pots, begin gathering suitable containers. You need not spend a fortune on dedicated planters. Five gallon buckets or 12 inch (30 cm.) deep plastic totes work fine. Be sure to drill drainage holes in the bottom. Plan on one to two potato plants per bucket or space potato plants 8 inches (20 cm.) apart in totes.

Step 2: Two days before planting, cut large potatoes into pieces ensuring each piece contains at least one eye. Allow the cut area to cure to prevent the potato from rotting in the ground. Smaller potatoes with one or more eyes can be planted whole.

Step 3: Plant potatoes 4 inches (10 cm.) deep in loose, fine soil with the eyes facing up. Once potato plants emerge, hill soil around the base of the plants. To grow grocery store potatoes in a container using the layering method, plant the potatoes near the bottom of the pot. As the plant grows, layer soil and straw around the plant’s stem.

The layer method does best with indeterminate varieties of potatoes, which continue to sprout new potatoes along the stem. Unfortunately, growing grocery store potatoes with the layering method can be a bit of a gamble as the variety or type of potato is usually unknown.

Step 4: Keep the soil moist, but not soggy during the growing season. After the plants die back, carefully dig to retrieve garden-planted potatoes or simply dump the planter for container-grown ones. Curing potatoes before storing is recommended.

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The strongest and healthiest potato plants (Solanum tuberosum) grow from certified seed potatoes, which you can buy in garden centers and from seed catalogs. When it comes to growing potatoes from potatoes you bought from the grocery store or even potatoes that sprouted from your home garden, the odds of germination are lower, and the odds of disease are higher. Potatoes are ready to grow a new plant when the potato begins to sprout, also known as forming potato eyes.

Seed potatoes are whole potatoes that are grown to be cut and planted in the ground. When purchasing these potatoes, be sure that you only buy those with a disease-free certification. This will ensure that your potato plants start out healthy. Seed potatoes are available for both starchy and waxy potatoes, which refer to the cooked textures of the tubers.

Preparing seed potatoes can be done the night before planting to dry out the cut sites or just prior to putting them in the ground. The Fine Gardening website recommends cutting seed potatoes larger than limes, but those the same size or smaller can remain whole. Each cut portion should have one or two eyes, which will produce the sprouts.

How Do You Make Potatoes Last Longer?

The best way I have found when storing potatoes is to use a potato storage bin. We have large wooden bins with slatted sides. They not only allow air to circulate but also can be stacked to save space. The nicest looking potatoes go on the bottom, while those that are questionable go toward the top so they can be eaten first.

Check your potatoes regularly and make sure they aren’t shriveling, sprouting eyes, or molding. You will want to use those up first, and check your conditions to make sure they aren’t causing your potatoes to spoil prematurely.

Do I Really Need to Buy Seed Potatoes?

By Mavis Butterfield on February 12, 2014 - 33 Comments

My friend Heather recently sent me a link to this cute little girl and her experiment with getting grocery store potatoes to sprout. I knew that is was best to use seed potatoes because grocery store potatoes were treated, but I didn’t know exactly what they treated them with . Bud Nip is a commercial brand of Chlorpropham. It is essentially a herbicide that stops potatoes from sprouting.

I have actually grown potatoes from grocery stores in the past–mostly when I was in a pinch and had waited too long to get seed potatoes. I had pretty good success some of the time, but have also had some epic failures too so I usually stick to seed potatoes just to make the outcome more predictable. The only problem is that there are so many “specialty” potatoes that I can never find as seed potatoes, so what’s a girl to do?

Organic produce is not treated with chlorpropham, so you may have a better time getting them to sprout but getting a wide variety of organic options is sometimes tough. It’s a pretty awesome option for sweet potatoes which are almost impossible to find as seed potatoes here in the Northwest.

Everyone has gone to pull out a grocery store potato, only to find it has sprouted, so what do you think? Do you feel safe using that potato, knowing it had been treated?

I honestly can’t decide. On one hand, if your grocery store potato has sprouted, it’s pretty likely it will work as a seed potato. The Bud Nip is supposed to, well, nip that problem in the bud, so if it sprouts, it obviously hasn’t done its job. On the other hand, the herbicide might still be present.

I thought about the possibility of “making” my own seed potatoes, by sprouting grocery store potatoes and then using the resulting untreated potatoes as my seed potatoes to save a bit of money this year.

After one season, I could use the seed potatoes year after year, provided I stored them correctly. The only risk is that I have heard that you are pretty much begging for blight when you don’t get disease free seed potatoes from year to year. I want to introduce blight to my dirt like I want a hole in my head, so I am a little hesitant.

So, instead, I think I’ll just ask you all how does your garden grow? Do you use regular grocery store potatoes? Seed potatoes? Do you care about chlorpropham?

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