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Although potatoes are one of the easiest plants to grow, growing potatoes can cause some confusion among people. Questions like Is a seed potato actually the seed of the potato plant, or do potatoes have seeds or fruits? are quite common among people.
Considering potatoes are one of the most popular vegetables in the world, did you know they make seeds? Yes, they make seeds – but not what you plant. If you want to grow potatoes, you plant pieces of cut-up whole potato tubers each with a growing bud that will form a new potato plant.
In this post we will answer some common questions about potato growing.
Is “Potato Seeds” and “Seed Potatoes” Are The Same:
We often use the terms “Potato Seed” and “Seed Potato” while planting potatoes. Technically “Potato Seeds” and “Seed Potatoes” are not the same thing. A potato seed is the actual seeds of a potato plant, whereas seed potatoes are originally tubers that are especially grown to grow new potato plants.
Do Potatoes Have Seeds:
Yes, potatoes produce seeds just like most other plants. They also bloom, but in most cases the flowers dry and fall off without producing any fruit.
Now if you live in cooler regions of the globe you might see potato fruits and seeds. This is because cool temperatures generally promote fruiting in potato plants.
There are some potato varieties that are also prone to fruiting.
Potato seeds are generally known as “True Potato Seeds” or “TPS”.
What is a Potato Fruit:
Potato plants produce small green fruits (berries). The fruits look the same as small cherry tomatoes, just greenish-purple instead of red or yellow and are filled with hundreds of potato seeds.
Now, if you do not know already, Potatoes belong to a small family, solanaceae or the Nightshade family. This family also includes tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.
Among all the members of the family potatoes resemble tomatoes the closest. They resemble fruiting, flowering and even share the same diseases, like late blight.
Although the fruits resemble a tomato in appearance, you should never eat them. Potato fruits are toxic. They contain solanine, which can cause headaches, diarrhea, cramps and in some cases, comas and death.
Can You Grow Potatoes From The Seeds?
Yes you can grow potatoes from seeds but if you plant a potato seed, your potato plants will most probably look a lot different from the parent plant. They will have different sets of characteristics.
True potato seeds are mostly used by plant breeders and scientists for research purposes. It’s used for all aspects of plant breeding work, from hybridization to fruit production.
Growing Potatoes From True Potato Seeds:
Growing potatoes from TPS is similar to growing tomatoes from seeds. To do that you first need to extract the seeds from the fruit.
How To Save Potato Seeds From The Fruit?
If you want to grow potatoes from the true potato seeds you first need to separate the seeds from the fruit. This process is the same as that of saving seeds from the tomatoes.
First cut the potato fruit in half with the help of a sharp knife. Then with the help of a spoon take out the seeds from the fruit.
Next, put the seeds (along with the coating) into a jar. Add some water and stir it with the help of a spoon. This fermentation process is necessary to remove the gelatinous coating from the seeds.
Remove the murky water and replace it with fresh water. Repeat the process a few times till all the coating from the seeds are removed. This whole process might take a few days to complete.
Now drain the water and you will get the true potato seeds (TPS) at the bottom of the jar. Rinse them well and dry them on a paper towel.
Planting True Potato Seeds:
You can start planting potatoes with these seeds. However, growing potato plants with true potato seeds will take longer time than growing them from tubers. So plant the seeds early (in winter and indoor).
A Word of Caution:
As the newly grown potatoes will be different from the parent plant It is crucial that once you start harvesting your potatoes, do a taste test. Sometimes potatoes can develop toxic levels of the glycoalkaloids solanine and chaconine that can really harm your health.
What Are Seed Potatoes?
The seed potato is not the seed that grows into a potato plant. In fact, seed potatoes don’t even look like seeds at all. A seed potato is a potato tuber, they are especially grown so you can plant them to produce a potato crop.
Although seed potatoes are really a potato tuber they have some added advantages for growing potato plants.
- Seed potatoes are generally free of diseases and pests.
- Unlike store-bought potatoes, they are not sprayed with harmful chemicals that can leech inside the tubers.
- And finally, they are not treated with sprout inhibitors.
You can read more about seed potatoes in this post.
In a Nutshell:
- Potato plants Do Have Seeds.
- You can grow potatoes from true potato seeds (TPS) if you save the seeds from the potato fruits (berries).
- Growing potatoes from potato seeds can be fun and adventurous and you might discover some very good new varieties, but it is not as reliable as growing potatoes from tubers.
- Always do a taste test before consuming a new potato harvest.
We hope this post has been informational for you. Hopefully, from now on, you won’t get confused between true potato seeds and seed potatoes. We have a lot of posts dedicated to potato growing, browse through them and you will have a better grip at growing potatoes in your own garden.
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