Fridays have become a kind of domestic day this semester, often abetted by the promise of rain or cold. Things missed or avoided during the hectic work week are tackled, sometimes. A blog post, push harder on those taxes (they are complicated by farming), cook a little. Clean? Heck.
I learned something new about potatoes this winter. I had made the decision to buy only organic potatoes because conventionally grown are systemically treated with pesticides and fungicides. To keep prices in check I had been buying organic red, gold, and russets in three or five pound sacks. Here's what I learned -I shouldn't buy large quantities of potatoes beginning mid February because they'll sprout almost immediately. Shouldn't come as a surprise as garlic has a similar tendency, although I'm not at all familiar with the change of conditions required to promote potato budding and rooting. One bag of organic red and another of organic russets from two different farms (Colorado and California) sprouted within days to a week, so from now on, unless I will use them immediately, I will only buy individual potatoes after February.
Planting potato tubers is reliable and convenient but it also increases the chance of introducing disease organisms to the soil. Certified seed stock potatoes are grown and harvested, a selected lot then shipped off to a warmer climate (often Florida) and grown out for disease inspection all before the spring planting season. A farm's potatoes can be certified seed stock only if a great percentage of those potatoes growth-tested show no signs of significantly harmful diseases. When you plant store bought, organic food potatoes (conventionally grown potatoes may have been treated with growth inhibitors), there is always a risk of disease. I've discarded any damaged tubers and will plant only the healthy looking ones. No matter where you get your potatoes, there is always risk of disease. Let your level of caution be your guide.