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Potato Growing Methods

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potato box results for 2011

Post  curio on 2/22/2012, 11:55 am

We used the wooden potato box that was pictured earlier this past year. It measures 2x2', and at it's highest was about 3' solid wall and a top board to keep the frame stabilized. We planted Russian Banana and French Fingerling (both small gourmet potato varieties).
We harvested at least 40 pounds of potatoes from our five pounds of seed potatoes, and were able to harvest until last month, when I pulled one side off the box and found the last of the little spuds so I could get the garden ready for this year.
We were so impressed with the results, we are building two more of the boxes this year so we can have four varieties. We'll do Russian Banana, French Fingerling, German Butterball, and Purple Peruvian. All of these varieties are "late" and all are small gourmet varieties.
Hopefully I'll have some great photos to post as the growing season gets into full swing.

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Re: Potato Growing Methods

Post  HieronRemade on 2/22/2012, 12:28 pm

Curio's mention of "late" varieties reminded me of a question. I remember reading that you only continually cover the foliage to get more potatoes in late varieties - in early varieties it doesn't work. Is that correct? Should I just plant my Yukon Golds in a 12" box and leave it at that?

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Tuber Thursday

Post  tomperrin on 3/8/2012, 6:59 pm

Potatoes planted today in a 12"x3.5'x8' pine box resting on bricks to keep the pine somewhat off the ground. I used supermarket organic gold, russets and reds that had sprouted, so obviously no anti sprout stuff was sprayed on these spuds. These were planted four to a square at approximately 3 inches deep. I did not give those potatoes that I had cut in half time to crust over. I didn't bother with that last year either and the potatoes turned out just fine. The potatoes were purchased last fall at two different supermarkets and stored in an unheated garage, in paper bags in the bottom of a cabinet. Storage temp probably averaged around 50-55F, not optimum, but apparently ok. Humidity could have been a bit higher but I could not control for that. I planted most of the potatoes whole, regardless of size. A few russets and a few golds were cut in half. I figured I was going for yield, so why not give the plants a head start by giving them a full tuber to feed on.

Lessons learned:
1. Use the largest spuds you can find. My small reds started to dehydrate. I don't have high hopes for them.
2. Not all spuds are equal. Two different bags of organic golds looked completely different when on the ground.
3. Remove potatoes from their original bags and place loose in a paper
bag. This way the sprouts won't go through the air holes or the netting in the original packaging.
4. After I had planted a couple of spuds, it occurred to me that it
would be easier on the fading gray matter if I laid the potatoes out
before planting them. As it turned out, I had left a potato out of one square.
5. My certified seed potatoes won't arrive for another month, which gives me time to build another super square. The supermarket organics give me a chance to get a jump on the weather at very low cost and risk.
6. This was a new square. Despite vigorous watering for several days, and watering every time I put a batch of MM in the box, the MM was not thoroughly wet when I planted, especially along the edges and in a few pockets here and there. I corrected this immediately after planting.








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New seed potatoes

Post  tomperrin on 4/3/2012, 8:53 pm

While on a business trip way up north along the Canadian border, I stopped into Bonesteel's Nursery in Malone NY. Management opened the store for me on a Sunday afternoon, and pulled five fresh bags of seed potatoes out of their cellar just for me. For under $11.00, I bought all of the following:



Elba


2lbs 15 oz


Late, 110-135days


http://www.backyardgardener.com/plantname/pda_e13e.html



Aeggeblomme


2lbs 10.8 oz


http://www.ogrin.org/aeggeblomme.html


Amey


2lbs 2.4oz


Late


http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/41713/1/IND23256959.pdf



Early Ohio


3lbs 7.9oz


http://www.potatogarden.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=PG&Product_Code=77EOH&Category_Code=


Redsen


6lbs 7.5oz


Early


http://www.inspection.gc.ca/plants/potatoes/potato-varieties/redsen/eng/1312587385863/1312587385864



Amey


2lbs 2.4oz


Late


http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/41713/1/IND23256959.pdf

I paid about $16 a pound for certified organic seed potatoes. Given the price difference, SIXTY CENTS a pound vs SIXTEEN DOLLARS a pound, I'll stay with the non-organic seed. I'll grow my potatoes organically and try to save some seed for next year.
Does anyone else have a source for reasonably priced seed potatoes?

Tom

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Re: Potato Growing Methods

Post  GWN on 4/3/2012, 9:53 pm

have a source for reasonably priced seed potatoes?

So tom on top of all of that, you are still wanting to plant more.
How many square feet do you devote to potatoes.
Personally I want a ton of potatoes, but all of my square feet are all taken up, so I am thinking I need more square feet for potatoes.

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Where to put the new spuds?

Post  tomperrin on 4/3/2012, 10:47 pm

@GWN wrote:
have a source for reasonably priced seed potatoes?

So tom on top of all of that, you are still wanting to plant more.
How many square feet do you devote to potatoes.
Personally I want a ton of potatoes, but all of my square feet are all taken up, so I am thinking I need more square feet for potatoes.

I have absolutely no idea where I'm going to plant them. I already have a 3.5x8 square full of potatoes that, at least on the surface, appear to be doing nicely. I really like spuds, and unlike the seeds I seem to buy every time I pass the rack in any store I visit, the seed potatoes need to be sown.

I may have to commandeer the front lawn.

Tom

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Re: Potato Growing Methods

Post  GWN on 4/3/2012, 10:51 pm


I may have to commandeer the front lawn.
Please please.....DO commandeer the front lawn, there is no greater purpose.....for your front lawn
LAWNS TO GARDENS....... Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

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Lawns to gardens

Post  tomperrin on 4/3/2012, 10:55 pm

Last week I planted 3 apple trees on the lawn in front of the garden. Pending growth of the trees, now spaced 10 feet apart, is plenty of space for veggies between the trees. When the trees get too big, I could use the MM for mulch, which is recommended by the nursery.

Tom

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Re: Potato Growing Methods

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 4/3/2012, 11:20 pm

This is just awesome. On my way home from NJ today I was thinking it would be fun to grow potatoes.

Thanks!

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Re: Potato Growing Methods

Post  Turan on 4/4/2012, 12:04 am

What a neat project!
I won't let myself grow potatoes this year but the last few years I experimented with potato towers using stacking tires with the rims cut out and my compost and dry leaves. I had read those claims of 'plant 1 pound and harvest 100 pounds'.
In this method you keep hilling with additional compost and added tires so the stem is very long and buried. Then supposedly it will put out tubers all along that stem, because the tubers are not from the true root but the underground stem section of the plant. Red Pontiac made a stem and only one set of tubers at the bottom as usual. Same with Kennebec. Yellow Fin had a small second set. Russian Banana fingerling did set all the way up the stem. So the next year I did just the fingerlings and they did well, 10 lbs harvested from 1lb planted divided between 2 towers.
Last year I did side by side test..... 2 towers and 10 feet of row in a raised bed. Hte raised bed was hilled and then deeply mulched. All where fertilized with bonemeal and watered generously. Both methods gave me 20 lbs per 1 lb planted. The towers were easier to harvest. There was some greening where the mulch wore thin in the row planted. I feel the reason the amount doubled was adding bonemeal and more careful watering.

I am looking forward to seeing all your results this fall.

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Re: Potato Growing Methods

Post  plantoid on 4/4/2012, 6:12 am

@GWN wrote:
I may have to commandeer the front lawn.
Please please.....DO commandeer the front lawn, there is no greater purpose.....for your front lawn
LAWNS TO GARDENS....... Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy



" Your country needs You .. DIG FOR VICTORY in your VICTORY GARDEN "

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Re: Potato Growing Methods

Post  curio on 4/4/2012, 8:14 am

@Turan wrote:
In this method you keep hilling with additional compost and added tires so the stem is very long and buried. Then supposedly it will put out tubers all along that stem, because the tubers are not from the true root but the underground stem section of the plant. Red Pontiac made a stem and only one set of tubers at the bottom as usual. Same with Kennebec. Yellow Fin had a small second set. Russian Banana fingerling did set all the way up the stem. So the next year I did just the fingerlings and they did well, 10 lbs harvested from 1lb planted divided between 2 towers.

The reason your Pontiac and Kennebec potatoes only produced at the base of the stem, while the fingerlings produced all the way up the stem is the difference between determinate and indeterminate (like their cousins, tomatoes). Both Pontiac and Kennebec represent determinate varieties (generally "early" varieties), producing one crop that is mature enough for harvest at roughly the same time. This is one reason they are some of the most common potatoes in the stores without paying a premium price. The fingerling (and a number of other, smaller, varieties) are indeterminate, continuing to grow and produce until the plant tops succumb to cold weather. They are ready to be harvested throughout the season (from the time blossoms form), with the largest tubers being found near the bottom of the plant and the younger ones further up. You might have noticed if you harvested them all at the same time that the upper tubers were slightly smaller than the lower ones, unless you left the plants in the towers well into cooler weather.

We plant in the indeterminate ones in wooden towers that enable us to pull the bottom board (or two) and harvest from that area, then replace some of the soil and the boards and move up with each harvest. The early potatoes, we plant in about 6" of soil (near the bottom of a dugout, and then back fill until the dugout is filled) Once the soil is level, you would either hill up as the stems grow or in the case of SFG, would add an addition frame and continue to add MM. Once the tops bloom you can harvest, although leaving the plants until they start to die back some makes larger potatoes.

Hope that makes sense Smile

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Re: Potato Growing Methods

Post  moswell on 4/4/2012, 10:53 am

I was thinking about trying either the grow bag or trash can method this year. I'm starting out small - I bought four seed potatoes (two russets and two of some red skin variety). Maybe I'll try one grow bag and one trash can?

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Re: Potato Growing Methods

Post  boffer on 4/4/2012, 11:05 am

Jan, potatoes seem to be sold as short season and long season types. I've never heard them called determinate and indeterminate. Is a short season a determinate and a long season an indeterminate?


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Re: Potato Growing Methods

Post  curio on 4/4/2012, 11:37 am

@boffer wrote:Jan, potatoes seem to be sold as short season and long season types. I've never heard them called determinate and indeterminate. Is a short season a determinate and a long season an indeterminate?


That's what we've learned over the years, boffer. The short season generally produce one setting of tubers, while the long season will produce all the way up a buried stem.

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Re: Potato Growing Methods

Post  boffer on 4/4/2012, 12:16 pm

I've been looking, but I can't confirm that long season=indeterminate all the time. Nevertheless, you've answered the $64,000 question as to why towered seed potatoes don't always work. Thanks.

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Re: Potato Growing Methods

Post  GWN on 4/4/2012, 12:54 pm

That's what we've learned over the years, boffer. The short season generally produce one setting of tubers, while the long season will produce all the way up a buried stem.

I too have been trying this method over the years and what you are saying makes sense, but I cannot find anywhere, where it tells you which ones are determinates and nondeterminates.
I am going to order some long season varieties and try this

IT is SOOOO great to learn more interesting things. I would never plant determinate tomatoes, as I just love watching them climb, so it makes sense for the potatoes as well.

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Re: Potato Growing Methods

Post  martha on 4/4/2012, 12:57 pm

I'm growing potatoes for the first time this year. Well, at least, I am planting potatoes for the first time this year. I am not smart enough to start small. I "only" ordered 6 varieties, but since, like everything I grow, they are for the restaurant, I am hoping for enough of a harvest to use for specials.

I'm scared! Shocked Shocked Shocked

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Re: Potato Growing Methods

Post  GWN on 4/4/2012, 12:59 pm

You know Jan
You look like such an authority with your new avatar, sitting up smartly like that.
Like a school teacher, we have much to learn rahrah

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SFG Spuds

Post  tomperrin on 4/4/2012, 1:13 pm

@martha wrote:I'm growing potatoes for the first time this year. Well, at least, I am planting potatoes for the first time this year. I am not smart enough to start small. I "only" ordered 6 varieties, but since, like everything I grow, they are for the restaurant, I am hoping for enough of a harvest to use for specials.

I'm scared! Shocked Shocked Shocked

Reminds me when I was teaching myself to develop film and print photographs. I was happy if I got any image at all, that first time. Now I'm happy if something green pops up that isn't a weed.

My supermarket seed potatoes have done ok so far this year. The russets and the reds are doing great. The yellows not so good. Did I plant too early, too late? Too deep, not deep enough? And then I ran across an article that said all kinds of nasty things happen if I plant too late or too early. Haven't planted more yet, still working on the new asparagus and rhubarb beds.

Home grown spuds simply taste too good. Better than store bought generics, better than store bought organics. Better mashed, better baked, better salad, better everything. The difference is so marked between home grown SFG organic and anything else that one wonders why we would eat anything else other than our own SFG spuds. I'm sure you did the right thing by planting a lot of spuds your first time out. If you harvest them a few hours before you serve them, they will taste best, just like corn. Match them up with everything else from your garden and your patrons will be bragging about their meal at your restaurant for weeks afterward!.

Tom

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Re: Potato Growing Methods

Post  lisaphoto on 4/4/2012, 6:24 pm

Are yukon golds one that will keep producing up the stem, or only on the bottom?

I plan on using a really big tupperware tub, cutting out plenty of drainage and putting some pebbles on the bottom. Think that will work okay?

I saw somewhere that you don't need to keep adding dirt, rather cover with anything (leaves, straw) to protect the potatoes from the sun. Is that true?

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Re: Potato Growing Methods

Post  Pink-Gardener on 4/4/2012, 6:27 pm

Thank you for this. It's so useful. I've got it bookmarked to read tomorrow Smile

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Re: Potato Growing Methods

Post  camprn on 4/4/2012, 6:35 pm

@Turan wrote:What a neat project!
I won't let myself grow potatoes this year but the last few years I experimented with potato towers using stacking tires with the rims cut out and my compost and dry leaves. I had read those claims of 'plant 1 pound and harvest 100 pounds'.
In this method you keep hilling with additional compost and added tires so the stem is very long and buried. Then supposedly it will put out tubers all along that stem, because the tubers are not from the true root but the underground stem section of the plant. Red Pontiac made a stem and only one set of tubers at the bottom as usual. Same with Kennebec. Yellow Fin had a small second set. Russian Banana fingerling did set all the way up the stem. So the next year I did just the fingerlings and they did well, 10 lbs harvested from 1lb planted divided between 2 towers.
Last year I did side by side test..... 2 towers and 10 feet of row in a raised bed. Hte raised bed was hilled and then deeply mulched. All where fertilized with bonemeal and watered generously. Both methods gave me 20 lbs per 1 lb planted. The towers were easier to harvest. There was some greening where the mulch wore thin in the row planted. I feel the reason the amount doubled was adding bonemeal and more careful watering.

I am looking forward to seeing all your results this fall.
Thanks for this info!!! What a Face Curio, very good info too, Thanks!

This on similar issues, from another forum.

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Re: Potato Growing Methods

Post  curio on 4/4/2012, 6:46 pm

Yukon Golds are considered an "early" variety. We were told that it tends to set tubers once, but I've heard from several people that they got what looked like two "layers" of tubers, but don't know if they found those when they did the first harvest or not. I have always treated them like determinate with good results.

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Yukon Golds

Post  tomperrin on 4/4/2012, 6:50 pm

@lisaphoto wrote:Are yukon golds one that will keep producing up the stem, or only on the bottom?


My understanding is that Yukon Golds only produce once. What you get is what you get. That said, you get them early rather than later, and they do taste soooo good!

What you want for the towers are the Russets, or late potatoes. Your basic Idaho spud is a russet, I believe.

There are a thousands of varieties of potatoes, each having its own characteristics. Some are better for french fries, some for baking, etc.

If you do a search for potato database, one of the sites that comes up is this one:
http://www.inspection.gc.ca/plants/potatoes/potato-varieties/eng/1299172436155/1299172577580

Tom

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Re: Potato Growing Methods

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