Growing Potatoes (2010 crop)
This year we planted about 25 pounds of potatoes in four ~20 foot rows. The crop this year included "Green
Mountain," "Katahdin," "Red Pontiac," and "All Blue" (a unique blue colored potato, just for fun). Although I
guess you can plant these from seed (as they do flower and set seeds), I have never seen this done and I have no
idea where you could actually buy potato seeds. The general method is to buy certified "seed" potatoes (usually
by the pound). In this area, this will run you about $1.79 a pound. You can try to plant grocery store potatoes, but
virtually all of these have been treated with Chlorpropham (a sprout inhibitor) so results are usually "mixed" when
we plant these. When buying seed potatoes, I resist the temptation to buy tthe biggest seed potatoes. Although you
can cut the big ones down to sections with just one or two "eyes," it is usually easier just to use smaller ones
without cutting. Also, cutting the potatoes increases the chance of fungal rot. We put our potatoes in the ground
around mid-May, as they can take a light frost.
There are many ways to plant potatoes, but the basic procedure we use is to dig a narrow trench, and then put
seed potatoes in about every 9-12" or so. Then just barely cover them up with soil.
Remember Mr. Quayle, no "e" on "Potato."
Within a couple of weeks, the first green shoots started to appear.
Within about four weeks, the potatoes were really getting established.
By June 19th, the potatoes had explosive growth. At this point, I have been slowly hilling soil around the plants to
encourage more potato formation along the stems.
By July 5th, the potatoes were really flourishing... no sign of any potato beetles too. This looks like a bumper crop.
Well, it was time to dig teh potatoes by September. Unfortunately, the hot dry summer did a number on my
spuds. I only wound up with about two five gallon bucket fulls. The "Green Mountain" and "Katahdins"
produced much better than the "Red Pontiac" and "All Blue." In fact, I only got about 6 or 8 tiny blues (bucket
on the right) from all those plants. The basic problem was that I got lazy and didn't hill them up. Also the hot,
dry summer did a number on them. Let's hope next year's crop is a little better.
By August, the potatoes were definitely drying up... no doubt this will affect the yield. The hot dry summer did a
number on them.