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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Not So Much


This is my first potato harvest.  Not quite the volume for which I was looking, or size I was expecting.  I've read in several different places that potatoes provide the most calories per acre than any other crop, so anyone gardening with the view in mind to provide for themselves ought to include potatoes in the crop roster.

But clearly I have a lot to learn.

10 comments:

Holly House said...

Ours tanked too. But we used cuttings from left over supermarket potatoes, so we should be grateful they grew at all! Have you grown any from seed? We're trying that next year.

Paula said...

From everything I've read, you're really taking a risk planting market potatoes, so I did use seed potatoes, which I bought from the Seed Savers Exchange.

That said, I did plant a Yukon gold that looked to be pretty clean and was sprouting pretty awesomely, but I haven't tried harvesting them yet because they don't look quite ready. With my luck, that will probably be the one that produces the most.

Holly House said...

As far as growing them from seed, I have no idea when to plant them, should I start them inside? Next year we're getting OP GMO free ones, this year's were just an experiment.

Susan said...

Was it too dry for them? I think they like quite a bit of water. I did not get a very good crop last year (I am in England) and as I only have a tiny plot I decided not plant any this year - but I clearly missed quite a few when I harvested last year and despite trying to pull them up early when I spotted them, in the end I got more (and larger) potatoes this year than I did last!

Paula said...

Holly- given that I wasn't very successful, I'm probably the last person you should ask! I planted mine in May, which might have been a bit late. My understanding about 'chitting' them is that it's a good way to break off shoots. You should probably consult a good gardening book bor your area.

Paula said...

Susan- it's very possible that they didn't get enough water. I won't know until I really study them though.

I'm think I should probably just try a different method next time.

Rachelle said...

Here, in central WI, we plant them the minute the ground can be worked. Some varieties are good for an early harvest some late. Usually first harvest a couple weeks after the vines have yellowed and begun to die. Chitting them is the process of cutting up each potato to have 2-3 eyes. You usually have only 2-3 eyes per plant that produce stalks, the rest become dormant, so to get the most bang for buck, chit them. If you chit them too small there will not be enough mother feeder spud to nourish the plant and the resulting potatoes will be small. Potatoes are hugely water so a lot of water is important to bulk them up. Abundant water at the proper time (about blossom time) can probably make or break a harvest.

morgaineotm said...

That's about what I got my first year using grow bags. A combination of market potatoes and seed potatoes. For the grow bags outside, termites got into them and made a mess. This year had volunteer potatoes, one came up in a bag in the garden and the termites did get there, but not too bad. Obviously the potato was near the top of the bag so it took awhile to be found. one big potato and enough to make two servings of mashed potatoes. Red potatoes are growing in a bag in the greenhouse and the greens are still lush after 3 months. I know they will be red because the flowers were purple. The white potatoes had white flowers. have restrained myself from digging in to find out what's there. Yes, they need water and that's what I like about the bags. They don't dry out as completely as they will in the ground here in the desert. Its all an experiment. Why did something do well last year and not this? so many reasons, just harvest and enjoy what you can!

Paula said...

Thanks for the info Rachelle. It was probably the water.

Paula said...

morgaineotm- 'just enjoy what you can' sounds like a good philosophy to apply to all different aspects of your life.