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JRinPA June 3, 2020 02:23 PM

expected potato yields
I am new to potatoes. This is the first year I have tried any in-ground. Previous to this, a few years of washbaskets pots that produce wonderful tasting but small potatoes.

I read somewhere that 13-14 lb yield per lb planted is pretty good. The other day I had someone tell me they get 150-200 lb per 5 lb of seed potato, each year. That seems like a lot. Has anyone ever accomplished yields like that? On a regular basis?

rxkeith June 3, 2020 07:34 PM

i will agree that 13-14 lbs yield/lb planted is pretty good.
i would expect to see a range of 5 to 20lbs yield/lb planted.
variables would be soil fertility, disease/pest control, type of potato, and
always the weather. i think the person that told you they get 150-200/bs
potatoes/lb planted is telling a stretcher as huck finn would say. if they get
even a quarter of that yield, i would do whatever they do.
i'm no expert. all i plant is two long rows in the garden. i watch out for potato
beetle eggs, larva or adults, squish any i see, and keep an eye on the foilage
for any disease issues. i had enough potatoes to last till the end of may.
no idea how many lbs planted or what my yield was.


JRinPA June 3, 2020 09:58 PM

Yeah...I am a technical type so I keep numbers grounded. 40:1 return? I wouldn't mind being there when they are harvested...and I'll happen to have a scale in the back of the truck! If it is legit, I'll surely try it that way next year. If not, I don't think it was exaggerating as much as never actually weighing them - maybe not the seed either.

Procedure seemed to be simply tilling and mixing in mushroom compost, then planting about "yay deep" (8"?) and hilling what looks about 6-8" high, all at time of planting. No further hilling necessary. The space is only about 5' by 8' and it looked like 3 rows, 8ft long. Maybe not that big, because that is my whole truck bed. This gardener said they'll set both below and above the seed potatoes. What kind of potatoes? Oh, any kind. I'll have to look at it again a little more closely.

I used 7# in a single row of about 13' with them spaced about 1 ft apart. Took them a week to 10 days to break surface with 5" between eye sprouts and surface. Now I have hilled them once already and want to wall them in while I keep hilling them, but I really don't understand the timing of when they should be hilled.

Honestly, the whole hilling-as-you-go thing doesn't really make a whole lot of sense to me if the eye sprouts are indeed strong enough to poke up through 16" from the get-go.

zipcode June 4, 2020 03:23 AM

I thought 1:10 is generally considered a good number to aim for.
A very important thing in this calculation is the seed potato, not just the yield. One can make that ratio bigger by using fairly small potatoes. I see people often using way bigger than they should.

JRinPA June 4, 2020 10:22 AM

I was just reading that thread from 2011 regarding pulling the sprouts off to generate more plants from a small amount of potato seed. It started me wondering... Does the potato plant feed at all on the rotting seed potato? Or will a small piece of seed potato or even a removed sprout grow just as one sprout off a big potato? I've always assumed the former, that the plant feeds on the seed as it decomposes.

The harvest/seed ratio doesn't matter much to me, really. The seed was $.80 per pound. More important is the harvest per area.

zipcode June 4, 2020 10:51 AM

I'm not a potato veteran, mostly what I read, but things are kinda like this:
Some tuber for the plant to feed from at first is beneficial to yield. (so just cutting small pieces is not ideal).
The amount of eyes (place where it sprouts from) increases fast with tuber size but reaches a plateau fairly quickly, so kinda like a 100g potato and a 300g one will have almost the same number of eyes.
Around 50-60g/seed potato is kinda ideal. Or half a 100g one. (I'm guessing this might depend on variety)
Too many eyes is also not good, as the number you get increases but size goes down (total yield goes a bit up though).
And don't forget to have a good amount of K in your fertilizer.

Durgan June 4, 2020 06:46 PM

[B]Yield of potatoes.[/B]

Method weigh a number of potato plants at harvest and average.

I did some tests over several years. The average is less than 3 pounds per plant. I have got a high a six pounds by carefully watering and having ideal weather.

The method of seed potato weight to harvest is without merit. For example a seed potato could be cut into several pieces to enhance the figures.

A field crop is somewhere between 2 and 3 pounds per plant. I have in some cases with good weather and careful watering got as high a six pounds per plant. Rare but possible.

NathanP June 4, 2020 07:04 PM

I only average about 1.5 lbs per hill, which works out to about 10 lbs per 1 1lb of seed tubers (2.5 oz average.

I think this is fairly average. Due to a lot of factors, you can get up to 10 lbs per hill, but no variety I have ever grown has yielded more than about 5 lbs per hill any year.

All the factors mentioned above can affect yield.

JRinPA June 6, 2020 11:26 AM

I checked the other day and it is two row/hills, about 7ft long, total width about 3.5 ft for both rows combined. So about 25 sq ft. It was indeed smaller than my truck bed. I can see 5 lb of seed being enough for that area with cut potatoes.

Can 150-200lb be grown in 25 sq ft...that is a more accurate question of what I was wondering. I, for one, sure hope so!

brownrexx June 7, 2020 08:56 AM

I don't weigh my harvest but this is what I got last year from 5 lbs of Kennebec on the left and 5 lbs of Lehigh Yellow on the right. The red ones in the middle were volunteers.

[url=][img][/img][/url][url=]20190815_182057[/url] by [url=]Brownrexx[/url], on Flickr

GoDawgs June 7, 2020 12:26 PM

Two years ago we got 24 lbs of Yukon Gold and 30 lbs of Red Pontiacs from two 11' rows, 1.5 lbs of seed potatoes each. I like to use small seed potatoes that don't need cutting up. One less possible problem.


Last year was a total bust as we had gobs of rain, the potatoes were in a different location that got some standing water and they all rotted. Never came up.

This year we planted one 18' row in a raised bed using about 8 small seed potatoes each of Yukon Gold and Kennebec. We ended up with 18 lbs of Yukons and 15 lbs of Kennebec. No more planting potatoes in the raised bed as once they were hilled the first time there was hardly any soil to hill them the second time.


Doing a "by foot" comparison, that works out to about 2.5 lbs per row foot in 2018 and 1.8 lbs per row foot this year in a raised bed.

Jeannine Anne June 17, 2020 02:49 AM

I found one lone potato of my fave kind that I cant get in North America in the spring. It was the size of a walnut and I found it in a raised bed when we were moving soil.I planted it in a very large pot and as the greenery grew I kept topping up. I took two cuttings off the plant and put them in water, got roots and planted them in my greenhouse, they are growing well. The one in the pot I harvested 2 days ago and got 2 1/2lbs of lovely tubers, mostly full size , just a couple of little ones. I am hoping to keep these over for next year. I am also going to try and grow a pot for Chritmas with an August planting

Black Krim June 28, 2020 05:54 PM

This is my second year seriously growing potatoes. So a novice.

From my reading, the tubers grow from a specialized stem, a stolon ?, that grow from the stems, just above the roots.

Hilling 2-3 times keeps those tubers from turning green. And I suspect trigger growth of the stolons.And the older tubers are under the younger tubers which are sprouting from stolons higher up the stems.

Have read that some varieties respond more than others to hilling height. The word "Indeterminate" is sometimes used..... but a good resource said this is bunk. IDK.

Pounds per hill varies a lot. Number of eyes seems to be a factor. Seems like there is a sweet spot as crowded plants ( planted 8" apart vs 12") produce less poundage due to competition for nutrients. One variety produces "lunkers" unless planted closely.

Water is a factor, and soil fertility like calcium and the usual suspects. Seems like too much nitrogen makes for a large plant but at cost of tubers.

Variety of potato matters. Yukon Gold loves the NW and produces well. Here in NE , it is lower in production. (Still my favorite flavored spud.) The russets do best in NW, and seems that its best to select russet strains developed for the NE.

Some potatoes need high altitude.

Production varies year to year , too. Tough to get great production year over year for big producers, so I apply this to the backyard grower,too.

I planted all new to me varieties this year. Wish I had planted a repeat, for comparison.

In my reading 10-20 pounds from 1 # seed potato is rather good.

Production per row is tougher to calculate as production changes based on distance between seed potato, variety and much more.

I also noticed that potatoes have eyes primarily at one end---- opposite attachment to plant, where a tiny pigtail can remain. This year to prep for planting only large potatoes were cut nose to tail. Med and small left whole. The fingerling potatoes have eyes the entire length but production ( cwt/acre) is a bit less than other potatoes...but bigger mkt price.

I think I planted too early, and lost many to rot this year as I can see gaps in the row. Suspect seed potato section too small and perhaps other unkown issues. This affects production numbers.

Winter here was warmer than usual followed by April colder than usual.....cannot predict weather. Raining spring followed by very very dry June. Rained yesterday for short time and t-storm today flooding everything. Might be just the right time as one area has already flowered and flowers fading ( tubers forming),and other area planted in late April is at bud stage and rain should promote vegetative growth.

Many factors affect cwt/acre..... my respect for potato growers has grown ten fold.

Again, Im a notice at potatoes, and Im sharing what I remember of my winter reading/ research.

JRinPA June 28, 2020 09:21 PM

4 Attachment(s)
I have three sets. It will be interesting to see what is the most productive.

The row I described earlier is probably more like 15+ ft. I didn't measure and it is tight to step it off. I did use 7 lb of uncut Lehigh. Each put out at least one strong stem. I hilled it with some dirt and compost. Then I built bean teepees over it and planted pole beans on either side of the row. Next I walled in the potato row with picket fence scrap, 8", and hilled it with compost and perlite. Then another 4", hilled it. I put a line of drip tape across. Last I did straw and compost on top. They look awesome. Hopefully it grows some potatoes.

I also cut up a 55 gal drum into 3 slices and planted 3 lb of lehigh. Quartered the bottom out of the barrel, and planted 4 lehighs in softened dirt/perlite below grade about 4". Then back filled and set more potatoes about ground level, then backfilled the lower third of the drum. After they came up, I added the middle section, and backfilled. Some are through that, but I'm waiting for shorter ones to catch up before I add the last section.

Lastly I had 3 lb of russet. I used a composter I made from 2/3 of a plastic barrel, style like an EarthMachine, open bottom. It is about 3-1/2 ft high I suppose. I started some in the bottom placed below vents on the side. Cut the vents to be windows. Then added some dirt. My hope was they would find these "windows" and shoot out them. Then I put the rest of the potatoes in as I filled it most of the way to the top. I don't plan to hill that except for straw at the top. So far a lot are through the top, but I don't see any taking advantage of the windows. I have since theorized, since the sun moves, the bright light moves, so the windows probably won't work. They'll just shoot to the top. Maybe if I had placed them just a few inches under the windows?

The row gets bucket drip, and the barrels get sporadic soaking. Rain has been nearly nonexistent, here. We are in the pattern with SW approach and it breaks up before us and sometimes reforms literally right outside of town and going past.

Pics from last week.

JRinPA June 28, 2020 09:30 PM

[QUOTE=Jeannine Anne;757240]I found one lone potato of my fave kind that I cant get in North America in the spring. It was the size of a walnut and I found it in a raised bed when we were moving soil.[/QUOTE]

What variety is this favorite kind? Great taste or some kind of pretty? Sound like a good job refreshing your seed stock.

I got these seed potatoes down at Agway, Lehigh and a Russet. Lehigh was developed for planting around here. My mom wanted some Russet, and then never planted them. Basically I was just scrambling for places to try plant these.

Black Krim June 29, 2020 02:55 PM

Lehigh was on my list, but company sold out before my order filled.Good thing their is next year. I seem to like the yellow potatoes !!

Nice job on setting up watering system to endure success.

Pulled first potato plant this morning. Lots of golf ball sized spuds. yum.

biscuitridge June 29, 2020 04:46 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Purple Viking is our absolute favorite potato, it's purple with pink splotches on the outside and white on the inside, we grow about 700 to 1000 lbs every year ,they are nice big smooth round tubers, then I also grow a fingerling called Ama Rosa,which is red outside and inside and stays red after cooking. They are huge for a fingerling, some are 3inches in diameter and 8 inches or more long,beautiful fingerlings. Here's the patch this year.

brownrexx July 14, 2020 10:41 AM

Pulled 4 small volunteer plants last evening and got a nice little crop. These are probably Kennebec and although I have not planted reds in 2-3 years I almost always get at least one plant. Not an impressive red harvest but I can boil them with other small white potatoes and serve with butter and parsley.

As you can see I got some scab which is why I plant my crop of seed potatoes shallow and mound up with straw.

[url=][img][/img][/url][url=]Volunteers 2020[/url] by [url=]Brownrexx[/url], on Flickr

JRinPA July 14, 2020 04:50 PM

What does the scab do? Caused by? They look great from here.

I killed off some of mine. The three stage tower. I'm afraid to look today.

Last week I put the top layer on and filled it some more. I had waited until some short stalks were tall enough. I backfilled it with compost and old potting soil I ran through my kemp shredder - really nice, fine and lofty. Then I watered it good. Then it rained three times real heavy in a week. At least 4" total. Probably 5". A couple days ago I saw it was dying back on one side. The plants were wet/rotten right at the surface and down. I took the top barrel layer back off and started removing that added soil and trying to get down to healthy stalk and see if they will make new shoots. As soon as I got started, we got heavy straight line winds and pouring rain. I haven't been back since! The winds probably laid over my corn, too.

I figured I'd manage to kill off some potatoes!

brownrexx July 14, 2020 06:46 PM

Potato scab is caused by a bacterium, Streptomyces scabies, and it causes either sunken or raised brown, corky spots. It is not real bad on my potatoes in the picture but can be really ugly if the spots are big or thick.

It is not harmful if you eat it but it is unattractive and makes potatoes for sale less marketable.

The bacterium lives in the soil and a low pH is supposed to help but I gave up on that and now I grow mine in straw to keep them out of the soil. Crop rotation also helps.

brownrexx July 28, 2020 04:23 PM

I harvested my potatoes last evening. The first photo shows what it looked like with the straw pulled back. I was able to "dig" all of my potatoes using just my gloved hands. The plant in the first photo is a little greener than most of them but with this heat wave and not being able to water then, I decided to harvest before the voles started dining on them.

Since this thread is about yields, I weighed my results. I planted 5 lbs. each of Lehigh Yellow and Kennebec and I harvested 21 lbs. of Lehigh Yellow and 26 lbs. of Kennebec. I probably had another 5 lbs. of volunteers.

[url=][img][/img][/url][url=]Potatoes, 2020[/url] by [url=]Brownrexx[/url], on Flickr

[url=][img][/img][/url][url=]Potatoes 2020[/url] by [url=]Brownrexx[/url], on Flickr

JRinPA July 28, 2020 11:31 PM

They look good. We just had some eggplant fries tonight. French fries would be good too. I am clueless on when to harvest, though.

brownrexx July 29, 2020 08:38 AM

You can harvest any time about 2-3 weeks after flowering but the potatoes will continue to increase in size as long as the plants are still growing.

Most of my plants were wilted over and mostly brown. I wasn't going to harvest all of them since a few of the plants like the one in the picture were still fairly green although they were limp. However I saw a vole and was finding a few potatoes chewed so I decided that it was time to harvest even if the plants were not totally brown. I had about 12 large potatoes with bite marks so I cut that part off and cubed and blanched those potatoes for the freezer.

JRinPA August 25, 2020 01:22 AM

10 Attachment(s)
I harvested a week ago. It started out great, a nice bunch of potatoes right by the walking path. Then, bang, all downhill from there. The path probably got extra water when I had some since it was easiest to reach. That is my guess on the good production there.

The hilled/walled row box produced only 37lb of very solid, dense potatoes from ~7lb of seed. Uncut seed potatoes. Lehigh. I still didn't measure the row, approx 15 ft. The box has 3 bean teepee set over it with beans planted outside the box. They filled in the teepees and shaded, but I think that was not really the issue. It was just so hot and dry...I had a drip tape over it but only 5 gallons at time for the entire hilled row.
Things I learned:
1. All the potatoes set in the zone of the initial trench filling. I could have stopped there. Not a single one was above grade. Trench was about 6" deep with potatoes sitting on bottom, then filled and hilled just a bit. The plants grew past that, and I hilled around them once. Then I built walls and hilled again, but forgot perlite. Maybe one more time with compost. By that time it was 10-12" above grade. Then straw. What a waste! All of that compost collapsed down into upon digging it was only 6" above grade, and the potatoes were really, really hard to dig out because of the compacting! From the ground level on up, the plants put adventious roots out from the stem, but never set any potatoes like I expected them to. The last pic shows that well.
2. Well I guess number one about covered it!

The blue drum was a 3 piece affair I cut up with an electric hand jig saw. I put the other 3 lb of Lehigh in there at the bottom. I had skeletonized the bottom and set it a little below grade, maybe 4". Laid the potatoes there, and back filled the first section, approx 6-8" deep. When they popped through, I added more. Then next section, kept on repeating. After the 3rd section was on, I watered, nature watered more, the shredded compost became saturated, and half the plants died from stem rot. Not much came back. The remaining vines were not totally died back when I harvested, but I was not waiting. Net result - 2 medium and 2 small potatoes, all in the ground under the drum. And another that was half rotted. Not a single set above grade with all that vertical hilling.

The black drum was an old composter I had made. I cut out the vents to become "windows" thinking the plants would find them and grow out, rather than reaching for the sky. As I filled the drum I set seed potatoes a few inches under each window. I filled the whole drum to the top on the initial planting with Russets, and did not add any compost later. Every plant eventually found the sky instead of a much closer window. There were potatoes set vertically along the stem for 12-18", depending on planting depth. The net result - about 4 lb of potatoes, maybe less. There were many small starts all along the stem but most were marble size, with a the biggest ones at the bottom, 2"-3" ovals. Many of these were misshapen, with bulges, and some were split.

I don't see the towers working with summer heat. It has too be way too hot in them, and way too dry. Or, if it rains too much and depending on the fill, way too wet. Neither of the potato towers produced nice potatoes like the trench/hilled row did.

I have to think my best bet would be a deeper trench, 8-10". And maybe potatoes are a case for rototilling, though cringe at the thought. But a deeper trench to keep them cooler, with a hill, maybe walled in right away since I have the side panels built, now. Do that all at initial planting. Maybe cut the seed potatoes up, but at 80 cents a lb that wasn't a big deal to me. But hill it up all at once at plant out with a lot more perlite to keep it lightish and let the seed potato power that vine up through it, just like the Russets did in the black tower. Then keep it well watered in the heat, more than I gave it this year. At the same time, too much hill on top, with drip on top of that, is just asking for the bottom layers to become compacted again.

Or maybe just use straw to hill inside the panels, and put the drip at grade over an 8" trench.

Or plant them shallow and use straw.

I found out what doesn't work, still have to figure out what will work...

And I hate to say it, but, while it was neat and I like to pack stuff in, the bean towers over top probably didn't help any. The potato vines died back soonest/most underneath the shade of the towers. I did get some beans of course, probably 6 good trays from a three pickings, and still have the middle tower up. But I pulled the other two to get the potatoes out and cut back on bean beetles.

JRinPA August 25, 2020 01:34 AM

8 Attachment(s)
Pics of the cleaned up potatoes. They looked good to me, from the row. The two towers, not so much! The last two pics are blue tower (lehigh), black tower (russet). Looks like there a very few more in the blue tower than I said above, but the dogs knocked those two trays outside and I had to collect them so who knows. Very poor, regardless.

I do want to try to be there when the 150-200 lb is dug there with my scale! Though I admit I think she is probably right about to how to grow them there. A whole lot of sun at that patch...they need the cool ground.

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