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Information and discussion for successfully cultivating potatoes, the world's fourth largest crop.

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Old June 29, 2020   #16
Black Krim
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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.
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Old June 29, 2020   #17
biscuitridge
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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.
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Old July 14, 2020   #18
brownrexx
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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.


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Old July 14, 2020   #19
JRinPA
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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!
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Old July 14, 2020   #20
brownrexx
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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.
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Old July 28, 2020   #21
brownrexx
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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.

Potatoes, 2020 by Brownrexx, on Flickr

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Old July 28, 2020   #22
JRinPA
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They look good. We just had some eggplant fries tonight. French fries would be good too. I am clueless on when to harvest, though.
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Old July 29, 2020   #23
brownrexx
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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.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #24
JRinPA
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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.
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Last edited by JRinPA; 4 Weeks Ago at 01:42 AM.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #25
JRinPA
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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 up...be 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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