This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he always thought the garden was his. Even though I do all the work, he always stood by me. I'm located near Boston (in USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot and a backyard vegetable garden. I use sustainable organic methods and try to grow all of my family's vegetables.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

seed potato delivery

Copy of IMG_6174

My potatoes have arrived! I ordered 5 varieties from Moose Tubers in Maine. Way back in mid January. I have the bed all planned out. I need to turn it and then dig trenches and then the taters can go in.

I have the following: F. Fingerling (1 lb), Dk R Norland (2.5 lbs), Rio Grande Russet (2.5 lb), Red Gold (2.5 lb), and Green Mtn (2.5 lbs). That's 10 lbs of regular potatoes and 1 lb of fingerlings.

I looked up potato growing information from Johnny's:

CULTURE: Well-drained soils of a wide pH range are suitable.

PREPARING SEED TUBERS: With a knife or seed cutting machine cut the tubers into pieces roughly 1 1/2-2 oz. (1-1 1/4" diameter), with at least one "eye" on each piece. It is best to cut seed potatoes at least a day ahead of planting to allow the cut surfaces to dry. We try to supply "B" size tubers, intentionally graded on the small side for seed use, as they do not need cutting. Potatoes are tolerant of cool soil and moderate frost. In early- to mid-spring, plant cut or whole seed pieces 2-3" deep, 12" apart, in rows 30-36" apart. Plants will emerge 2-3 weeks later, sooner in warmer soil. When the plants are about a foot tall, hill them with a continuous 6-8" high mound of soil by hoeing from each side of the row. (Some growers hill a second time 2-3 weeks later.) Hilling ensures your potatoes will grow protected from sunlight which causes "greening".

INSECT PESTS: Row covers work great to exclude potato beetles! Otherwise, scout for yellow potato beetle eggs on leaf undersides and crush them. Control potato beetle larvae up to 3/16" long with special BT insecticide, combined with 5% rotenone or pyrethrin for larger larvae and adults (refer to Index for "Insecticides").

DISEASES: The best disease control is fertile soil and irrigation when needed to keep the crop growing strongly. Scab (scabby patches on potatoes) is largely avoided if soil is not allowed to become dry.

HARVEST: Young, small, "new" potatoes can be harvested beginning about 7-8 weeks after planting. In fall, after foliage is dry or when tubers have reached full size, dig the entire crop, allowing surfaces to dry before putting into storage containers. Store in a cool, but not freezing (ideally 35-45°F), dark place. AVG.

PLANTING RATE: 10 lb. avg. 80-100' at 12" spacing. Approx. 8-10 pieces/lb. Fingerling type: approx. 20 pieces/lb., plants 20').

I have a 15 x 3 foot bed. So 45 ft of row. (Hmmm. I have a lot to share with David. He'll be pleased.) I'll do a full row of Russets and half a row of each of the rest. Russets (15 ft = 2 lbs). Norland (5 ft = 1.25 lbs). Red Gold (5 ft = 1.25 lbs). Green Mtn (5 ft = 1.25 lbs). Fingerlings (5 ft = 1/3 lb).

potatoes (Solanum tuberosum)



Blogger Dennis said...

I'm actually harvesting my potatoes now (I live in FL) and it's the first time I've ever grown them........what a blast! And the taste? Awesome!

April 10, 2009 7:51 AM

Anonymous Daphne said...

I keep waiting for the local place to get their seed potatoes in. The waiting is killing me. He promises me that they will be in next week however. I hope so.

April 10, 2009 7:58 AM

Anonymous Amelia said...

Oh dear. I got my seed potatoes from Moose Tubers this week as well (La Ratte fingerlings). I didn't really read the instructions, and now I realize I planted them way too thick. What are the dangers of that? Should I dig up some of the seed potatoes? I guess next time I'll read the instructions. :)

April 10, 2009 10:53 AM

Blogger kathy said...

AMelia, At a recommended 20 feet for 20 fingerling potatoes, that's one per foot. Wow. I couldn't bring my self to plant so spread out. I didn't really think about the numbers. Last year I planted fingerlings about 3-5 inches apart. They were great.

I think they end up smaller if you plant them closer. Mine were small. Maybe I'll try for 6-8 inches apart this year.

How close were yours?

April 10, 2009 11:07 AM

Anonymous Amelia said...

Oh great, it sounds like I planted somewhere in between your density last year and your density this year. I planted fourteen seed potatoes in about eight square feet. Now I'm not so worried. Thanks!

April 10, 2009 12:45 PM

Anonymous Dawnie (CT) said...

I've read up a little about planting potatoes. I'll have to admit....I still don't quite "get it". Kathy, would you be willing to do a step-by-step "how to" photo tutorial? That would be so helpful to "slow" people like me. LOL.
Another question, out of your 26 lbs. of seed potatoes, how many lbs. will that yeild? 26 lbs of potatoes going into the soil is a lot of potatoes.

April 10, 2009 5:59 PM

Blogger kathy said...


Actually I only have 11 lbs of seed potatoes (not 26). I'll probably share about 4 lbs with another gardener. So I'll plant about 7 lbs in my garden. Last year I planted about 5 lbs.

I have been told that average yeild for potatoes is 10 lbs per lb. But a good farmer can get 20 lb per lb. I suspect that my yields are on the low end because I just don't have the space to spread out the crop. I think I dug about 20 lbs from my 5 lbs planted last year (poor yeild but delicious). They were supermarket potatoes and I think not only did I plant them too close, but many did not sprout.

I like to plant potatoes in a trench. Here's photos of my trench last year. You can see in these pictures how close I planted the potatoes. Too close! After you put the potatoes in, cover them about an inch or two. As they grow, add soil so the plant tops stay about two inches tall until the trench is full. You can even pile up dirt around the plant if you have the energy. The more distance between the seed potato and the top of the dirt, the more potatoes will form.

By the way, Good Friday (today) is traditionally a good day to plant potatoes. Did you get yours in? Not me. But I did dig about a lb of potatoes today that I missed last year. They'll be great with the Easter lamb!

April 10, 2009 8:09 PM

Anonymous Dawnie (CT) said... did I miss your last years post on potatoes?! Stupid me!! lol. That was very helpful; thank you.
I'm not planting potatoes this year because I didn't plan for it. I would have to find the space to plant them also, and I haven't a clue as to where I would put them.

April 10, 2009 10:43 PM

Anonymous kaatvds said...

You could try potato bins. Check out Sinfonians tutorial:
They take much less space.
Also, don't forget to put flax in your potato beds: they're the potato's best companion plant, or so I'm told.
I'm still waiting for my potatoes, also from Moose Tubers. Luckily preparing the potatoes before sowing (chitting?) takes a while, because now's not a good time to plant them!
(I'm right nearby you, so you know the weather I'm talking about!)

April 11, 2009 12:12 PM

Anonymous VTJim said...

I've enjoyed readings everyones posts on the potatoes. I too grow potatoes only on a much larger scale. Be careful, I started as you guys did, planting a few pounds, adding more every year. This year we are planting nearly 8,000 Lbs of seed, which should yield 35-40 tons.

I would say you will yield about 10
lbs of yield for every pound you put in the ground, depending on the variety. Yukon Golds will yld less, closer to 6-7 lbs. You can control the size by planting closer or farther a part in the row, the closer they are the smaller they will be, the farther apart the larger they will be. Keep the dirt hilled up and keep them watered, especially after flowering, as that is when the tuber is forming and starting to bulk up. Don't over water though.
Soil temp should be 50 degree's or above so they will sprout quickly. If soil is colder, then you invite disease, and they won't sprout as quickly. I'm in NW Vermont and we won't be planting for another 2-3 weeks (2nd week of May).

April 21, 2009 4:01 PM

Blogger Cuz I'm the princess, thats why! said...

I read somewhere that you will never get a good yield from grocery store potatoes. They are sprayed with a chemical to keep them from sprouting and growing... while some do, its never very good. I imagine however that this is most likely not true of organic potatoes if you happen to be able to find some.
I am doing my first crop this year and have been researching "barrel taters". These are grown in a barrel with soil on the bottom and the seed potatoes are covered with saw dust then moistened. When the sprouts pop up you recover it with more saw dust and wet it again.
I am going to research it a little more, but so far it sounds very easy and fun. I found the article on if you are interested.

March 15, 2010 8:25 PM

Blogger kathy said...

Princess, Barrels work great for growing potatoes I have heard from many gardeners. Have fun!

But those supermarket potatoes will grow fine. There are 3 issues: First, they are treated with a sprout inhibitor, which makes it take longer for them to sprout. But once they sprout, they'll grow fine. Second, you can't tell what variety they are and it might not be the best variety for your area. And third, they are not guaranteed free from diseases. Of course, most potatoes farmers aren't going to let their potatoes get diseased, so it seems to me, you're very likely to have no disease problems.

It does get really expensive to mail order seed potatoes. How about saving Farmer's Market or local CSA spuds from the fall or winter? I had great success when I great Costco fingerlings. Yummy! I'm only buying from Fedco now because I'd prefer to know the names of the varieties I grow and experiment with different varieties.

March 15, 2010 8:48 PM


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