potatoes - a tiny harvest
Some things grew great this year and others, well, :-( didn't. On my "didn't" list, potatoes.
I thought they were doing well until last week when I dug them. An underground crop is a mystery until you go to harvest!
This spring I planted only one type of potato because in the past I've had so many seed tubers left over that I can't find space for. Usually I crowd the seed, spacing them maybe 6 inches apart when 12 would be better. So I only planted my favorite, russets. And I tried a new variety, Canela, from Territorial, that is a high yield potato. I planted 5 lbs.
Potatoes will yield up to 20 times more than you plant. I usually expect about 10 times. So, I was hoping for 50 lbs, or at least 30. I ended up with about 15-20 lbs. It was a lot of work to dig the bed searching for spuds that were few and far between. (Even with Skippy's help...) Each plant had about 5 potatoes and their were hardly any plants.
The potatoes I got were a mix of sizes, big and small. The usual scab I get with Burbank russets. They're delicious baked, fried or mashed - can't complain about that.
So, to try to figure this out my low yield, I looked back over my photos from the season. I think part of it is that they didn't sprout well. I remember I was short of time and the seed potatoes sat in their box a while. I didn't get them sprouting in a warm spot before planting. And I didn't add much compost to the bed. Hmm, come to think of it, I didn't give them any fertilizer either. On top of that, the mid summer weather was certainly not great for potatoes - very hot and dry. The plants had good foliage, so I assumed they were happily growing tubers. I'm not sure which of these was the biggest problem, maybe the combination. This gives me a list of things to make sure I do next year: sprout, compost, fertilize and water! Oh, and go back to planting more varieties and crowing them in.
May 12, the freshly turned bed. May 31, sprouts in the furrows.
June 22, growing plants. July 18, fully grown potato plants.