You like potato and I like potahto

runktrun(z7a MA)October 14, 2009

While reading " Stand Back, Yukon Gold: ThereÂs a New Potato in Town" in the NY Times I felt vindicated about my dismay over Yukon Gold potatoes, now donÂt get me wrong I do appreciate their creamy texture but to me their shelf life is minimal and their centers are more often than not hollow.

This summer I started Carola and Rose Gold late and lost them early to blight. The handful of immature potatoes were delicious but there werenÂt enough for me to thoughtfully review. I did grow them in a cloth potato bag from Gardeners Supply and will use the bags again next year.

Did your potatoes escape getting hit by blight? Have you tried any new potato introductions? What are your favorites?

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noticklish(z5/6 CT)

I liked yellow finn. My husband likes the purple potatoes for their chewy texture when roasted. Adirondack blue and all blue are good but their yield was poor.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 8:59PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

I like Yukon Gold. I attempted to grow them this year. Didn't get too far.

Seed potatoes were delivered way too early, IMO. Okay, the box says store in cool, dry place, yada, yada. So I put them in the almost-renovated basement. It's dark, it's cool, and the dehumidifier runs constantly so it's dry.

Fast forward to... oh, I don't know.... July? Perhaps even early August? I'm showing the fourth contractor something that needs to be done, which the last three contractors said they would do and never showed up to do it, and while he's talking I notice these long, thin, pale things reaching up out of a box. I started to completely ignore the contractor as I realized in horror that I had totally forgotten about the potatoes and that the poor things were desperately trying to grow in the box! These skinny little stems had to be two feet tall! Darn! And I hadn't even started to build my potato bins, which was my last winter's project (and now the coming winter's project!).

As I debated day after day whether it was too late to plant, it got too late to plant! Well, they never got planted. Probably just as well, as I suspect they would have gotten hit with the late blight. My tomatoes were devastated, and the potatoes probably would have succumbed too.

But, I will try Yukon Gold next year, and maybe some of your suggestions, too, Katy. That's if I get the bins built this winter...


    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 11:32PM
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cloud_9(z5 CT)

Well, they never got planted. Probably just as well, as I suspect they would have gotten hit with the late blight.

Dee - LOL Your justifications would have done an Aesop fable proud! Thanks for my laugh of the day, because that snow didn't get too many chuckles out of me! I complain that I never seem to be able to overwinter Caladiums when I do fine with everything else. "Everything else" is inside. And where are my Caladiums? Yup, out in the snow. Definitely operator error. Oh well, they probably would have rotted or dried out anyway, right?!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2009 at 7:33PM
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I also like Yellow Finns (anyone have a good source for Yellow Finn seed potatoes?) and find that they keep much, much better than Yukon Golds. I grow Butte, which is a great baked potato and also works well for mashed. Russian Banana fingerling potatoes are sort of banana shaped (though lumpier) and have a good flavor and nice firm texture that's great for roasting or for use in stews since they don't fall apart.

This year I tried King Harry (supposed to be bug resistant and it seemed to get fewer potato beetles) and another variety, Prairie Blush. Neither were hugely prolific, and I haven't yet started eating them so I can't yet report on flavor and texture.

In addition to Yukon Gold, there are a number of varieties I've grown once or maybe twice, but not liked enough to repeat, either because the flavor wasn't worth it or because they didn't grow as well as I would want. The ones I remember include Katahdin (sp?), Rose Gold, Swedish Peanut (too small), and Caribe.

I do find that most of my full-sized potatoes (but not the fingerlings) have at least some hollow hearts. Does anyone know what causes it or how it gets treated?

I just grow my potatoes in the ground, planting them in hollows about 6" deep and then filling them in when the sprouts have grown tall enough. What is the advantage of potato bags or bins?

    Bookmark   October 15, 2009 at 11:25PM
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runktrun(z7a MA)

Unlike you I still haven't found a Bobcat under my Christmas Tree although it is always on the top of my list... go figure. So moving dirt and creating new beds is something I blather on about all winter but when it comes time to put muscle to the shovel I never seem to find enough time. The potato bags were wonderful for me for two reasons, one as my existing planting matures I have less and less full sun every year and these bags can be moved around for optimum sun and irrigation, secondly when it comes time to harvest it is a simple as dumping the bags out without the enevitable slice or knick to the potato from the pitch fork.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2009 at 3:50PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Katy, indeed I was being humorous in telling my potato story (and that's exactly how it happened, lol) but I truly do think my potatoes would have gotten hit with late blight. It's not really a rationalization. My tomatoes were decimated. Out of the 20+/- plants, every single one of them got hit. I only got a handful of Sungold cherry tomatoes out of the whole crop - I think because some of the smaller tomatoes ripened more quickly, before all of the fruit got affected. My potatoes would have been close by and I have no doubt they would have been hit. Several farms in the area lost their tomato and potato crops, so if the pros did, I'm sure I would not have been able to stave off the blight.

I might try those bags next year, especially after hearing of your success. I did actually grow my first-ever potatoes last year in a garbage bag, and did okay with them. I was hoping to move on to bins to have something a bit more sturdy and substantial and longer-lasting, but being the world's most unhandy person, perhaps I should go the bag route.


P.S. The snow didn't get many chuckles from me either, lol! Looks like this whole weekend will by yucky - of course, because it's my weekend off from work. It's only nice on the weekends I work!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2009 at 9:58PM
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runktrun(z7a MA)

I lost all of my tomatoes as well, it was pretty discouraging. We had so much cold rainy weather in the early summer that their growth seemed to me to be slower than normal then just as the first fruit was beginning to ripen they were hit by blight.
I planted my potatoes late but they grew rapidly here they are happy and healthy on August 4th

A week or two later rapid decline as the potato blight hit.

I forgot to mention the best thing about the cloth bags are that at the end of the season they are folded up and tucked away needing nearly no storage space.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 7:36AM
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runktrun(z7a MA)

I just came across an informative post on Garden Rant "Battle of the Genomes" about potatoes that I thought was interesting.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 8:25AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Katy, did you grow potatoes in those wire bins too? And did you just use straw? Which brings me to yet another question - what did you do with all the soil in the bags? Did you compost it? Or did you use straw in those too?

So sad, that late blight, huh? I still think of all those wonderful tasty tomatoes I DIDN'T get to eat this summer, lol.

(Sorry for all the questions!)

    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 6:36PM
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runktrun(z7a MA)

Before I forget I cleaned out my garden corner of the garage and found some strings for the Flowtron that I no longer own along with a few spare parts if youÂre interested email me your shipping address.
Now to the potatoes, I planted them in the cloth bags in the same way I would have if they were in the ground by putting a few inches of soil in the pot then covering the potatoes lightly until I saw sprouts, again ad more soil and so on. Gardeners Supply advertises a yield of 13-15 pounds per bag, but of course that was not enough for me someone I know suggested when the vines reached the top of the bag start adding straw in the same way I was adding soil being sure to leave enough of the vine un covered. Unfortunately a nearby farm was hit by the potato blight and so was I before the experiment concluded. I will say that there were potatoes forming on the stems covered by the straw so yes indeed I would try again next year. The fencing was just there to help keep the straw in place.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 8:31AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Ah, okay, now I see. I did the same thing with my garbage bag - filled the bottom with soil, planted the seed potatoes, and as they grew I added soil. I did alternate the soil with shredded leaves because I felt like my garbage bag was going to burst from the weight of the soil. I had a decent crop, but smaller than I had hoped. This was last year, so no problems with late blight.

Thank you for thinking of me regarding the Flowtron. It's about that time again, lol - leaf-shredding time! I will e-mail you.


    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 10:38PM
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KT - While I love the old Ford tractor (nothing so sophisticated as a Bobcat) I truly don't use it in the veggie garden. ;>) I like hand work in the veggie beds which are the historic garden site that came with the house (we found an old brass harness bell in one of the first years we planted there . . . ) One of the things I love about potatoes is that I can plant them with the peas as soon as the snow disappears and the ground has thawed for a couple of weeks, well before I have to do anything else in the garden. So, it's one of the garden jobs that I actually get around to, unlike staying on top of the weeding, de-flowering my garlic, deadheading, etc, etc, etc . . . I do like the idea of just dumping out the potato bags and not spearing potatoes, however, so I may have to investigate that. Now I just loosen the soil with the spading fork and then get down on my knees and hand dig to minimize the damaged potatoes. You can always tell when I've been harvesting my spuds because I'm as grubby as a 5 year-old when I come in, and my fingernails look awful (dirt-stained and broken) for days after. Right now I'm using the damaged potatoes since I know that they won't keep.

My sympathies on blight that effected so many this summer. I've been doing some reading after viewing this thread - it looks like there are or will be soon some resistant potatoes on the market, though I've not found anything on blight-resistant tomatoes. I guess that there is an advantage to living in the boonies - no near neighbors and since I don't grow corn, I don't worry about the corn field next door spreading disease.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 7:40AM
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