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Potatoes

Posted by momfryhover (My Page) on
Thu, Feb 16, 12 at 17:48

Anyone planning on planting potatoes sunday? I sure am tempted!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Potatoes

Yes, I am tempted. I have never planted them before and I just don't know if it's too early. Maybe one of our more experienced members will weigh in here. :)


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RE: Potatoes

I don't have a place ready for them and the ground it too wet to work, but I have 10 lbs of seed potatoes in the pantry, I should go check on them.

I don't plant anything according to the "Sign". My neighbors do and they cut their potatoes a week or two ago. They are across the valley and on the west slope of a hill. They have a longer growing season than I do.

Larry


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RE: Potatoes

My grandfather always said St Patrick's day was potato planting day and for years I've followed suit. This year with the warm weather, I am considering planting earlier but probably not until early March. Haven't looked for seed potatoes yet. I always buy from the local feed store. Haven't looked to see if they have them yet.


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RE: Potatoes

The OSU-recommended potato-planting dates are February 15 through March 10th. (See link below for the OSU Garden Planning Guide which includes planting dates.) In any given range of dates, the earliest date given is for southeastern OK and the latest date given is for northwestern OK, and everyone else can pick a date somewhere in between the two....or gamble and plant whenever you want if you're feeling lucky.

I have potatoes, they're chitted and ready to plant, but we have had a little over 7" of rain here in the last 7 weeks and have rain in the forecast for Friday and Saturday. Since I have puddles of water standing in my garden from the previous weeks of rain, I suppose I won't be digging any trenches and planting any potatoes in the next few days.

The "right" time to plant potatoes is about 4 weeks before your area's last killing frost, if that helps anyone. Remember that potatoes are only semi-hardy so, while a light frost won't hurt them too badly, a heavy frost usually damages them.

When I grew up in Texas bout 80 miles south of where I now live, we always planted around George Washington's birthday. Up here, I've had better luck planting in early March most years or even in mid-March if the winter is especially chilly or wet.

The issue with potatoes isn't how warm or cold the weather is when you plant them because the potatoes, after all, are underground and insulated by the soil around them. The issue is what the weather will be like a month or two later once your plants are up and growing. Sometimes the plants will survive a frost or freeze, and even regrow after being frozen back to the ground, but often the yield suffers. I definitely get better yields in the years when frost doesn't nip back the foliage in mid-spring.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: OSU's Oklahoma Garden Planning Guide


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RE: Potatoes

DANG....Now I have to dig another bed back up for some potatoes! Because I wanna plant some! I planted some blue looking potatoes the year before (got them on impulse at Lowes) and was kinda impressed how they grew. But this year I want to plant some yukon gold.

Well, time to pull out the tiller! :)


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RE: Potatoes

"I have potatoes, they're chitted and ready to plant, but..."

Dawn I havent been able to find any specific directions on cutting them, "chitted" must be the word for it... I might be a nut but I like it! My coworkers and family are going to hear it alot for a day or two...hehe, I drive em crazy with my garden talk!

Anyway, I think I understand to leave an eye on each piece, but I am unsure if it is just one or is two better? And what I thought I read somewhere, but of course cant find again, is to cut them some time before planning, not at planting time? Is that right? How long before?

I'm really considering planting my potatos in a trash can, mainly bc of space. Does anyone have experience with this in Okla? In my research it seems like ppl from cooler climates seem to do this.

Thanks!


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RE: Potatoes

Tracey,
Chitting is moving a potato to a cool area with light so they will form "chits" aka sprouts. I'm attaching a link that describes chitting and also how to prepare(cut) your potato into pieces. I only cut up large potatoes. I prefer to plant mini tubers myself. I know some growers that treat their cut pieces with sulfur before planting. Personally any piece I cut I let heal for at least a day and then plant. You don't have to chit a potato. But it will get it off to a faster start. I'm still debating when to set mine out of the crisper in the fridge. Probably within the next week. Here is another link that gives some good info. Personally I prefer at least 2 eyes per piece when I cut pieces. Jay
http://www.ehow.com/how_8491772_treat-potato-seed.html

Here is a link that might be useful: Preparing potatoes


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RE: Potatoes

Ezzirah,

You know, you could just go ahead and rototill the entire back yard at one time? Then you could plant all you want. : )

Tracey,

Chitting refers to the practice of allowing your potatoes to form sprouts at the eyes before you plant them. This gets them off to a better start after they are planted into the still-cold ground, and you have the bonus of knowing your potatoes are ready to grow when you plant them. I don't like planting unchitted potatoes because if they are duds that are not going to form sprouts, you won't know that for a while and then you'll have empty gaps in your rows of potatoes. I consider those gaps wasted space, so I won't plant a seed potato until it has sprouts.

I buy my seed potatoes as soon as the stores have them. Then I put them in the floor of the pantry where they just sit there, eventually forming sprouts. Sometimes they have pretty good sprouts formed by the time I take them out of the pantry to cut into pieces, but sometimes they don't really form the sprouts until I've cut them and am letting them cure.

About 5 to 7 days before I intend to plant the seed potatoes, I cut the potatoes into pieces. I like to have two eyes/sprouts per piece, but it all depends on how the eyes are located on the potatoes. Sometimes they just have one eye/sprout. I try to cut my seed potatoes into pieces that are about 2 to 3 ounces in size and that have 2 eyes, and 3 eyes is even better.

I put some garden sulphur into a bag, add the potato pieces and shake it gently (don't want to damage the early sprouts) to coat the cut potato pieces with sulphur. The sulphur acts as a fungicide, lessening the chance the potato pieces will rot in the cold soil. I take them out of the bag, line them up in planting flats, cardboard boxes or something similar and set them in a cool, shady place to cure for a few days. You want for them to have some light, but not necessarily bright, direct sunlight shining right onto them. This works best if your temperatures are around 60-70 degrees and you have high humidity (which we normally do have in winter), so sometimes I use the shady north side of the sun porch, out of direct rays of the sun, and other times I use the garage or shed. If we are having low humidity at that time, I put a moist piece of cloth, like a burlap potato sack, over the potatoes.

Letting your cut seed potato pieces cure for a few days allows the cut portions of the potato to dry and heal, further lessening the chance of them rotting once they're in the ground. As they dry and heal, they'll shrivel up a little which is perfectly normal. If they haven't chitted before you cut them, they'll usually start to sprout some during that curing period.

You don't want for big long sprouts to form before you plant them. If that happens, handle the plants extremely carefully because you don't want to damage the sprouts that are going to give you potatoes.

You can plant potatoes in trenches dug into the ground, about 8" deep, which is how I usually do it. I only throw a couple of inches of soil on top of the potatoes when I first plant them. Then, as they emerge from the soil, I gradually fill in the trench. Potatoes form in between the seed potato piece and the surface of the ground, so by planting deeply, you will get potatoes forming along the main stolon the grows upward from the seed potato. If you only plant a couple of inches deep, the potato stolon doesn't have much space to form potatoes.

Growing in a trash can likely would work, but you have to be careful you don't keep the soil inside too wet, and be sure you have drilled holes in the bottom of the trash can for drainage. I've grown potatoes in large containers and they grow fine. The one thing I don't like about growing in containers above-ground is that it can reduce your yields because of the soil temperature, which I'll explain below.

Potato plants grow and produce best during the late winter and early spring when the daytime high temperatures are between about 60 and 75-80 degrees and the nighttime low temps are between 45 and 55 degrees. For the maximum harvest, potatoes need to set and size their tubers before the soil temperatures reach 85 degrees. That is very important because one the soil hits that temperature, new tubers are very slow to form and to size up. If you are growing in containers above-ground where the sun shines on those containers all day, the soil temp in them is likely to hit 85 degrees earlier in the year than the soil temp in the ground. So, if using containers, I think you'd have success but you might get smaller yields than the same potatoes would give you in the ground. In the years when I plant potatoes into containers, I only plant early varieties of potatoes in containers, and put mid-season and late-season ones in the ground where they'll stay cooler for a longer period of time.

If I'd never grown potatoes in the ground, I'd think the yields from containers were great, but I know from long experience that I'll get twice as many potatos from in-ground plants than from container-grown plants of the same varieties. If the yields were the same, I'd never plant potatoes in the ground at all because I hate digging potatoes in the summer time. Even the improved clay gets hard to dig once the temperatures are high and rain isn't falling.

The soil temperatures' effects on tuber initiation and sizing are why we have to plant when the soil is still pretty cold--so our plants can form lots of tubers before the soil gets too hot. With in-ground plants, if you mulch the beds heavily with 4 to 6" of mulch, it will keep the ground cooler longer and give you a better crop.

Some people grow potatoes by planting them shallowly in soil and heaping tons of spoiled hay or straw on top of them over time. That might work in some areas, but it doesn't work for me in our rural area with tons of wildlife because the field mice and voles get into the straw and nibble at the developing tubers.

You can plant potatoes in the summer for a fall/winter harvest too. To do that, I save the smallest potatoes from the spring harvest and plant them about 90 days before my first killing freeze. An even easier way to do that is just to leave some of the small potatoes in the ground when you dig, and they'll sprout in the fall....or sometimes not until the next winter/spring. The yields of fall potatoes are generally smaller, but the potatoes taste just as good as those grown in spring/summer.

When you plant, you want your soil moist but not sopping wet. If it is too wet, the seed potatoes can rot before they sprout. That might never be an issue for someone with well-draining soil, but for those of us who have soil with a high clay content, it is a big issue.

Hope I answered all the potato-planting questions that were rolling around in your brain.

Dawn


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RE: Potatoes

Thanks for all the helpful replies. I feel much more certain about what to do. I am going to try the trash cans. I have four of them (old ones that were going to a landfill). They are about 2' tall, with the bottoms cut off. I have good topsoil and compost in them, but I think I am going to remove some of that and mix in some perlite, or something to lighten the soil. My plan, copied from some website, is to put the potatoes in about 6 - 8" of soil in the bottom, and cover the tubers as the plant grows up. We'll see how that works. I have such limited space that it was the best thing I could come up with. We have so much shade that I have to carve out gardens in the few sunny spots.

Donna in Norman where it is raining and my new little Dixondale onions and baby lettuces are getting a good drink!


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RE: Potatoes

Dawn - Funny you should say that! I am seriously considering, if only for the fact that I want my pathways to be just dirt or maybe straw or some hay for weeds. I could pull some aside and plop a plant in! LOL


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RE: Potatoes

Dawn could you explain this phenom you mention? When you plant, you want your soil moist but not "sopping wet." Didn't know that was possible. LOL. Jay


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RE: Potatoes

Donna, I sympathize with you on the shade issues. We have acreage, but most of it is heavily shaded and the woodland to the north of my garden is creeping ever closer. I hate to cut down trees, but we are going to have to cut down 3 to 5 very large trees that sit north of the garden in the next year or two or the north side of my garden will be too shady for much of anything to grow.

Cutting the bottoms out of the trash cans will give you good drainage but, depending on the soil beneath the trash cans, you may find that the earth beneath the cans works as a wick, pulling moisture out of the soil in the trash cans. That's an advantage for the plants in the trash cans in very rainy weather, but would be a problem in a very dry year. It won't be an insurmountable problem as long as you watch the moisture level of the growing medium in the soil and water as needed.

Ezzi, There are various ways to make a garden. Some people start small and make it larger every year, some start big and maybe even reduce it the next year because it was too big to easily manage, and some start with a specific size and stay with that exact size forever, although I don't actually know anybody personally who has that kind of self-discipline. Everyone I know keeps enlarging their gardens every year.

I'm making a new spot to grow beans or southern peas by piling up hay on it, Ruth Stout style. The ground that has had hay on top of it for a year looks amazing, and we didn't do any tilling. I know I'll have to fight bermuda in this area though, even with heavy mulching, because it grows on our neighbor's property just on the other side of the fence from this new area. The older I get, the more I appreciate Ruth Stout's wisdom.

Jay, You are so funny. The explanation is simple---I only have moist soil when we are in drought, and I am watering. Otherwise, since I have clay, when it rains it is sopping wet. My garden seems to lurch wildly from too wet to too dry with too-brief periods in-between when the soil moisture is just right.

Winter rain makes it hard to plant potatoes in my heavy, slow-draining clay soil. I wish I could plant them on top of the raised beds, which drain better, but since they prefer to grow in soil and not on top of it, I'm playing the waiting game....waiting for the soil to dry out enough that it is not sopping wet. Since it rained overnight and this morning, I'll be waiting a while longer.

I am not going to complain about rain this year after being so very dry last year, but once you've had 6 or 7 straight weeks of mud during what is normally your dry winter months, you start wondering if you need to grow webbed feet.

If the rain keeps up, I may be forced to grow my potatoes in containers, though I'd rather save the containers for tomatoes and peppers.

I've probably already had enough rainfall here this year to match your rainfall for each of the last 3 or 4 years.

Dawn


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RE: Potatoes

I liked Jay's comment about the wet soil, I'm so wet here I may have to plant my potatoes in hanging baskets, and rain still in the forecast.

Larry


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RE: Potatoes

I can't say I've even had soppy soil here. Even when I've had a little water standing after accidentally leaving the water hose on and when we received 6 plus inches in less than 3 hours within 12 hours I could of worked in the garden if I had wanted to.

Larry you and Dawn could share a little with those of us less fortunate. LOl.

Warm weather is here for sure. Had another skunk in the trap this morning and they aren't what I've been intending to catch. Broke down and ordered a smaller skunk trap they aren't supposed to be able to spray in. Mine in a larger one intended for foxes and small coyotes. A skunk thinks he is in a huge fenced in play ground. If there is anything illegal they make out of Clorox and white vinegar the Feds will probably be knocking on my door soon with as much as I've used over the last 2 weekends neutralizing the skunk spray. Jay


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RE: Potatoes

Larry, If I thought hanging baskets would work, I'd join you in planting potatoes in them.

Jay, It has rained all day long. All. Day. Long. You can drive down here and load up all the rain, puddles, mud and cloudy skies you want and haul them back home with you. I'll give you all of the wet stuff you want. Luckily, it is only light rain, but still......(sigh). I guess I'll get the seed potatoes out tomorrow and start teaching them how to swim.

There has been so much rain in the last few weeks that the water sits on the surface of the ground for days. Of course, the water eventually starts soaking in and the puddles get smaller and smaller...and then it rains again and the puddles are right back where they started.

I can't imagine you'd ever have soppy soil there with that fast-draining sand. Trust me, you don't want it. Tim keeps suggesting I revise my garden plans and just plant rice. I told him it is too early to throw in the towel and let the rain defeat me. I know I have to appreciate the rain when we have it because there are times we go for weeks with none at all.

If I walk into the garden right now, I'd sink about ankle deep into wet clay in the pathways because they are tightly compacted, but in the raised beds which were rototilled, had organic matter added, etc. and were 'fluffy' before the rain started, I'd probably sink into the mud up to my shins.

I wish I could save all this water for summer when we'll likely be as dry as a bone.

We had skunks out as early as early January, and I check the yard every morning before I let the dogs out. We've trapped and shot a few. We leave them alone if they stay away from the house and garden area, but if they start coming up close to the house, we put out the trap. We've never had a skunk get into the fenced dog yard, but armadilloes occasionally manage to get in there, so I save myself and the dogs a lot of aggravation by checking their yard first before letting them out. You cannot drive a mile up the road without seeing a dead skunk, and then another, and another, and another. I see their tracks in our pastures all the time since it is so muddy. In fact, looking at all the animal tracks is scarey because it shows we have all kinds of wild things out there roaming at night. I like wildlife as much as anyone but the amount we have here on our property now is ridiculous, and even though our chickens have predator-proof fenced runs and coops, they've been semi-hysterical all week because something is lurking around their coops morning, noon and night. I go and check on them when they start having a fit, but whatever wild animal is lurking is gone by the time I make it over to the coop.

If we get rain again next week, I'll start seriously considering planting the potatoes in containers because our ground is going to be very wet until mid-March even if nothing else falls from the sky.

Dawn


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RE: Potatoes

Thank you for the great potato advice. I think I will plant on my next day off.

Potatos are the only veggie ALL of my family will eat so I am looking forward to learning to grow them successfully.


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RE: Potatoes

Dawn,
If I had the time I would be down and load up a semi load. LOL. Skunks had never been a problem here. I only saw one every 2 years or so till 3 years ago when the drought set in so hard. Many other animals showed up closer to town around the same time. Most of them have moved back but guess the skunks must of set up residency some where close. I really don't see them too often. And after I caught the 2 last year didn't smell them anymore. I knew something had been milling around at night as Noah's old dog has been barking at something. I have another animal problem and that was what I was intending to trap. Instead I have caught the stinky kitties. I'm waiting for the smaller traps till I set any again. With the smaller traps they can't raise their tails and spray. I would think if there were many I would see them. On the way to Guymon last evening I saw several that had been ran over. So they are out and moving. We had a light drizzle last evening. I finished my tumble weed burning for now. It was calm and I decided I had better do it while it was. Sure enough the wind is up this morning and supposed to be breezy several days this week. I see most nights this week are supposed to be above freezing. Some close to 40 so our ground temps will rise fast. I plant to pull shade cloth over my lean to today and then watch temps for a few days. Jay


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RE: Potatoes

I must brag. My soil in my garden is divine. This week I planted peas, kale, daikon, spinach, lettuce, mustard greens,carrots, bok choy, potatoes, broccoli plants, and, of course my dix onions. I am so totally delighted with my garden. Pics will follow!


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RE: Potatoes

Jay, I told Tim I offered you all the mud, rain and clouds you wanted, but he didn't think you'd drive down here to pick it up. It is a shame, really, because I would have thrown in lots of ground that squishes when you walk across it. : ) You even could have loaded up one of the horses, and I would have arranged an appointment for the horse with Doc Nichols.

If skunks are the worst animal that the drought drives onto your property, then you're pretty lucky. Just think about the animals I usually get during a drought. Meow. One unique animal that we saw this summer and never had seen before (and that sucker was out in broad daylight too) was a spotted skunk. Usually we just have the striped ones. I have heard coyotes out and about for weeks and weeks, but have only seen the tracks or scat a couple of times. I've seen lots of raccoons and some bobcat tracks, and an unidentified set of tracks that likely was a ringtail.

The purple martins are back, and if that doesn't say spring is almost here, then nothing does.

I hope by tomorrow that the upper end of the garden may be dry enough that I can do something in there. One advantage of a sloping garden is that at least the uphill part dries out and by the time I'm through planting into it, the middle part is drying out. Of course, there is a slim chance of rain tomorrow, and with the way our luck has been running, I am afraid it may rain. Our soil temps are fine, fine, fine and getting better every day.

Momfryhover, It is great that your soil is divine and that you've been able to get your cool-season crops into the ground. My soil, at least in the raised beds, is great when it is not overly wet, which it seldom it, ....and I cannot complain about all the rain that's falling for fear it will stop falling. I sure would like to have one dry week so I could get the planting done. My seed potatoes are absolutely perfectly chitted, so I may try digging into the highest bed tomorrow to see if it is dry enough for planting potatoes. It was too wet last week, and we've had 3 days of rainfall since then. In general, we never get enough rainfall, so having too much is a mixed blessing.

Our pond stedfastly refuses to hold water for more than a couple of days, a sign it hasn't recovered from the drought yet, but my garden is holding tons of water. Maybe I should plant the potatoes in the dry pond bottom.

Dawn


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RE: Potatoes

Dawn tell Okie Tim that I might not drive down and haul it back but I might drive down to just see what "soppy soil" is and try pulling a few rain clouds back. I'm only 59 but can't remember any. LOL. Remember here is where two days after Noah's flood receded they were planting crops and by August they burned up.

Dawn my problem with skunks is I have an 18 y/o black cat that won't leave them alone. She doesn't think any animal should live here except her and me. She doesn't like Noah's cat or dog either. That is why I don't feel I've had any permanent resident skunks or I would of smelled them more often. I don't like the smell and the black cat isn't leaving so the skunks have to go. I did smell what I hope is the one I caught Friday morning. But thought is was possibly on my neighbor. And maybe they are out looking for new homes. I would enjoy visiting with Dr Nichols again. One of the two best leg men on horses I ever knew. Jay


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RE: Potatoes

I just came up from planting a bunch of TPS plus potting some tubers to pull sprouts. I've spent so much money on seeds this year, I didn't want to pony up more cash for tubers to direct plant. LOL

Skunks! There's been a boatload of them here! I see them roadkilled everywhere in the last couple of weeks. Phewy. No saber-tooth tigers, though.

Diane


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RE: Potatoes

Jay,

Ha! Doesn't your sister have clay soil that holds water like mad? Well, I guess she doesn't get as much rain there so maybe her soil doesn't get soppy and soggy. Just picture really thick, ugly reddish-brown chocolate pudding, and that's what we have right now. Low spots on the property have puddles ranging from 1 to 5 or 6" deep, but in the garden the only puddles I see today are in the pathways. Of course, since I have to walk in the pathways, that's a problem. : )

Doc Nichols is fine. The local newspaper did a long, feature article on him a few weeks ago and I really enjoyed reading it. He is still in very high demand, as always, for his expertise and excellence when treating horses with leg and foot issues. I think the last time I saw him was when he came to our VFD fundraiser in September.

We have a cat like your black cat. It is Yellow Cat. He believes he rules the universe and that all other animals are allowed to exist and to step foot on our property only if he allows it. Even he won't mess with a skunk though. When he smells a skunk, he comes to me and demands to be brought into the house immediately.

Diane, Don't your kids miss the white tigers?

If skunks are a sign of spring's impending arrival, then I think maybe you'll get to plant earlier this year? For most of my seed potatoes, I saved the small potatoes from last year, but I boght two little bags (3 lbs. each I think) of varietiess I hadn't saved.

If it doesn't rain tomorrow, I'm going to attempt to dig a trench in which to plant seed potatoes. If the trench is relatively dry, I'll plant them. If it fills with water as quickly as I dig it, I won't plant anything in it just yet.

Dawn


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RE: Potatoes

Can potatoes handle a few hours of shade? I've got a bed that gets shade until about 11 am. Morning shade and afternoon sun is really the opposite of what I need here, so I've avoided planting anything in it. It's away from the rest of the garden though, so it won't matter when they start to look ugly.

Leslie


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RE: Potatoes

Potatoes probably would be thrilled to grow in that situation. As hot as y'all get there, they may grow better in a part-shade location than in a full sun location. As long as the plants get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day and have good soil fertility and good moisture levels, they should produce just fine for you.


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RE: Potatoes

Dawn - the more I know about gardening the more I appreciate all that Ruth Stout contributed to gardening and the gardening world as well. I have no discipline when it comes to gardening. This past weekend I tilled up the whole yard. Now I am looking for good yukon gold potatoes! :)


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RE: Potatoes

Ezzirah,

Ruth Stout was a genius. It is a little harder here to do things her way because we have to get rid of the bermuda, but I often can just smother it out pretty well with cardboard and just dig out any runners that survive under the cardboard.

Hooray! Who needs to grow lawn grass when they can have a beautiful, bountiful garden of veggies, fruits, berbs and flowers. The genius in this area is Rosalind Creasy and if you ever read her Edible Landscaping book that was published in, I think, April 2010, it will change your life because it will show you how to integrate veggies into a yard that does not look at all like a traditional veggie garden.

For Yukon Gold,if y'all have Tractor Supply Stores in your area, they always have Yukon Gold (at least here in my area). I've also seen Yukon Gold at Wal-Mart and Home Depot too. They've been in our stores for weeks already and I imagine the seed potatoes should be in most every garden center and nursery in the state now, except maybe in the northernmost counties, and likely they are there as well.

The Wal-Mart in Ardmore just put out their first round of tomato plants in small 4-packs or 6-packs. It is early for that, but I am sure they're trying to accomodate people who like to put up some earlies into containers they carry inside at night. The soil temps here are perfect for potato planting but still a bit cold for tomato planting even if a person intends to cover up the plants with frost blankets on cold nights.

I have poor garden discipline as well. I simply want to grow anything and everything. However, the deer and the rabbits force me to confine much of my gardening efforts only to the fenced veggie garden because they have no garden discipline either and like to eat every flower and veggie I plant, and many of the herbs as well. I wish I had a nickle for every perennial flower and hosta plant I've lost to the deer over the years. Rabbits don't bother my flowers as much, but if one rabbit gets into the veggie garden, it can take out a row of beans or peas in one night. If I wasn't confined to the fenced garden, I'd take out every blade of grass around the house, except for the dog yard, and grow a mixture of flowers, herbs and veggies instead....and maybe one of these days I will. Of course, not until we have a fence around the whole yard, and my husband hates putting in fences. He prefers the wide-open unfenced look.

Dawn


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RE: Potatoes

Here's a tip for dealing with skunks in a large live trap. Use a good sized blanket or sheet. Spread it wide in front of you as you approach the trapped skunk. Move slowly, and he won't spray, as the "target" is too large and undefined. Lay the blanket over the trap (slowly). It won't spray for the same reason. Once covered, one can move the trap manually (and slowly) without the skunk spraying. I usually move it into a full water trough. Though, since our Pyreenes grew up, we never have live skunks on the property. He's even figured out how to kill them without getting sprayed himself. Our Anatolian shepherd, on the other hand, cares not if he gets sprayed.

George
Tahlequah, OK


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RE: Potatoes

Dogs can be very helpful, can't they? We came home yesterday to find a young raccoon lying dead in the yard. The dogs drug it around for a while until we could get a brush fire going to burn it on. I am so tired of dead stuff stinking up my yard, but glad to be rid of the rabbits, gophers, armadillos, groundhogs and coons that they kill. Oh and rats.


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RE: Potatoes

George,
I used the blanket method but although it has worked before failed the last 2 weeks. The first time my old cat who thinks she should be the only animal on my property had stirred the skunk up and caused it too spray before I could get the cage covered. The one Saturday was stirred up when I first saw it. And sprayed while I was still behind the blanket and a ways from the cage. I ordered too smaller cages and they arrived today. The skunk shouldn't be able to raise their tail in either of them unless they are really small. Hopefully I won't have many more this year. Jay


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Chitting

George,
I set my Wagner onions out to chit Tuesday. Hopefully they will be ready before St Pats day. Jay


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RE: Potatoes

Jay, you mean Wagner potatoes, don't you?
I have to say, Tom Wagner has me fired up about growing potatoes from seed and making my own crosses!

George


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RE: Potatoes

I planted my potatoes today. I only have room for 4 flat in the house. Two flats had potatoes in them chitting, they were about to chit them selves to death, plus I need the room to place 2 flats of cabbage and broccoli.

I had planned to plant the potatoes elsewhere but the soil is too wet to till so I planted them where the Cole crops were to go. The soil was worked in Jan. so all I had to do was tie a rope to the lawn mower and drag a plow across the garden.

Being that Jay has never seen wet soil, I thought I would take a picture to show him what it looked like.

Larry

Photobucket


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RE: Potatoes

Larry, your soil is such a funny color:P Our native soil was tannish on top and very red down a few inches. After years of compost/chicken litter it is now a nice brown.


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RE: Potatoes

When my soil dries out it is much lighter, sort of a tannish gray. My native soil does not look like this, its more of a tannish red. This is the 6Th year for the garden you are looking at. It has had everything but the kitchen sink tilled into it. The soil does have a high mineral count.

This soil is very shallow. Down a few inches it is hard-pan, it wont even perk test. I just try to improve the top and hope for the best. You can see the ditch that I have dug around the garden to help it drain, when it is wet, it is very wet, when it is dry you cant hardly drive a nail in it. My step dad says "its the kind of ground you have to plow between 12:00 and 1:00 o'clock, if you try to plow it before 12:00 its too wet, if you wait till after 1:00 its too dry".

Larry


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RE: Potatoes

Larry,

Maybe we can work out a trade. When the guy came to do the perc test for our septic system, he dug the hole while explaining he would fill it with water and come back 24 hours later to measure how much water was still in the hole. After filling it, he went to the car to get his notebook. By the time he came back from the street, the hole had drained empty, and needless to say, we passed, no need for a second trip. However, that kind of sand isn't exactly easy to garden in.


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RE: Potatoes

Seedmama mine may not be as fast as draining as yours but I don't have to worry about standing water or having to wait long to get in the garden to work. After a 1-2 inch rain I can work in the garden by 10. Really mine is close to perfect. And all I've added over 18 years has helped it. It has a lot darker color down to about 12 inches than it did before and any of the non improved soil around it. Jay


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RE: Potatoes

I am working on another spot, its what I call my "South Garden". The soil is not much better but it is the highest point in my lawn. Its an eye sore because its out front nest to the highway. I figure that if people dont like it they can just keep their eys on the road and keep going.

Larry


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RE: Potatoes

Larry, I feel the same way. I have to put containers in my side yard every year in search of sunshine. In my neighborhood, the houses are sort of back to back anyway, so someone has to look at it.


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RE: Potatoes

My big garden sits between the house, which is 300' back from the road, and the roadway and if anyone doesn't like looking at the garden as they drive by, then they can just keep their eyes on the roadway. : ) I put the garden there because that's where the soil had the least clay content, and it still has plenty of clay, but less than the land out back.

Rally, though, I have met lots of people because of the garden. They stop and ask if they can look at the garden, compliment me on it, ask questions about putting in a garden, etc. I've made lots of new friends just because the garden gave them an excuse to stop and introduce themselves. I know that some of them are gardeners themselves because sometimes I come home and find a watermelon or cantaloupe or something sitting by my garden gate, and it isn't from my garden but rather from the garden of a fellow gardener who just wanted to share their harvest.

I hope to start digging trenches this afternoon so I can get the potatoes planted tomorrow. All the strong winds this week have dried up the top few inches of soil in the garden and almost all the standing puddles of water are gone. With rain in the forecast for next week, I think Sunday and Monday are my best chance of getting anything done before more rain falls from the sky.

It is very cold and frosty here this morning. If I were to hurry up and get moving, I could get out to the garden and remove the puddles in the pathway by breaking up the ice and carrying them out of the garden in a bucket!


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RE: Potatoes

Bought my seed potatoes a few days ago--Kennebic, Red Pontiac and Royal Gold. Will cut them this evening. Next week will look in Tahlequah for the blue potatoes I raised next year. The grandkids thought they were cool.


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RE: Potatoes

I did not expect it to get as cold last night as it did. I did not cover my potatoes with soil when I planted them, I just tossed on a thin covering of shredded leaves to shield the sprouts from the sun and frost, I hope I gave then enough cover. I will go out and cover with a little soil/compost today. The soil did dry out a lot more by leaving the trench open.

I really need to get more soil ready to plant, but If I cant get rid of the deer it will be a big waste of time. I don't like any type of fence but it will be a must to have one this year.

Larry


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RE: Potatoes

Dorothy,

I saw Adirondack Blue seed potatoes in Lowe's this week, so you might check the Lowe's closest to you to see if they have them there yet. I've grown Adirondack Blue and All-Blue and found that Adirondack Blue produced better for us and had better flavor too.

Dawn


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RE: Potatoes

I saw some blue potatoes in a local Wal Mart last weekend. Not sure what they were. I have more of the Tom Wagner tubers than I can plant so try not to stop and tempt myself to buy anymore. And the Wagner potatoes are the best I've ever grown. Shared some with George and will be anxious to hear his reviews. Jay


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RE: Potatoes

I planted chitted potatoes early this morning of the following varieties brought from Atwoods; Kennebeck White, Norkotah Russet, Pontiac Red, Yukon Gold, Dakota Pearls, and Purple Majesty from Lowe's. I planted in 6" part in three rows in 4ft wide and 16ft long raised bed and another two 16ft rows either side of the snap peas bed;


Larry, your soil looks so nice and very organic. Our soil still looks red clay even after amending it with lots of compost and garden ready mixes... I guess it may take another decade to become like your soil.

-Chandra


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RE: Potatoes

Chandra, thanks. My soil does look a lot better than it did when I started working on it, but it is a never-ending task. I have been work in the soil above for 6 years, it is still very wet and heavy. I keep adding organic matter trying to raise the level up somewhat like a raised bed. I don't want to place a border around it because of our age and health may force us to stop gardening and I don't want to have to remove a border when that happens.

Larry


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RE: Potatoes

Most of the potatoes showing up and seems to be doping OK. I see some missing spots here and there, I guess they are on the way.

-Chandra


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RE: Potatoes

Hello,

I'm curious how long does it typically take for a non-chitted seed potato to send up the first shoots? For what it's worth, I'm growing Red Pontiac in a 1/2 whiskey barrel in southern Wisconsin.

Thanks!


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RE: Potatoes

That would depend on the variety and what length dormancy is programed into its genes. Your seed potatoes were purchased as seed potatoes, correct? If so, I suspect they'll break dormancy soon.

Someone sent me a couple of varieties of seed potatoes, not commonly available at big box stores. I've been trying to get two of these to break dormancy for over two weeks now. But they refuse to sprout. So today, I stuck them in an partially closed plastic bag and some apple cores. I'm hoping that the ethylene from the apple cores will encourage sprouting.

George
Tahlequah, OK


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RE: Potatoes

I have a potato plant in my broccoli now that is about 18 inches high and I have not planted potatoes in that area in 2 years.


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RE: Potatoes

Some of the seed potatoes I planted in ground on Feb 29 started showing shoots above ground starting from March 14. That means, for me, it took about 15 days. -Chandra


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RE: Potatoes

Assuming you have seed potatoes and not grocery store potatoes, I've seen them sprout in as little as 2 or 3 weeks but also have seen them take 2 months to emerge above the soil surface. A lot depends on how deeply you planted them and how cold and wet the soil is.

If you happened to use grocery store potatoes, by chance, they are sprayed with anti-sprouting agents that can take months to wear off, so it would depend on how long ago the potatoes were sprayed with anti-sprouting agents.

If it has been a month or more since you planted, you can take your trowel and dig down carefully to see if you can find the seed potatoes and see if any sort of sprouting is occurring. If you dig around in the soil in the container and don't find your seed potatoes, then it is likely they rotted or were eaten by some sort of varmint who jumped into your container and tunneled down.

Normally Red Pontiac is one of the first ones to sprout for me.

Larry, I've had that happen the last two years, indicating I must have missed tiny marble-sized potatoes when digging, and then the weather hasn't kept the soil wet and cold enough in winter to make them rot. I rotate my potatoes from bed to bed and often have an odd potato come up in last year's bed, but like you, I've had it happen the last two years in a bed from 2 years before.


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RE: Potatoes

George and several others on this site are way more experts on growing potatoes than I am. I had never chitted intentionally till the last few years. Sometimes I would take a store bought potato with sprouts and plant it and other times I just cut a potato in pieces with a few eyes and planted them with no sprouts showing. The last couple of years I've started growing several varieties not available normally. I've noticed a difference in the time it takes to chit them and also the time to emergence whether chitted or not between varieties. I'm growing one variety and it seems too take a long time for any sprouts to show if chitted but if planted in soil they emerge within 1-2 days of those that were chitted for several weeks. I've grown Red Pontiac in the past and it seemed to emerge with most of the others if memory serves me correctly. And that was before I did any chitting. Soil temps can affect the time some also from my experience. I had a few that weren't showing any sprouts emerge in 7-10 days this year. Then others took 2 weeks or more. Again it seemed dependent on the variety more than anything else. Jay


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RE: Potatoes

Thanks for speedy reply everyone! I am growing certified seed potatoes. I planted them 1 week ago and never have grown potatoes before. I don't think they'll have a problem getting going since they are in a container (1/2 whiskey barrel), but breaking the dormancy might be the longest part to wait for? I'll just be patient and hope for something in the next week or so to poke through.


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RE: Potatoes

A week ago? Well then, I wouldn't worry about them until about the first or even second week in June. It takes a little while for them to wake up and get growing, particularly if they weren't chitted. I hope you get a bountiful crop.


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RE: Potatoes

Just came in for a short break from planting potatoes to see this thread at the top so had to open it up, of course!

My pulled sprouts I planted earlier this year got knocked out by frost, at least 95% of them. So today I've been planting TPS in their spots. I had a few seeds leftover from Tom Wagner but I'm most excited about a couple of TPS varieties that Joseph (my landrace guru) shared with me. I'm so looking forward to both tubers and seed this year.

I also have a couple Moie Moie mini-tubers in the fridge that I'll be planting out in pots today. Wendy from over on TV was nice enough to share them with me. Hopefully, I'll get several tubers out of them.

Back to the grind! I still have a bunch more things to plant out today...

Diane


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RE: Potatoes

Well Diane, I'd say you are ahead of me on this! This is my first year to successfully raise some plants from true potato seed. I have to admit, the idea of growing from seed, instead of just from seed potatoes excites me as I can envision doing some actual breeding and selection.

Yesterday, for the first time in my life, I actually emasculated a couple of tomato flowers, in preparation for doing some intentional crosses. The same technique is used on potatoes. I have seedlings going, derived from Huagalina (Peruvian cultivar, noted for being a survivor) and Chaposa (Mexican, I believe).

Jay, I am excited to try Azul Toro. The plants are striking and vigorous.

When I get a chance I'll have to start a new thread on my adventures with potatoes this year.

George


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RE: Potatoes

I am not a big potato grower, but I have grown them a few times both in south central Oklahoma and here in NE Oklahoma. I am interested in how different they have been. In southern OK, about 30-40 miles north of Dawn, the plants were lush and beautiful and people kept asking what they were especially when they flowered.

The year that I got such a good harvest here, the plants were almost waist high and I didn't have significant flowering. This year I gave them plenty of room and planted at the right time. They grew to about 2 to 2-1/2 feet high then kind of started falling over a little. If they bloomed, I didn't notice. I am guessing that the harvest will not be as good. I suppose some is due to lack of rainfall, but the rainfall was fine when they should have been growing taller, but of course has been much less this month when they should have been making tubers.

Our water has always been very reasonable here until this year, and the cost has gone way up. That would happen in a year when the rainfall was not adequate, wouldn't it?


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RE: Potatoes

Carol,

I have found potato performance to be hugely variable. They don't always flower. I believe they flower more commonly in cooler weather---like if they reach a certain size and the weather is cool, they will flower one year, but at the same size with warmer weather in another year they will not flower. Somehow the temperature must be related to the flowering. This year, some of mine flowered and others didn't, and all the ones that flowered did not flower at the same time either.

Lush potato plants usually are most common in years when the air temps warm up early. In a perfect world, your potatoes will make nice, reasonable steady growth as long as the air temps are between 45 and 75. If it happens to warm up above those temps really early, the plants can go crazy and grow like mad giving you excessively lush, heavy, leafy plants.

I get the highest yields in years when the spring weather is slow to get really hot and when the moisture is consistent. In a year when they receive consistent moisture, you'll get smooth potatoes. In a year when there has been a lot of inconsistency in rainfall or irrigation, you'll often get knobby potatoes because when they are dry, the tubers stop growing, then when they receive moisture, the start growing again. The starting and stopping of growth causes the knobbiness.

Undoubtedly the lack of moisture has affected your plants somewhat. I do get better yields in wet years, as long as the ground is not so wet that the seed potatoes or plants rot early in their lives. I also get better yields when it stays cooler longer. Once the soil temp hits 85 degrees (and mine has hit 90 degrees or higher here and there already although it drops at night still), the tuber formation is pretty much done. Most potato varieties don't set new tubers once the soil is consistently above 85 degrees for most of the day. This is an area where a good deep mulch can prolong the formation of tubers by keeping the ground cooler.

I don't know how hot the soil surface was at our house today, but I was thinning the late corn plants today in an unmulched bed. It was my intention to mulch it after I had thinned because snakes hide in mulch in the corn beds and I don't want to find those snakes while thinning corn.

So....I was on my knees crawling along thinning the corn and the ground was so hot that my knees felt like they were on fire. I had to stand up and walk along, half-crouching as I thinned the corn. I think that I looked like a little duck, but at least my knees weren't on fire. I bet the soil surface was 120 degrees or higher. Now that the corn is thinned, I'm going to mulch that bed ASAP. The thought I had, though, wasn't about the corn. It was about the potatoes. I felt how warm that soil was and thought to myself "I bet the potatoes are done with tuber formation!". Of course, the potatoes are shading the ground beneath them, and they were well hilled and are well-mulched, but I still think my soil is likely already hotter than they prefer.

I was just thinking about last year's potato crop, which was the best-yielding crop I've ever had, and it defies almost everything I said above. We got too hot too early for good tuber formation, and yet we had a huge crop. What we did have going for us was all that rain in May--over 7" of it. So, last year, the heavy May rain trumped the hot temperatures, but that still is atypical for potatoes grown here at our place. I did have them heavily mulched, so maybe the heat didn't heat up the ground too much even though the air temps were ridiculously high very early.
Dawn


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RE: Potatoes

Variety can also make a difference. We put in some Red LaSoda this year, and they are growing more like Carol described. Yukon Gold, on the other hand, never attained much height and is dying down. It started dying down so much sooner than the others, that I at first thought there was a virus getting it. But now, as I observe the row, I bet it's simply finished. I've watered our potato patch 2 or 3 times and I don't believe it has seen a sizable rainfall but a couple of times, right after planting.

George


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RE: Potatoes

George, I am sure that variety makes a difference but in the case of the tall ones vs. this year, I planted Yukon Gold both times.

I think Yukon Gold is an early one and I have seen it listed as both a 90 day, and 90-100 days. I don't know exactly what day I planted, but I saw a posting of mine on 25 Feb where I said I had already planted, so I am at the 90 day point.

I planted a red potato the same day and it is going to be a little later, but not much. I bought it at Bartlesville Atwoods and the bin wasn't marked. I just chose the bin with the best looking potatoes and since I was only planting a few, it really didn't matter.

A couple of weeks later, I put in 8 small Kennebec potatoes, so I have 3 varieties planted. They all have grown to about the same height and the only real difference that I see at this point is that the Yukon Gold are finishing up. They are growing in a different part of the garden this year and the sun doesn't reach them as early, nor have they had as much water. We normally have heavy Spring rain and this year we have had "La Nada". LOL


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RE: Potatoes

Can we talk about harvesting potatoes? I've never grown them before. They look horrible right now. Do I need to let them completely die back before harvesting? Do they need to be dry for a certain amount of time before harvest?

Leslie


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RE: Potatoes

As with tomatoes, some potatoes exhibit a determinate growth habit and others exhibit indeterminate growth---but not exactly in the same way that tomatoes do.

The determinates, of which Yukon Gold is one, get only so tall and they're done. They set their tubers pretty early and then it is over. They are either early or mid-season ones, producing in maybe 80-90 days most of the time.

Other types, which are indeterminate in nature, tend to grow taller (and I think they produce more per plant, though that's just my opinion, not a stated fact) and they produce later.

Leslie, Because you have had a lot of rain, it is hard to know if they look horrible because they're done, or if they look horrible because all the rainfall on the foliage caused some foliar diseases. Potatoe plants get all kinds of foliar diseases (similar to tomato plants) that can cause yellowing and browning on the leaves, and sometimes it is hard to look at them and know if they are sick or if they're done.

One way to know if they are done is to take a trowel and dig gently around one plant to see how many potatoes are there and how large they are. If they are the right size for the variety you planted, they likely are done. If they seem smallish and if the plants still have living foliage, you can leave them a while longer. Just replace the soil around the tubers you were checking, pat it down into place, and if it seems really dry, give it a little bitty sprinkle with the hose to settle the soil back in around the tubers.

Most of the time, potatoes, regardless of variety, need to set and size their crop before your soil temperatures begin staying at 85 degrees and above. In soils hotter than that, tuber initiation and growth really tend to slow down. So, if your soil temperatures are consistently staying above 85 degrees, your crop likely is about as big as it is going to get. However, if you put 4 to 6 inches of mulch (I use hay or straw or grass clippings--they all work) on top of that hot soil, you can drop the soil temp quite a bit and maybe keep your potato plants setting and sizing tubers a while longer.

In general, potatoes thrive and produce best when daytime air range between 60-75 during the day and 45-55 at night. That puts your part of the state at a disadvantage when growing potatoes because y'all exceed those temps so early in the growing season. This is why we have to plant our potatoes so darn early---because we can get so hot so early here.

Most potato varieties give you about as many potatoes as they can produce about 90-120 days after planting. So, if you remember exactly when you planted, you can add up the days and see if the plants have been in the ground long enough to be 'done'.

Normally, healthy potato plants indicate they are ready for harvest by turning yellow and starting to die back. So, if your foliage is turning yellow, it could be that your crop is ready. However, like tomatoes, many diseases turn potato foliage yellow, and I find it hard to tell sometimes if my plants are saying "I'm done" or "I'm sick".

Having said that, there's no wrong time to harvest potatoes. You can harvest them and use them at any size.

If you are growing a large number of plants and know that you intend to store some of the potatoes long-term, just cut the tops off the plants about 5 days before you want to dig the potatoes. That will allow the skin to cure a little, getting a bit thicker and tougher, which will allow them to store longer. (If they are not close to maturity, the skin may not thicken and toughen though.)

To harvest, plunge a spading fork into the ground about 12" from the main stem of each plant and work your way inward carefully so that you are not spearing potatoes with the tines of the fork. Or, if you have loose, fluffy soil, you can use a spade or trowel. If you use the spading fork or a spade or shovel, plunge it into the earth as deeply as you can and lift up the whole plant. Most of the potatoes will be there. Remove any that are adhering to the plant, and dig carefully in the soil in that area to find any that did not come up out of the ground with the spading fork. It is really easy to miss some, so take your time and dig down carefully after you've removed the main clump of potatoes from each plant. You will be surprised how many you find that did not come up out of the ground with the main plant. I rarely find any that are more than a foot from the main stem of the plant.

For long-term storage, place unwashed potatoes in a cool, dry area. Be sure to first use any that were sliced open while digging because their wound may not heal, and that will cause them to go bad early. I usually keep the freshly-dug potatoes in my tornado shelter, but I've had them last almost as long when I put them on the floor of my unheated pantry which sits underneath the staircase and stays pretty cool. The perfect temperature for potato storage is about 40 degrees, but here in OK we just do the best we can. My grandfather built a little lean-too with an earthen floor off the south side of his garage that had an earthen and he just piled up the potatoes in a corner of that lean too. I always was surprised how cool and dark his lean-to was even in the summer months, and his potatoes lasted well into winter.

Most years I miss a few small potatoes while digging, and they tend to grow and give us surprise potatoes the next year.

You can harvest and use potatoes any time you want. They are edible at any size. I just try to leave them in the ground as long as possible to maximize the size of the crop.

If you've counted up the days and think your potatoes should not be ready yet, then the foliage may have a disease. Sometimes when that happens, I wait it out. If the potatoes are diseased, they'll tend to start putting out new foliage to replace the sick foliage. After the new foliage has emerged, I cut off the old, crappy-looking foliage. If your leaves are only yellowing and have no brown, black, tan or purplish spots or splotches, they may be done. The presence of spots or splotches on the yellow leaves is usually an indicator of a potato disease.

Hope this helps,

Dawn


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RE: Potatoes

My potatos have hornworms, I keep checking the tomatos, but none there. Is anyone else getting hornworms now?

I was wondering about the harvest too, thanks for asking Leslie. Mine seem to be dying back, but I am unsure, maybe they are sick. They are turning "crispy" brown. Will it hurt the potatos if I wait too long to harvest? I planted on March 1st...I just looked that up. Its been about 80 days. They have looked really healthy till this week. What do yall think?

BTW, when my DH asked how I will know when the potatos are ready, I told him, "Whenever Dawn posts that she harvested potatos they are ready"


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RE: Potatoes

Hi Tracey,

I haven't seen any tobacco or tomato hornworms, but have seen a cherry hornworm. Nor have I seen any hornworm damage on tomato plants. However, I see the moths every evening and sometimes in the early morning hours, so I know they are here. It certainly is not too early for hornworms. At our house, I sometimes see them as early as March on brugmansias grown in molasses feed tubs. Since I drag the brugs into the garage on really cold winter nights, they never lose all their leaves. Consequently, they're often hit by pests in Feb or March when there's not much else available yet for the hornworms (or spider mites).

I rarely have hornworm damage on my tomato plants. By rarely, I mean sometimes never at all the whole growing season, and sometimes I see a little in August. I believe that a combination of factors give us little hornworm damage in our garden, including the many native plants they feast upon that fill our local pastures and draw them away from the garden, and also the borage, basil and four o'clocks I grow. Many years ago, I noticed that when I have a lot of these plants in and around the veggie garden, I see almost no hornworm damage.

You can spray your potato foliage with Bt 'kurstaki', which is found in several products like Thuricide ( liquid) or Dipel (a dust). That will put an end to hornworm damage on the potato plants.

With potatoes, it is hard to guess if they are sick or if they are done without seeing them, and I am not sure I could tell by looking at them. Many of the fungal and bacterial diseases on potatoes (and tomatoes) look very much alike and accurate diagnosis, even from photos, can be difficult since you often have two or more diseases in combination. Also, some insect damage, like potato leafhopper damage, can look surprisingly similar to diseases.

I would not think that potatoes planted March 1st already would be fully mature. No matter how early I plant or what varieties I plant, harvest time tends to remain late June through mid-July in my garden. I do not like to harvest them until all the foliage has died back. Then, I'll wait a week or two for the skins to toughen up before I dig them.

One way you might be able to tell if it is disease damage on your foliage is that often, when you have foliage dieback on potatoes, if you just ignore it, new growth will begin to appear within a week or so. That's one clue that the potatoes aren't done yet.

Some years I will harvest my potatoes early because I am dying to put some sort of heat-loving crop like purple hull pink eye peas or okra in their bed. However, when I harvest early I get a smaller harvest and lots of tiny potatoes that likely would have gotten quite large if I'd left them alone and let them grow until they were 'done', instead of harvesting them just because I decided I wanted to. So, I try to leave them alone and let them grow.

Because your plants looked good until this week and then turned crispy brown, it might be a sign they are done. However, it might be a sign that you had rain within the last couple of weeks and some foliage disease is hitting as a result of moisture on the leaves.

Before I harvest, I dig into the ground around a plant that looks done to see how large the potatoes are. If they are not as large as I know they should be, I wait to see if the plant will put out new growth. You'd be surprised at how often they seem to die back and then suddenly begin regrowing after a few days.

Having said all that, potatoes are harvestable and are edible at any size. So, harvest when you choose, but do so with the knowledge that harvesting early gives you smaller potatoes. For some people, the desire to plant a succession crop in the soil occupied by potatoes trumps their desire to leave the plants a few more weeks in order to get more potatoes and larger potatoes.

When I am ready to dig potatoes, I'll let you know! : )

I do have to add that earlier in the week neither my potatoes nor my onions looked like they were even close to being ready, just from looking at them. However, my onion tops are starting to flop over a little, so I think that they'll be ready for harvest in a couple of weeks. With the potatoes, I have several varieties planted, and one variety either has a foliar disease or it is beginning to finish up as it is yellowing and browning. All of this is a real recent development.

I don't "need" for the onions and potatoes to be ready right now because I am struggling to keep up with the harvesting, eating and processing of plums, tomatoes, green beans, zucchini and summer squash. Since the last thing I need this week is for one more thing to be ready to harvest, I'll probably walk outside in a few minutes and discover my onions and potatoes are declaring themselves "ready". Since I am getting ready to harvest the early sweet corn, the potatoes and onions likely will be ready to harvest now just out of spite and a desire to work me to death. lol

Since I mentioned potato leafhopper damage, I'll link a photo that shows some potato leafhopper damage on a potato plant.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: Potato Leafhopper


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RE: Potatoes

Thank you for all of that information, Dawn. That's exactly the type of reply I was hoping for. I found a link that talked about potato diseases with pictures and I didn't really see any that totally fit, but a few that could be possible. There's no spotting on the leaves, so that narrowed it down. They had so much cutworm damage and I thought they were recovering, but this may just be some of the aftermath of that, too. It's been 88 days since they were planted, so they could also just be getting close to finished. There's not really much I can do about it whatever it is, so I'll just be patient until they've died back and harvest whatever is there.

Leslie


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RE: Potatoes

Thanks Dawn! I investigated my potatos further and decided that they were under attack by leafhoppers. I followed your advice and feel optimistic about the results. Thank you!

DH says that he has never seen onions grow as big as mine...I told him its all due to the great advice I get on the Okla GW. BTW Im originally from Canada, so having a "local" resource for info is the "secret of my success".


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RE: Potatoes

Leslie, You're welcome. I hope when all that foliage finishes dying down, you find a lot of nice potatoes in the soil.

You're right when you say there's not much you can do about it. Despite all our efforts, basically the plants are gonna do what they're gonna do.

Tracey, You're welcome too. I'm always glad to help. The possibility of leafhoppers seemed like a good one and it is one pest I see a lot here. I have hopperburn all over my tomato plants. I've never had it as heavy as this before, and I've only seen a few leafhoppers, but there's undoubtedly more of them that I'm not seeing.

It is a really good onion here too. As long as you plant short-day, intermediate-day or daylength-neutral onions at the right time in well-draining soil, make sure they have lots of water and nitrogen-rich soil or supplemental nitrogen fertilizer, you'll get a great harvest. Onions in a good year make all of us look like incredible gardeners, don't they? In a bad year, we just blame the excess rain or wild swings from hot to cold or hard, late freezes. It is never our fault when the onions fail, right?

Dawn


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RE: Potatoes

When counting the days of growth for a potato, is it from time of sprouting or planting?
Of course, I don't even know exactly what kind I have. Somebody from West TX sent me some nice red seed potatoes and I've since lost the labels. I also don't remeber the exact planting date. It was sometime early Feb, maybe even very late Jan. They took about three weeks to sprout.
We had really, really high temps last week. 110 was the highest. Thankfully, it's nice and cool this weekend but it's supposed to be back up there again this week.
I have them very thickly mulched and shaded with sheets. But, I don't know if they are burning up or dying off. I tried digging down and didn't see many little potatoes. Not sure if I didn't dig far enough or there just aren't any.


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RE: Potatoes

Time to bump this thread for every thing there is to say about potatoes.


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RE: Potatoes

Thanks for finding this for me Helen. last year I didn't get one potato from my 12 plants so I will need to study again what to do.
Kim


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RE: Potatoes

Should I chit my potatoes this weekend? In case I have the term wrong, I mean cut the eyes off. We really didn't get much rain. I won't be able to plant for about eight more days if it doesn't rain again. Longer if it does.

some of the taters are just beginning to enter the "spent" phase.
bon

And what is up with this forum thread being so wonky?


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RE: Potatoes

I'm not sure what you are planning to do with your potatoes, but you don't really "cut the eyes off" of ones you plan to plant. And since you say they are "spent" do you mean these are grocery store potatoes getting soft? What you do with potatoes that you want to plant is cut them into pieces with at least one eye (sprout) on each piece. I like to leave two eyes and cut the pieces about the size of an egg. If your potatoes already have sprouts, you can simply plant them whole or cut them and let the cuts cure for a couple days. I always sulfur mine as Dawn describes above because our soil is heavy. The sulfur helps prevent rot.


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RE: Potatoes

I'm now picturing Bon's poor little ole potatoes with all their eyes cut off, and they are blind and wearing Ray-ban sunglasses to hide their eyeless little faces. Bon, I second what Dorothy said.

Kim, What did your plants do? Did they die back and, then, when you dug them, were there only normal roots and no tubers formed? You have to wait until they die back completely from natural causes before you dig the tubers.

Some years they bloom (it is temperature dependent and doesn't always happen). In my garden they tend to bloom maybe 6-8 weeks after they were planted. Normally, when they bloom, if you dig gently in the soil around the base of the plant, you can find a few small new potatoes to "rob" from the plants. Even if they don't bloom, the new potatoes appear when the plants have emerged from the ground for about the same number of weeks. Then, your main harvest will be another month or two away, depending on whether you plant early, mid-season or late-season types.

If y'all got too hot there too early, the heat may have prevented tuber formation, or disease could have killed back the plants before they could form tubers. That sometimes happens to mine in very wet years.

I hope to plant potatoes in a couple of days if the soil isn't too wet. Planted at the proper depth, they still will be underground (we hope) and not all big and tall and beautiful before the last freeze hits. I've had them freeze back repeatedly some years, so I just try to plant as deeply as I can. Now that I have and use row cover, I can cover them up if we have a really late freeze. They will bounce back well from being frozen back once, but each time they freeze back and have to put energy into regrowing, it seems to hurt their ultimate yield.

Prime potato season planting time is here. I know OSU recommends an earlier planting, but when I plant earlier, mine always get hit by late freezes so I plant a little later and rarely have to worry about the late freezing weather.


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RE: Potatoes

lol dawn

Mulberry, that was very helpful. The eyes are bugging out everywhere on these potatoes I bought from Atwoods even though I've kept them in a cool spot to slow 'em down. And some are getting soft. Anyways, that's what I'll do later this week, then.


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RE: Potatoes

Dawn I am not sure what happened really. it was only my third time to grow potatoes.
The first time was with regular white potatoes and it was a great success and got me hooked!
Second time a volunteer plant from the compost pile produced well.
Last year I planted purple potatoes with plenty of eyes, great soil at the " right " time, but I think I was lacking enough sun. My tomato plants got huge and shaded the potato bed. they were about 4 feet away.
They never bloomed and then died back at the "right " time and no potatoes, not even a nub. I don't really know enough to figure it out but my little neighbor guy was so sad this year I am going to check before I let him dig, then I can fix it [as in bury some from the kitchen quick] if there is nothing there.
I can only eat purple potatoes and sweet potatoes so I really want to be successful this year. My plan is new area, more sunshine and alot more compost. They are ready to go in but it was raining so I thought I would wait till tomorrow.
Kim


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RE: Potatoes

This thread reminded me of Chandra. Guess we aren't the only one with strange weather, since he said it snowed in Amman, Jordan this week. I think bad weather follows Chandra. LOL


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