Thursday, April 26, 2007

Potatoes have arrived, greensprouting

Eagle Creek Potatoes has shipped me my order.

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They offer foursums which are, as you might guess, packs of four potatoes of a single variety. You can get many of these foursums, four being the initial suggestion, thereby increasing the fun in your potato patch. Other than the russian blues, all the seed potatoes were large enough to cut up if I wanted to but I never do that.

As per the instructions on the helpful information sheet that accompanied my order, I am green sprouting:

Hortiphilia Fact:

Green sprouting potatoes is to leave seed potatoes in a cool (10-15 degrees Celcius) and bright place (such as a sunny window) to develop sprouts. Also known as chitting*.

They then suggest to plant when the soil is about the same temperature as the seed potato. This pre-growing is supposed to increase the strength of the plant and eventual yield. We shall see.

Normally, I just stick whole seed potatoes in the ground, give them a salute, and say, "good luck". I don't fertilize though my soil is frequently ammended with various organic matter, and I rarely manage to hill up as often as I should. However, I have had good luck with potatoes and hope to continue to do so. From the myriad ways that are suggested to grow potatoes, I suspect that they are hardy souls. So if you aren't going for a record in size, earliest maturity, or highest yield, you could probably grow them any which way.

I have only two potato growing tips:

1. Acid soil prevents scab so consider incorporating something acidic like oak leaves into the soil the year before.

2. The colorado potato beetle has a thing for physalias (chinese lanterns) in our garden and doesn't bother anything else. Try it as a trap crop. And let me know if it works for you too.

Okay, three - if you want to cheat and dig up little tasties, mulching is a good idea. Then you don't have to go gingerly digging in the soil, you just have to move back the mulch to search for those delicious new potatoes.

* Chitting? This is a term used to describe any pre-sprouting technique in seeds or tubers except for sweet potatoes where they seem to use the term slip production.


Heritage potato varities
Potatoes under straw
Potatoes in hills - agricultural scale of hilling up potatoes
Potatoes in tires

A series of little posts to catch up. My other half has been monopolizing the computer because of work or some other similar excuse!

1 comment:

Dawn said...

Foursomes sound like an awesome deal! I love growing potatoes. I think they are so easy, although maybe I have just had good luck. I put them in the ground and don't do anything again until fall when I dig them up. Enjoy!