Thursday, April 16, 2020

Prepping & Planting Potatoes!

It's aaaaalmost time to set these spuds in the ground and let them work their magic. I love love love freshly dug taters for dinner! These will keep us eating good from July through to about March! 

My Potato Plans

We will be planting 40 lbs of seed potatoes, or 150' of potatoes. I have 5 lbs of Natascha (new to me, my fav is Mountain Rose, but it was out of stock), as our early variety, which we will dig and eat fresh during the summer. As our mid-season variety we have Kennebec, a standard for us, which we will dig and eat fresh during the fall; at some point digging the rest to cure for storage. Lastly we have Green Mountain, an heirloom storage variety I just love; it does well on our site (clay-loam) and stores great. We'll plant 20lbs of Green Mountain to dig and cure in the Fall, for our winter storage potatoes and for our Winter CSA customers. 

I plant the early varieties at 8" and the late variety at 10", nestled in the bottom of a 6-8" trench. After planting cover with a couple inches of soil, filling the rest of the trench in later, as the plants grow. It's nice to mulch potatoes, if you are able, as they are water hogs and love the extra moisture. While most veggies in the garden like 1" per week, potatoes like 2".

After 17 days waking up/sprouting.

Greensprouting/Chitting Potatoes

The potatoes pictured are just over halfway through the Chitting process - I chit you not this works great. ;) When our potatoes arrived just over 2 weeks ago we began to "wake them up" by bringing them into the basement (60-65°) and keeping them in complete darkness. During this time they start to put out little white sprouts (like taters that sit in your pantry too long).

After 2 weeks they were moved to the spare bedroom to sturdy up for planting. Left open, as pictured, in a space with indirect light, these shoots will begin to green up and get tougher. This get them ready for planting, sturdying up so they are less likely to break off when being handled.

Click on over to our Facebook page, check out the videos section. I have two videos from when the seed potatoes arrived from The Maine Potato Lady, and from their transition to light. I'll post another at planting time.

As you can see in the pics some sprouts are longer than others. You don't want them to get too long, but each variety may act a little different and, of course, it will depend on the temps in your house as well. If you have longer sprouts you just need to be careful when planting.

Nice sturdy little shoots.

Planting Time

After about 4 weeks in the house these guys will be itching to get in the ground (like all of us itching to get our hands in the dirt!). So, in about two weeks, when the sprouts are nice and sturdy and ground temp is around a nice 60° (no need to rush folks) we will plant them out. A good phenological sign is when the dandelions are blooming (not the ones on the South side of the house).

Do you have to greensprout them? No, certainly not, but it has worked well for me. It gives the potatoes a head start in the garden and potentially can create higher yields. I like that, as with our heavier soil, which can somewhat restrict set growth, it's nice to have an advantage.

Well that's potatoes for tonight! I'm trying to post more on facebook, and a bit here, about what we're planting, how were growing and cooking, so follow along on facebook and if there is anything you are wondering about please holler!!

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