Potatoes are in, and all organic too! Now is the time to get your seed potatoes in the ground to ensure a mid-summer harvest. We have a variety of tubers in stock for spring and will guide you through the growing process!
With over 10 varieties to choose from, you’ve got choices! From our must-have potato types that you’ll recognize from the grocer to more unknown varieties, here’s a few we recommend that you aren’t going to find at the store:
An early season ‘tater that produces uniform, round golden tubers with blush red eye areas. Though smaller in size, it produces more tubers per plant than its cousins. this is a great substitute for ‘Yukon Gold’ or ‘Yukon Gem’. Perfect for culinary uses, and scab resistant!
A mid-season, long, oval, fingerling variety with red skin and deep, pink-red flesh. Suitable for a wide range of cooking, with a creamy texture, earthy taste and unique coloring. Resistant to virus, splitting and powdery scab. Moderate storage time.
Deep blue skin and blue flesh with a thin white line just under the skin. Great for baking or frying, AND excellent for making colorful chips. When boiled the color turns to a light blue - adding 2 Tbs. vinegar will keep the color darker. Excellent keeper.
”Seed”, in the following, means a small piece of potato with 2-3 “eyes.” Certified seed potatoes are disease free and have been selected to give you the best results with the highest yields.
Seed potaotes may have already begun to sprout. This is okay. Please handle them carefully and leave the sprouts on. If you break sprouts off you will delay emergence of the vines; and reduce, the ultimate size of the potatoes. Tubers the size of a hen’s egg can be planted whole; larger potatoes should be cut into 'seeds,' meaning a small piece of potato with 2-3 'eyes.' Allow the tubers a day to 'heal over' before planting, but be sure to not allow them to dry out.
The ideal potato soil is deep, light and loose, a well-drained but moisture retentive loam. Fortunately, the potato is also very adaptable and will usually produce quite respectably where soil conditions are less than perfect. All soils should be deeply prepared before planting by incorporating organic matter into the native soil.
When planting potatoes in our clay soil, you will have to amend the area to create that light, loose and moisture-retentive soil ideal to tubers. To amend a 50 square foot area to an eight inch depth, mix the following in with your soil, plant and water thoroughly:
10 cu. ft. of soil conditioner: Pay Dirt
5 lbs. FST Iron Sulphur, used to acidify and break up clay
10 lbs. E.B. Stone Organics Tomato & Vegetable Food 4-5-3
10 lbs. Gypsum
Plant in a shallow trench 6-8 inches deep with seed pieces 10-14 inches apart. With a rake, cover the seeds with roughly 3-4 inches of soil, be sure not to fill the trench completely. Depending on the temperature, sprouts should emerge in two weeks.
Or use one of our specialized Potato Planting Containers!
Planting in one of these containers make harvesting and hilling a breeze. Perfect for those who want to grow potatoes on their balcony or patio, we highly recommend picking one of our containers up - find them in the Garden Shop!
Using one of our Potato containers that focus on aeration (the black container pictured below on the left or the Smart Pot on the right) will ensure your potatoes have excellent drainage, releases heat and airs out the root zone. The Potato Patch (middle container pictured) is great for easy harvest, just pull the inner rim from the outer and find your yummy ‘taters easily accessible from wide openings in the container!
Once the stems measure roughly 8 inches high, you will need to hill the vines. Hilling, ridging up the soil around the base of the vine, is crucial when creating an environment for potatoes to thrive in. Mound the soil away from the sprouts, leaving about half the vine exposed. You will need to hill every 2 weeks for the first 6 weeks of growth, carefully adding only an inch or two of soil to the hill each week. Hilling is not an exact science, but adding too much soil will cover the leaves and reduce the yield, whereas adding too little will expose the potatoes to light, turning them green.
For ease of gardening, we also carry potato bags in our shop. The bags can be placed on a porch or deck, no garden beds required! Utilizing the burlap bag will ensure that the plant isn’t overwatered or overheated.
The less water, the better for your potatoes. A light irrigation will keep the tubers less watery and in turn, produce better tasting potatoes. Note that potatoes are not drought resistant and will search out moisture when water is scarce.
Once the vines emerge and until blooming ends, we recommend foliar spraying every two weeks in the mornings when it is still cool. A fish emulsion and/or a liquid seaweed extract sprayed directly on the leaves will result in a higher yield and you can’t beat the ease of application! Once the vines are blooming, there is no need to fertilize; new vegetative growth has ceased and the tubers have begun to form. Additional fertilizing may affect the flavor of the potato.
After about 7 or 8 weeks you will see the earliest blossoms, signifying that the potatoes are ready! To check on whether the harvest is ready or not, you can “rob” a few tubers from the end of the row, avoiding injury to the roots and stressing the plant. If you wait patiently for the tops to die back naturally, your harvest will be more robust with a richer flavor.
Dryish soil is definitely an advantage when harvesting; the tubers come up a lot cleaner and with less effort. After the tops are dead, leave the tubers in the ground, undisturbed for 2 weeks to “cure,” while the skins toughen up, protecting the tubers from scuffing and bruising during harvest and storage. If the soil is wet, let them air-dry on the surface for a few hours before gathering them. Separate out the discard (or set aside to eat immediately) any blemished, scabby, misshapen or injured tubers. Do not put cut or damaged tubers (those injured during harvest) into a sack of good ones; they will rot and rot other potatoes with them.
Potatoes keep best in the dark at 36 to 40 degrees F. at high enough humidity that they don’t dry out, and given enough air circulation that they can respire. Light and or warmth promote sprouting and will also turn the potatoes green which is a sign of toxins accumulating.
Choose from our many varieties and grow your own tubers, so they will be ready to be harvested this summer!