Potato cultivating....
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,859

    Default Potato cultivating....

    Since I was asked for some tips.

    I have been growing potatoes about 15 years non-stop now (the last run at the potatoes).
    Basically, got tired of store bought "organics" costing $$$.
    Before that, I was born onto a homestead and did not know of store bought potatoes until about 18 years old.
    Potato is the "second bread" for many Europeans, how can you do without.
    So, the potatoes.

    I do lots and lots of mulch; more the merrier (any organic waste over the plants; cardboard between the rows/plants; cardboard pinned down by mulch).
    I don't water.
    I don't hill (thick mulch layer takes care of that).

    I do lots of varieties (some names I don't even remember anymore) - the more varieties you do the merrier.
    same for the apples that I do, btw
    same the bees that I just now learn how to do sustainably (not industrially)
    variety of lines at all times is your insurance - have to have the potatoes no matter how the summer turns out (wet/cold or hot/dry)

    Place some fertilizer along-side the tubers (when planting).
    Collect the potato beetles by hand.
    Keep the potatoes in ground until the hard freeze in forecast (then dig them up and store in cardboard boxes in the garage; mix in some paper shreds for storage).
    Though, I would keep some potatoes directly in ground (they do great in ground); but I rent the land for the potatoes in a community garden - hence don't leave them there for winter.
    About it.

    This is the half-patch, spring 2019, typical for me (other gardeners fill the compost bin on the background with their garden waste for me to use):
    20190618_201422.jpg
    Last edited by GregV; 06-19-2019 at 12:18 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Lilburn, GA, USA
    Posts
    707

    Default Re: Potato cultivating....

    Thanks Greg!
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Byron, Il, USA
    Posts
    350

    Default Re: Potato cultivating....

    Potatoes are just fun to grow. Most years I grow some, but 3 years ago I went overboard and we had hundreds of pounds on the floor of the basement and my wife said "NO MORE!".
    Great thing about potatoes is they are so easy. I have planted them into hard heavy clay and gotten decent returns. And home grown potatoes taste better.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,705

    Default Re: Potato cultivating....

    Dang it! You guys have got me thinking about the unused garden I have out back and that I easily buy 200-300 pounds of potatoes every year. Would oak leaves work as mulch or are they too acidic? I read once that potatoes love pine straw.

    I bought a bushel of sweet potatoes a few years ago and canned them. Still have a few jars left.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,859

    Default Re: Potato cultivating....

    Quote Originally Posted by AR1 View Post
    ....... And home grown potatoes taste better.
    +100.
    Absolutely.
    When they grow the potatoes in industrial ways, they apply too much fertilizer and too much water (obviously).
    The spuds grow big and taste like crap (no taste to speak of), as a result.
    Best to NOT over-fertilize/over-water them and go for average size tubers and on a drier side - the best potato.

    For now we are out of own spuds and have to buy some.
    Really are missing the real stuff.
    I don't even want to eat the store potatoes - taste-less surrogate.

    We basically grow enough for a family of 5.
    Lasts us about 9-10 months in a good year.
    Storage becomes an issue the weather turns warm.
    I also just use my own seeds mostly anymore (just save few boxes aside for planting).
    Minimal expense - does take some sweat equity; a great work-out as for me.
    Last edited by GregV; 06-19-2019 at 09:14 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,859

    Default Re: Potato cultivating....

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Dang it! You guys have got me thinking about the unused garden I have out back and that I easily buy 200-300 pounds of potatoes every year. Would oak leaves work as mulch or are they too acidic? I read once that potatoes love pine straw.

    I bought a bushel of sweet potatoes a few years ago and canned them. Still have a few jars left.
    The oak leaves are fine, if acidic not much.
    Pine needles could be acidic BUT potatoes like it slightly acidic (pH about 5-6 is fine)
    Not a worry.

    In all, the store potatoes give you russet, yellow and red potatoes (just like applies - red, yellow, green).
    But if grow your own, choices are hundreds of varieties.
    Easy to exchange the planting material with others too.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    syracuse n.y.
    Posts
    5,224

    Default Re: Potato cultivating....

    potatoes are my IPM crop, everything likes to munch on the leaves, so I only have to spray them to get the invaders.
    mike syracuse ny
    Whatever you subsidize you get more of. Ronald Reagan

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,859

    Default Re: Potato cultivating....

    Whew, finally finished the potato & pumpkin planting - 3 weeks past normal time.
    Very, very late start this season due to several reasons.
    20190620_173532.jpg
    20190620_162701.jpg
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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