potatoes again!

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potatoes again!

#1

Post: # 48476Unread post Bower
Sat Jun 12, 2021 6:50 pm

Today I spotted several tufts of potatoes coming up in the garlic bed where they were grown last year. So I pulled them up and rescued them, as I do believe they were some of my favorite kinds. :) Couple of Bellanita and a German Butterball. I have a few as well that I kept for seed, which we brought up from the cellar last week. But I had no place prepared to plant them.
So finally this afternoon I went and broke ground in my old vegetable garden, which has been nothing but grass and weeds for over a decade. I believe the snow a couple days ago softened it up, and in an hour with the sharp little pick I had made a few drills to plant.
I am really stoked to see that old dirt looking not bad at all. And thinking fondly of how hard I worked to build up the organic matter back when it was in use. You can see the clay, certainly, and has pretty filled up again with rocks, but still... not bad. It's certainly acidic, and was even going to moss in places, but potatoes are supposed to like that. :roll:
If I can get those potatoes to grow, I will heap it up with good stuff and by the end of season, will have my old bed shipshape again.
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Re: potatoes again!

#2

Post: # 48534Unread post Bower
Sun Jun 13, 2021 4:41 pm

Planted the seed potatoes this morning. I had enough for one row of reds : All Red and Candy Cane. And the rest are Bellanita.
Six 5 gallon buckets of garden compost and some herb straw on top just to retain a bit of moisture. I was glad of it when the neighbor's cat came through! :)
Thanks to that great post by [mention]GoDawgs[/mention] about determinate vs indeterminate potatoes, I did not plant the German Butterball with the rest! Yes I recognize it now, Butterball was the key troublemaker in my mixed patch last summer. Giant plants! I need a deeper and less rocky place for those monsters, and I won't be letting them eat the All Red like they did last year. :lol: I believe the rest are determinate, so they will be manageable and not too different from one another.
I opened another drill this evening, for the little Bellanita that came from the garlic bed - of course, I forgot them! :oops:
Now I need a scheme for the GB, a tall order since I've little deep soil here. I thought they were a good potato in spite of being monsters. Very little scab and decent production.
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Re: potatoes again!

#3

Post: # 48853Unread post Paquebot
Fri Jun 18, 2021 9:34 pm

There's just one problem with transplanting volunteers. The tuber-producing stolons are invariably damaged and no tubers are formed. When I have had to transplant a volunteer, it has been with a shovel in order to get as much soil and do minimum damage to the stolons. That is only if it's in a location where it must be moved. Otherwise, where possible, I treat them just as if I had planted them there.

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Re: potatoes again!

#4

Post: # 48874Unread post Bower
Sat Jun 19, 2021 7:07 am

Tx for that advice Martin. I did take them up as gently as possible but I won't expect too much from them in that case. I still haven't put them out in the field. There was no way I would leave them to grow among the garlic. ;)
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Re: potatoes again!

#5

Post: # 48880Unread post brownrexx
Sat Jun 19, 2021 9:24 am

I have never transplanted any volunteers but I do get plenty of them.We Rototill in the fall and it spreads pieces of missed potatoes throughout the garden so they come up all over the place. Unless they are in a really inconvenient spot I leave them alone and get a nice early crop of potatoes well ahead of the crop produced by my seed potatoes. It's fun.

Here are some of my volunteers from last year, probably Kennebec but I get a few red ones every year even though I have not planted Red Norland in about 4 years.

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Re: potatoes again!

#6

Post: # 49873Unread post brownrexx
Sun Jul 04, 2021 9:07 am

Last evening I was checking the garden and noticed that some of my volunteer potato plants were wilting and dying so I decided to pull a few of them. They were not completely dead but they were in the way of the corn which is now starting to grow more due to the recent rain. I ended up with 9.5 lbs of nice potatoes. I like these first fresh potatoes and tonight I will slice some of them with Vidalia onions and cook them in a foil packet on the grill.

I only pulled about 4 plants and there are at least 10 more volunteers in the garden. The 4 small rows of potatoes that I planted in late May have just finished flowering so I will not harvest them for about a month. They will last all winter in storage in wooden baskets in my basement.


ImageVolunteers 2021 by Brownrexx, on Flickr

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Re: potatoes again!

#7

Post: # 50326Unread post JRinPA
Mon Jul 12, 2021 1:14 am

Those look nice. I wish I had some for fries right now. I haven't been growing potatoes long enough I guess, as I have yet to find a volunteer.
I transplanted a block of corn over a bed of potatoes and am curious how each will do. The lehigh potatoes were just sprouting through. The corn transplants were about 10 days old. I lost pair of corn where the potatoes dragged them back down (it was biblical) but I think all the others made it. That corn is about 3-4 foot now, it was part of the second round for the year, and the first block was started pollination last week. I figured I timed it well enough so the potatoes got a strong sunny start, but that the corn would be picked before the potatoes needed digging.
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Re: potatoes again!

#8

Post: # 50337Unread post brownrexx
Mon Jul 12, 2021 8:34 am

Some of my volunteer potato plants are between the corn rows and the corn is not full height yet but the potato plants are drying up so I dug another 10 lbs over the weekend. I was happy to get them out of the way of the corn.

My 4 rows of potatoes that I planted just finished flowering about 2 weeks ago so they will not be harvested for a while but I expect that I will have more potatoes than I need.

Making potato salad today.
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Re: potatoes again!

#9

Post: # 50349Unread post Amateurinawe
Mon Jul 12, 2021 12:00 pm

[mention]brownrexx[/mention] Will that be potato salad with your baked potatoes, mash and chips or without ?
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Re: potatoes again!

#10

Post: # 50356Unread post brownrexx
Mon Jul 12, 2021 1:58 pm

[mention]Amateurinawe[/mention] My potato salad is small cubes of potatoes that I boil, cool and add chopped celery, chopped hard boiled egg and mayo, cider vinegar, dijon mustard, sugar and salt. It is eaten chilled.

Sometimes I peel the potatoes and sometimes I don't. These will be peeled because I am using the imperfect ones first and some of these have marks and scars on the skin.
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Re: potatoes again!

#11

Post: # 50358Unread post Amateurinawe
Mon Jul 12, 2021 2:48 pm

That sounds delicious, i love dijon mustard. Skins on or off does depend on how good the skins are.
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Re: potatoes again!

#12

Post: # 53603Unread post Paquebot
Wed Sep 08, 2021 8:46 pm

Potato harvest started here today. Only had 2 varieties tis year, Clancy and Ozette. Clancy is a hybrid TPS variety which one starts from seed one year to get seed potatoes to plant next year. Ended up with 82 tubers last year which barely filled a quart container. Only a single eye on each of those "marbles". Fitted them into 4 rows of 15 his spring with some smaller ones doubled. Expectations were mostly skepticism.

Then they began to grow and became huge plants which bloomed for almost 2 months. They were definitely looking a lot different than the skinny things which barely made 12" last year. Then I dug a plant. There were 4 or 5 nice broiler size and one as big as my fist. I looked at them and remembered the tiny little thing that I planted last April and could hardly believe it. The others in that row produced various shapes, sizes, and colors from red to yellow. Looked at the basket and found it hard to believe that those tiny seed potatoes could produce so much. And there are 3 more rows!

The other variety was Ozette, an old one from the PNW. Long gnarly tubers but not a fingerling. Perfect for frying and potato salad. Only had a dozen plants. Seed pieces had been cut so only a single eye would produce a plaint. I've been growing them for at least 15 years and know that they need room to grow big tubers. First plant produced one almost 8" long and the rest of the row did nothing to disappoint me. Note to self: 24 plants next year!

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Re: potatoes again!

#13

Post: # 53605Unread post Bower
Wed Sep 08, 2021 9:38 pm

I dug my spuds a couple of days ago - actually dug a few some days before that, and when I saw they were FULL OF WIREWORMS I decided to go ahead and pull the rest, and open up the ground for birds to come and eat them up. The best potatoes were in the crown highest up, with a lot of damage deeper down and some potatoes just wriggling with worms.. argh. So much for reclaiming my garden. I figured that digging early was the best thing to do, and leave the ground exposed for birds to peck away the pests. Still I got around 5 lb of nice potatoes for my efforts. But I'm now not sure about the best strategy to get rid of the wireworms. I thought I would expand and make the old garden an extra space for garlic That doesn't look too promising, since the pests do bite their roots etc.
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Re: potatoes again!

#14

Post: # 53606Unread post Paquebot
Wed Sep 08, 2021 10:51 pm

Wireworms can not live without food. Tilling will destroy up to 90%. Till again to get 90% of the 10% that survived the first. Seldom does one have wireworm problems a second year if they are deprived of food. So, keep working that ground and not allowing any plants to grow to feed the worms. It;s a battle that is easily won.

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Re: potatoes again!

#15

Post: # 53613Unread post svalli
Thu Sep 09, 2021 4:20 am

Would covering up the the ground with cardboard and put weed free soil or compost and grass clippings etc. on top of it to grow potatoes and other crops be solution for breaking new ground and not getting wireworms?

I have an other kind of pest eating my potatoes this year, the European water vole. I have not had problems with them earlier, but now they have found the perfect habitat from my beds covered by plastic sheets. My potato beds were full of tunnels and quite many potatoes were eaten. It looks like these things liked the taste of Solanum phureja varieties, which they had eaten almost all. Luckily those were the ones, which I had planned to stop growing and planted only because I had still room. Some other potato varieties had the vole tunnels around the potatoes, but only few potatoes had been gnawed.
I have to now find how to get rid of these pests. Part of the reason for having so many of them now, is that my father-in-law's old cat passed away this summer and was totally deaf since last winter. It may have hunted the voles earlier, but now there is nothing bothering the growing vole population.

I dug up most of the potatoes last Saturday and despite the voles, harvest was quite good.
Potatoes 04092021.jpg
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Re: potatoes again!

#16

Post: # 53619Unread post GoDawgs
Thu Sep 09, 2021 8:36 am

Paquebot wrote: Wed Sep 08, 2021 10:51 pm Wireworms can not live without food. Tilling will destroy up to 90%. Till again to get 90% of the 10% that survived the first. Seldom does one have wireworm problems a second year if they are deprived of food. So, keep working that ground and not allowing any plants to grow to feed the worms. It;s a battle that is easily won.

Martin
I agree with this. The first time I planted potatoes the plants grew really well and got nice and big before they started looking bad. Turns out the roots were totally drilled with wireworm holes. The planting area was one that hadn't been used in a good while and had gotten grown over, just like yours.

A few years ago I stumbled on an article about wireworm traps but never tried it. For sure with the number of worms you have, tilling would be much easier and less time consuming but here's the link anyway just for the heck of it. If you try it just to see if it works, let us know!

https://gardentherapy.ca/tomatoes-under-seig/

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Re: potatoes again!

#17

Post: # 53624Unread post Bower
Thu Sep 09, 2021 11:05 am

Tx for all the helpful suggestions. I've been reading and thinking about all of the above.
The potato trap is classic and they sure like potatoes enough to make it worthwhile! I hate to see their damage on the garlic but it never goes very deep and you don't find them inside ever. Those potatoes were gross! with a half dozen live worms wiggling and chawing inside a single small potato. Trapping is used in IPM, but they use that to monitor for wireworm levels, so they only expect to catch a small percent. I also read that putting the bait in a small garden pot 3 1/2 to 4 inch actually caught most of the worms inside the pot compared to baits that were not potted, and had to search for the worms in the surrounding soil. They can disappear into the ground pretty quickly so that would be important to really stomp them out.
I also read about the tilling and it is recommended, one site said to till every week or two in the fall, three or four times. Since that's the time frame coming up - and since I've dug it up now and left it a mess besides, something for sure has to be done. I don't have a tiller though, just a fork and pick and shovel. I'm guessing that a tiller would work better than hand tools for that. The worms are so tough, seems like they could survive a bit of tossing around. But the soil is still warm and that means they are in the upper soil profile, best time to get them if I can.
There are still a lot of tree roots under that bed as well, and the plants I turned over (including a fair bit of moss) didn't break down entirely either, probably because it was too dry. And it's pretty rocky. Last time we looked at it, one of my friends said it was too rocky for a tiller. IDK... I'm concerned too that the rest of that area is also wireworm habitat, and may be a big reservoir to jump back in, the minute you put some crops. So I will need to do some work on the whole area if possible.
I do have a nice big piece of cardboard from the new stove :) So using it in that area is a possibility. I also must make a good compost pile over there and get something cooking to improve the ground.
Omafra site (Ontario) says "Rotations with non-host crops such as onions, lettuce, alfalfa, sunflowers and
buckwheat will reduce wireworm populations. " I would certainly do buckwheat if I can get some seeds, everyone was out of stock when I tried to get them this spring. I would not be willing to risk my garlic nor any special onions grown from seed, but I might pick up a pack of 'who cares' onion sets and stick them in next spring. Another wireworm review suggested certain brassicas (B. juncea and B. carinata, maybe specific cultivars) are a wireworm deterrent if the upper plant parts are worked into the soil. I suppose even growing and composting those plants would be a way to amend the soil and environment to deter the pest.
Omafra also named grains, carrots and potatoes as prime targets of wireworms, so those are out of the plan. I didn't realize that grains are such a wireworm target, and it's too bad because I enjoyed growing them this summer. Will have to monitor those beds where they were grown, maybe try the potato trap there to see if worms have been attracted by the grain, before garlic planting time.
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Re: potatoes again!

#18

Post: # 53626Unread post JRinPA
Thu Sep 09, 2021 1:39 pm

I dug my first potatoes yesterday, too. I find it funny because this thread was not bumped since July 12 when I looked the other day, and I going to post about 8 last night, and I was vacillating between bumping this and starting a new one. And now, boom, everyone's posting. So here is mine.

I grew Lehigh for the second year and they did much better this year than last year.
Last year I tried to hill them. I was told they were indeterminate so I hilled 3 times, expecting potatoes throughout the hill. When I dug them, all the potatoes, and I mean all, were right above the initial seed potato, and nothing set in the compost hills piled on top.

This year I only hilled during the initial planting, and then let them flower away. The row was dug out and fertilized (fish) and raised a bit more with compost. Then covered with the black mulch. When planting time came, I added some more compost, set the drip tape, pinned the black mulch down, and set potatoes through the existing holes, about 7-8" deep. That put the potato about 3-4" below grade, with 4" of hill on top. That was about it for the work, until yesterday.

I do have some damage that looks like voles. A while back though, because they are healed up now. Probably in July when it was dry and lots of cover there. Other than that, no scab, no wireworms, looking pretty good.

Yield was 5-1/2 1020 trays like this. I didn't weigh them. Actually 6 trays I guess, since I had already test dug the first and last plants. That was from...maybe 22? plants in a double row. There were 3 or 4 potatoes that pushed up to the holes and turned green one side. There were some plants that really produced, but only 1 that had none. That particular spot rotted the cut seed potato, so I replaced it at a 2 week disadvantage. It did come up and I thought it would be fine, but no potatoes there.

These were in the ground for the big rain last week, and when I went over in the rain it was like a dammed up river on either side of the raised row. I regret not shooting some video. My drip tape header hose was the dam. It drained quickly after I cut channels under the hose. I lifted the black cover off the next day to let it dry out, but it really wasn't that bad. It did rain again 2 days before I dug.
Sept 8
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Aug 16, potatoes on left, reverse angle
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Probably next year I will fork as usual but plant a bit shallower, with a higher compost hill. That would keep the underlying soil structure healthy but let the potatoes set into more lofty stuff.

I don't know what to do about the voles though. Next month probably, I'll find out if the anti-vole boxes I made have worked. I planted sweet potatoes and a row of potatoes in them.

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Re: potatoes again!

#19

Post: # 53637Unread post Bower
Thu Sep 09, 2021 5:48 pm

I wonder if the big bites in my shallot patch were voles. We do have meadow voles here but the neighbor's cat has been diligently hunting around the woods all summer. She has a little bell on her collar but that seems to protect birds only. Guess she lays in wait for rodents so there's no dingling until the moment of the pounce.
In spring one year I found burrow holes in a bed that was left empty after garlic harvest, and fresh burrow holes appearing in a pea bed near by. I closed off one hole in the pea bed and did a little damage to the empty bed on that end, just to give the ?? notice that they were being evicted. Later that day I happened to be looking out the window when the massive stream of tiny voles suddenly burst forth out of the garlic bed, scampered up over the pea bed, and on and beyond to where I couldn't tell. There had to be forty of them, I've never seen anything like it. I fully collapsed their tunnels afterwards and they didn't return or take up residence in any other beds. It seemed to me they preferred to find a safe place where they wouldn't be disturbed...
So perhaps if you rout them in the spring you can avoid the season's worth of damage?
IDK how well versed they are with tarps and plastic mulch. The year I put a tarp over my horse manure, rats nested there and I didn't realize until I opened it up in october to spread on the beds. They were very happy under that waterproof 'roof'. :(
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Re: potatoes again!

#20

Post: # 53663Unread post JRinPA
Fri Sep 10, 2021 10:19 am

I killed two last evening...mice or voles, I'm never good at rodents because I'd rather not touch them after stomping and honestly have never needed to kill that many. I took my victorio and 100ft extension cord over to the comm garden and set it up on a picnic table. I didn't want to cause a brown out at home, with that huge 60 watt motor. lol. Actually I just figured it would be nice to mill the tomatoes outside and be able to sort the bad ones right there instead of transporting them first. Then just truck home three big pots. As it turned out, there weren't many bad ones, even with all this rain, the raised rows are awesome.

I dumped the mill waste on my compost pile, a black earth machine, in my plot. It has mostly done compost for 18", with some looser stuff on top. Dumped it a second time and got the third pick of tomatoes. Went back the third time to dump and there was huge! (haha probably 3-4" body with 2" tail), I say huge rodent right on top of the tomato mash when I lifted the lid. I was shocked and froze. It was shocked and froze. It recovered while my mind was deciding what it was instead of smacking it. I dropped the lid, and tried to smack it with my plastic bucket full of tomato mash, but it got down the side. Grabbed a garden stake and pulled off the whole earth machine and there two more somethings, half the size. Those, I thought were mice. Got them both, but never saw the big one again. I guess I shouldn't have the compost pile right in the garden, but...they can definitely shelter under the black plastic as well. Rodents, and bumblebees here like to nest under plastic.

Just looked at pics and by the ear and eye size ratio between mice and voles, I'd say these were all voles.
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