Determinate and Indeterminate Potatoes

User avatar
GoDawgs
Reactions: 1454
Posts: 1110
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2019 6:38 am
Location: Zone 8a, Augusta GA
Contact:

Determinate and Indeterminate Potatoes

#1

Post: # 43791Unread post GoDawgs
Sun Mar 28, 2021 7:01 am

Recently I was reminded that like tomatoes, potatoes are also determinate and indeterminate, something I learned about only one or two years ago. Many of you probably know about this already but in case some don't, here's what I learned. It also explains why my sister Pickles never had any success growing potatoes in big pots.

Like determinate tomatoes, determinate potato plants grow shorter and more bushy than indeterminate potatoes. They make potatoes sooner (early in the season) and also produce somewhat fewer potatoes than indeterminates. The potatoes all grow in a layer just above the seed potato and because of that they don't really need a lot of hilling, just once and just enough to keep the sun from greening them up.

On the other hand, indeterminates are more long and lanky plants that set potatoes up and down the stem, thus producing more potatoes. Indeterminate potatoes take longer to make ("late season") and need hilling all the way up. Intermediate season potatoes can be determinate or indeterminate depending on the variety.

When I thought about it and checked the garden records, it seems that Pickles was using determinate potatoes for her potato bag or pot. They never thrived OR survived. Although she added soil and mulch to the container as the potato stems grew, the only potatoes that were ever produced were some rotten potatoes at the bottom where the seed potato was. I think killing them with kindness by overwatering contributed to that! And as it turned out, they were Yukon Golds, determinate and didn't need all the hilling anyway.

This year we'll still grow the determinates Yukon Gold and either Red Norland, Red Pontiac or Kennebec because they grow faster and because a) we like them and b) that's all the local feed & seed carries. But it will be an indeterminate type that will be used for one more go at growing taters in a container!

Here's a good article about this with lists of both determinate and indeterminate potatoes:
https://laidbackgardener.blog/2020/04/0 ... -potatoes/

UPDATE: Since this post was created, we ended up with Yukon Gold and Red Pontiac this year. They're just starting to pop up. There will be less hilling this year, maybe just "one and done". Pickles bought a couple of small Russets (indeterminate) that are now chitted out and she's going to try those in the big bucket. Those will need all that hilling as they grow.

User avatar
Whwoz
Reactions: 739
Posts: 922
Joined: Wed Dec 11, 2019 12:08 am
Location: Trafalgar, Victoria, Australia
Contact:

Re: Determinate and Indeterminate Potatoes

#2

Post: # 43793Unread post Whwoz
Sun Mar 28, 2021 7:11 am

Thanks @GoDawgs wgs, makes a lot of sense to me and explains why the tower thing has not worked for me. even better some of the indeterminate varieties listed are available down under. Time to give it another shot me thinks
1

User avatar
Rockoe10
Reactions: 212
Posts: 306
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2020 8:36 am
Contact:

Re: Determinate and Indeterminate Potatoes

#3

Post: # 43819Unread post Rockoe10
Sun Mar 28, 2021 1:11 pm

I was unaware of this. Thankyou!
0
- - - - - - - -
Rob, ZONE 6A with 170 days between frost dates, Western Pennsylvania

Donnyboy
Reactions: 145
Posts: 253
Joined: Sat Dec 28, 2019 5:39 pm
Location: North Texas
Contact:

Re: Determinate and Indeterminate Potatoes

#4

Post: # 45430Unread post Donnyboy
Thu Apr 22, 2021 9:09 am

I've never grown potatoes. I was recently in a feed and seed store and noticed a large container of small, red; seed potatoes for $0.79 per lb. I picked up a few and checked out for $1.00. Knowing nothing about how to grow them. I cut them into small pieces with each piece containing a sprout. I buried them two feet apart, eight or ten inches deep. They have responded well to regular watering by producing small bushes above ground. I have no idea what to expect when I dig into the roots at some future date. I also do not know how to tell when I should dig them.
0

User avatar
GoDawgs
Reactions: 1454
Posts: 1110
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2019 6:38 am
Location: Zone 8a, Augusta GA
Contact:

Re: Determinate and Indeterminate Potatoes

#5

Post: # 45435Unread post GoDawgs
Thu Apr 22, 2021 12:24 pm

Donnyboy wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 9:09 am
I've never grown potatoes. .... I have no idea what to expect when I dig into the roots at some future date. I also do not know how to tell when I should dig them.
If you search "grow potatoes in Texas" there's a ton of information. Read several different sites because although they all have a lot of information in common, each will have some different tricks or different ways of doing some things. Even though I'm in Georgia I often like to see what Texas A&M says about things. :)
0

User avatar
Julianna
Reactions: 85
Posts: 126
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:14 am
Location: Monterey Bay, CA
Contact:

Re: Determinate and Indeterminate Potatoes

#6

Post: # 45436Unread post Julianna
Thu Apr 22, 2021 1:39 pm

Donnyboy wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 9:09 am
I've never grown potatoes. I was recently in a feed and seed store and noticed a large container of small, red; seed potatoes for $0.79 per lb. I picked up a few and checked out for $1.00. Knowing nothing about how to grow them. I cut them into small pieces with each piece containing a sprout. I buried them two feet apart, eight or ten inches deep. They have responded well to regular watering by producing small bushes above ground. I have no idea what to expect when I dig into the roots at some future date. I also do not know how to tell when I should dig them.
You will know to dig when the tops die back. When they yellow, you can excavate!
0
-julianna
10a Monterey Bay
Lover of Fogust, tomatoes, flowers, and pumpkins

User avatar
Julianna
Reactions: 85
Posts: 126
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:14 am
Location: Monterey Bay, CA
Contact:

Re: Determinate and Indeterminate Potatoes

#7

Post: # 45437Unread post Julianna
Thu Apr 22, 2021 1:48 pm

This was super helpful. Last year, we took some small red potatoes fron the store and I hilled them as they went but only got spuds at the base. Now I know why. This year, I have two fingerling types and 2 yukons and now I know how to proceed.
0
-julianna
10a Monterey Bay
Lover of Fogust, tomatoes, flowers, and pumpkins

Donnyboy
Reactions: 145
Posts: 253
Joined: Sat Dec 28, 2019 5:39 pm
Location: North Texas
Contact:

Re: Determinate and Indeterminate Potatoes

#8

Post: # 45478Unread post Donnyboy
Fri Apr 23, 2021 8:51 am

Do the potato tops turn yellow from the first frost, or is it simply a phase indicating the plants have completed their growth cycle. I also planted Brussel sprout seeds this year because Home Depot had seed packets for them. I've always believed they require a cooler climate so our hot summer may kill them, but they are growing like gang busters right now. I'm simply trying some veggies I thought would not grow in my garden or would grow, but not produce.
0

User avatar
Julianna
Reactions: 85
Posts: 126
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:14 am
Location: Monterey Bay, CA
Contact:

Re: Determinate and Indeterminate Potatoes

#9

Post: # 45480Unread post Julianna
Fri Apr 23, 2021 9:27 am

Donnyboy wrote:
Fri Apr 23, 2021 8:51 am
Do the potato tops turn yellow from the first frost, or is it simply a phase indicating the plants have completed their growth cycle. I also planted Brussel sprout seeds this year because Home Depot had seed packets for them. I've always believed they require a cooler climate so our hot summer may kill them, but they are growing like gang busters right now. I'm simply trying some veggies I thought would not grow in my garden or would grow, but not produce.
They just yellow on their own. So it is actually pretty nice. I thought it would be more complicated, but I found potatoes to be very easy once I had tried them.
0
-julianna
10a Monterey Bay
Lover of Fogust, tomatoes, flowers, and pumpkins

User avatar
PlainJane
Reactions: 521
Posts: 718
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2019 8:12 pm
Location: N. FL Zone 9A
Contact:

Re: Determinate and Indeterminate Potatoes

#10

Post: # 45496Unread post PlainJane
Fri Apr 23, 2021 3:00 pm

Wow, light bulb going off ... never realized this. Explains a lot!
0
“Never try to outstubborn a cat.”
- Robert A. Heinlein

User avatar
GoDawgs
Reactions: 1454
Posts: 1110
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2019 6:38 am
Location: Zone 8a, Augusta GA
Contact:

Re: Determinate and Indeterminate Potatoes

#11

Post: # 45498Unread post GoDawgs
Fri Apr 23, 2021 4:47 pm

Donnyboy wrote:
Fri Apr 23, 2021 8:51 am
Do the potato tops turn yellow from the first frost, or is it simply a phase indicating the plants have completed their growth cycle.
It should mean they're about ready to dig. Frost will burn potato foliage and by afternoon it will look dark brown or black. Mine got a small blast yesterrday morning but there's a lot of green foliage under the burned canopy so they'll probably do fine.

Yellow foliage could indicate a few problems. Check out this and see if any apply:
https://homeguides.sfgate.com/mean-pota ... 59326.html
Donnyboy wrote:
Fri Apr 23, 2021 8:51 am
I also planted Brussel sprout seeds this year because Home Depot had seed packets for them. I've always believed they require a cooler climate so our hot summer may kill them, but they are growing like gang busters right now. I'm simply trying some veggies I thought would not grow in my garden or would grow, but not produce.
You're right about Brussels being cool weather plants. They most likely won't be happy finishing off in summer heat but that may depend on where you are. I've tried them in the fall and in the spring and still haven't been able to make nice tight sprouts, just loose stuff so after four years of adjusting planting times and varieties, I've given up.
0

Post Reply

Return to “Potatoes”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest