Flowers

Flowers

Monday, August 4, 2014

Baby potatoes!

I planted three 4 by 10 foot beds of potatoes this year.. I've learned that one can never have enough homegrown baby potatoes.. in fact, I just succession planted a new potato bed about 2 weeks ago so that we'll have baby spuds into late September. Crazy good!

I start stealing a few baby potatoes from each plant when they start to bloom, leaving the rest to continue maturing. One of the beds had an infection of flea beetles in late June and I noticed last week that most of the plants had contacted blight, most likely due to the flea beetles, which can spread this common soil-borne disease. Hoping to prevent the spread to other potato (or tomato) beds, I pulled the 20 plants in that plot. There were Russian fingerling and red fingerlings in that garden, with potatoes ranging in size from 1 cm to 10 cm - a perfect baby potato harvest.. about 15 pounds in total, that was shared amongst the family so that everyone could enjoy these tender little tubers.

The bed has now been replanted with beets for fall and I will not plant any potato family plants in it for at least 3 years.. it's good to keep a notebook handy as I GUARANTEE you that I won't remember where I planted each crop and successive crop next spring when I'm arranging the beds. :)




7 comments:

  1. I am wondering why you won't replant potatoes in same area for three years - does that mean you shouldn't use the same grow bags the following year as well? First time growing potatoes so I'm just learning!

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    1. Great question Elizabeth! I practice crop rotation, which helps prevent soil nutrient depletion and disease and insect issues.. In a grow bag, you'll be changing the soil (Most likely?) from year to year, so you won't have the same issues.. If you did see some disease in the potatoes in your grow bags, after harvest I would soak the bags in a weak water-bleach solution (90% water to 10% bleach) to kill any pathogens, dry the bags and then store them until spring. Thanks for your question!

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  2. I am a potato flop! Do you have any tips that would make my yield more than nothing or just twice what I plant? This is my third year, year one I got three tiny marbles, year two I planted 2 pounds and got 4, and this year I planted 4 pounds and got 9. what gives?

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    1. Hmm.. that is odd.. typically (and depending if you pick them as baby spuds or allow the potatoes to reach maturity) you should get about 10 kg for every 1 kg planted.. sometimes up to 15 kg per 1 kg planted if you have really good soil and ideal growing conditions. Is your garden in plenty of sun? That is always my first consideration.. then I would ask if you have decent soil? Sandy? Clay? Perhaps a soil test is in order.. the typical $15 cost of a soil test can save much time and frustration. You'll find out your basic nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium as well as organic matter % and pH. Definitely worthwhile. As my potatoes grow, I hill up the soil. I also water if we have a dry week - about 1 inch of water per week is what I am for. Hope this helps.. keep me posted!

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  3. The blight you mention must be a different type to our blight (which also affects mostly potatoes and tomatoes). Our blight is an air-borne fungal disease, whose spores are spread by the wind and thrive in hot humid conditions. It is definitely not spread by beetles. What are the symptoms of your type of blight?

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    1. Oh we get that one too Mark! We have early blight (now showing up) and late blight (thankfully, no signs) but flea beetles can also be a vector for types of leaf blight.. they are more bacteria than fungal though. With the timing of the beetles and then the blight, it seems that two were most likely connected. Especially as that bed was the only one affected by blight. I think I took photos, I'll have to check..

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    2. Nikki all my tomato plants have all of a sudden contracted blight!...I am new at this...they are all planted in containers....what do I do with the plants?...I know I can't put them in the compost....and what do I do with the soil in the containers...can they be used again?....can my pepper plants catch this from the tomatoes?...help, I'm going out of my mind

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Please feel free to leave comments. I welcome your tips, questions, thoughts and ideas (and suggestions for new veggies to grow!)