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Old February 28, 2013   #1
Durgan
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Default How a Potato Plant Grows

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?QHBIN 21 August 2009 How a Potato Plant Grows
There is a great deal of information on the Internet about growing potatoes in tires, boxes and indicating that large quantities of new tubers can be produced with high vertical hilling. The view propagated is that potatoes grow from branches all along the main stalk. This is utter nonsense, as the pictures indicate. New tubers are formed around the seed potato and always slightly above it.

My potato growing test box was opened today. The pictures speak for themselves. Clearly there is no advantage in carrying out excessive hilling when growing potatoes. The purpose of hilling is to insure the tubers are covered, since light affects potatoes producing a green appearance, which is an indication of solanine, which is harmful if ingested in large quantities.. For comparison one Pontiac Red was dug in the same row, which was almost identical to the test box potato in appearance.
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Old April 24, 2013   #2
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I found thos pics a while ago and bookmarked the page then. Good stuff.
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Old April 24, 2013   #3
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Durgan

I note the raised box weight should be 5.5 - that's 2 lbs. more than in ground ........ although potatoes don't form up the stem the raised box method did seem to provide a greater harvest ...........

thank you for the informative post -
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Old April 27, 2013   #4
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I am the only fool in the world who cannot grow potatoes lol....nice pics though even though I give up on them
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Old April 28, 2013   #5
Durgan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lakelady View Post
I am the only fool in the world who cannot grow potatoes lol....nice pics though even though I give up on them
Isn't NJ a gardener's paradise? All you have to do is put a potato in the ground and it will produce.
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Old April 28, 2013   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Durgan View Post
Isn't NJ a gardener's paradise? All you have to do is put a potato in the ground and it will produce.
I just did exactly that, but also seperately planted sprouts removed from the tubers (sprout jacking). Would be better to use dark and stocky sprouts from regular pre-sprouting with full light exposure instead of my long and pale ones, I just have none. Will of course compare the results.
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Old April 28, 2013   #7
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I planted potatoes for my mother-in-love (88 years) yesterday- area 200 m2.
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Old April 28, 2013   #8
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Well, two years ago I planted them in a large old wine barrel planter. I could never quite figure out the "hilling " concept and I was adding straw. Got a few little guys, but the plants fell over and never quite looked like the pictures I've seen ! It had to be operator error, not climate I am sure! . I am too busy with tomatoes most of the time, and then flowers after that.
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Old April 28, 2013   #9
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I grow mine in "Oregon Breathers" and have had great success...I think it would be easier than in the ground.

It does take some practice but works well...
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Old April 29, 2013   #10
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I came to the same conclusion last year after I went to the time and effort to hill 3-50' rows and noticed that there were no potatoes up the stem of the plant. Only the ones that formed down by the tuber. Thanks for reassuring us that the excessive hilling is unnecessary work, mine sure didn't have any more than the ones already formed. I have 3-50' rows and 2-70' rows this year and will hill them once and be done with it. Thank you!
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Old April 29, 2013   #11
wmontanez
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I had some of the same experience with early varieties like Yukon Gold that hilling them is not going to make more tubers along the stem. Their growth habit is determinate and the tubers are close to the main stem. Some later varieties would send stolons along the stem producing more tubers so they benefit of extra hilling and I had others that send stolons far away from the main stem so a wide row benefits them. So far is a trial and error when I try new varieties I hill them to see if they are determinate or indeterminate.
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Old April 29, 2013   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wmontanez View Post
I had some of the same experience with early varieties like Yukon Gold that hilling them is not going to make more tubers along the stem. Their growth habit is determinate and the tubers are close to the main stem. Some later varieties would send stolons along the stem producing more tubers so they benefit of extra hilling and I had others that send stolons far away from the main stem so a wide row benefits them. So far is a trial and error when I try new varieties I hill them to see if they are determinate or indeterminate.
I would just love to see pictures of this type of potato. The Seattle Times (?) babbles about this but never any pictures. There is not one truly meaningful picture on the internet of vertical stem producing potatoes. Several shots of carpentering skills building boxes exist, usually plagiarized from one original.

If tubers form a large distance from the seed potato, it is a sign of lack of moisture where and when required. New tubers should form within about a foot or slightly more diameter centred on the seed potato, and always slightly above, hence the requirement for hilling or covering.
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Old April 29, 2013   #13
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I will try to take pictures this year one that has this habit is CIP396256. A nice blight resistant, long season, pink skin and yellow flesh, very tasty. As for the long stolons if moisture is the cause them why it only affects some varieties? I grow them under the same conditions and some seem to always send long stolons finding potatoes way over 1 ft from the center. Maybe Tom Wagner, DarJones or Medbury Garden that have seen this habit can give explanations about this or examples of varieties. One I grew called Azule Rose does this as well of one of my own crosses.
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Old April 29, 2013   #14
Durgan
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It is easy enough to substantiate your position. A careful sequence of photos will suffice. I substantiated my position with photos that are more than adequate for a logical person.
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Old May 6, 2013   #15
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Durgan, Most commonly available potato varieties were selected for short stolons and smaller plants, as well as other traits for machine harvestability. Some of the genetics available thru Tom wagner are selected for flavor/color, berry production, and other traits so still contain genes for "less desirable traits" such as long stolons, thin skins, short dormancy, ect. Varieties like guincho negro and herm 18 will have 6' stolons NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO. But I have found 90%+ varieties need only a moderate hilling to produce a good crop.
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