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Information and discussion for successfully cultivating potatoes, the world's fourth largest crop.

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Old September 13, 2006   #1
kimpossible
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Default Great New Subject!!

This is wonderful - a forum to discuss all those fantastic potato varieties out there! Thanks for starting it.
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Old September 13, 2006   #2
landarc
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I too, am glad to see this subject. I don't grow potatoes, but, I do eat a fiar number of them. I have been thinking of trying to grow some.
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Old September 13, 2006   #3
Lee
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Ditto.... Love to see this opened up here.
The great things about potatoes is that it's like digging
for hidden treasure.

Lee
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Old September 14, 2006   #4
Tom Wagner
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None of you could possibly realize how jazzed I am to see the potato forum opened up. I could talk for years about potatoes, much more than tomatoes. Even tho a few of the readers here may know of my tomato work (Green Zebra), potato growing is nearly genetic to me.

I was taught how to grow potatoes by family members, but my Grandfather, Joe Kaighin, taught me the Isle of Man way. His family was, in turn, learning the art of growing potatoes from his grandfather who was born in 1797!

The Isle of Man is an island only 30 by 10 miles in the middle of the Irish Sea. What variety did my grandfather raise before coming to the States as a young man?
Answer: Up to Date.

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Old September 14, 2006   #5
tjg911
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well this is a new forum. good. I could use the help!

i have a hate/love affair with potatoes. now tomatoes i love but potatoes waste space in the garden for low yields and waste time spent on hilling, picking off cpb, larvae, eggs, digging them up. a hate/love affair!

but i do love digging them even tho I just complained about that. it's like a treasure hunt! last year i used a soaker hose and got humongous yields of a whopping 4 pounds per plant, and that is good, best ever! same soaker hose this year, same 40' of row space (in a different place) again 3 varieties (yukon gold grown in both years) and i got a measly rotten 1 pound per plant. Talk about a waste of space! 36 pounds of potatoes for 160 sq feet of garden, please reread my 2nd paragraph!

so maybe i can learn something here, I sure hope so.

tom
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Old September 14, 2006   #6
landarc
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What is the Isle of Man way of growing potatoes?
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Old September 14, 2006   #7
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Used to grow a few, just to try some different types - I recall growing All Blue, Caribe, Red Gold and Yukon Gold. they were not in a good spot but I did get enough to try..I am very fond of Caribe and Red Gold (and of course Yukon Golds are the main potato we look for at the grocery store for everyday use).

Will follow this with interest!
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Old September 14, 2006   #8
robbins
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Oh goodie - this takes care of one more of my passions! We usually grow at least 25 varieties every year, so now I can learn about more good ones to try.
Keep all the info coming!
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Old September 17, 2006   #9
Tom Wagner
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Quote:
What is the Isle of Man way of growing potatoes?
Bob,

It took me a few days to recall much that I have forgotten about my grandfather Kaighin's potato growing habits.

The soils on the Isle of Man are not very arable, perhaps 10%. The thin soil around the village of Bride, in the north of the island, had to be augmented. Tom Kaighin (born 1797), my grandfather's grandfather, taught my great Uncle John Tom (born 1863), and he in turn taught my grandfather.

1. Trenching: Plowing up the soil from both sides to form a rather wide bed of rows. This made the soil deeper and allowed for drainage if the season was rainy. The shollow prairie soil on the home farms in Kansas needed a deeper profile too.

2. Wood ashes: Brush, tree limbs, household wood ashes, old thatch from roof tops

3. Manure: Had to put on in the fall before plowing for the winter.

4. Rotation: The family farm called Ballagarrett was about 80 acres, much of it in narrow strips. Rotation with oats, cabbage, sheep and cattle grasslands.

5. New seed stock when possible: Hence the growing of the new variety "Up to Date" which was bought off the ship docks in Ramsey, IOM. Never planting but one variety. The more the better. I really inherited that trait.

6. Curing: Sacking up the potatoes and leaving them in the field to "cure” covered lightly with dry potato vines. I still do this! Keeps the potatoes dry from misty rains and prevents greening.

7. Storage in the potato cellars: Sorting by size and quality. Cut or blemished potatoes in one pile for early use. Wooden slats with slits for air ventilation.

8. Preparing seed stock: Greening up the tubers before planting. Using a shallow layer of potatoes in boxes placed in a shed with lots of light but protected from the rain. Usually done with small single drop small tubers. This produces sturdy short sprouts. Careful attention not to break the sprouts when planting. If the sprouts don't look healthy, don't plant 'em.

9. Planting: Done on St. Patrick’s Day if at all possible. Spacing the tubers in the row with a "Hands Length", mine is 10 inches (end of thumb to little finger) method.

10. Tilling: Using a little Manx pony to hill up the soil.

11. Harvesting: Using a single mold board plow, throwing the soil the opposite of the ground preparation direction. One round at a time until all the spuds are harvested.

12. If crossing a bridge to get to the potato field, throw a pinch of salt or food over your back without looking for the "Wee People" for good luck in the harvest.

13. Always have a big kettle of water boiling in the hearth: If the potatoes are done, raise the wire basket of potatoes out the water but leave them just above the water to keep them hot. Never know when a needy beggerman or a neighbor will be by and you can offer them a hot potato, some butter milk, and a hard boiled egg!

14. Always remember that there is a "time to sow and a time to reap" and "time waits for no man".

Tom Wagner
One quarter Manx and proud of it


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Old September 17, 2006   #10
Tania
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I love this new forum!

Thanks!
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Old September 18, 2006   #11
landarc
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Tom,

Thanks for the info, there is a lot there that may be useful to know. I am seriuously thinking of using some garden space to mess around with 'taters next year.
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Old September 19, 2006   #12
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This is a great new forum.

When growing up in Finland I never realized how interesting potatoes and growing them could be. Potatoes were something we ate almost every day and had to go to plant and harvest every year. We lived in a city, but we were totally self sufficient with potatoes. My mom and dad grew them on dad's parents' small farm. My grandpa would allow only one type of potato to be grown, a yellow flesh fingerling, which in a good season grew over 6" long and plump tubers. He did not like a tractor to be used on his field and all preparing, planting and harvesting had to be done by hand. My other grandparents lived about 1 km from them and would have let my dad use the tractor, but my dad's dad did not allow that.

My parents kept growing those same type potatoes for years even after my grandpa had passed. My dad did finally use a tractor for tilling the field, but we still planted and harvested the potatoes by hand. When we kids grew up and moved away mom and dad stopped growing the whole field of potatoes and they have lost my grandpa's potato variety. It is quite sad, because those were the tastiest potatoes I have eaten, even I did not appreciate them so much at that time.

Every year I plant some taters in our own garden mainly to be eaten when they are still small and the skin can be just washed away. This year I am growing seven different kinds, but have not yet found the best tasting variety, which would grow well in SE Wisconsin.
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Old September 22, 2006   #13
LoreD
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Thanks for the new forum. Each year I plan that I am going to plant potatoes and somehow I never get to it. It will really help if I can get some expert help.

I'm looking for a recommendation for the best type for the Chicago area.

LoreD

I want to do sweet potatoes too.
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Old October 21, 2006   #14
Gimme3
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Thanks , Mischka, and to you...Mr. Wagner, for opening up a entire new area of discussion, focused towards better production of "spuds". I only wish we could get Martin ....from Minnesota...to come here an be a contributor. He has helped this Southern gardener....so much...in explaining the science to a plowman....in the past....RE : potatoes.

Martin....if ya still out there....come on Buddy...)))

Meanwhile...its sho nice to...jus to know ....that there is a whole new knowledge base bein cultivated rite here, on TVille...an that the Moderator is truly a world-acclaimed devotee of this tuber/vegetable.

Spread the Love...)))
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