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Old May 21, 2013   #1
Durgan
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Default Potato Theory of Growing

There is much mis-information published in garden books and on the internet about growing potatoes.Potato growth along the stem has been debunked. A potato is a forgiving plant and anybody can grow them. But growing for perfection is another matter. My objective is to grow the plants for maximum production and quality, under the best conditions available.

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?NZXFE 2 May 2010 Planting Potatoes

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?EBGHM 12 June 2010 Potatoes. Growth from 2 May until 12 June 2010.
New tubers of the potato plant grow about six inches above and around the seed stock in a circle. The new tubers must be covered to prevent light turning them green indicating solanine, which is harmful if ingested. This is the sole and only reason for hilling.There still persists an irrational belief that potatoes grow from stolons along the stalk, and often high hilling is undertaken to encourage this imaginary growth. This practice hides the leaves of the plant, which is forced o produce more leaves for survival, which is self defeating.My method is to plant the potatoes in a small trench, and when the plant is six to eight inches high to fill the trench with soil to a depth of about six inches above the seed potato. Potatoes need constant moisture, so the hilled potatoes are heavily mulched after a heavy rainfall to prevent moisture evaporation. The vegetation is allowed to flourish, generating food for the new tubers. Hiding the vegetation by unnecessarily concealing by hilling is bad culture practice.Commercial growing or a very large patch required mass hilling due to the effort required. But the small home gardener can produce ideal conditions.

Production should be measured by the weight and useful size produced by each plant. There are other criteria mostly subjective, texture, no hollow centres, no knobs, eyes not deep, nice shape, and probably others. Comparing the seeded weight to the harvested weight is utter nonsense, particularly in a small patch. I have rather unscientifically estimated that anything above four pounds per plant is acceptable. Carefully tabulating to get a realistic weight value per plant over several years will give a realistic figure.

The seed potato produces suitable vegetation if two or more eyes are in the planted portion. Even one eye is suitable with a bit of body attached. Planting a fist sized seed or a suitable cut piece produces identical sized new tubers.

Most of the potato nutrients are within an annulus about half and inch from the skin of a potato. Peeling without cause removes a lot of nutrients.

Last edited by Durgan; May 21, 2013 at 07:54 PM.
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Old May 22, 2013   #2
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Good information. I wish you were not so biased against non traditional cultivars and thier differing growth habits, but I will be documenting these for you this coming year.
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Old May 22, 2013   #3
Tom Wagner
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Durgan,

I feel like I am on the TV program GOODWIN GAMES playing "Trivial Pursuit" in one endless card game. What is the goal? Is it about the player that knows the potato family best who'll win the inheritance? I don't think so! Is it to foster one's assertions? Assertions are great if they are shared in a give-and-take manner. Repetitions of assertions without reviewing any argument is not a productive enterprise. I am only a useful idiot....so to speak...since I am a practicing potato breeder and humbled beyond words about what I don't know.

I often write about many topics in which get little or no response, and I accept that as part of the measure of being on a forum. I have interests that are akin to intrapersonal communication....literally talking to myself. I had a hunch....what if I googled the topic of this very topic thread? Lo and behold (Potato Theory of Growing) returned a hit. Namely;

UBC Botanical Garden Forums > HortForum
http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/fo...ad.php?t=63668
Quote:
Potato Theory of Growing June 22nd, 2010,
I don't much mind that this topic was nearly paraphrased from 3 years ago. The response was not great. Could it be related to the rather blatant assertions?

Quote:
There is much nonsense published in garden books and on the internet about growing potatoes
.

Some is nonsense, agreed, but much is OK and one can read it for what it is worth.

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Potato growth along the stem has been debunked.
Debunked by whom? Broad assertion. Many of us here on TVille are offering our observations for discussion and further research. I would bet other forums would be less generous and forthcoming as TVille. I have seen friends banned on other forums for seemingly nebulous reasons.

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The new tubers must be covered to prevent light turning them green indicating solanine, which is harmful if ingested. This is the sole and only reason for hilling.
There are other reasons. Deeper tubers are not as apt to injured by high soil temps. Deeper tubers may be out of harms way a bit more from tuber moth, wiregrass damage, rodent damage, cultivator cuts, etc. Words like sole and only reason are not proofs.

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a suitable cut piece produces identical sized new tubers.
That is the exception I would say ....not the rule.

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Most of the potato nutrients are within an annulus about half an inch from the skin of a potato. Peeling without cause removes a lot of nutrients
If one is peeling the annulus away....shame on them...they are peeling way too deep.....and I doubt if most folks peel much away from even the outer annulus, never mind the inner annulus. I like to cook the potatoes here at home in the jackets.....lose less minerals by maybe 50% as compare to peeled potatoes cooking in water. Popping off the peel (jacket) is about getting rid of the cellulose and maybe the black scurf, scab, cracks, checking for black spot, adhering dirt and/or chemicals, etc.

Durban, one of the best ways of being ignored, banned, not taken seriously is to continue to use broad assertions.
The modal verbs like might, may, could, ought to, etc., go a long way to make prose more tractable. Therefore, I may speak for more than a few folks here that if we have some difficulty fathoming your statements....consider your overuse of proof by assertion. Not to say that some garden writers talking about potato towers, tire rings, boxes aren't also guilty of P.B.A.


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Proof by assertion, sometimes informally referred to as proof by repeated assertion in which a proposition is repeatedly restated regardless of contradiction. Sometimes, this may be repeated until challenges dry up, at which point it is asserted as fact due to its not being contradicted. In other cases, its repetition may be cited as evidence of its truth.
Chosen civility is like a belief system and when it works... it is beyond belief...
Tom Wagner

Last edited by Tom Wagner; May 22, 2013 at 06:27 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old May 22, 2013   #4
Boutique Tomatoes
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Well said Tom. I see the teacher in you at work.
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Old May 22, 2013   #5
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And your point Tom? The prolix effort eludes me.
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Old May 22, 2013   #6
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And your point Tom? The prolix effort eludes me
Point well taken. Prolixity...writing a long story or profundity eludes you.
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Old May 22, 2013   #7
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Production should be measured by the weight and useful size produced by each plant.
I have to call bull on this one. Producing maximum yield per plant is something you do if you are trying to win a prize. Growing potatoes for food is all about maximum production for the area cultivated with minimum inputs of labor and soil supplements.

This is akin to some walnut growers I know who think growing the highest quality walnut is most important. I tell them that the production per acre (or any land measure) and cost to get that production is what counts. This does not mean size and quality are unimportant.

DarJones
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Old May 22, 2013   #8
Durgan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
I have to call bull on this one. Producing maximum yield per plant is something you do if you are trying to win a prize. Growing potatoes for food is all about maximum production for the area cultivated with minimum inputs of labor and soil supplements.

This is akin to some walnut growers I know who think growing the highest quality walnut is most important. I tell them that the production per acre (or any land measure) and cost to get that production is what counts. This does not mean size and quality are unimportant.

DarJones
Production should be measured by the weight and useful size produced by each plant. There are other criteria mostly subjective, texture, no hollow centres, no knobs, eyes not deep, nice shape, and probably others. Comparing the seeded weight to the harvested weight is utter nonsense, particularly in a small patch. I have rather unscientifically estimated that anything above four pounds per plant is acceptable. Carefully tabulating to get a realistic weight value per plant over several years will give a realistic figure.
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Old May 23, 2013   #9
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Quote:
Production should be measured by the weight and useful size produced by each plant.
Nope. See above. Production should be measured in terms of exactly three factors.
1. How much land was required per unit produced?
2. How much input was required to get the production?
3. How much value will the production bring in the market.

The first two are most important to the person growing for personal use. #3 matters to the guy growing to sell. Note that if you converted your 4 pounds per plant into 2 pounds per square foot, you would be using the appropriate measure.

Quote:
There are other criteria mostly subjective, texture, no hollow centres, no knobs, eyes not deep, nice shape, and probably others.
I won't throw rocks at this, but will comment that visual appeal is a major part of #3 above.

Marketing heirloom tomatoes is easy. Tell them it tastes good! Did you notice that a subjective trait is suddenly the most important trait?

DarJones
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Old May 23, 2013   #10
wingnut
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For me, what is most important seems to be the all around picture. I like a good yield (2+lbs per linear foot of row), above average taste,lot's of variety in shape/color, pretty plant with large flowers, and lot's of vigor/environmental hazard resistance.
If I get a plant with everything but yield, I will retain it for further breeding to a superior yielder.
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Old June 27, 2013   #11
NathanP
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Here is a picture taken by someone in Zimbabwe of one of Tom Wagner's lines of potatoes from TPS called Yungay at 11 weeks old. You can clearly see the potato tubers forming on the stolons all the way along to the top. This was posted to the Kenosha Potato Project on Facebook.

For some reason I can't post an image here so I will link instead:
http://s10536.prbrds.com/2500536/t/S...ywhmhvC3aC.JPG


Last edited by NathanP; June 27, 2013 at 09:42 PM.
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