Looking for feedback on my Yukon Gold planting schedule/plan

haloony(6B)April 22, 2012

Hi All,

Back in early february I ordered 2.5 pounds of organic Yukon Gold seed potatoes. Yayy! I received my new seed potatoes on April 16th and began following the instructions that I received with the seed potatoes. The instructions say that the first thing I should do is store the seed potatoes in a warm and dark place for 2 weeks. So, I have taken the brown paper bag the seed potatoes came in and I have put it in my hall cabinet starting April 16th.

Continuing with the instructions, after the warming stage, comes the pre-sprouting or chitting stage. The instructions say I should give each potato a place in an egg-crate or tray and place them in medium-lighting. The instructions say that this should allow short and stubby sprouts. After 2-4 weeks of "chitting", it is time for planting.

If I follow this schedule, I will be planting sometime in mid-late May. In my research around gardenweb and the internet at large, this seems rather late. For fellow gardeners in 6b, early April seems to be the agreed upon plating date. Should I skip this warming and chitting business and get right to planting or should I keep to the above schedule?

As for the actual planting, I am planning on adding organic compost to my ground soil, mixing them together nicely and then planting my seed potatoes six inches deep and covering with ~2 inches of soil-compost mix. I am wondering if this sounds like a good plan.

I have included pictures of a seed potato with a growing sprout and the brown paper bag they came in. Any feedback would be super-cool.



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Not zone 6, but I just wanted to say that we plant Yukon Gold in late May and they produce a great crop before frost here in zone 2 (which usually comes in early September). They don't take long at all to size up either; our biggest potatoes have always come from the Yukon Golds. If hubby had his way, we'd only grow these guys.

Yours look ready to be planted, if you're weather and soil is ready. They can go a little longer, too, as long as you're gentle with the longer sprouts at planting time. Potatoes are so flexible. :)

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 4:05PM
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I'd say you should try to get your seed potatoes shipped earlier. As it is, I'd put them in the ground now. While they're in the ground, they'll be doing all the sprouting they would have done in the closet, and putting down roots to support them, too.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 4:53PM
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Yep, put them in. Don't wait, the instructions are for a different time.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 5:25PM
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Sounds to me like the directions they gave you are way more complicated than are necessary for planting potatoes. Put 'em in the ground now, hill them when they're a few inches tall, lay down some mulch on the hills to keep them from being washed away in heavy rain, and harvest after the plants die back. You should get a good crop! (Oh, and watch for potato beetles -- yellow eggs, red larvae, striped beetles) and squash them before they can eat too much of the leaves.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 5:26PM
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Hey everybody,

Thanks for quick responses! Looks like the consensus is to get these potatoes in the ground! I am going to get right on that once these torrential rains stop.

I figure I can just dig a 6" trench, put the potatoes at the bottom and then cover them with 2" of soil-compost mix. As they grow, I will continue to add soil-compost to the new growth(Is this considered "hilling"?). I will then harvest once the growth has reached the top of the trench and has died back. Does this sound reasonable or is it also excessively convoluted? Should I just put the potatoes 6" down and cover them back up fully and immediately with 6" of soil-compost?

Thanks All,

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 5:43PM
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That's about right. But the reference to torrential rains is worrisome. Potatoes like moisture but they're also prone to rot if there's standing water. Don't plant in the mud or if water seeps into your trench, and make sure you've allowed for drainage.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 6:09PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

I do agree potatoes do better with chitting for a couple weeks in medium light, but the paper bag thing is new to me. When you do plant, which can be now, don't do it in soggy soil or when heavy rain is forecast. And don't cover them with more than four inches of loose soil. You should add at least another 8 to 12 inches by hilling as the plants grow. I'm in the northern edge of zone 6, and I planted on April 7. My potatoes are long season this year. The ones I chitted for a month already show sprouts, but the ones that look like yours with tiny sprouts haven't emerged yet. Last year, the red potatoes I planted in early April were ready to harvest on the fourth of July.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 7:14PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

For future reference potatoes are normally planted in zone 6 by mid-March so I agree with those above that next year they need to ship them to you much earlier.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 7:26PM
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I just slid into Zone 6 (with the last USDA adjustment), and here April 1 (for light soil) to April 10 (for heavy soil), is my experience. Earlier than that and they may have 3 inches shoots by last frost, and that is a lot of energy to lose.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 8:09PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

glib - potatoes are very frost tolerant. Even snow tolerant. But if you have 3 inch shoots they should already be hilled under anyway. And even if they are exposed and get a bit of frost damage they bounce right back anyway.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 9:57PM
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Hi, I live in zone 6 infact the PA-Del border. My yukons and reds were in March 15 and are up and growing like mad. Generally I hear you cant go wrong if you plant on saint Pats Day. I plant em 8 inches down and it takes some time for them to show but I dont have to mound. So far it has worked really well. I buy em in lancaster, store them on the cellar stairs and other them cutting them in half , putting the cut side down I dont do a thing. Next time you will know

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 4:46PM
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When I plant potatoes deep, up to eight inches, I fill the hole to ground lever or maybe leave a slight hump.

I am have two gardens one in zone 3 and one in 4, I have planted my potatoes already.
Some were chitted and some just had eyes.

This year I planted with in a shallow trench and just covered the potatoes with dirt followed by a foot or more of leaves.
Either planting way I have had very, very few potatoes go belly-up on me in decades I have been doing this.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 6:51PM
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I would still green up those seed potatoes for a couple of days, even in full sun, before planting. Lots of solanine (bitter green compound) deters feeding by voles and other critters. Don't worry about running late. Very early planting is overrated except in really hot summer areas. I grow my main crop early, but also set out more held-back seed potatoes in midsummer.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 8:29AM
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Definitely if the soil is too wet from rain, planatus's plan is the best.

I note that large commercial seed companies will tell you "Potatoes ship at the proper planting time for your area" but actually ship much later - too late for a long chitting period. I think they're concerned about the potatoes freezing in transit. Potato Garden will let you choose your shipping time.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 9:36AM
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The weather has turned here in Brooklyn; the clouds, gloom and rain have finally disappeared. Unfortunately, I am smack in the middle of crunch time at school and I think planting will have to wait until I get all my exams out of the way. I think that will be around May 4th.
I know this is not ideal but I just don't have time. So, I think I will bring the potatoes out into the light and chit them until I am ready to plant.

RpR and rayinpenn have mentioned planting the potatoes down at 6" or 8" inches and then covering them back up all the way. What are the trade-offs for planting this way vs. the "hilling/mounding up" method?


    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 9:56AM
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I am in zone 6 PA-Del Border. I put my spuds, which I bought in Lancaster, in the ground on 3/15. I burried them cut side down, 8" deep and I do not hill. Yeah it takes some time for them to pop up but it is no work. I had great production last year and expect even better this year. Crazy warm spells. They are all up and doing great.

I planted a bunch of snap peas on the same date and they too are sailing along. I planted some lettuce earlier under a simple mini hoop house and we are eating lettuce every night.

Both Last years strawberry runner plants and the 100 new ones I planted are coming on strong too. I see white flowers everywhere.

March starts the growing season so plan ahead. For me the longer the growing season the better.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 11:08AM
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If you plant deep, you have to literally dig your potatoes UP.
One cannot simply takes ones hands and brush away the hilled dirt.
How hard that is depends on ones soil and it increases the chances of spiking or slicing one when digging.

This fall with the way I planted, I will take a garden spade with me so that after I have removed the obvious potatoes by digging a little with my fingers, I will on some plants but not all, put the spade in the ground to break the soila and look for strays especially with small finger type potatoes.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 11:57AM
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Wow. Looks like mainepotatolady.com really shipped quite late. Oh well, lesson learned. Anyway, just set up my potatoes for chitting. Here's a picture:

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 12:56PM
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