Potato Plants & What Eats Them?
I've broken new ground this spring for a larger potato patch (four 25 foot rows 56 inches apart) and have enclosed it with 5 & 6 foot high fence. But the fence is not rabbit proof (yet) and I'm wondering which critters eats the above ground part of potato plants? I think my neighbor had problems with deer eating them some years ago, but then deer eat almost ANYTHING! I'm pretty sure my fence will keep the deer from eating my plants, but how about rabbits and hares? Woodchucks? Do they eat potato plants like they gobble up the rest of a garden if not well protected? Or do they shun this member of the nightshade family?
My soil is 4-6 inches of loamy sand and then pure sand, poor, somewhat acidic, droughty, with the water table at about 4 feet down. I've read up on potato culture and am giving my rows lots of space (56") because I can't easily water or irrigate and this will let them better forage for moisture. I'm going to grow them in pine "straw" as I have an unlimited supply of that in my woods and it helps keep them clean, so they say. I am using seed potatoes from last year's crop (Yukon gold) which I have been saving and planting since 2003. In future I plan to add muck and peat to the soil as I can get that right here on my land. It does help improve the tilth of the soil. Otherwise I'm using 10-10-10.
The potato is a very interesting and versatile plant and in this time of food shortages and higher prices it feels empowering to grow something that can be a winter staple kept in the root cellar, and even if the work and time involved doesn't really pay, the mental rewards might.
Any other potato growing tips and comments would be welcome.
Anyone expanding their potato patch this year? What are your favorite varieties and why? Anything that tops Yukon gold?