Bought potato plants--already flowering

Stella_z6June 7, 2014

Today I bought two pots of potato plants, and I'm hoping someone can tell me whether I'm likely get any reasonable yield.

One is a Fingerling variety that had many stems (about 1.5 feet) in a 5 lb tub; I separated this into 4 sections and planted them in a half-barrel that has sun until about 3:30 p.m.

The second one is a "Russian Blue" variety with 5 stems (about 2 feet) in a 3-gallon pot. When I got home I realized this one already had flowers forming. I pinched them off, separated the clump, and planted this in a half-barrel that gets sun until about 4 p.m.

On both root balls I noticed cherry-sized potatoes forming. I planted them deeply and heaped about 5 inches of soil on top of each. How likely is it that the plants will actually produce a reasonable yield? And is there anything you would advise me to do to help these plants do well?

Many thanks in advance for any thoughts!

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Honestly I have never heard of anyone transplanting potatoes successfully. Exception might be as very young plants and only before blooming and potato formation has begun.

And I would assume that like most root crops they wouldn't tolerate transplanting all that well. The small young potatoes that were already on the plant might continue to develop somewhat assuming the plant adjusts to the transplanting quickly. It all depends on how much they and their roots were disturbed by the transplanting process.

How much production over all? Can't say, sorry as it is such an unusual approach to growing them. Let us know how it goes.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 10:19PM
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Thanks, digdirt (Dave). That's disappointing--not only because it doesn't sound like there will be many potatoes in my garden this year, but also because a garden center would sell these things with such low odds of success. And yeah I think I disturbed the roots quite a bit since the plants were all intertwined in that tiny space and had to be coaxed apart.

Would you believe the original price for the 5-gallon bucket was $27.99 (CANADIAN!!!)? We paid the marked-down price of $14.99. Suckers!

I'm going to try to remember to come back here at summer's end to let you know how it goes. Thanks very much for the information!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 10:17PM
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Oh dear. You could get an awful lot of seed potatoes for that price, and grow a nice crop. Next year, just plant potatoes, and you'll have much more chance of success!

There was a thread on here recently about the things that garden centers sell that make no sense -- like radish and carrot seedlings. Your garden center belongs on that thread as well!

Gardening is all a learning experience. This will be a story to tell :)

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 10:47PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

I'm suspecting that, if the potatoes were in 5 gallon pots, they were never intended for planting into a garden. That would certainly be a very unusual technique, as digdirt says. Possibly they were intended to be grown in the the container permanently just to provide a crop of new potatoes? If you Google potatoes in 5 gallon buckets there are lots of hits describing the technique. Maybe you should have just left them in the container, fed and watered them and waited until the foliage started to die down.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 2:50AM
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