To wayne 5 on potato info

hobbiestNovember 20, 2012

Wayne,

You suggested to me to leave the potatoes that I was growing, in the ground until I was ready to use them awhile back in another post I put up.

Dug the last 2 rows out of the ground over the course of the last 2 weeks.

I liked your idea and thought I would try it.

The potatoes that I dug out of the ground today were planted the first week or so of May. They were still hard when squeezed indicating to me that they were still in good shape. The only thing that I noticed strange about them versus the ones that I had dug out after about 4 months of being in the ground, was that the skin texture was bumpy or rough. When cleaned with a plastic bristle brush to get the dirt off of them, the skin turned white as if the brush was taking all of the skin off of them when cleaned. Is this normal?

The potatoes are still tasty though! :)

How long have you found that you can leave them in the ground before they absolutely need to be dug out to eat?

Thank you for your suggestion! It was a neat idea that I had never considered!

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jonfrum(6)

It is widely recommended that you not leave spuds in the ground more than two weeks. You invite the risk of infection and rot, and sometimes they'll even begin sprouting. Needless to say, you can do anything you want, but potatoes are not like some root crops, which can confidently be left in the ground and harvested over the winter.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 7:59PM
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hobbiest

So ummmm.....OK.

"It is widely recommended that you not leave spuds in the ground more than two weeks."

Two weeks from when?

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 11:07PM
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pnbrown

Potatoes are tubers, most any gardener understands that they are not in the category of parsnips, carrots, and the like.

In northern places where the fall season is warmish, like here, the tubers will begin sprouting from early plantings. I believe this is one reason it was common to plant the storage crop late in the spring. That doesn't work for me because late plantings suffer hugely more from CPB attack; years ago the CPB had not spread everywhere. Digging earlier than late fall doesn't help the situation unless one has an appropriately cool and humid place to put them. If it's more than 50 lbs or so where is such a place in august or september?

IME, leaving them in the ground until early winter is not perfect but it's my best option.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 7:42AM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

I find that leaving them in the ground for a little while[3 or 4 weeks] would not hurt unless the soil was extremely hot. After that time, they can store pretty well especially if it is on the dry side. In the final analysis... unless you have a large storage area that is really cool and a bit moist, they are likely better off in the soil.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 10:09AM
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hobbiest

"IME, leaving them in the ground until early winter is not perfect but it's my best option."

Seems to work here too. I don`t have a place to store them in a cool, damp environment so was open to trying new ideas.

"unless you have a large storage area that is really cool and a bit moist, they are likely better off in the soil."

I am going to go with your experience in the future. Thank you for your help! :) The ground temp now is not hot but not really cold yet either. They seem to have kept well up to the point of digging them out of the ground.

Thanks for the help and suggestions!

:)

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 7:00PM
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hobbiest

Hey. Something else.

My last small row of 5 plants, gave me about 15 `taters. I was normally getting about 15 `taters per 5 plants. Average....3 spuds per plant. I harvested 5 large `taters and the rest were around a half inch or less. How can I make my next crop of spuds yield larger potatoes? I am guessing it might be nutrient values in the soil that the plant needs to grow large produce. I am also thinking that it might be a water issue. Was hesitant to dump fertilizer on them this year since I didn`t really know what they required. I know that corn is a nitrogen stripper. Just don`t know much about potatoes.

How do you folks grow multiple large spuds per plant? What do you do to maintain ideal conditions for potato growth?

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 7:21PM
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RpR_(3-4)

The simplest trick to gettint large potatoes is to plant a variety that normally grows large potatoes.

Second trick for large ones is to not plant them too close together.

For fertilzing I broadcasst fertilizer before tilling. An 8-16-16 would be good but an acidic soil is best always so I broadcast Miracid this spring before tilling.

Do not apply fertilzer after mid-July and it is best to not fertilize after planting.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 1:52AM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

I would add that too many eyes on a piece would tend to produce more small potatoes. One or two eyes would help to produce larger potatoes.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 7:11PM
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pnbrown

A friend was helping me dig potatoes and we were arguing about this subject.

He says build a serious root cellar that would be cool enough in september. I said it's too massive a project, it would have to be very deep and have an insulated roof to be cool enough at that time of year.

We are both right, probably, it would be much better to dig the potatoes in late august or early september as far as tuber quality goes, and it's also true that creating a place where they will keep in good condition from september through may is quite a project.

This year I grew by far the most potatoes ever, hundreds of feet. Some areas were badly attacked by field mice or rats where most tubers were eaten (it hurts to find a giant potato with nothing left but a husk!). Other areas the tubers had greatly sprouted with plants from a few inches to over a foot tall. Those tubers seem fine but I plan to compare them to less sprouted ones via brix. Nearly every tuber had rooted to some extent.

What I have learned from this for next year is: in mid-summer after the vines have died down fully, hill up much more to protect the tubers from heat which should help reduce sprouting. Keep the hills more clear of weeds to make the area less attractive to rodents. Identify varieties best suited to the situation, the so-called "late" types. Planting later is not an option for me because of serious CPB problems. One row that I planted late produced almost nothing for that reason.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 8:03AM
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bart1(6/7 Northern VA)

>>>

I used to have major CPB problems and would spend hours hand picking them, then I discovered spinosad (which I believe is organic) and all my problems went away.

The first year I used it, I had to spray a couple of times during the season (whenever I saw the bugs), but with each successive year there were fewer and fewer bugs and I spray less and less. The past couple of years I think I only sprayed once pretty early in the season.

The spinosad reduced my potato maintenance time down from hours to minutes and like I said, I'm down to a single application now.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 8:03AM
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pnbrown

Bart, I simply do nothing about them and get plenty of taters. I did nothing about massive infestations of ICM on the brassica and after about ten years they have dwindled to a minor nuisance, so I will hope the same happens with CPB.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 12:44PM
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