potatoes – a tiny harvest

Harvests, Root Vegetables

Some things grew great this year and others, well, 🙁 didn’t. On my “didn’t” list, potatoes.

I thought they were doing well until last week when I dug them. An underground crop is a mystery until you go to harvest!

potatoes in a basket IMG_4129

This spring I planted only one type of potato because in the past I’ve had so many seed tubers left over that I can’t find space for. Usually I crowd the seed, spacing them maybe 6 inches apart when 12 would be better. So I only planted my favorite, russets. And I tried a new variety, Canela, from Territorial, that is a high yield potato. I planted 5 lbs.

Potatoes will yield up to 20 times more than you plant. I usually expect about 10 times. So, I was hoping for 50 lbs, or at least 30. I ended up with about 15-20 lbs. It was a lot of work to dig the bed searching for spuds that were few and far between. (Even with Skippy’s help…) Each plant had about 5 potatoes and their were hardly any plants.

potatoes IMG_3058 skippy digging potatoes d IMG_2946
skippy digging potatoes IMG_2950 potatoes IMG_3049

The potatoes I got were a mix of sizes, big and small. The usual scab I get with Burbank russets. They’re delicious baked, fried or mashed – can’t complain about that.

So, to try to figure this out my low yield, I looked back over my photos from the season. I think part of it is that they didn’t sprout well. I remember I was short of time and the seed potatoes sat in their box a while. I didn’t get them sprouting in a warm spot before planting. And I didn’t add much compost to the bed. Hmm, come to think of it, I didn’t give them any fertilizer either. On top of that, the mid summer weather was certainly not great for potatoes – very hot and dry. The plants had good foliage, so I assumed they were happily growing tubers. I’m not sure which of these was the biggest problem, maybe the combination. This gives me a list of things to make sure I do next year: sprout, compost, fertilize and water! Oh, and go back to planting more varieties and crowing them in.

2015-05-12 potato bed turned IMG_1352 2015-05-31 potatoes sprouting IMG_1525
May 12, the freshly turned bed. May 31, sprouts in the furrows.

2015-06-22 potatoes growing IMG_2052 2015-07-18 potato patch IMG_2394
June 22, growing plants. July 18, fully grown potato plants.

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