Thursday, October 7, 2010

This years' potato harvest

I spent the majority of the day digging potatoes. I counted up the yield so that I know what to plant for next year and so that I can share with you.

The following numbers do not include 1 plant of each variety that I planted during "normal" planting time in spring. I never marked down which variety was which and they were in a different location than the main crop (which was planted mid-may). I will say that my earlier planted potatoes yielded far less. This could have been due to the fact that they were planted in entirely different soil. No way to know for sure. I hope to keep better track next year.

The numbers also do not include two mystery plants that I have not dug up yet.

The following are the varieties that I planted:

Purple Viking: I planted 1 pound and got NOTHING in return. Not even a wimpy plant! The seed must have rotted before it even sprouted. I sincerely doubt I did anything wrong, because they were planted next to the yukons.
Yukon Gold: I planted 1 pound and got in return--27.2#! These were definitely the winner this year. `The vines grew up to my chest.
Sangre: I planted 1 pound and got in return 14#. I tested the flavor just now, and they are very creamy yummy.
Red Norland I planted 1 pound and got in return a measly 4.4#. To be fair, I can hardly tell the difference between the sangre and the red norland, and it is possible that 1 or 2 of the sangres were in fact the red norlands (or vice versa). Either way, the sangre yielded far better.
Bjinte--planted 1 pount and got in return 9.6#. It is possible that a few of the carolas that I counted were in fact bjinte, but I doubt it.
Carola--planted 1#, got 20# in return. My mother enjoys growing these as well. I believe she is located in zone 5.
Purple peruvians--planted TWO pounds and got possibly 4 pounds in return. Not only that, but they suck in texture and flavor.
Rio Grande--Planted 1 pound and got 23.8# in return! This one came in second place this year.

Something I noticed that was particularly interesting this year is the different ways that potatoes seem to grow. The yukons by far were the tallest plants. The vines came all the way up to my chest before they flopped over. I hilled them up at least two feet, before it became ridiculous to try and hill them anymore. The potatoes grew right up next to the vine, all the way up to the soil line. Whereas the rio grande potatoes didn't grow as tall, and they seemed to throw out lateral roots and grow more in a cone shape.  I wonder, do different potato varieties grow differently, similar to the way that indeterminate versus determinate tomatoes grow?  If I were able to keep hilling and the varieties that grow upward, just how many potatoes would I have gotten from those varieties? Seems like an experiment I could conduct on one of the plants next year.

Speaking of next year, I will definitely be shopping around for prices. Growing potatoes certainly isn't the cheapest vegetable you can grow, and prices vary considerably. For example, Territorial sells several of these varieties for $11.45 per pound, Ronniger's sells the same conventionally grown varieties for $4.00 per pound ($7/organic), and Peaceful Valley sells organic seed potatoes for $4-6/pound. Big differences! Had I purchased the seed potatoes from Peaceful Valley versus Territorial, my yukon golds would have cost .14/pound versus .42/pound.


Mr. H. said...

You grew a very nice variety this year, isn't it fun.:) It's interesting that Yukon Gold does so well for you but not us, I guess it all depends upon the location, conditions, and soil type I suppose. Anyway, 27# from 1# is a very awesome harvest.

Too bad about your Purple Vikings, they are such a nice potato, pure white inside, the whitest variety I have come across.

You are the second person that has had good luck with Carola, I will have to try them next year.

StefRobrts said...

Which do you think produced the most with the least hilling? I do not have a lot of excess soil to use for hilling, which is why I tried growing mine covered in straw this year.

Vegetable Garden Cook said...

Mr. H--yes, it is fun! Perhaps the yukons liked the cold wet rainy weather we had this year. What was the weather like where you are?

Laura said...

Don't forget shipping charges.

Pinetree doesn't charge extra shipping for potatoes, which I think makes them the winner. Or it did year before last when I bought last.

Territorial is expensive.

My favorite potato now is red gold. Huge yield, very early, wonderful flavor. I'm not sure I'll ever grow anything else.

I am saving potatoes to plant again the next year. We'll see how long it lasts before the scab takes over. So far so good.

Vegetable Garden Cook said...

Never heard of Pinetree for potatoes. I'll have to check it out.