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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pulling Potatoes

Jessica Walliser
Hobby Farms Contributor

Jessica Walliser planted 10 pounds of seed potatoes in April, and in September dug up about 80 pounds! Photo by Jessica Walliser (HobbyFarms.com)
Photo by Jessica Walliser
I plant a variety of blue, red and yellow potatoes and always reap a large harvest.

I spent yesterday morning digging potatoes. There's probably no more rewarding garden task this time of year. It's such a treat to pry up the pitch fork and have a bunch of fist-sized spuds pop up out of the earth. In late April, I planted 10 pounds of seed potatoes and dug up about eight times that yesterday. It never fails to amaze me what a good, consistent producer potatoes always are—even when I am a neglectful gardener.

This year, I planted all my favorites, including the gorgeous dark-purple heirloom known as All Blue, a red-skinned potato with creamy-yellow flesh called Rose Gold, the butter-yellow-colored Yukon Gold, and my favorite standby, high-yielding Kennebec. All produced fairly well this year, with Kennebec being the standout yet again.

I have grown several varieties of fingerling potatoes in the past, but I never got around to planting any this year. Fingerlings never seem to produce as much as I'd like, and though they were always a good seller at the farmers’ market, they are not favorites in my own kitchen. I like larger potatoes for mashing and frying because they’re easier to peel. I use mostly new potatoes early in the season for roasting. I do like the fingerlings for roasting, but I don't always want to dedicate the garden space to them when they never seem to yield as many tubers as I'd like.

So now that they're dug, my spuds are sitting in the garage on a layer of cardboard to cure for a few days before I brush them off, pack them into boxes and tuck them into the basement for storage. I'm already looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner!

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Pulling Potatoes

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Reader Comments
There's nothing like fresh new potatoes.
Galadriel, Lothlorien, ME
Posted: 9/1/2013 11:37:14 PM
Home grown, does it get any better?
Carl, Livermore, CA
Posted: 6/9/2013 1:08:20 PM
The floating cover over the potato plants sounds like an excellent idea. I will try it with the sweet potato plants.
Dante, Hyde Park, MA
Posted: 11/26/2012 8:00:43 AM
Hi Aaron -
Thanks for the tip on 'Blue Gold'. I'll have to give that one a try. I usually get my seed potatoes from Ronningers or one of our local nurseries. And, I seldom try to overwinter any for the following year's crop - mostly because I'm paranoid about using certified disease-free stock. The late blight has struck us in the past and one of the ways it can overwinter is in potatoes so I like to start fresh every spring.
As for the potato beetles, we cover our potato rows with floating row cover the day we plant them and leave the cover intact until close to harvest. That way any beetles that do show up can't access the plants. Works like a charm!
Jessica, Sewickley, PA
Posted: 11/14/2012 11:58:17 AM
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