How do you plant your taters?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by windyfarm, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. windyfarm

    windyfarm Well-Known Member

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    Live in Iowa, and thinking I would like to plant some potatoes this year.
    How do you plant them? How far apart? Family of four...how many plants?
    Specific varieties? Do you do anything special to the soil?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. jwal10

    jwal10 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I plant 4 50' rows. Dig hills and set sets. 1' apart in the row, rows 2' apart, hill as much as possible, rows close in and take little weeding. 1 Red, 1 white and 2 Yukon Gold. No manure the year I plant, just compost worked in well and miracle grow during the season....James
     

  3. agr8day

    agr8day Well-Known Member

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    On virgin ground, we have had trouble with grass roots growing into the potatoes. The best thing we found is to plant the potato sets under a good cover-about a foot-of straw. Also have used grass clippings from our acre and a half yard when we did not have strawavailable. Didn't use hay due to possible seed sprouting..
     
  4. geo in mi

    geo in mi Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I plant in rows at about 8"--12" spacing in the row, at four inches deep. Hill them usually twice. I have fine Michigan sand, so I use a 48" row distance, but you don't have to. I do that to be able to deep till the middles after bloom set so I can plant oats to get back some organic matter into the sand, and to let the oat roots penetrate down into the hardpan. I rotate every year, and I usually buy Certified Seed.

    I usually plant Kennebec, Red Pontiac, and Norland, and sometimes some Russsets. Three fifty foot rows nearly always produce enough to share with my kids, with some to store .

    geo
     
  5. windyfarm

    windyfarm Well-Known Member

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    all good reading...thanks!

    don't stop....

    jwal10 - how many taters do you harvest??
     
  6. Backfourty,MI.

    Backfourty,MI. Katie Supporter

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    I usually do just 1 row but it usually is just about the length of my garden which is 80 feet. I make pretty good hills about a foot apart & I also like Geo in Mi plant Red pontiac's, kennebec & some russets usually.

    That gives more than enough potatoes for us for awhile stored in the basement, some I freeze & still have some to give to the neighbor lady if she needs some.
     
  7. Kstornado11

    Kstornado11 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Do you all cut your taters the day you plant? Or plant without cutting them?
     
  8. ldc

    ldc Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Here in the South, when we chit potatoes, we wait 2-5 days, until the wound heals/a skin forms, or else they tend to rot in this humid environment. People up North don't have to worry about that. Also some folk here plant small/tiny whole spuds, b/c they think there's less disease that way. (This is a note to help w planting in the different geo zones). ldc
     
  9. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    It's best to let the cuts dry for a few days before planting if they are not treated with something anti-fungal.

    Standard advice is anything smaller than a hen's egg can be planted whole. But if there are 4 active eyes on one smaller than that, that can become two pieces. One eye is all you need but two is better. More than 3 is a waste since only about 3 will develop anyway.

    Martin
     
  10. sammyd

    sammyd Well-Known Member

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    We work up the soil and plant on top of that about 2 foot apart.
    Cover the whole area in 12 inches of shaken out hay or even good fluffy bedding from the goat pen.
    We cut the spuds if we can get 3 eyes or so in each piece. Have always just cut and planted.
    Keep an eye on the patch through the season and remulch if needed.
    Pull back the edges of the hay for some earlies once in a while. Use a pitchfork to get the main crop.
    We plant 30 pounds or so for our family of 3.
    Kennebecs, Yukon Golds and Pontiac reds.
     
  11. laughaha

    laughaha Well-Known Member

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    We cut or toss the potatoes whole spacing them 12" apart in rows that are 12" apart. Shake hay at least 1' deep on top of the taters then wait till we see the tater tops poking through. Let them grow for a couple more days then toss/shake another foot of hay on top of that. If any weeds pop up, we toss some more hay on top of it or pull the weed (depending on what kind it is). Weeds pull easily and taters grow really well with this system. We usually end up tossing another foot of hay on top of the bed again around June-Julyish then just grab as we need taters or dig up in the late fall.

    Our hay spends a week in the chicken coops prior to being used as mulch. Chickens eat most of the seeds and fertilize lightly.
     
  12. jwal10

    jwal10 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Last year was a down year (too much rain) I got 4 4'x4'x2' totes of potatoes. I put up 36 prune totes in the root cellar for myself and the kids got the rest. I cut my seed, sprinkle with powdered sulfer and let set for 2-3 days....James
     
  13. mekasmom

    mekasmom Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I throw down a few bales of straw, toss out potatoes cut into parts with eyes, cover with straw and water. It's easier to harvest them that way.
     
  14. NEUrbanHmstdr

    NEUrbanHmstdr Well-Known Member

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    I'm planning on growing potatoes for the first time this year too. I already order my seed potatoes and they are going to arrive in early April. I wasn't sure how many pounds of potatoes to expect out of each potato plant. I'm glad I read the suggestions on here about letting the cut potatoes dry out a bit. I was imagining just putting them right in the ground.

    For the row spacings, how big are the rows themselves? I was planning on planting 3'x20' rows, so would only get one row of potatoes that way. The other thing I was considering doing was doing succession planting. So I was going to plant two potato plants every month starting in April. Anyone have any success with that sort of process?
     
  15. geo in mi

    geo in mi Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Whoa, a couple of clarifications first. If you ordered seed potatoes, then you will either get 1) Just potatoes, which you will have to cut into sections with two to three "eyes" each, then plant----or, 2) just the "eyes" themselves, which have been already cut out of the potatoes with smallish pieces of the potato flesh attached. 3) Plants, would indicate sweet potato slips, which are stem cuttings off the sweet potatoes....

    Assuming you are getting whole seed potatoes, or eye cuttings, a very rough estimate would be that you will get about two to three pounds of finished potatoes for each seed piece or "eye cutting" you plant. You will space them about a foot apart in a row, so your spacing of 3 feet by twenty feet will give you eighteen plants, or again roughly 36--50 pounds of potatoes at maturity. If indeed you ordered whole seed potatoes, each one of them should make about four seed pieces to plant--I usually get fifty feet of row for five pounds of seed potatoes. As I have seen in the catalogs, I think usually you will get 25 "eye pieces" in an order, so that should do your twenty foot row pretty well. A three pound order of whole seed potatoes would just about do the same row. The three foot width is so you can find enough soil to "hill" them--the process where you drag soil up in a ridge on each side of the stems. This allows the potato tubers to grow inside and move around a bit without exposing them to sunlight. You could crowd them into a tighter row spacing if you use only mulch over them rather than hilling.

    Again these are just rough estimates. A lot will depend on your local conditions--fertility, moisture, etc. (And others will have their own opinions, especially if they like to brag... :) ) As for succession planting, it isn't really necessary. You can let them mature all at once and you can dig them as you use them, until early winter. After digging they will store for you okay until you use them up--just don't let them freeze. Plus, some potato varieties need the full summer period to mature--and you don't say which variety you ordered.

    The Cornell website is a pretty good place for the first time person. It has a link at the bottom for many varieties and their days to maturity. Hope this will help. http://www.gardening.cornell.edu/homegardening/scenec6be.html

    geo
     
  16. Stephen in SOKY

    Stephen in SOKY Well-Known Member

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    I cut my seed potatoes a couple days ahead of planting:

    [​IMG]

    Open a trench with the potato plow:

    [​IMG]

    Drop potatoes by hand.

    Cover with hilling disks on the G:

    [​IMG]

    Then use the G to hill up as they grow.
     
  17. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Production per individual potato plant depends somewhat on variety and richness of soil. Generally it is 3 tubers per plant. There will be one large, one medium, and one small. If 3 plants come up from a single piece, one can expect to find 9 tubers of eating size in that cluster or hill. Anything beyond that is a bonus.

    Martin
     
  18. AverageJo

    AverageJo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Please remember that you need to wrap each seed potatoe in a single layer of news paper ...

    ....

    ...

    ... to keep the dirt out of their eyes.... tee hee.... just kidding!! No paper is needed...

    Sorry, I couldn't resist this old joke... snicker...
     
  19. Oldcountryboy

    Oldcountryboy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The last two years I have not been able to grow taters at all. Everytime I planted the potatoe seeds would rot in the ground. I posted on here what I was doing when I planted and we determined that the reason for the bad luck was cause I was pulling up thin dead grass to put in the beds with the potatoe seeds for nutrients. The dead grass was rotting too fast killing the seed potatoes.

    Before I've always boughten straw hay around Halloween/Thanksgiving for decoration and then I would save them to use for planting potatoes. I've always had real good luck doing it this way. So I'm going back to using straw hay once again.

    I have a cuz who plants his taters first and then when they come up out of the ground he will mulch them with straw hay and cover the hay with dirt. He does this twice and has real good results.
     
  20. NEUrbanHmstdr

    NEUrbanHmstdr Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the advice. Between that link and the stories above about the hay stacking, I think i'm going to go that way to avoid having to weed and pile too much. I bought three pounds of seed potatoes, one pound of each of these:

    French Fingerling
    http://www.territorialseed.com/product/9949/seed_potatoes

    All Blue
    http://www.territorialseed.com/product/1350/seed_potatoes

    Yukon Gold
    http://www.territorialseed.com/product/1349/seed_potatoes


    Incidentally, can I save part of my harvest for next year's seed potatoes? does anyone have a lot of success doing that? Worse case I'll take up an extra row with potatoes if that's too much for one row, but I coludn't tell by just the weight...