Potato Sets

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Pony, Mar 28, 2005.

  1. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Okay, I ordered a mess of potato sets from Shumway. Well, I ordered a bunch of stuff from Shumway, and so far, I'm pretty happy. Except for the potato thing, though.

    I've only planted potatoes three times over the past 5 years, and had good success. I usually put the spuds in pretty early. (I'm in Zone 5a, Northern Ill-noise, just outside of Chicago.) I'm actually getting a bit anxious, because it's Easter Week, and this is the general time I get the spuds in. Doesn't matter if it's cold or a little mucky, and I do the straw thing so it's not like I have to till again or anything.

    ANYway, just got off the phone with Shumway, and they're saying that their supplier isn't sending out the sets until mid-May!!! ("He sends them out when he thinks it's the right time.") Well, obviously Mr. Supplier and I have two different ideas on when spuds go in.

    Am I off-base in considering cancelling the order and picking up my sets from Menard's or Home Depot instead? Am I just getting antsy because I want SOMETHING in the ground?

    Or is Mid-May more than a little late for planting potatoes?

    Thanks,
    Pony!
     
  2. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    All I can offer is my opinion. Yes, you certainly have a right to cancel your order in favor of a local supplier for immediate product.

    The later planting can be beneficial in a couple of ways however. Since many growers will be planting at the traditional time just as you are wanting to do, a later planting may avoid an entire Colorado Potato Beetle cycle and your crop wouldn't be bothered by them or other insects.

    Another benefit by a later planting is that your crop will mature somewhat later and will carry into/over winter storage better.

    However the crop will no doubt need more water than if grown while cooler.

    Bottom line, if you have the room why not plant both crops. Get a smaller supply for early production and be eating on those while the others are still growing.
     

  3. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Good idea, Windy! Spuds aren't too expensive, and I can have a lovely ongoing supply of my favorite food!

    DH may be a bit reluctant... <g> He thought he was done with roto-tilling in the Fall, but I may want a few more swipes after all... ;)


    Pony!
     
  4. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    I am in zone 4a/3b and potatoes woulnd't be planted until mid may around here.
    I like buying them locally from the feed store that has varieties guaranteed to grow for this area the best. I ordered before from the next province over that has similar zone climate and they sent very good sets of yukon gold which were great eating and productive plants. I trenched with the furrow tool on the troy built tiller about 6 inches deep and then cover over level. After they begin to grow, I hill them up with dirt using a hoe or the hiller attachment of the tiller by going between the rows which also cultivates out the weeds.

    If you are past your last frost date, I can't see why you should wait till mid May to plant potatoes, though you likely would get a good crop even if you planted some then.
     
  5. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Mid-May would be the best time for planting potatoes in Zones 4 and 5. For years, I would always try to have them in the ground near the first week of April. Then there would be a month of waiting and worrying if the plants were ever going to come up or rot in the cold ground. Quite often, they would be up and growing nicely when there would be a late May frost. After having several such setbacks, I've since switched to late April for planting. Locally, seed is not available until mid-April anyway.

    As for Shumway's shipping schedule, I found it to be the same with Pinetree. Several years ago, I ordered Carola from them since I could not find it around here. They would not ship to me until the second week of May. Even then, I got my order before a friend in Maine got hers!

    Martin
     
  6. Sara in IN

    Sara in IN Well-Known Member

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    Pony,

    See if Farm and Fleet in Sycamore/DeKalb carries bulk seed potatoes. Downstate Rural King carries bulk red Pontiac and white Kennebec. Cut your own sets, at least 3 eyes each, or about the size of an egg and let them harden a day. You can plant an early crop of reds now for new potatoes and summer harvest. Plant your main crop of whitestorage potatoes in May.

    In southern Indiana, the main crop whites go in on July4th to avoid the potato beetles, but you are too far north for that. Main crop ought to go in by June 15.

    I've ordered sets and planted sets from the home centers, but the bulk seed potatoes from Rural King have consistently given the best yield, perhaps because I cut my sets on the large size, but it's what works.