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North American Permies: Your 2020 potato crop observations.....

 
pollinator
Posts: 1561
Location: RRV of da Nort
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Greetings Permie Potatoheads!    Just finished harvesting a "Meh..." crop of potatoes and was wondering what others were seeing this year.  We followed the annual cycle of putting down aged manure (pig,chicken) into rows, then tilling that in and laying down the tubers/seed before forming the hilled rows.  Last year had quite a good crop, but relatively speaking on the same number and length of rows (and located in a different place in the garden), this year's crop was about 1/2 of that.  What is noteable is that the Russets that had done well last year really were paltry in number and size this year.  The Reds were average to below normal in number, but about the same in size as previous years.  The Yukon Gold, which normally are pretty wimpy in amount harvested, did the best of all!......Nearly the same amount as the Reds but with half the rows.  All potatoes are planted whole with similar spacing and similar size distribution of the planted tubers.

Your own observations for 2020?
 
pollinator
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Elfie and Red Pontiac did outstandingly this year. I planted 3 pounds of each, and harvested around 50 pounds. My mother has declared Elfie to be her favorite potato for frying. She's been making hashbrowns several times a week with them.

Pinto Gold did almost as well, coming to a little under 40 pounds. Yukon Gold were planted using a different technique, and did horribly. I thought potatoes would do well in a thick layer of straw, topped by landscaping fabric. It might have worked, but there were problems with a "helper" who decided I was too stupid to be worth listening to. That's a whole rant unto itself, but the result was no straw, just landscape fabric on dirt. And the fabric wasn't held down well enough so it kept blowing loose. After a few days the holes weren't even lined up anymore. I'm amazed any of the Yukons grew at all under those circumstances.

I also grew a fingerling variety which produced very well, but couldn't be eaten. Even though there were no green spots, about every 3rd potato was so incredibly bitter it would burn your mouth! Most likely it was the plant's reaction to a beetle infestation, but the others got the same beetle and were still tasty. I decided it wasn't worth the gamble and composted them. Seems like such a waste, but they were literally painful to eat!

I had some true potato seed from Cultivariable, but they fell afoul of my so-called "helper". He decided the strings marking those rows were in the wrong place, so he moved the strings over a few inches. Everything between the strings got hoed down. Naturally, he didn't tell me about this until the end of the season. You ever wish you could fire your own dad?
 
gardener
Posts: 483
Location: Ontario - Gardening in zone 3b, 4b, or 6b, depending on the day
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Mine was mediocre to poor. About 1.5 milk crates of potatos from 100 row feet. Got more than I planted though, so not my worst ever year :)

My potatos are so dense you can barely cut them, small, and remained at surface. To be fair, I was blaming my soil (barely managed to chisel a 6" furrow to plant them, and insufficient hilling, but everyone else in the area is reporting a bad year for potatos, so I blame the big drought we had in early summer instead.  Soil is much more workable after a year of mulch, hoping for better results next year.
 
pollinator
Posts: 269
Location: Chicago
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Pretty poor potato year for me also.  I planted a lot and gave them extra helpings of compost,  but just not good yields, except for one overwintered surprise potato.  Next year I think I will plant them earlier and space them more.
 
John Weiland
pollinator
Posts: 1561
Location: RRV of da Nort
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The replies are interesting so far and along the lines of what I was looking for.  I'm always curious, "Is it my plant husbandry, or is it some other factor..?"  Given the fact that each of us is growing in a different area and have different soils and amending approaches, is there a "Year X variety" interaction going on that points to aspects in climate, etc. that we still don't have good measurements for.  If nothing else, there is the "misery loves company" effect whereby I don't feel so bad looking at the meager output of my garden if I know that many others were in the same boat, but also can point to others getting similar good yields in one variety or another this particular year.  Thanks....and hope that more add their observations to the discussion.
 
Posts: 27
Location: Billings, MT
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Grew "Huckleberry Gold" this year. Got 35 lbs out of 5 lbs of seed potato in a 20 foot row. I was pretty satisfied given the terrible plague of grasshoppers we had. Pretty well defoliated by end of the season.
 
Posts: 170
Location: Appalachian Foothills-Zone 7
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Planted 10 lbs each, Yukon Gold, Pontiac Red, and Kennebec.  Some in old garden soil mulched with woodchips, some in freshly broken pasture mulched with waste hay.  Yields were similar across varieties and soils. Potatoes were all sizes. 200 lbs total.  Not our best, but close to it.  We were wet early and dry before harvest.  Couldn't have asked for better potato weather.  
 
gardener & hugelmaster
Posts: 1944
Location: mountains of Tennessee
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Almost zero regular potatoes were harvested this year. Most likely because I used grocery store potatoes due to the virus shutdowns. Several varieties, all failed.

Sweet potatoes will be harvested soon & they look very productive. Several varieties, all are winners!
 
Posts: 70
Location: East Tennessee
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My potatoes didn't do well this year, last year I harvested at least 4 times the potatoes I did this year. Somebody I know that market gardens with potatoes did not get enough to sell this year from his field. Just enough for his family.

I figured it was just me and I should adjust my growing, this year I the plants grew in a slightly wetter location.
 
pollinator
Posts: 103
Location: Kitsap Penninsula, WA
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Well. I feel a whole lot better.
We just harvested a pretty underwhelming potato crop this year. I tried one new method and one old method and the old method was...fine, I guess,  and the new method not so great, with the amount of small, hard potatoes dominating the boxes.
The old method is - add manure to the soil (horse, cow, rabbit) from late summer until Chrismas. Let is sit. Till it in. Plant potatoes. Cover with a foot of dry straw. Sit back and do nothing. This mostly worked in our established beds, but I got a bigger percentage of smaller, harder potatoes than previous years.
The new method was to spread about 6 inches of compost on a grassy area that I weed whacked down, plant potatoes, cover with a foot of straw and sit back and do nothing. This was even worse, with lot's of small, hard potatoes (like those little boutique bags at the grocery store). So color me fancy with all these eeny wheeny potatoes, but what a pain to harvest!!
We had a wet, long, cold spring followed by cooler and dryer summer culminating in somewhat warm but dry start to fall, so I don't know. Climate Change means every year is a new adventure - a box of chocolates, as it were. (Although recently it seems like all the chocolate are coconut filled and half eaten by some other family member and then put back in the box.)
Next year, because there is always a next year for us ever optimistic gardeners, I'm going to still use the new method for areas I want to clear for beds. Small potatoes are great in stew, and I get a new gardening bed out of it, so everyone wins. It still the easiest way I have found to clear big patches for new beds.
I also saw no noticeable difference using stored seed potatoes from my stash and store bought new seed. And my purple potatoes from saved seed did better than everyone else - which was delightful! They are my favorite.
gift
 
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