Exactly 4 weeks before last frost I plunked them in the garden. Three weeks are history. How long should I wait for them to sprout before repurposing their beds?
I used grocery store potatoes, but I think if they are dead, the cause would be due to too wet ground. Next year, I'll try some kind of container, for drainage.
It could be that you are right, that they got too wet. If that is the case, you could try to dig one up. You will find a rotten slimy blob there. If your weather has been unseasonably cold, it could be that they are just a slow going variety that is waiting for the soil to warm. In that case they will either hanging out dormant, or be sending out small roots for the time being, and will sprout tops when they are ready. If it is too wet for spuds in the spring, rather than containers, you could mound your soil in raised beds so that they spuds are higher and the water has a place to go. I had success in a very wet location/climate using this method.
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If you used organic potatoes, then you don't need to worry about them having been sprayed with sprouting inhibitors. My family always chits our potatoes before planting them. So long as we store them where they get some light, we have more problems with them sprouting before we can eat them than we do with them not sprouting in the ground. If you dig up the potato and find they've rotted, I don't think it's too late to try another planting.
Mine went in March 17th. I'm not worried yet - I think. The volunteers growing where they shouldn't be have only just started to poke up. Yes there is plenty of time to try again if they have failed for some reason, but make sure to use an "early" variety. The difference between earlies and lates is the length of time they take to come to maturity, hence why Bob Flowerdew says "plant your lates early, and your earlies late."
When I use grocery store potatoes for seed potatoes I usually let them hang out in a cool space until I see eyes coming to life.
Then I plant them out, that way I know the inhibitor has run its course.
Inhibitors don't prevent sprouting, they just delay it by about a month.
If your soil doesn't drain well, then building up a mound like Roberto mentions is a great way to go.
You can also use old tires for containers, or tubs or anything that will let you cover the shoot as it grows so you can get a good yield.
In my area it is sweet potatoes, Yukon gold and reds that I grow, the "white" potatoes are so cheep it doesn't pay for me to use garden space for russets and so forth.
I almost grew potatoes once. As I was hilling them the second time, I unearthed a mole. He met with a tragic end. His kin took vengance, I harvested no potatoes.
I've tried spuds 8 out of 12 years of gardening. I cannot afford seed potato prices on this track record of failures. Red, gold and purple. They would have made a lovely roasted dish with rosemarry. 8 pounds would have fed us many meals. Sigh.
They were not organic potatoes and they had not begun to sprout. I dug up 8 feet of row, I should have found SOMETHING. I haven't seen mole tunnels this year, anywhere. There was just was soil. And buttercups. And earthworms. And the tiny red worms I think are compost guys. I hadn't noticed them in prior years.
Oh. And spring weather came 4 weeks early this year. It stuck around long enough to fool my peaches into flowering. The next, expected freeze killed the blooms. We are back on spring weather though. The ground is warm. Not okra warm, but potato and turnip warm. We had a salad with micro turnip greens last night.
I'll give these maybe non-existing potatoes until the next time it is dry enough for tilling. That may be another two weeks? Then I'll move on with something else.
Hmm.. Rumor has it that folks used to make a fall planting in this region. Spring potato schedule is said to be 4-6 weeks before last frost. Turnips are at earliest 4 weeks before last frost. For me, fall turnips, in a typical year, work well sown mid Sept. They get big enough for cut and come again and again greens before they get a freeze that makes them look pitiful. Many survive to rebound for more greens, then root use, weeks before spring sowing time comes. Maybe Sept could be a fall planting time?
Bryant, We live in similar area I think. Do you do a fall potato planting? I think I'd need to do mine a couple weeks earlier than yours to allow for my zone.
So next spring, in true permie fashion, I'll try several methods. I've got a draining container, old tires, and I could try a small raised bed.
Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
I feel your mole pain, we had both voles and moles last year, this year I am hoping the donkey has collapsed all their tunnels since we let her have access to the garden area until she started eating the pear trees.
I too use hardware cloth (wire mesh everywhere else in the world) under the soil of our raised beds, stapled to the border wood.
We usually grow our sweet potatoes and other tubers in tubs so the dang voles won't get to them.
Our moles seem to be carnivores while the voles are herbivores.
I'm going to try giving the soil a shock this year in the areas I see vole and mole activity (I have a 50,000 volt, neon sign transformer so look out voles!).
About the current weather changes from the normal climate change cycle; We have gone from a late august plant to a mid September plant time for fall gardens (moved back 2 weeks so far).
We can now plant, with out need of row covers, spring crops in late February to mid March.
I do cover fruit trees to protect when temps are going to be near 32 f. Next year I will be using wax to delay buds from opening too soon, this year all our fig trees lost their just opening leaf buds. I am hoping they make a comeback soon.
Most likely those tiny red worms are what ate the decaying potatoes unless you have voles, who would have eaten the freshly planted potatoes.