Potatoes grown organically

Since potatoes came up in another comment, I thought I’d share how I grow them from soil prep to harvest. Most of it is self explanatory, compost piles, cover crops mowed short and tilled under (winter rye) and soaker hoses and mulch to maintain even moisture throughout the growing season. Cut, dust and start sets 2-3 weeks early. Then the harvest of nice clean (no scab) taters. These are Green Mountain (Vermont potatoes) and Red Norlands. No Kennebecks that year. I store these in milk crates off the floor ( for good air circulation) in a cool dark corner of the shop. I average about 1 and a 1/2 lbs per foot of row, not all potatoes are shown at the end. Note the comfrey plants in the garden. I now have hundreds of them that I use for mulch and adding potassium, etc to the soil. Totally organic since my first garden here in 1971. 10-10-10 kinda. Work 10 hours, dig 10 hours, spread compost 10 hours, handpick potato beetles 10 hours, dig potatoes 10 hours. Eat potatoes 100 hours all winter. Start over and it never gets old. The most satisfying time of living organically.
Pepe

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Very impressive
My potatoe patch is a random surprise growth of the rototilled bits from last years garden

But the yield from your patch is amazing

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Beautiful gardens pepe. I’ll get there one day.

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David,
Start small, maybe one bed at a time and go from there. It took me years to get where I am now. Good luck, never say die and thanks for the compliment.
Pepe

Beautiful. Upon reading this, I walked out to my garden and took this photo. LaSoda Reds putting on blossoms.


The third bed is garlic, with Kale in the center. Not visible is another bed of potatoes, and at the end are some Pinto Beans, planted direct the the bag in the Kitchen cupboard. The potatoes were planted from the remainder of last years harvest. There were a few in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator, and I cut them very small, putting only one “eye” in each hunk of potato. The soil used to be red clay, but with compost and small pieces of charcoal, the soil is so loose and friable that the potatoes can be dug with the bare hands. 18 miles S. of Austin International airport, 29.9 degrees North. (Sub-tropics)

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Thanks for the photos. I need the reminder of what a good garden looks like. Last summer I got busy and my garden started too late and was over run with the tallest pig weed you had ever seen. I ended up baling it all up and dumping it into the edge of the woods. I got 15 square bales of pig weed when all was said and done and man they where heavy… lol it did have one advance they crowed out the grass.
Anyway i need the reminder of how nice the garden can be. I really miss all the home grown vegetables this winter. It is alot of work but the quality is soo much better and you know there where no pesticides. I really like growing squash as well. Speckled hounds and banana squash are two of the ones I have tried and like the most both last a long time and are not to hard to cook.

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That’s what we’ve done. We are up to 2000 Sq ft so far plus the greenhouse. I want to till some land at a friend’s place for staples this year. Always lots of projects.

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The third bed is garlic. Wow, when I first looked I thought for sure they were onions they were so big. Sorry, but I don’t waste space on kale, lol. I just can’t seem to develop a taste for it. I like cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, broccoli and kohlrabi, though.
I don’t have great luck with onions, they grow ok, but the leaves tend to fall over. The best sets I’ve used are Stuttgarter, a flattened bulb of pretty good size. I think I need to move them into the sunniest spot I have.

2000 sq ft and a greenhouse, darn, that’s pretty darn good. I wish I had a greenhouse. I have a small extension on my shop that I have plastic on, but it really doesn’t get enough sun, so it’s become a storage spot, arggh! One of these days, lol.

I grow butternut squash (great keeper) and zucchini. The zucchini seems to get powdery mildew towards late summer so I have to spray it with a milk and baking soda mix every 3-4 days. I remove the leaves and burn them, never put them in your compost pile.
Pigweed seed is very small but easy to harvest and very nutritious. The flavour is greatly improved by roasting the seed before grinding it. Pigweed seed can be ground into a powder and used as a cereal substitute, it can also be sprouted and added to salads. The seed is very small but easy to harvest and very nutritious.

Butternut squash doesn’t seem to grow well here I think my season is just a little too short for it or something. Butter cup was my grandfather’s favorite they do well and keep ok. I like butternut but if I am lucky I just get one or 2 squash out of the plant. Boston Marrow are great squash as well but really hard to grow here.
As to Kale get Russian Red or Blue Dwarf curly. They are the only two kinds I have found that are worth eating. And you need almost no space.

It’s a plastic covered hoophouse.

kind of a must in my climate. We are late getting started this year. The picture was from last fall.

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Potatoes generally grow in the top 8 10" of soil. I wouldn’t worry about any soil amendments more than plow deep, unless it was serious soil engineering, say to improve drainage, hard pan, or other soil structure.

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Potatoes are actually more vigorous in cool conditions. The limiting factor is frost free days, which could be a bit dicey in western Alberta, higher elevation and close to the Rockies.

Researchers have found that genetically identical seed potatoes yield higher coming from cold climates than those grown in warmer climates. The higher yields express into the 3rd generation.

Regarding scab, you may be right about organic material. Some varieties are resistant, Russet Burbank is completely immune to scab, perhaps due to the rough skin.

For my hard work I grow fingerings and Germany Butterballs those are soo yummy.

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I vote for the Yukon Gold, or Kennebec, or Russet Burbank. :slight_smile:

I vote for Atlantic. :slight_smile:

It’s going to be a big Potatoe patch…

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I have good luck with LaSoda.

I grow green mountain (Vermont) potatoes, the best I’ve tasted, bar none. I also grow Kennebeck and Red Norlands, also great tasting. Be careful with ashes on potatoes, in fact don’t use them. Potatoes prefer an acidic soil in the 5.2 to 6.0 PH range, which helps keep scab from forming on the tubers.
To lower your soil PH add 1 1/2 lbs sulfur per 100 sq ft dug in 6" deep. I do this in fall. Mulching your potatoes keeps the soil cooler and promotes larger potatoes. I also run a soaker hose along the top of my rows under the mulch as my soil is quite loose and tends to dry out if I’m not careful.
Pepe