Monday, September 17, 2018

Potato Planting Time

Anyone that follows commonly accepted practices might think that I am a bit daft for planting potatoes now.  Everyone knows that potatoes are spring planted while there remains a chance of additional frosts.  Anyone that has grown potatoes knows that some of last year's crop was inadvertently left in the ground and freely grows in the middle of the current crop.  Those missed potatoes show that it is possible for potatoes left in the ground over winter to grow the following spring.  Not only do they grow but the timing of their emergence is perfect while those that I spring planted frequently face frost.

Others have tried to fall plant but their efforts failed to produce plants.  I reasoned that potatoes left in the ground will grow while harvested ones dropped into the collecting bucket frequently do not.  My habit is to have an old dishpan on hand while digging potatoes.  When a perfectly sized potato is encountered it is immediately placed in the dishpan and covered with soil.  Its time exposed to light and air is kept very short as it is quickly planted.

Not every potato planted this way grows.  The thirty-six that will be planted now are planned to be the only ones given ground here.  If they fail to grow, it will be too late to buy additional seed.  Supplies will have been exhausted by the time that we see the failed plantings.  That risk will be taken and we shall see just how much harvest follows next year.

Here are two of this year's crop.  The three russets are a new variety named Canela.  These display a uniformly sized harvest that is well suited to the fast food chain that offers baked potatoes for sale.  The skin is durable but our newly harvested ones split their skins while in the oven.  Wrapped in foil, there was no mess and their appearance on the plate was super.  We have never seen this before and expect that as the skin cures it will become stronger and remain intact.

Colorado Rose is the name of the four red skinned ones.  Since they were harvested just yesterday, we have yet to eat them this year.  That situation will soon change.

The vines on the La Ratte fingerlings remain green.  This presents a problem since our garlic will be planted in just one month where these potatoes are still growing.  We will give them some additional time but there must be enough days to complete soil preparation.  We plant our potatoes in new ground that spent the last several decades growing pasture grass.  Fertilizer increases the appearance of scab so we take the soil as it is.  Garlic relishes rich soil so we need enough time to work in the manure and compost.  Somehow planting at this time of year just feels right.  At the very least this ground has been cleared of weeds.  We try to clean up all of our garden ground before winter closes the gardens.

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