Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How To Plant Potatoes - Time to Plant

Potato planting time is fast approaching in the frozen Minnesota tundra. I bought my seed potatoes this week from the Pine Island Coop. I bought two bags of Dark Red Norland and two bags of Yukon Gold. I could get some snazzy varieties through the Internet and the mail, but I like to do business locally as much as I can.

These two old standbys are great for baby potatoes and are exceptionally early. Approximately 60 days.

We cut the potatoes into pieces with two eyes each. One becomes the dominant eye and the other is just a back-up in case the primary gets damaged. I usually let them cure a day or two at room temperature. I also dust them with microrizofungi to prevent rot and inoculate the risosphere with friendly bacteria and fungi. You don't have to do this for success, I just have some so I use it. A little compost in the trench would accomplish the same thing.

You typically plant potatoes a couple of feet apart but we crowd our plants to 6-8" so that the potatoes are a little smaller on average. We also pick them early or they will still grow to full sized. One 50 lb bag of potatoes will plant about 300 feet of row if you plant this way.

We plant the first planting when the ground is thawed and easily worked. Do not work the ground to wet or it will just get hard and cloddy. We wait until the first planting is about 2-3 inches tall and then plant a succession crop. The last succession planting is around June 1-15. The will provide a steady supply of baby potatoes most of the summer. Don't forget to plant peas at the same time.

We apply lots of compost around the potatoes, they like that and so do the earth worms.

Start looking for potatoes when the blossoms start to open up. Dig a few plants and wait a few days if they are not big enough. We always plant a few extra in the first planting and burn through allot of plants to get extra for the early market. We always sell extra at that time of the year. Peas and potatoes baby!

I'll blog later about what to do about the potato beatles.

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