potato plants? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 17 Old 07-02-2007, 08:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Has anyone ever planted potatoes? My gran told me that I could just cut some up and plant them and I did and they're growing, but I was just reading that you should only use special "seed potatoes" for planting because of disease and other stuff. Anyone know anything either way?

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#2 of 17 Old 07-02-2007, 10:31 PM
 
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I am using old potatoes as well, we'll see how it goes. All I really know is, as they grow, you have to keep mounding dirt/soil around them.
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#3 of 17 Old 07-02-2007, 10:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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do you have growth at all? i have heard to keep mounding them up, but all I have is green growth and I haven't seen any sign of the potatoes. I'm not supposed to bury the green right?

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#4 of 17 Old 07-03-2007, 12:10 AM
 
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don't bury the leaves, just the tall shoot/stem that grows in the center of the plant. (that said, I've found it impossible to not bury any leaves, I'm just sure to leave the top-most section of leaves uncovered and focus on mounding around the tall stalk)
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#5 of 17 Old 07-03-2007, 04:18 PM
 
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We use old potatoes all the time. We didn't this year because they weren't big enough/didn't have shoots & we didn't have enough.

We hill them 2-3 times a year just covering up the stem & the bottom leaves. You shouldn't see the potatoes, that's the point of hilling them otherwise they get sunburned(green) The potatoes are under the ground, but won't come until after they flower.
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#6 of 17 Old 07-05-2007, 04:47 PM
 
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We've used both old potatoes and new seed potatoes, and I haven't noticed a difference in diseases or yield.

We actually hill them with straw instead of soil, and I find it to be a really easy way of growing them. We plant the potato chunks in a very shallow furrow, not deeper than a hoe's head, and then we mound a foot or two of straw over the top of the potatoes. At harvest time, we just pull back the straw, and the potatoes are right at ground level. Almost no digging needed!
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#7 of 17 Old 07-05-2007, 10:57 PM
 
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I am trying to grow potatoes in tires this year so they don't take up space in our tiny garden. Last year, we grew them just fine from a bag of organic red potatoes I was enjoying... organic so they wouldn't be irradiated or anything to stop them from sprouting. They were yummy, but I think because I started with tiny potatoes, we ended up with super-tiny potatoes... :-)))
(basically, one small row gave us enough for one small potato salad! but it was yummy!)

This year, I bought actual seed potatoes (Kennebec), and felt totally stupid doing it, because it was a box of small potatoes for more money than you should spend for that amount of small potatoes.

No difference in growth (they're fabulously green and lush!), but I think if you're really farming the potatoes and maybe counting on the harvest, it is better to use the seed ones because they're screened for disease, which the supermarket ones are not.

No straw, but I am mounding them up in their tires with a combination of dried grass clippings, wood shavings and some compost/manure. No sign of flowers yet...

BTW, I have read that if you're starting with big potatoes, you can cut them up so you have two or three pieces, with a couple of "eyes" in each. But there seem to be two schools of thought and one says not to cut them because it makes them more susceptible to fungus. If you do cut them (I cut some of the larger seed potatoes), leave them for a bit to dry out before planting.
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#8 of 17 Old 07-06-2007, 03:23 AM
 
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They were yummy, but I think because I started with tiny potatoes, we ended up with super-tiny potatoes... :-)))
(basically, one small row gave us enough for one small potato salad! but it was yummy!)
Did you pick them early? They sound like baby potatoes. Our are just starting to flower. In a few weeks dh will want some baby potatoes so I allow him to dig 1 hill. I have about 35 hills this year so I only give up 1. I hate cleaning baby potatoes so he has to do that too. The rest we don't start to really eat until late August & I don't pull them until October. By October they're as big as the big baking potatoes in stores, or bigger. The first year they were gigantic. 1 potato would do DH & I 4 meals.
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#9 of 17 Old 07-06-2007, 07:18 PM
 
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any potato experts wanna weigh in on this . . . one of our big, tall potato plants that's already flowered has three small green globes near the very top (near the blooms). they are dead ringers for green cherry tomatoes. what on earth is this? there's no way they are little green potatoes, way up at the flowering end of the stem, right?
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#10 of 17 Old 07-06-2007, 07:29 PM
 
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No, they are the actual seeds of the potato plant. You can cut em open and look at the little seeds.

But nobody actually uses them.

I was actually just reading a blog entry about true potato seeds; the author said that potatoes are tetraploid instead of diploid like most other organisms. So growing taters from true seed is pretty much like playing the lotto-- you could get practically ANYTHING, so everyone does vegetative propogation (saving tubers for the next spring) for a predictable yearly crop...

well, I thought it was interesting, anyway.
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#11 of 17 Old 07-06-2007, 07:34 PM
 
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hey, and I'm doing the tire method this year, too, just for kicks. The tire-grown plants are HUGE compared to the ones in my regular raised beds!

I called the cooperative ext. and the lady there said not to do it, because the tire could break down into all kinds of noxious chemicals that aren't safe for human consumption.

I said, "eh, sod-it-all" and went ahead with the project, cuz once I get an idea into my head it's hard for me to be talked out of it. :

But does anyone have any info on that?
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#12 of 17 Old 07-06-2007, 11:57 PM
 
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eightyferrettoes--
thanks so much for the info on the potato seeds. actually, I think it's pretty darn fascinating, too. and I'm so glad those little green globes don't mean my potatoes are mutants. I am deeply invested in my potato crop this year. I really, truly have little pics of onaway, all-blue, cranberry red, and russian banana fingerling potatoes hung around my desk -- I'm gazing at them as I type. : gracias, again, for the info.
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#13 of 17 Old 07-07-2007, 01:24 AM
 
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This is my first year growing potatoes. I made a 3 ft by 3 ft bed that has a wood frame around it. I have enough 4 inch planks to go up about 30 inches. When I planted I put 1 plank on all sides and as the potatoes grew I added planks and mounded with straw. Some of the top of my potatoes are almost 5 feet higher than where I planted the potatoes. I'll have to get some pictures to post. I did buy seed potatoes from Milkranch and got some very interesting varieties.
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#14 of 17 Old 07-07-2007, 05:15 AM
 
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Potato seeds, eh? Huh, I'll have to watch for them! I like the idea of the straw...we have such clay soil that digging them out is an absolutely pain in the rear. I have tons of potatoes this year and am looking forward to harvesting them. My blue potatoes didn't produce last year but it looks like I'll get a nice crop this year.

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#15 of 17 Old 07-07-2007, 01:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by canadiyank View Post
Potato seeds, eh? Huh, I'll have to watch for them! I like the idea of the straw...we have such clay soil that digging them out is an absolutely pain in the rear. I have tons of potatoes this year and am looking forward to harvesting them. My blue potatoes didn't produce last year but it looks like I'll get a nice crop this year.

We have clay too. AS much as it is a pita to work with it grows really good. Our neighbors add mulch, sand & manure to their gardens & they don't produce like ours does. Dh & I joke that our garden used to be a toxic waste site or something.
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#16 of 17 Old 07-08-2007, 11:32 PM
 
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hrmm... DD buried a potato out back a couple years ago. Each spring it grows. I generally mow it over but this year I finally got around to getting my garden started. It's very small. Some herbs.. tomatoes and peppers. I left the potato and am watering it this year. I didn't know you were supposed to mound stuff under it.. I guess I should do that.
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#17 of 17 Old 07-09-2007, 12:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by eightyferrettoes View Post
But does anyone have any info on that?
I have a coworker who does it every year, and no one in his family has died from potato poisoning yet. That said, I was a little nervous about the method, so I got a wine barrel and am growing my spuds in there. It seems to be going great!
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