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Growing Potatoes - Dos and don'ts

 
 
Reply Mon 21 Jul, 2008 05:29 am
I planted some white potatoes a while ago, and reading my RHS book thought you were supposed to wait until the flowers had just about developed then they were ready to dig up? Dug one plant up and the potatoes were definately not developed enough. They were also fairly purple, does this indicate a deficiancy of some kind?

So basically, just wondering what I should be feeding them if anything. When I should be digging them up? (The flowers have started opening anda couple are going over a little) and any other useful dos and don'ts regarding growing potatoes.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 4 • Views: 15,416 • Replies: 23
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Jul, 2008 05:45 am
Don't try to grow your own potatoes. It's back-breaking work to dig them up, if you've grown anything like what you can eat in a year's time, and it takes a lot of storage space, and if you want to avoid dry or wet rot in your potatoes, you're going to need a lot separate bins to store them in. Leave the dirt on, and carry it back to your garden later--it protects them from rot and from frost, and helps to prevent the spread of rot if any of them do get rotten.

I can't tell you when it is best to dig them up, except that we did it late in the year--late August and early September. My grandparents seemed to know when it was best.

What i got out of the experience as a child was that i've never wanted to grow my own potatoes.
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honey rose cr
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Jul, 2008 05:54 am
Very Happy I just grow a few, planted about....4? potatoes this time. I have done it before, but they've come out small, but still alright then.. I just can't remember when I dug em up, perhaps they were a different kind of potato, but I have always followed the RHS's advice and it's worked... this time, not. And my mother said she saw some guy on a programme say it was good that the flowers were open and that he left them alone..didn't dig em up then. The RHS tells me to dig them up BEFORE the flowers open, or just as they open. *CONFUZZLED!*
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Jul, 2008 05:59 am
Having lived in potato country I can tell you this - potatoes planted around Memorial day typically flower at the end of July/early August and the commercial producers don't harvest them until late September/early October - well after they've blossomed. I have no idea why they'd tell you to harvest before the flowers blossom unless they are suggesting that you harvest "baby" potatoes.
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honey rose cr
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Jul, 2008 06:11 am
Okay thanks. Well I don't know either, and the few potatoes I dug up from the early plant when RHS tells me to weren't even properly developed for baby potatoes...!! Confused

Right, well I'll leave them a bit longer then and see what happens. I was just a bit worried about the purpleness of said potatoes. Is this just because they weren't properly developed or because they're lacking some kind of nutrients in their soil?
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Jul, 2008 06:19 am
honey_rose_cr wrote:
Right, well I'll leave them a bit longer then and see what happens. I was just a bit worried about the purpleness of said potatoes. Is this just because they weren't properly developed or because they're lacking some kind of nutrients in their soil?


It could be a few things but most of them aren't anything to worry about. There are types that have a purple skin (they're called "blue potaoes") and some types start out blueish and the skin lightens as they develop.
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lab rat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Jul, 2008 01:11 pm
Growing up (in Ohio), we dug the potatoes up late in the season after the plant was brown and dried up. I'm not sure this is a general approach for all types of potatoes, though, and I have no idea what variety my dad planted.
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honey rose cr
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2008 10:13 am
I suppose that kinda makes sense, so it's when the plant has run out of energy to grow anymore, the potatoes will be as big as they could possibly be.. Sorta. Or mush. O_O

I'm hoping the purpleness is just a sign of underdevelopment, otherwise there will be no point to the waiting (to dig them up)!

Fingers crossed.
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honey rose cr
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Aug, 2008 01:11 pm
Ummmmm. Dug up potatoes today..for reasons. I'm pretty sure the seed potatoes were all white. They LOOK white now...and mushy...

The little potatoes we've acquired are ALL red. They're about the size of new potatoes, a couple a bit smaller, a couple the size of large new potatoes... The potatoes they came from were like large mashing/baking/roasting/anything potatoes.. I have no idea why they're red. Anyone???

Is it safe to eat them? Say they're just red because they're the type that go white as they ripen/get bigger perhaps...are they safe?

It's the green you're not meant to eat, I know that one, but red?!

Neutral
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Aug, 2008 01:49 pm
Its usually not worth growing potatoes with the exception of growing small new potatoes. To do that just lay the potatoes right on the freshly turned soil (DO NOT DIG THE SEED POTATOES INTO THE GROUND). Then just lay a nice pile of straw on top and let em go. When the flowers are just done, reach in and clear the straw away and pluck your potatoes from within the straw.These are the best tasting least starchy mini taters ever.
Growing them for seasonal crops is a wste of time and space, since taters are so available.
Theres several veggies we dont grow anymore, like sweet corn (all the AMish around us back home growmarket corn,) and at 3 $ a dozen, they are cheap enough and very good. Why fight the racoons .
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honey rose cr
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Aug, 2008 01:52 pm
But I don't own any racoons. Confused

Laughing

Uhhh, anyway, I always just stick a couple big potatoes in the ground and dig em up when they're around new potato size.

Might have to try that straw method next time.

ARE MY RED POTATOES POISONOUS?! They should be white if they'd followed their parent's trend.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Aug, 2008 03:51 pm
Quote:
ARE MY RED POTATOES POISONOUS?!

Not at all. The plants are though. One should never eat potatoes that show green in their skin or flesh. Potatoes and tomatoes are in the nightshade fambly
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honey rose cr
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Aug, 2008 02:51 pm
So it doesn't matter that my white potatoes came out red? Some kind of genetic mutation??

I know about the green. And the nightshade. Sweet potatoes aren't part of the nightshade family though, which is weird. Ish.

So, the white potatoes that came out red, are fine??? Hmmmm
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honey rose cr
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Aug, 2008 02:37 pm
Okay, I cooked them..they turned a bit of a lighter colour.. Odd... They also tasted pretty bitter, which I've read can sometimes be associated with the greeness. They weren't green at all though.

I feel slightly nauseous now, but I'm pretty sure it's psychosomatic..I'll let you know tomorrow...if I'm alive. Shocked

I'm kidding, but seriously.. *vom*
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hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Aug, 2008 03:03 pm
everything you ever (never :wink: ) wanted to know about growing and harvesting POTATOES .
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JohnnyMudBoots
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Apr, 2010 03:21 pm
plant them towards the back end of march (I've tried some earlies his year, but nothings come up yet) wait til the plants have completely died off, then dig them up,without damaging them, my first year was poor also ,but they came back with a vengence last year, and I had a bumper crop. I harvested most of them late August/Early September, and got some whoppers, however some of them were got at by slugs and wireworm.
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comradecid
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Apr, 2010 09:52 pm
@honey rose cr,
this has happened to me... twice, with different varieties of seed potatoes. i've started plants from russet cuttings, and dug up red ones. same thing with blue ones, too. the red ones are perfectly edible, and taste quite nice. a closer examination of a few of the plants revealed the correctly-coloured cutting at the heart of the root cluster, and red tubers on the roots around it. this colour-change is puzzling.

in my case, the only common factors that seem to stick out are the soil, and the fact that all of them were cuttings from store-bought potatoes instead of seed potato bought from a nursery. it might be that breeding alone isn't enough for the plants to express the desired colouration; it might be an interaction between genes and soil pH or mineral content. given the poor, sandy soil in my area, i wouldn't be surprised.

i'm trying another batch with nursery-bought seed potatoes, and a different soil formulation... i'll see what i dig up.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Apr, 2010 11:04 pm
@comradecid,
the wprd russett means RED . SO, several of the varietals of Russett, on second plantings of saved seed potato, will show up as red skinned. I like the red skinned varietals because they are not mealy and they make good fryin slices.

Potatoes , in my mind, are still a waste because they use the same soil characteristics of tomatoes and peppers, (Higher scale veggies to my family). We can buy farmed potatoes really cheap and without the work. However, growing my own tomatoes and chilis is a real treat.
Potatoes , peppers, and tomatoes should not be grown in soil in which one of the same crops was grown in the prvious year. SO, unless you have a huge garden, growing tomatoes where you grew potatoes last year does increase the chance of your tomatoes coming down with a blight or rot which affects members of nightshade plants.

Be careful.
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dmayhugh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 11:56 am
@comradecid,
And there is the answer to the mystery. You are using store bought potatoes. they are likely a hybrid and often times when you propagate a hybrid it will not throw true...it will revert to one or more of the parent breeds. Always start with seed potatoes to avoid this and soil born disease and potato blight.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 09:13 pm
@dmayhugh,
potatoes are planted from cuttings (vegetative propogation) not seeds. Store bought potatoes are usually sprayed with a retardant against sprouting .
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