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Potatoes, Potatoes, Potatoes

September 10th, 2010

If you remember this spring I was talking about having potatoes coming out my ears if all my potatoes did well. I finally harvested all the potatoes from the garden with the ‘Kennebec’ being the last ones. I was pleasantly suprised at the size of these potatoes. When I planted them this spring only about half of the potatoes came up, so I bought some more and planted them, about a month after the original ones were planted. The original ones sized up into HUGE tubers, with the ones planted later being about the size of our ‘Yukon Gold’ potatoes. I can’t imagine how many pounds I would have gotten if they had all started from the beginning.

I ended up with a harvest of around 200 pounds of potatoes for the winter. Of course I’m giving some to my mom since we planted most of them in her garden, but she also gave me some of her ‘Yukon Gold’ potatoes. I’m very pleased with our harvest, the best part is that potatoes need nothing but to be stored in a cardboard box in the basement, no canning, no freezing, no time/energy used for preservation.

A couple weeks before harvesting the ‘Kennebec’ potatoes, my mom and I harvested the fingerling potatoes. I wasn’t sure how the fingerlings would do, I assumed they would produce a smaller yield, but I was amazed when they outproduced every other kind of potato we planted. ‘La Ratta’ was the most productive potato in the garden, and I’m quite happy since they’re quite delicious and the perfect size I think, no cutting required, just wash, toss with olive oil and roast. I planted 2 varieties:

La Ratta: Long prized by French chefs as a top quality fingerling. We cannot recommend this variety highly enough, an absolute delight to cook with. Long uniform tubers, yellow flesh with firm, waxy texture and a nice nutty flavor, holds together very well. Especially good for potato salad or as a boiled potato. Commands a high price both in the restaurant and fresh market trade. 100-120 days.

French Fingerling: This is a wonderful variety! The rose-colored skin covers its creamy yellow flesh. Very versatile and good for any style of preparation. Peeling is not necessary or recommended. Rumored to have been smuggled to America in a horse’s feedbag in the 1800s. 90-110 days.

I will definitely be growing fingerling potatoes again, especially ‘La Ratta’ since they were the most productive. I’ll also be definitely grow: ‘Kennebec’, ‘All-Red’, and ‘Purple Viking’. I’ll probably try a few new varieties next year since that’s one of the reasons I garden, to try new things. I’m sure that my garden will always have a nice space devoted to the lowly potato.

Do you grow potatoes? How was your harvest this year?

23 Comments to “Potatoes, Potatoes, Potatoes”
  1. Christa on September 10, 2010 at 6:53 am

    I do grow potatoes but this year’s crop was not good. I only harvested enough for one meal for our family of five. We had the big flood here in Tennessee this Spring and then we had unusually hot temps mixed with hardly any rain. I don’t know if that had anything to do with it. Next year I would like to try your method. Have you thought about doing a tutorial on your method of planting potatoes when your ready to plant again?

    Have a great weekend…Christa

    Reply to Christa's comment

    • Susy on September 10, 2010 at 9:17 am

      Potatoes do like water, so that may have been your problem. I’ll have to remember to take some photos next time I plant potatoes so you can see how I do it. I simply make a hill, plant potatoes in the hill 6-8 inches apart, I plant them about 4-6 inches deep, then I mulch heavily with straw. I don’t hill any more. My yields would probably be higher if I did hill, but we plant everything so closely in the garden I wouldn’t have anywhere to get the dirt from.

      Reply to Susy's comment

    • Joshua on September 10, 2010 at 11:02 am


      Here in Knoxville, I got an okay harvest–about 4x to 5x return on seed potatoes, by weight (planted 15-20 lbs, harvested 70-100 lbs). There were a few weeks where I had to water, however. The Russets in particular could have been bigger, but the Yukon Golds were huge. My major problem was some kind of fungal blight that slowly stripped the leaves off the potatoes until there was nothing left. It was just like early tomato blight, which my tomatoes had. I wondered whether the potatoes could have caught it, since they’re both nightshades.

      Of course, the major thing you got that I didn’t was the flood, so I have no idea how that affected your harvest.

      Reply to Joshua's comment

  2. Shannon on September 10, 2010 at 6:54 am

    That is awesome! How many feet or rows did you put in? We only got about 20 pounds. Our plants got eaten alive by something and we just never got around to fixing that problem. I am sure that had something to do with the lower yield. Though I am pleased to get anything and we are enjoying them even if we don’t have enough for winter.

    Reply to Shannon's comment

    • Susy on September 10, 2010 at 9:20 am

      I planted about 15-20 lbs of seed potatoes and I think I did around 40-50 ft of potatoes. I plant them in a double wide row so they take up a little less space in the garden. Next year I think I’ll do 4 wide to save the walkway space for and extra row of potatoes.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. Kelly on September 10, 2010 at 8:48 am

    We wanted to this year but ran out of gardening steam (and money). I’m also curious as to how much you planted and if you’re willing to do a step-by-step I’d be an avid student!

    Reply to Kelly's comment

  4. kristin @ going country on September 10, 2010 at 9:09 am

    Lowly? I think not. They’re one of the most prized crops from my garden.

    We still haven’t dug ours up yet. Maybe this weekend . . .

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  5. Mike on September 10, 2010 at 9:38 am

    200 lbs, that is a fantastic amount of potatoes. How much room did you devote to them? Also, if you don’t mind my asking, how far apart did you plant them? Thanks.

    Reply to Mike's comment

    • Susy on September 10, 2010 at 10:06 am

      I planted them about 6-12 inches apart depending on the variety, this coming year I’m going to plant all of them 6 inches apart as I think they would do fine. I may have slightly lower yields, but I think I’d more than make up for it with the extra room.

      I planted 3 rows of my potatoes and my mom planted 1 row of Yukon’s. I think the rows were about 10′ long and 2-3 ft wide with 2 rows of potatoes in each row. So I planted around 30 ft of potatoes at double width.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. Kaytee on September 10, 2010 at 9:44 am

    Those top potatoes are huge! I always wondered about Kennebec since I see the seed potatoes everywhere. I think I might plant them next year.

    I didn’t get any potatoes planted this year because I just ran out of room. Plus, I planted 70lbs of seed potatoes at my boyfriend’s grandpa’s garden, which we got PLENTY of potatoes from.

    I’ve read about potato condos, and I was thinking about trying that next year for a space saver/experiment. I just worry about keep it watered.

    Reply to Kaytee's comment

  7. Debbie on September 10, 2010 at 11:59 am

    We planted organic yukon golds this year. However, since our soil is rocky clay – I was afraid of them rotting – so I used a smartpot and planted two with about 5 or 6 seed potatoes in each. I knew we wouldn’t get much…but it was our first year for potatoes and therefore and experiment. The plants ended up dying in early July from the heat (and the fact that we had to go away for a day and they didn’t get watered.) But still, we ended up with 6.5 lbs of new potatoes. And they were delish…but sadly, long gone. Next year we will use one of our raised beds to plant the potatoes in. Hopefully that will provide better yields.
    200 lbs is FABULOUS. Your basement must be dry, eh? I think our potatoes would rot in our basement. :(

    Reply to Debbie's comment

    • Patrice Wassmann on September 11, 2010 at 4:23 pm

      Debbie, according to my root cellaring book, potatoes like cold and very high (90 %) humidity, so your basement might work.

      Reply to Patrice Wassmann's comment

  8. Trish on September 10, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    I finally planted my potatoes yesterday. Hopefully we’ll be able to harvest a few for christmas. I didn’t grow any last year but the year before harvested heaps.

    Reply to Trish's comment

  9. Seren Dippity on September 10, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    I’ve tried potatoes two years in a row with lousy results. Last year I tried the tiered method in a 4’x4′ raised bed; planting hilling… adding a new layer to the frame… hilling… repeat til they start blooming. They started out fine, got to 3ft tall and then bloomed like crazy. Shortly after the blooms started dropping, then the leaves, then the stems turned brown and died. I had eight plants and found two full sized potatoes and 4 about the size of golf balls. sigh. This year the Red LaSoda didn’t even sprout. The Kennebec grew for a bit and then died. I found 4 medium size potatoes. I then planted sweet potatoes in the Red LaSoda side of the bed. Then in July when I went to plant a fall tomato plant, surprisingly I found 3 small potatoes that were starting to bud. I reburied them and crossed my fingers.I now have one potato plant! I know it can be done here in Dallas. I am now _determined_ to conquer potatoes!

    Reply to Seren Dippity's comment

    • Susy on September 11, 2010 at 8:32 am

      I didn’t have any better results when I tried growing my potatoes in raised beds that I added more dirt to either. Perhaps it’s the soil. They definitely do better at my mom’s house in her garden than they do in the soil here. Next year I might not grow any here in my gardens.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  10. heather jane on September 11, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    When I first started gardening my husband was so opposed to me growing potatoes and taking up precious space where more expensive plants could live. Now that I have a 1/4 an acre to play on we planted 200 feet of potates (50 ft of each variety) and we got awesome yields. I dug up the pontiac reds and the purples last week, but I’m letting the russets and the yukons get a little bigger. Of course I sold a lot of my potatoes at market (especially the reds and purples since they don’t store well) so I don’t actually know my total yield, but I know we got a LOT of potatoes, and I could not be happier. When I show my husband the price of organic potatoes in the grocery store he suddenly thinks it might be worth the space…

    I think so, too.

    Next year I’ll try some fingerlings.

    Reply to heather jane's comment

  11. Patrice Wassmann on September 11, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    I planted 5 twelve foot rows…my first time planting potatoes. We dug up a small amount earlier in the season for dinner. Yesterday I went and dug up 4 plants and got 18 pounds from them! I am going to wait a bit longer to dig up the rest, the tops are still green and it is still fairly warm up here in the VT mountains. Its not cold enough in the basement to store them yet.
    Does anyone know what to do about the dirt on them? I left the ones I dug on the picnic table for a few days, then gently brushed off the dirt, but I am not sure what to do about it for long term storage, and the root cellaring “bible” doesn’t address it. Thanks!

    Reply to Patrice Wassmann's comment

  12. Sandy on September 11, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    I gre La Ratte this year and recommend them highly as well. They are awesome in a nice corn chowder. They have a lovely flavor and hold their shape well when cooked.

    Reply to Sandy's comment

  13. amy manning on September 12, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    I grew many varieties this year and will be updating my blog as the harvest starts. I harvested my Purple Peruvians, which I didn’t care for.

    Reply to amy manning's comment

  14. nic@nipitinthebud on September 13, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    disappointing really as it was so dry here in the April – June. I had about half a dozen small tubers on each plant where normally I get anywhere between 15-30. In a funny kind of way though it’s no bad thing as I experimented with 12 different varieties this year and would have been buried under spud piles if it had been a bumper year for potatoes.
    I’ve not heard of fingerlings before but did have pink fur apples last year which we delicious (and finger shaped!)

    Reply to nic@nipitinthebud's comment

  15. Marcia on September 13, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    What a crop! I planted three different varieties this year; Norland, Yukon Gold and Banana potatoes (56 plants in all). Three different families have eaten their fill of them and I have at least 15-20 plants left. I will pull them this weekend if the skin has thickened enough for storage. I too was surprised at the yield of the fingerling potatoes. I am canning these and will plant them only every other year. I will replant Norland but will replace the Yukon with Russet Burbanks , and the fingerling with a purple variety.

    Reply to Marcia's comment

  16. Amy @ Homestead Revival on September 14, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    We planted both Yukon Gold and French fingerlings this year and they seemed to do well. We’ve only dug up a few so far. I really have no clue what I’m doing here (first year growing potatoes), but I quit watering them when the tops were about half dead and I’m letting them sit in the ground because I have no place to store them all. I have no root cellar and my garage freezes in winter. Am I off base here and should I be digging them up right away?

    Reply to Amy @ Homestead Revival's comment

  17. Harvesting Carrots in Winter | Chiot's Run on January 4, 2011 at 7:42 am

    […] and Miss Hannah got a HUGE container of greens for her little guinea. . I’ll be pairing mine with all those potatoes I harvested this year and those venison roasts from the 3 deer Mr Chiots got during hunting season. My mom will most […]

    Reply to Harvesting Carrots in Winter | Chiot’s Run's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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