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March 3rd, 2012

I always save some space to grow new varieties of vegetables in my garden. Since I’ve only been growing edibles for 4-5 years, I haven’t honed in on the varieties that I love yet, at least not in every area. When it comes to potatoes – I have learned that I LOVE Kennebecs. They grow well for me, the texture is great, and they store beautifully. I’m looking for another variety to grow this year and I’ve been debating between Katahdin & German Butterball as part of my main crop potatoes. I don’t like a mealy potato, so I’m wondering if I’ll like the Katahdin.

The ‘Butte’ potatoes I grew as a late harvest crop are doing wonderfully and are still going strong in the cellar, but I don’t love the texture of them so they got knocked off the list. Way too mealy and the skins are too tough (at least for my tastes). It might be a good mashing potato, but it’s not great fried – which is how we eat the majority of our potatoes.

I stumbled upon a new source for seed potatoes – the Maine Potato Lady and added her to my seed potato source list.  Thought you might like to check our her website, she specializes in potatoes, shallots, onions, and garlic.

Have you had any experience with either of these or another variety of potato you think I should try?

24 Comments to “Potatoes?”
  1. Andrea Duke on March 3, 2012 at 6:15 am

    Potatoes is high on my list of things I think is fun to grow. I think it’s because of the search and surprise.

    I am only going to grow kennebec and gold yukon this year. They do well for me and I love having a reason to go to the local feed and seed. Weird, I know!

    I will work on better storage this year. Last year I didn’t store them well enough and I lost too many. We have a crawlspace and that might be a good place to try to put them this year.

    Reply to Andrea Duke's comment

  2. Kaytee on March 3, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Thanks for the site recommendation. I have to get to ordering my potatoes and they sell potatoes in a 2.5lb size, which is more manageable for my small garden.

    Reply to Kaytee's comment

  3. Quinn on March 3, 2012 at 7:38 am

    We actually just placed our first order with her this year too and are looking forward to seeing how her seed does in our garden. I thought her selection and prices were fantastic!

    Reply to Quinn's comment

  4. Kathi Cook on March 3, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Thanks for the link. I am going to see how my strawberry bed does this year. Instead of refurbishing it ,I may switch over to potatoes next year. I am especially interested in fingerling varieties. I will have to investigate how to condition the soil.

    Reply to Kathi Cook's comment

  5. Allison on March 3, 2012 at 8:09 am

    I stumbled across her site last year but was too late to order. This year I purchased fingerling seed potatos (Can’t remember the variety off the top of my head) from one of the farmers at Local Roots! It was wonderful to talk with her in person and get her first hand opinion on the tater and how it grows, stores and tastes!

    Reply to Allison's comment

  6. catherine on March 3, 2012 at 8:34 am

    German Butterball is a “yummy” potato. I have grown it for the last 2 years. But the best potato for “fries or chips” is hands down SHEPODY! If you can find this variety it is a must if you make homemade fries. It is used here in Canada for that purpose. I buy my seeds for Eagle Creek Farms, Bowden Alberta. This variety is not a high producer, so plant a little more if you do.

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  7. Greenowlgarden on March 3, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Been getting seed potatoes from The Maine Potato Lady for several years. The german butterball is great – creamy and delicious and has stored well. All the fingerlings are amazing and, oddly, I’ve been able to store them for most of the winter (although they get devoured pretty fast around here). There was a blue potato (not a fingerling and forget the variety) which lacked in flavor and the texture was a bit off and the skins a bit thick. Other than that, love The Maine Potato Lady. Ordered sweet potatoes from them last year but the wet wet season just drowned them out. Will try again this year. I also recommend their french shallots.

    Reply to Greenowlgarden's comment

  8. Misti on March 3, 2012 at 8:40 am

    I haven’t tried growing potatoes yet, my parents did while I was growing up and my brother has grown them.

    I think I’m most enamored that there is a potato called Katahdin! *must have it!*

    Reply to Misti's comment

  9. t on March 3, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Right wrong or indifferent… if I eat a good potato…I just throw it’s friends in the ground.
    is that shabby gardening? yikes.
    I can remember my great grandmother saving tomato seeds that way…and I just do the same with everything…
    it tastes good I save it’s cohorts.

    on the other hand..potatos are kid planting things around this farm… I normally hand them to the kids and tell them to go find a place for them.

    Reply to t's comment

  10. cecilia on March 3, 2012 at 9:40 am

    I grow a couple different varieties and love the Carola, fresh out of the ground, boiled, with butter, salt and chopped chives. Divine!

    Reply to cecilia's comment

  11. Stone Soup on March 3, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Carola all the way!

    Reply to Stone Soup's comment

  12. KimH on March 3, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Thanks for the link! Her spuds look & sound great!

    I dont have any suggestions really, but I love the Yukon Gold potatoes. I’m hoping I’ll be able to have a community garden this year so I can plant some yukons & fingerlings too. I wont know until the end of April though if there is “room at the Inn” so Im going to buy some & hope for the best. ;)

    Reply to KimH's comment

  13. Victoria on March 3, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    I have yet to try potatoes, a friend (with similar soil) has potatoes in mass quantities…so I think they’d be a cinch but I’m worried its easy to bite more off than I can actually chew!

    Reply to Victoria's comment

  14. Corrie on March 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    ‘German Butterball’ was my top pick from last year. I am growing them again this year, and trying ‘Yukon Gem’ which is like ‘Yulon Gold’ but more productive.

    Reply to Corrie's comment

  15. WendyM on March 3, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Another maine source is Fedco Seeds they have tubers also.

    Reply to WendyM's comment

  16. Winston Bearkiller on March 3, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    I’ve been growing spuds for years. Best online source I have found for the West coast is They are in Colorado and sell many varieties. And ship nationwide. Too expensive for me to buy seed from Maine.

    The German Butterball is a great potato, but they tend to be small. The Carola is as good in my soil and size up a bit better. The Crackled Butterball is a cross made by Verlin Rocky to get the Butterball taste, but a larger spud.

    Another I like a lot is the Viking Red, but this year not available. So I am trying the Purple Viking. There are lots more to choose from.


    Reply to Winston Bearkiller's comment

  17. Domestic Executive on March 3, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    I’ve just harvested the last of my potatoes. There is nothing like it to taste fresh potatoes from the ground. I am jealous of all the seed potato options you have. We can’t import any to New Zealand because of the biosecurity risks.

    Reply to Domestic Executive's comment

  18. Sincerely, Emily on March 3, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    I just planted potatoes this afternoon. This is my first time planting them and have NO idea what they are. My neighbor was planting them and had leftovers and handed them to me. I know he got them at a local nursery. Time will tell if they grow, do well and if I like them. I will have to store them in the house and try ti find the coolest place I can for them. No where in the house is really cool so I can’t imagine that they will last long. I am going to have to take some notes on all the names of potatoes from the comments so if I do decide to plant next year I can order something that I really want to try.

    Reply to Sincerely, Emily's comment

  19. kaela on March 3, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    Well, I’m a terrible gardener, so take this for what you will: but two years ago I bought two potato seed varieties: the German butterball (from Seed Savers) and some obscure Aztec purple variety (from Seeds of Change, I think). Neither grew well for me (then again, see point above) but I remember thinking, “Huh. Who would have thought that the crazy, mountain-side Aztec potato would grow *much* butter than the all-purpose Butterball.”

    So – there you have it. My sum total of experience with potato growing. I do remember that the purple ones, tiny & limited as they were, were delicious. The German obviously didn’t make an impression (but it may have been that I literally got about 3 of them, each the size of an ambitious grape).

    Reply to kaela's comment

  20. itchbay on March 4, 2012 at 2:08 am

    I have never grown potatoes, but have a plan to get some in the front yard this year, and even ordered seed potatoes. I’m really excited to give it try. I mean, how hard can it be, right?

    Reply to itchbay's comment

  21. Janet on March 4, 2012 at 4:11 am

    Try “Caribe”. Fantastic flavour. They bake. They boil. They stand up in stew or soup. They mash. Oh, and did I mention the flavour? Best thing about Caribe though is the colour as they come out of the soil – a pearlescent, iridescent, glowing purple. The colour fades as they dry and age but oh my, they are eye candy as you harvest.

    As a 30+ year gardener (lots of edibles), I have my faves but also like to experiment a bit every year. Caribe was one of those good surprises a few years back. I’m in northern Canada and source my seeds from Eagle Creek Seed Potatoes in Bowden, AB. Superior quality seed, packaged for home gardeners. They even sell small packs they call “Foursums”, 4 potatoes per. Excellent way to get a variety without mortgaging your home for a bag of seed.

    Only downside of Caribe is seed sells out early. Wood Prairie Farms, an organic grower in Bridgewater, Maine has small amounts of Caribe for sale this year. It’s well worth searching out.

    Reply to Janet's comment

  22. WendyM on March 4, 2012 at 11:50 am

    I think I mentioned this site before in your potato post last year. I got a tuber sampler from Tom Wagner of mostly non-comercial varieties that he bred. I don’t see their offerings yet in their site only their true potato seeds and tomatoes. See their offering here

    This is a picture of 2 sampler’s

    I have too many potatoes but have my eyes on Kennebec and LaRatte.

    I’ve been growing potato starting with true potato seeds or TPS. It is more like hybrid seed in a sense that you can get diversity. I have discovered great tasting potatoes that are new varieties that I get to name. If you want more info send me an email.

    Reply to WendyM's comment

  23. Jennica Wolf on April 11, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Hello! I just found your blog last night & I love it so much! :D I’m wondering what exactly a “main” crop of potatoes means? I saw that in a gardening book that you grow your main crop & then a fall crop or something & I was confused. I’m growing potatoes for the first time this year! Does it just mean that the main crop is what you eat during the summer & the other is for storage? Thanks so much! :)

    Reply to Jennica Wolf's comment

    • Susy on April 11, 2012 at 11:44 am

      Good question: for me, Main crop is the big crop that I grow to stock the larder and for most of our eating purposes throughout the year. Generally it’s an all-purpose long storing potato, my favorite main crop is ‘Kennebec’. This main crop is often planted later in the summer so it’s harvested right before frost, it will usually last through the time when I can start harvesting new potatoes from some of my early potato plantings. I also grow a good number of other varieties of potatoes that usually don’t store as long. These are planted in early spring and are harvested mid-summer. This crop is made up of: fingerling potatoes, red potatoes, purple potatoes, and other speciality varieties. They help supplement my main crop during the times when I’ve used up what’s in the pantry and the main crop harvest.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      Reply to Susy'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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