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Seed Potato Sources

March 22nd, 2011

If you are able to grow good quality potatoes in your garden and don’t have trouble with disease, you can store the best potatoes from your harvest and use them for seed potatoes the following spring. Contrary to what you read in books, you don’t have to buy certified seed potatoes. I have a few varieties that I save from year to year, this is sometimes the only way to guarantee a specific kind of potato. Sometimes the same variety can be slightly different from two different sources. Saving your own seed potatoes does however open the door for possibility of problems, but if you practice good crop rotation and have healthy organic soil you should be OK. Make sure your potatoes grew well during the season and are free of disease, do not attempt to save and replant diseased potatoes or those that didn’t do well in the garden the previous season.

If you’re more comfortable buying fresh seed potatoes each year, by all means do so. You may not have the proper conditions to save your own seed potatoes from year to year. Buying fresh seed potatoes ensures the absence of disease and is a great way to try new varieties each year. It’s also a great way to go if you don’t have the garden space to grow all the potatoes you need for both eating and for seed stock for the next spring.

Eagle Creek Seed Potatoes: Eagle Creek Seed Potatoes is a family farm located near Bowden Alberta where we have growing seed potatoes for the past 23 years. Sadly for Canadian Customers only

Moose Tubers from Fedco has a great selection, but you have to buy early as they only sell potatoes through March 11, they are closed for the season. You can still check out what they have available for next year’s seed potatoes.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds also has a great selection. They have the option of having your seed potatoes shipped extra early for planting in a hoop house (read Eliot Coleman’s The Winter Harvest Handbook.

Grow Organic (aka Peaceful Valley Farm Supply) offers a nice selection of organic potatoes along with all kinds of wonderful organic gardening items from beneficial insects to great books.

Maine Potato Lady – Located in the foothills of Central Maine, the LaCourse Family Farm, home of The Maine Potato Lady™, has been in operation for 20 years. We are primarily seed growers raising garlic, shallots, and potato onions. We have produced all our own vegetables for many years. Our children are involved in the planning, the everyday work, the decisions, and the rewards. They were raised knowing and recognizing not just the types of vegetables, but even the different varieties of what we grow. They are an integral part of this farm; their participation makes it all possible, and brings joy to all we do.

New World Tubers – Specializes in rare and interesting potatoes for the home gardener and homesteader.

Seed Savers Exchange from which I purchased my potato collection last year and was very impressed with the quality. You do have to purchase early though and I notice that they’re sold out of some of their varieties.

Southern Exposure also has a great variety of heirloom seed potatoes. You can buy them individually or in three different mixes.

Territorial Seed Company has a great selection of organic seed potatoes including the option to purchase a collection of potatoes so you can try different kinds.

West Coast Seeds (only in Canada) – specialize in certified organic, non GMO, open pollinated, and heirloom seeds and seed potatoes for organic growing.

Wood Prairie Farm has a great selection of organic seed potatoes in colors, shapes and sizes. They have a collection you can purchase including red, white and blue potatoes.

Do you buy seed potatoes for your garden or do you save them from your crop? Do you have a great source not listed above if you do buy them?

Want to know more about growing your own potatoes? Head on over to the Your Day blog at Ethel to read my in depth article on growing your own potatoes.

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?

Harvesting Potatoes

August 17th, 2010

I harvested my ‘Red Gold’ potatoes from the front garden a few weeks ago. It always amazes me when I dig potatoes, you plant one small potato and dig up a bucketful. The yields in my garden are slightly smaller than the ones we harvested from my mom’s garden, but I wasn’t disappointed.

Red Gold: Bred by Ag-Canada at the University of Guelph in 1970. Beautiful reddish orange skin with creamy, golden-yellow, semi-moist flesh. Excellent variety for baking, frying, mashing, steaming or roasting. Good disease resistance, best used fresh, not recommended for extended storage. 90-100 days.

My mom and I also harvested the ‘Carola’, ‘All Red’, ‘All Blue’, and ‘Purple Viking’ that we planted in her garden. We were quite impressed with the yields, I think the total weighed in around 40 pounds for these varieties. It was quite fun to harvest such a colorful variety of potatoes. I got this collection from potato sampler from Seed Savers in the spring.

All Red: (a.k.a. Cranberry Red) Red skin with delicate pale pink flesh. Low starch content makes this variety a good boiling potato for salads or any dish that requires potatoes to retain their shape. Considered the best producing red-fleshed, red-skinned variety. Introduced to SSE members by Robert Lobitz in 1984. Consistently a good producer at Heritage Farm, regardless of the weather conditions. 90-110 days.

Carola: Our most popular variety. Heavy yields of medium-sized, rounded oval potatoes with straw-beige skin. Excellent when harvested as young new potatoes. Creamy yellow flesh, relatively low starch, great for soups, boiling or fried. Maintains new potato qualities for months in root cellar. 95 days.

All Blue: Deep blue skin, blue flesh with a thin white line just under the skin. A good choice for baking and frying, nice for making colorful chips. When boiled the color turns to a light blue. High mineral content, good keeper. 90-110 days.

Purple Viking: Quickly gaining the reputation of a great tasting, slightly sweet, general purpose potato. A choice variety for any preparation , snow-white flesh is excellent for mashing. Average tubers are 3½ – 4″ in diameter, but in a good year it can produce even larger tubers. Excellent storage qualities. 80-100 days.

So far I’ve tasted them all and they’re all quite good, I’ll try to post more in depth about this later. I especially like the All Reds, they’re very good and they had a great yield. We still need to harvest the ‘Kennebec’ and we harvested the fingerlings yesterday, more on those later. This winter I’ll be trying to decide what varieties I’ll be growing next year, perhaps all of these again, perhaps some new ones, once I get to eat a few more of them and see how they store I’ll make my decision.

Do you grow or eat a colorful variety of potatoes? How many varieties do you grow each year?

Enjoying the Harvest

July 22nd, 2010

Yesterday I went to my mom’s and we harvested a row of ‘Yukon Gold’ potatoes. These were potatoes that she grew last year and she didn’t get around to eating and found them sprouting in her root cellar this spring. We figured we may as well use them, so we planted them earlier this spring when we planted my sampler pack. They produced over 50lbs of potatoes!

When you spend an hour harvesting potatoes you get really hungry, so we came in and enjoyed a few of those potatoes fried up with some onions and you can’t eat potatoes without a fried egg on the side. This is my most favorite way to eat potatoes, simple and delicious! Off course they have to be fried in a cast iron skillet with bacon grease or butter!

You sure can’t get a fresher or tastier potato anywhere. This is one of the reasons I garden. I love being able to decide what to make for dinner based on what’s ready to harvest in the garden.

Have you harvested any potatoes yet? What’s your favorite way to eat potatoes?

Harvesting Yukon Gold Potatoes

October 18th, 2009

On October 6, I harvested my potatoes my from raised potato bed (read this blog post to see how I planted my potatoes). When harvested the first plant, I was disappointed because I only found a few small potatoes.
There were a few medium sized potatoes at the top of the box and none in the middle. By the time I got to the bottom of the box I was imagining that I’d end up with only a few more potatoes than I had planted back in early summer. I struck gold however with the second plant I dug up, there was a nice batch of potatoes with a few fairly large ones.
I actually ended up with a decent harvest (11 pounds), especially considering that Yukon Gold potatoes aren’t supposed to be heavy producers. Only 6 of my seed potatoes produced a decent crop of potatoes, and they were all on one side of the box. I think that lack of sun on the one side was probably the reason for the absence of potatoes. I’m sure if I had great garden soil and a lot of sunshine I could do much better. But we all have to deal with the gardens we have, so I’m happy with my harvest.
We enjoyed a few of the potatoes a few nights later and were particularly delicious; we simply cut them into small bits and fried them in a little bacon grease and enjoyed them with a side of farm fresh eggs. The rest of them are in the basement in a box waiting for other delicious meals, I’m considering a hearty potato soup next.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy potatoes?

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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.