Planting Potatoes in Spring with different varieties for a late summer to early fall harvest and save the best ones as seed for next year.
Our family loves potatoes and so we allocate more and more space to grow them each year to satisfy our spud cravings. This year we used up almost an entire 4 feet x 20 feet bed in our Terraced Vegetable Gardento grow 6 varieties. We grew the remaining 5 varieties in various wooden barrels and plastic pots. That yielded mixed results.
Ordering Seed Potatoes Online
I went a little overboard when ordering seed potatoes online. Every variety I checked out sounded good and I wanted to try them all. It was exciting and I dreamt of having a 200 pound harvest. Unfortunately, that did not happen. Perhaps, it was the unusually rainy spring and summer or the pots were just not big enough. Even so, I did manage to get sufficient seed potatoes from each variety for next year and I found my current all-time favorite potato…yay! Can you guess which variety it is? 😉
The picture on the lower left consists of seed potatoes I ordered online and store bought. The Western Russet potato I saved from last year’s harvest is not in there. These are all prepped and ready to be planted.
11 Varieties of Potatoes
Isn’t the picture below a sight to behold for all potato lovers? These are only the slightly damaged ones that I have washed and has to be consumed first. The Masquerade potatoes have to be the most captivating, but no, they are not my favorite even though I really like how they look.
Here are the ones I am saving for latter in a box in a cool, dark place. They are unwashed so that they can last longer. We planted a total of roughly 25 pounds of seed potatoes and we only got about 70 pounds of potatoes in return. That was sad. 🙁 Maybe it was the rainy weather and I was worried that they might get diseased. Hopefully, we will do better next year.
When To Plant Potatoes?
We are in Zone 5a and potatoes are supposed to be planted in May. The weather was so rainy and ground soggy back then that we could not get out to plant the seed potatoes. Some of the seed potatoes that I had prepared had to be discarded because the weather would not cooperate. The cut potatoes should be cured for two to three days for it to dry and harden slightly before planting to combat disease. I did that and it continued to rain. It was frustrating!
We finally got round to start planting on May 15. It was a little messy in the raised bed and we had to run into the house several times when it started to rain.
We planted the rest in wooden barrels and pots at a later date. Sadly, these were the ones that had very low yields. I think potatoes grow better and have higher yields when grown in the ground or raised beds. Maybe, we should have waited for our Raised Bed Garden Extension to be completed so that we could plant these there instead….sigh!
Planting Potatoes in Spring Progress
The varieties planted in the raised beds grew relatively well except for the store bought LaSoda seed potatoes. They grew slower than the rest but eventually caught up. However, later in the season, they turned yellow which got me worried. We had to harvest them earlier so that whatever is ailing them will not affect the rest. Next year, we may have to plant them separately and keep a close eye on them, or not plant them at all.
Finally, came harvest time. The potato plants in the barrels and pots were already almost all brown and had to be harvested in late August. The Red Gold and Yukon Gold potato yields were a little underwhelming. The rest in pots – Magic Molly, Purple Majesty, and Western Russet are not even worth showing. Western Russet did really well last year in the raised bed in the Terraced Vegetable Garden but not this year.
Not So Perfect Potatoes For Immediate Consumption
After harvesting all the potatoes, I spend some time brushing and sorting through them. I immediately cooked those that were pierced during harvest and they were delicious. I washed, dried, and stored these that were bruised and not so perfect in the pantry. That was sufficient for us for two months. We had lots of other vegetables from the garden to eat.
Almost Perfect Ones For Storage
These are the almost perfect ones I saved for storage. I merely brushed off the dirt and kept them in this box covered with burlap in a cool, dark spot in the house.
The winner and my favorite of all the varieties of potatoes we planted are the Natascha potatoes! They have a beautiful golden and smooth skin with few to no blemishes. Their flesh is firm and waxy (which I love), yet creamy. Natascha potatoes are very good for salads and boiling and great in curries! Their yield is an impressive 15 pounds out of 2½ pounds of seed potatoes. I am not sure if Natascha potatoes are sold at the stores under generic yellow potatoes but I am sure glad I found them to grow in our garden. They are my new favorite after Yukon Gold potatoes. 🙂
Nicola potatoes are also pretty good. They are a low glycemic potato with a less waxy flesh than Natascha potatoes. Nicola potatotes are good for mashed potatoes. Masquerade potatoes look stunning and whimsical. I find their texture to be a little more crunchy and not as waxy or creamy. Still, I enjoy having them in my pantry. 😉
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Planting Potatoes in Spring With Perfect Ones Saved As Seed Potatoes
Finally, I have these two boxes of “perfect” potatoes I have saved to plant next spring. Each variety is labeled in brown bags in the two boxes stored in a cool, dark place in the basement. I do check on them occasionally but they will only see the light of day when it is time for them to be planted.