David Taylor
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Potato Growing in SoCal

I posted this in the organic gardening forum, but got to thinking it would go better here, so forgive me for my double-dipping.

I haven't grown potatoes in years, but decided I'd go whole hog this year. I would've started two months ago, but Gurney's keeps kicking back the order delivery date, and the local store didn't even start selling potatoes until maybe three weeks ago. Planted some Yukon Golds last weekend. Nothing's shown yet. How long does it take for potatoes to sprout?

cynthia_h
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Have you planted them in the ground, or are you waiting for the spuds to show sprouts *before* putting them in the ground?

I have no idea how long it takes when you're waiting, but I had a volunteer Russet in a 5-lb bag of cooking potatoes which had sprouts when I took it out of the bag last spring, intending to cook with it. It yielded maybe 5 lb of potatoes when we dug them all up in late October/early November.

Then, about three weeks ago (weekend of Nov. 9), we put in Yukon Golds that I bought at the store and cut up for planting.

They came up in about a week and a half of pretty good weather and are continuing to grow. The plants are almost a foot tall right now; I need to put dirt over the stems tomorrow (meant to do it today, but there was never any sunlight and the wind kept blowing, so it didn't happen).

If I'm home tomorrow, that is. (I generally work from home, but have a client in SF who has recently been calling me in to the office on short-notice basis).

What I'm wondering is, When should I plan to harvest these Yukon Golds? I waited until the plants died back on the others in September and early October. Will they behave the same in the spring? Die back and then harvest?

But the home-grown potatoes were just amazing. We grew (I think) Rose Golds from Seed Savers Exchange as well as the volunteer Russet.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

David Taylor
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Location: Crest California

I've dug up another of the potatoes, and there's nothing. No growth, no change, no rot. It looks like its in stasis. I went and stuck several samples of these potatoes I bought with toothpicks and have them sitting partially in water. Remember that from biology class, I think around third grade? Three days, and there''s nothing. I went to the website for the company I got these things from, and they say nothing about how long it should take to sprout, only that they're organic. They do have a lot of info on spuds, like when to pick them, so I include their website for your viewing pleasure.


[url]https://www.gardencityseeds.net/index.php[/url]

cynthia_h
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David, I don't know what to tell you. :(

I purchased three organic Yukon Gold potatoes in early November from a local organic grocery store (*not* Whole Foods). This being late fall by most of the country's standards, I knew I probably wouldn't be able to purchase seed potatoes, so I said, Well, we like Yukon Golds anyway, and the price is certainly right!

I cut them up into two-eye chunks just as we planted them in the little 4' x 4' x 10" frame (a small raised bed). No sulfur dust, no anything. The planting mix is part native soil, which we improved 10 or so years ago with homemade compost, plus new compost and some leftover potting soil from OSH (store brand, nothing special). We also purchased a 2 cubic foot bag of organic potting soil somewhere along the line from Ace Hardware, but I'm not sure where that stuff ended up. It *could* be in the current potato bed, but I just don't know.

Anyway, we planted the chunks into the soil and then watered them in. The plants are now about 15 inches high. I had just enough time today to add a 5-gallon bucket of compost to the bed, which wasn't nearly enough to cover their stems, but it was all the time I had (I'm still on deadline, but needed to come up for air, which is why I'm posting).

As a new grower of potatoes myself, I'd recommend calling your county Master Gardener program with this predicament. Most counties in California have such a program; it's run by the Agricultural Extension service and staffed by trained volunteers.

Good luck with the spuds. Yukon Golds are incredible, aren't they?

Cynthia


Since planting, the Bay Area has had a heat wave (record temps for mid-November) followed by a little rain, followed by the usual cool, overcast weather that's normal for this time of year.

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KLParmley
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Location: Mebane, NC (USDA Zone 7B, Sunset Zone 32)

Potato harvest

Last spring, I had a couple of grocery store potatoes that started to sprout because we just didn't eat them. I was told that growiiing potatoes is a great waay to begin working clay, so I stuck them inthe bed onthe side of my house.

Soon, (a couple of weeks maybe?) I had these huge bushy green plants.

Then, they just died. We came out of the house to go over to the farmers' market and one was dried up and dead. The other was looking sickly.

When we got to the farmers' market, there was a guy with potatoes.

I said "I'm glad to see you. I planted a couple of potatoes in my flower bed and one of 'em died today. Does that mean my potatoes are ready? Or did I do something wrong and they're dead?"

He laughed at me and said "If you are gonna get any potatoes, now's the time. They will be right were you can find 'em under the soil. Bu just because you had green isn't any guarantee. I've had great, bushy green plants but when I pulled 'em up, there was nothing there. And sometime plants that didn't look like they were doing much had a ton of potatoes."

I thanked him and continued shopping. Since he only had potatoes, I didn't think I needed his wares.

And I was right. I had a HUGE number of potatoes from those 2 plants. The skins seemed thicker than on the original potatoes, maybe because of the clay they grew in, but they tasted great!
Kitty

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LazyGirl
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I'm going to tag along to this thread. I have a bag of potatoes waiting to sprout volunteers. Its been freezing at night (down to 30deg) and about 45deg during the day and I have no idea if they will grow. I figure I will plant them and experiment. =)

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Please report back on what happens to your chilly potatoes. 8)

2cents
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Lazy Girl,

Are there any sprouting out of the ground?

David Taylor
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Location: Crest California

I have to apologize for being away for so long. The dog ate my laptop. Well, she got wrapped up in the wires, panicked, and bashed the screen as she tried to get away from her tormentor.

Sprouts started breaking through January 25th. I'm growing them in cages in hopes of increasing productivity. By February 17th there was growth in all five cages, by the 25th, I was heaping in more compost and dirt. According to the article I found on potato cages, every time you've got a foot of growth, you add three inches of mulch and compost, dirt, etc. I've added about nine inches of material to one cage. One plant has flowers on it. I'm growing Atlantas, Pontiac Reds, and Yukon Golds. I have occasionally been obliged to cover the plants to protect against the threat of frost, but the cages, made of chicken wire and wood, make this relatively easy.

David Taylor
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Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 4:21 pm
Location: Crest California

That would be Atlantic Potatoes, not Atlantas.

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