We have three varieties of potatoes: russet, yukon gold, and red. The russet potatoes are doing great. The yukon gold looked like they were suffering: the leaves were yellowish, and the plants weak. Mike dug up a few potatoes to see if there was anything in the soil (like a nasty critter) responsible, but couldn't find any culprits. As a desperate experiment, I applied a fair amount of compost to the yukon gold plant on the end, to see if that would make any difference by next week.
Comment by Alan
Steven, you may be mistaking maturity for disease. Yukon Gold matures about 65 days after planting - the potatoes were planted April 7, so day 65 was June 11. I harvested one full-size Gold last night (7/3 - and it was delicious!).The russets on the other hand are 80-90 days, so maturity should arrive this week. It should be a nice staggered harvest - maybe half the fast spuds this week, half next week, then start into the russets in late July.
We grew Red Pontiac and Yukon Gold potatoes this year. In our research on potato planting, we discovered theories that we felt compelled to test. Common planting wisdom holds that a potato with 2 to 3 eyes – no more, no less – will give the maximum yield. (This is achieved either by planting small potatoes whole or by cutting larger potatoes into pieces.) One source put forth that planting small whole potatoes yields a small quantity of large potatoes, while planting whole large potatoes yields a larger number of small potatoes.
Since two bags of seed potatoes were more than enough for our 6’ x 9’ plot, we devised the following experiment. For each variety, we planted a row of small uncut potatoes, a row of potato pieces and a half-row of large uncut potatoes. We carefully documented the yield from each plant at harvest.
There wasn’t any noticeable difference in the size or number of potatoes based on the type or size of the planted pieces. However, some of the large whole potatoes rotted and left a foul mess at the center of the plant. More noticeable was that the plants at the perimeter gave a somewhat better yield, presumably because they received more sunlight than those in the thick of the plot.
On the morning of Town Day, we harvested a sample of crops for the display table, and wanted to show off our potatoes. So we pulled the first plant from the remaining row, and were shocked to find an almost solid bunch of red bliss. These are the red potatoes that didn't seem like they were ever going to sprout last spring, so we overplanted with russets. But apparently at least one of them grew, and this was what we found under a single plant, all bunched together just like the photo. Most were small, but two or three were a very respectable size. (If you look closely, you'll see one russet that must have snuck in from an adjoining plant.)
The peak of the harvest is past, and yet we tried second plantings of some crops because we had the space, to see what would happen. With about a month to go, here's their progress.
Cabbage & Cauliflower: large leaves, producing well, but no sign of heads yet.
Carrots: leafy fronds are doing well; no sign of poking out of the ground.
Beets: alive but struggling.
Spinach: mostly eaten by Something.
Peas: half-height, base leaves yellowing, no sign of peas.
Lettuce: looking good! Might harvest some next week.
Also, here's an update on some first plantings:
Eggplant: *continues* to produce, though more slowly.
Beans: the bush beans produced another handful; the pole beans have disappointed.
Potatoes: we pulled a single plant to obtain some potatoes for display at Town Day. The number amidst the roots was extensive, and while mostly small-to-tiny, there was at least one big red one. From just one plant!
Squash: the tiny zucchini was accidently harvested; there's still a medium yellow squash; and the pattipan has several small fruits (not to mention flowers) which it thinks it has time to make bigger -- we'll see.
The mildew is back to some extent on the squash, and worse, has jumped to the other side of the garden and covered the collard leaves.
The rest of the greens (kale, chard, arugula and other herbs) still doing well.
This is how many potatoes we got from one plant, and from a row about 5 ft long. That one plant came from just a piece of one potato. The whole row is from 2 or 3. Pretty darn good R.O.I., eh?