Monday, October 28, 2013

Potato Followup by Irene Shonle

In the spring, we chitted Masquerade potatoes in a variety of ways and then planted them.   For those of you who don't want to read the original post, we chitted or pre-sprouted the potatoes to break dormancy and increase yield in our short season.  Because there was a lot of contradicting information out there, we decided to try out a couple of different methods.  We chitted the potatoes in our dark, moist worm bin,  in the dark, and in bright, indirect light.  Admittedly, this was an extremely small sample size (n=2 for each treatment at 3 different locations), so it can hardly be considered to be sound scientific research, but it was fun to see what would work best.   As a bonus, the Masquerade potatoes were gorgeous (and tasty, too!)

At the Community Garden, we got 17 total pounds from 6 plants.  2 of the plants grew together, so we couldn't really separate out the potatoes from each, but here's what our piles looked like:
From left to right:   (Worm and dark together) , light, worm, dark, light.
The "dark" treated potatoes did seem to produce the most, overall (although we can't be sure how many potatoes to attribute to the dark vs the worm on the left hand side).

At my house, I got 15 pounds of potatoes from 5 plants.  One of the dark-chitted potatoes rotted almost immediately, so I lost one.  Then a pocket gopher came in late in the season (this was the one bed I had not dug and lined with hardware cloth), so I lost an unknown number of potatoes to that little stinker.  I did not have a huge variation in production with any treatment.

At Heather's house, the Masquerade ootatoes did not do very well for some reason.  They produced much less than her other potatoes, with yields of   1-3 lbs, with the "dark" treatment producing the higher amounts.  

 So, overall, it appears as though the "dark" treatment was the most productive.  It was also the most convenient, so we'll probably go for that one next year.  We did not do a no-chit treatment, which we should have done, but all the potatoes were starting to sprout on us before the weather/ground thawed enough to plant, so I can't comment on how much the productivity would have improved.  Perhaps we should try that as well.

Overall, though, we were pretty happy with the production (except at Heather's), given our short growing season.  I would happily grow these potatoes again.

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