July 2009 Archives

Warba Potato Yield: Summer 2009

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potatoes 2

I have begun to take better garden notes so that I can share my data here for those who might find it helpful.  Normally I let my potatoes remain in their bed and harvest them as I need them but this year I needed to free up my potato bed for some blueberry bushes.  This gave me the opportunity to weigh them all at once.  The potato plants were already dying and so I stopped watering them anyway.

Here are my notes on this year's potato planting:

Potato variety: Warba (early season)

Number planted: 24 seed potatoes

Bed size: 4' x 16' raised bed

Space between seedlings: 10" between them in their rows, rows were 24" apart

Planting date: April 17

Harvest Date: First picking July 3, complete harvest July 12

Growing conditions: typical cold wet spring and cold wet early summer with some brief intermittent heat waves.  Barely watered the bed at all.  Though I planted them in trenches 6" deep, I failed to continue to cover them as the plants grew which generally gives a higher yield.  Didn't mulch at all which also tends to produce higher yields.  I would call the growing conditions less than ideal, though the soil they were planted in was very good; loose and full of well composted material.

Total yield: 30 lbs 15 oz

Or you can think of it as 1.29 lbs of potatoes per seed potato planted.  Or you can think of it as a fraction over 1 pound per square foot of garden space.

This is a respectable yield but would have been much better if I had followed good potato growing practices.  I also think it's important to note that some varieties of potatoes can get much larger and grow a lot longer before harvest which translates to a much greater pound per square foot ratio.  I nearly always harvest my potatoes as "new potatoes" because I like young potatoes best.  So that affects the yield as well.

What this information should do, though, is reassure you that even under less than ideal growing conditions, potatoes do produce well and are rewarding to grow.

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