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Planting my seed potato plots.

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Doctorspud  Send Doctorspud a private message!


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Posted on Monday, May 14, 2007 - 12:55 am EST :   Last Buddysize PhotosCopy highlighted text to new message Print Post

Since I keep my seed from year to year, I have to keep the seed as 'clean' as possible. Since I do not have a lab that I can use meristem cuttings and the ability to test the potatoes, I use the same system they use 100 years ago. I plan the seed plots checker board style. I use chicken size whole potatoes. (Cutting potatoes is the no. 1 way to spread disease - the knife) I mark the plot in rows 30 inches wide (both ways) and where the lines crisscross, that is where i dig the hole.

I then can rototill both ways, since I do not use herbicides. I do use a pre-plow application of 6-20-30 fertilizer. Once the spuds are 6 inches high, I start spraying them with a rotenone, pyrithin, and copper mix. You must protect them from aphids to have a chance keeping seed good. Aphids spread disease too.

Once the spuds reach 8 inches, I start to hill them. At this time I 'water' them with a mix of miracle-grow for their ever thirst for nitrogen. (Foliage feeding is safer than 30-0-0 granular nitrogen which leaches quickly in a heavy rain).

Then starts the 'rouging'. Any plant that doesn't look right, out it goes. "When in doubt, pull it out". In the end, I may only have 40% of the original planting left for harvesting. But it doesn't stop there.

Hill selection is also important. Any hill that produces less then 6 tubers is out. Any hill that produces over 12 little spuds is out. These are all products of seed disorders.

Another popular method that was use as recent as 2000 was tuber unit selection. That is when you would take an 8 to 10 ounce tuber and cut it into four pieces. You would cut it at the seed end, (where most of the eye are) for round spuds, or quarter the russet long type. They would be planted in 'units' of the four pieces then an empty hill then another unit. If any plant showed signs of disease, all four plants would get dug out.

You have a better chance of finding the bad seed but it does take alot of time and space. And you MUST disinfect the knife after EVERY tuber cutting. I use a 10% bleach in water mix.

Well, Im rambling again.....I just finished planting my seed plots of var. 'Green Mountain'. This variety is the most difficult to keep clean...and I'm not sure mine is clean. More later....

Doctorspud - wisconsin, Zone "3 - 4"
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Aussie  Send Aussie a private message!


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Posted on Monday, May 14, 2007 - 01:34 pm EST :   Last Buddysize PhotosCopy highlighted text to new message Print Post

Sounds like you are growing a considerable size plot of potatoes there..is Green Mouintain a rare variety, which you regrow because it's hard to get, or is it just a matter of economics?
I have a bunch of Sebago and Pontiac spuds to go in tomorrow- planted whole, trench style, and bought as seed potatoes. No spraying necessary for spuds here, the only problem is occasional wilt.

Aussie - NSW, Zone "?"
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Doctorspud  Send Doctorspud a private message!


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Posted on Thursday, May 17, 2007 - 12:29 am EST :   Last Buddysize PhotosCopy highlighted text to new message Print Post

the var. Green Mountain is from 1885, but is still considered the best tasting spud there is. It is difficult to keep good seed because the variety is so susceptable to disease. They are not grown commercially because they are a bit ugly and only the perfect spud will sell in supper markets.

Doctorspud - wisconsin, Zone "3 - 4"

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