Totally Tuberous Weekend

Hubby and I spent most of the weekend planting tubers of potato and dahlia varieties.

I’d decided to expand the varieties of potatoes we’re growing, and included some we might harvest mid summer as “new” potatoes. The first step was to cut the seed potatoes into pieces a couple days before planting, making sure each golf ball-sized piece had 1-3 buds or eyes.

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The pieces then dried out in our garden shed, a process that’s supposed to help reduce the risk of rotting. The seed potato pieces that went into the soil: Dark Red Norland, Cal White, Norland Rose, plus, saved from last year’s harvest, Yukon Gold & Red Pontiac.

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Thanks to our weekend work, the dahlia beds are now filled with wonderful varieties from Swan Island plus varieties I stored over winter. Each of the five raised beds will feature 5-6 varieties, and I had fun making a planting chart while awaiting the arrival of mail-order dahlias. Erasing and re-writing varieties on paper is abundantly easier than rearranging them in the soil.

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I’m hopeful that this prep work means tallest varieties are in the centers of beds and the colors will blend beautifully. We shall see!

Each 4×4′ bed was enriched with a bag of manure a few weeks ago and soil recently turned and leveled by Hubby.  I unboxed the many pounds of tubers I dug and stored in December, pleased with how well they overwintered. I only had to spritz them once during their storage period.  I had divided way more than I remembered, and all had new growth buds. I laid the old and new tubers on the soil and snapped a photo.

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We dug holes about 5″ deep, added a tablespoon of bone meal to each hole, placed tubers and supportive stakes, then refilled the holes. I sprinkled a perimeter of Sluggo in each bed then put in the wooden side supports. Soon I’ll cover each bed with netting to further deter chicken and slugs. It feels great to have these beds planted.

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5 thoughts on “Totally Tuberous Weekend

  1. Great work, March (and your Hubby!)! I’m planting potatoes, too, and for the first time. I got some Sieglinde at the Farmers Market, although they’re not seed potatoes, but I picked small ones with several eyes so they should work. I put them in a paper bag next to the hot water tank because they’re supposed to stay warm and begin to sprout. I’d grown hairy vetch in the bed destined for the potatoes and this morning I chopped it into little bits, which I’ll dig into the soil. You’re supposed to do this a month before planting, which I didn’t know. Hopefully they’ll be all right. I read that you plant them 6″ deep and 12″ apart, so in my 5×5 raised bed I figured I could plant 16 potatoes. I’ll plant in the next few days and can’t wait to see how they fare.

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    • Excellent plan, Sabine! The vetch should be just fine and you should have a great crop of potatoes. They were an easy crop for us last year, requiring occasional watering and minimal weeding since the large plants block the sunlight. Sieglinde are good growers in our northern climate, I hear.

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