On this week’s episode, Travis is trying to grow Irish potatoes in the Fall vegetable garden. The variety of potatoes Travis is planting today is Yukon Gold. Since seed potato producers do not usually have any potatoes available towards the end of August. Since that is the case, he had to buy the potatoes a couple of months ago and let them sit in the fridge until it was time to plant them in the South. We place them in the fridge to help stunt the growth until planting since some of the potatoes already have a few buds on them. When you are ready to plant them you simply take them out of the fridge, cut them up, and start planting. The two main reasons we like to cut our potatoes instead of planting them whole is to get more and produce bigger potatoes. By cutting the potatoes up, Travis is able to make them go further and get more potatoes to grow in the vegetable garden. If you look on the seed potatoes, the eyes or buds are where the potato is starting to sprout and the more of those that are planted in a specific spot the more potatoes you are going to produce. However, with too many eyes in one spot, you will end up planting smaller potatoes in the garden. Also, once you cut the potatoes the skin needs time to heal before planting in the vegetable garden. This ensures that the potato pieces do not become susceptible to soil fungus and rot in the garden.
When it comes to preparing the garden for planting Irish potatoes, Travis has tried many different row spacings but has found that three-foot is about as narrow as you can go in between the potato rows. The first step in preparing for planting is to mark off the rows and make a furrow using the Double Wheel Hoe to plant the potatoes in the garden. Then, he takes the cut up seed potatoes and places them along the furrow with around 8 inches apart. After he has laid all of the potatoes along the furrow it is time to cover them up and make a little hill on top of those potatoes. To cover them up and make a hill we highly recommend using the High Arch Wheel Hoe with the plow set attachment in the hilling position. However, if you do not have a high arch available to use, you can also use the double wheel hoe for both the furrowing and hilling portion of planting the potatoes. When it comes to irrigation, Travis has had issues in the past with planting them on drip tape therefore Irish potatoes are one crop that he does not put drip irrigation on.
Different Potato Varieties
The first variety is known as Adirondack Blue which contains a purple flesh potato that is rich in antioxidants. Usually taking around 85 days to mature this unique potato variety offers exceptional yields and excellent flavor. Another popular potato variety that provides the best flavor is the German Butterball. This variety is a late-season plant meaning it takes between 110 to 135 days to mature in the vegetable garden. The Red Norland is a newer variety that has disease resistant to scab, late blight, and potato virus. This is another variety that has great yield, storage, and flavor profile. The Yukon Gold is another popular variety that has been a favorite for gardeners for many years. All of these different potato varieties work great for roasting, frying, baking, mashing, and so much more.