I wasn’t going to be able to place another order for our garden until next month’s budget, but thanks to my daughter, we now have our potatoes ordered!
While I was very happy with the potatoes we ordered from Vesey’s, we went with a new company this time – one that I have added to our Cold Climate Seed Sources list.
Eagle Creek Seed Potatoes is in Red Deer County, Alberta, so we can be pretty sure that anything we order from there will grow in our Zone 3 area. It was a company recommended in one of the cold climate gardening groups I’m on, and I really wish I’d discovered them earlier! Not only to they provide a lot of information on each variety of potato they carry, they even have a container and tower pack. That would have been very handy, for when we grew potatoes in feed bags, before we knew that potatoes came in determinate and indeterminate varieties!
This year, however, we are going to use our potato plantings to reclaim more garden space, and will be using the Ruth Stout method again.
These are the potatoes we ordered, to be delivered in May (they let you choose your delivery date range), since our last frost date is early June. They can be ordered as 4 packs, 1 kg or 5 kg sizes (1 kg = 2.2 pounds), and some are available in 14 kg bags.
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This is an early maturing variety, though it’s said that they can get quite large if left until late in the season. We ordered these in a smaller, 1kg (2.2 pound) package, to stay under budget. They are listed as having excellent winter storage, and described as making the fluffiest mashed potatoes ever! 😀
This is a medium maturing variety (though the description also lists it as early maturing) with good yields in most soil types, good winter storage and good disease resistance. They are noted as being particularly good for making French fries, though that’s not something we normally do. They are also a good baking or mashing potato. We ordered this in the 5kg size.
Well, we just had to include a purple potato!!! This is a late maturing variety with great winter storage, and is good with pretty much any cooking method. We ordered this in the 5kg size.
Last year, we ordered 4 varieties in 6 pound packs, for 24 pounds of seed potatoes. We got a pretty good return on them, though nowhere near enough to store any for winter. This time, we’re getting about the same weight in 3 varieties.
As we are planning to use the Ruth Stout method again, we’ll have to be pro-active in combating snails. Our first year growing potatoes left us with soil that was much more workable when we converted the space into beds for onions and carrots. We pretty much doubled the length of the beds, and when we were harvesting and preparing the beds for the fall, we could really tell the difference in the soil between the two halves! Where the potatoes were grown previously, the garden fork easily sunk deep into the soil, but in the extended portion, once the fork got through the new soil we added on top of the beds, it was like hitting a hard floor beneath.
When we grew potatoes that first year, the only thing we had available for mulch was straw. It’s what we can get, so that’s what we will be using again this year. This time we can run the straw through the shredder chute on our wood chipper, first, so it will cover better and break down faster.
As far as quantities go, unless these all turn out to have amazingly high yields, this is not going to be enough to last us into the winter. Which is okay, because these are new varieties we are trying out. Over time, once we’ve worked out what grows best here, and which ones we like the most, we will get larger quantities of seed potatoes and, hopefully, be able to have enough to plant our own potatoes every year, instead of having to buy seed potatoes. At least, that’s the long term goal for the bulk of our potato growing. I suspect we will continue to try new and different varieties regularly, simply because we like trying new things!
One more item for our 2022 garden to check off our list!