Looking for new potato varieties


#1

Planning ahead for next spring’s garden, and I’d like to try a few new varieties of potatoes. Pretty much limited to early varieties due to our short growing season here.

There are a few interesting ones I see in the catalogs and was hoping to get some feedback on them from the folks here. Anyone have any experience with Purple Viking, Mountain Rose or Red Gold potatoes; what did you think of them? Any other early varieties you like?


#2

Hi Steve - My season is usually plant mid May and harvest early to mid October. I think most of my varieties are mid-season but I’ve found what matters most for me is if they bulk up early, no matter what category they are in because we have significant blight issues. If they bulk early I get a crop even if the plants die of blight later.

I’ve grown Purple Viking for 8 yrs; it’s a decent potato but is up and down for me as far as yields. It tends toward growth cracks and blight for me but I’ve kept growing it because it usually has decent yields and I like the potato. Attractive, too. But it’s not in the top tier.

My favorite and most reliable is Jogeva Yellow Estonian. Been growing that for 20 yrs but I’m not sure how available it is.

Sangre is my best red (since 2010).

My most interesting is Blue-Eyed Catriona, an old variety I’ve been growing for 15 yrs. My plants are highly variable as far as blight; I’ll have complete early dieout to some of the latest to get blight. It often gives many small spuds, but the overall yield is almost always one of the best because it sets early. It’s my favorite flavor wise, too. It’s probably in the early category because it’s not the best keeper.

A new one for me, Elba, has grown well and with good yields the past 2 yrs.

Others have come and gone over the years but it’s always nice to try some new ones. I try to limit mine to ten. Fun this time of year to think of planting! Sue


#3

I’ve grown Purple Viking and Mountain Rose. I love the skin color of purple viking. In the past three years I’ve grown it, I’ve gotten a good harvest off of it, except for last year. Complete crop failure last year, but that might have been because it was unusually wet for my region last spring. It has beautiful skin coloring, and it throws a couple small potatoes and one big lunker I like using for home fries. But that might be due to how I cut the eyes. I’d grow it again if I could, but the suppliers I get seed potatoes from aren’t carrying it this year, so my garden will be sadly deficient.
I like Mountain Rose too, though I’ve only grown it one year. It didn’t produce as many as other varieties and the potatoes were smaller. Odd too, was most of them were very near the tap root. It didn’t travel much. It kept the color when cooked though. I’ve switched to Red Thumb fingerling instead. More production, has some reddish color and better taste. I like the size and shape better too. I’d grow Mountain Rose again though.
You’re looking at the Gurney’s catalogue, aren’t you?

Edit: Another thought, if you want something truly novel, try growing potatoes from seed. I’m playing with that this year.


#4

I grew caribe one year and liked it quite a lot. It was sort of like red skin potatoes in terms of flavor and use for me, since although it is purple on the outside it is white inside - not purple throughout. It is a very early potato.
https://www.mainepotatolady.com/productcart/pc/viewCategories.asp?idCategory=15


#5

Thanks for the feedback.

LOL Yes I was looking at the Gurneys catalog, although I have looked elsewhere too. Gurney just seemed to have several early varieties which sounded interesting. But I’d be open to other sellers too.

And I have grown potato from seed I collected, from some Yukon Gold volunteers which produced very well. Still an option but was looking to expand the varieties some.


#6

Yeah I was looking at that catalogue too. I’ve ordered seed potatoes from them before, but the year I did, I had what I think was virus. The plant foliage was off colored and there was what looked like viral speckling on the inside of the potatoes. I haven’t seen it again either. So I’ve been afraid to order from them. Though those purple vikings are so tempting.
I usually order my seed potatoes from Grand Teton and Potato Gardens. Grand Teton is a hit or miss. They sent me these huge lunkers for German Butterball last year. Whatever it was it grew great, but it didn’t spread like German Butterball and the potatoes were large. I suspect it was Kennabec.
I prefer Potato Gardens but their variety selection had dropped substantially. Being in the south I have to order from people who are wiling to ship early, and there aren’t alot of companies.
I tried Maine Potato Lady once but got into a fight with them about the quality of the seed potatoes (I though that the seed potato certifications included black scurf and gray scurf, and the seed potatoes I got for one variety were oozing/wet) , so I haven’t ordered from there since. In fairness they did refund me the money, but I was going to use the potatoes as a giveaway for a program and I was suddenly without.


#7

Yeah, I hear you. I have been disappointed with the quality of seed potatoes from several sources over the years. Although I know one isn’t supposed to do this, I am very tempted to just go to the grocery store and select my “seed potatoes” from what they have out. (If they are organic they are probably not treated with anti-sprouting stuff).

Only problem with this approach is you don’t really know the variety and the selection is somewhat limited.


#8

I got some one year from Whole Foods, but they had been treated and never sprouted.


#9

I’ve planted regular store potatoes (organic) a number of times with varied results, sometimes they grow but not very well. Last year I stuck some leftover reds in a spare spot and they did really well, likely common Red Pontiacs. Good enough that I saved some for seed this year. I pltd a few from another source and they were just really late to grow but I did get a small number of potatoes. You can always lay them out to chit first to see if they sprout.

I’ve been buying seed from Fedco in Maine and been happy with them, but that’s not very close to you.
Sue


#10

Thanks @Sue-MiUPz3 and @ltilton. I too have had varied results with store bought seed potatoes. However, since I almost always lay the seed out in the house to start sprouting before I cut and plant, I have not had to deal with ones which never grew. At least in the ground, a few would not start in the house and those got eaten rather than planted. I was just telling the wife that it is probably time to start looking for potential seed potatoes in the stores, to see if we can find anything which looks interesting to add to this springs crop.

One other potato thing I have noticed is that volunteer potatoes (ones which you miss at harvest and grow the next spring) seem to do better than those which are spring planted. Some of my most productive and biggest potatoes came from volunteers. I tried planting a few this fall in an attempt to do a somewhat controlled experiment, however the gophers may have eaten much of them; will have to see in the spring. I am curious if anyone here has any experience with this.


#11

I’ve planted in the fall a few times. It’s convenient and they probably store better in the ground. I have an old Experiment Station pamphlet that reported trials with fall vs spring planting and the fall plantings did best. They recommended it to farmers, but I don’t think it caught on. My experience was similar to yours, except voles not gophers (I’m quite happy not to have gophers!). One year was just a little damage, the next they ate half the seed! I went back to spring planting. But yes, I get some good crops from the missed tubers, too. I try to follow potatoes with some hardy crop that won’t be crowded out by an errant volunteer potato plant. Sue