The Maine Potato Lady


Yay Bob! If I weren’t packing up my house I would make a date to meet with you and your family for those beautifully cooked potatoes this coming fall!!!


Mrs G, I’d invite you now to sample last falls crop, but I’m right near their storage limits. Most of them have decent sized eyes and I’ll probably replant them (or share them with others in the family to plant).


Bob, have you started digging up any early potatoes yet? Too early?


Not yet, but soon. Sometime in the next week or so, I’ll probably start reaching in and seeing if there are any decent sized ones for dinner. The earliest I planted this spring was 4/12. But, I don’t see any early varieties in that batch (oops- next year I’ll make sure some earlier ones go in first). I see that I planted some King Harry on 4/23 and Anuschka on 4/29.

It’s been almost 70 days for King Harry and the plants have grown very vigorously, the strongest of all I’m growing this year. I’m not sure if it is as fast as Papa Chacho though (Peruvian landrace potato, which is a durable strong grower, but not all that tasty). King Harry is supposed to have some wild potato genes as well, which are responsible for the hairy leaves (and the name). It is supposed to be 70-90 days, so I’ll give it a try soon.

Anuschka is coming up on 60 days and I found this interesting paper. It seems to be saying that Anuschka generates more medium sized potatoes early, without a ton of tiny ones.

The other interesting question is "how much do I decrease my yield by though early digging? According to the data in the above report, I could get 18 at 70 or 34 at 125 (Tons per HA…I know the wrong metric for my yard). That includes small and large, as I’d find a way to use all sizes:
Small: stir-fry or seed
Medium: baked/grilled
Large: sliced and baked in butter or shredded into potato pancakes

That means the productivity on a per day basis, 0.26 for the first 70 days, then 0.29 for the next 55 days (day 70-> 125). At first, I was surprised that the growth isn’t far higher during the 2nd half (because of all the extra leaves). But, I’m guessing that the early growth is that strong because it is fueled by the seed potato. So, I don’t feel too bad swiping a row or two a bit early, as I can then replant in July and get another harvest by the frost.

Probably more than you wanted to read- look what an innocent question got you :slight_smile:


Sorry, I just caught your response now. We planted both Red Pontiac and Kennebec about six weeks ago. Over the next week, we had about 7in of rain, before the seed taters could sprout. After about three weeks, there were still no sprouts. So, my wife dug some up and they were either rotted or just sitting there. All the rain ruined them.

We replanted three rows of the same varieties about two weeks ago, and about 25 hills or so have sprouted so far. She planted a couple more rows last week, I think, and they haven’t come up just yet, but should sometimes this week. We had 4in of rain last Sunday, and another 3in Friday, so hope those don’t suffer the same sad fate as the first batch.

Our first year here, we tried Irish Cobbler and they gave us heaps of medium sized white taters. We ate on those until well the next spring.


Here’s a pic of one of 6 main potato beds (a few others spread around, many of which are volunteers). King Harry is on the right and doesn’t look as tall in the photo as it does in person. I think it also shot up very quickly, so it had an even bigger lead earlier in the season.

Here’s a closer pic of King Harry’s leaves. Even though it is reputed to, I don’t think the hair had much impact on insect resistance. In fact, there look to be plenty of holes in the leaves. When taking the pic, I saw a few black flea beetles. I’ve seen a few in the past, but don’t remember that many before. Maybe I should hit them with some Spinosad.

Maybe I need a better pic- I can’t see the hairs in it. It’s actually hard to see in person as well, but you can feel them when running your finger over a leaf.

Note- Peanut is a fingerling potato, not actual peanuts (which I’ve grown as well).

Note #2- I need to do some edging around my beds but am pretty lazy about it until the grass starts tickling by chin. OK, not quite that bad…


My very initial take is:

King Harry- I’m not a fan- I dug up 2 plants and neither produced all that much. 3 medium small potatoes between them. When baked, it didn’t have any particular flavor and was fairly dense/dry. It reminded me a bit of Papa Chacho- strong grower, bad eater.

Anuschka- I liked this a lot. I only dug up one plant, as it had 3 medium/small potatoes and one large one (big enough that I cut it in half to bake). Once baked (in foil on the grill), it was moist, with good flavor. On an aesthetic level, I find the rich yellow more appealing that the white-fleshed King Harry, but flavor and productivity are the bigger factors.

I’m looking forward to comparing Anuschka to Yellow Haze, last year’s winner. Now I feel bad about buying twice as much King Harry seed (5 lbs vs 2.5 lbs).


Another potato pic:

King Harry- I’ve had this several more times and continue to be un-impressed. It was decent when I sliced it and baked it in butter (butter fixes everything :slight_smile: ), but then I tried another potato which I cooked with it(Stop & Shop organic golden…) which was much better.

Anuschka-Still very good.

Yellow Haze- Last year’s favorite. I had it tonight with Anuschka and they were pretty similar. YH may have a bit of an edge, but it is very close. I’ll need to sample more.

Harvest Moon- This was the first variety I’ve had to die this year. I’m not sure if they just got too old (only 94 days) or had a disease problem. The plants didn’t grow all that big. I got about 6lbs from a row which planted from 12 potatoes (about 2/3 of my 2.5lb bag, so maybe 1.7 lbs). That isn’t a great yield, so I’m guessing that something killed the plants pre-maturely. The potatoes themselves were pretty good, with dark yellow flesh. The taste is on the mild side, so while they are as moist as the other yellows, I put them a notch below (in addition to their early demise).

Pinto Gold- I accidentally got one of these when digging the Harvest Moon. It is pretty with the red/yellow splotches, but I forgot to cook with the others (on the grill), so no taste report yet…

Papa Cacho- I’m not growing this one again, but my father is. My mom reported really liking this yesterday, which surprised the heck out of me. At first, I thought that they were confusing it with a French Fingerling (which is really good), but they sent me a pic and it’s pretty conclusive. I think what happened is that my father cooked it extensively, first boiling it, then roasting it just long enough to brown it. Maybe PC is a potato which absorbs enough water when being boiled to be tasty…

Here’s a pic of what my dad has dug in the last few days (lot’s left to go):

The Papa Cacho is on the middle-left, just above some Pinto Gold.


Looks like a table of jewels! Fabulous Bob!


Red Pontiac potatoes for today’s dinner. They are grown under the straw. I am not a big fan of digging in the dirt with my bare hands, but this method works, I was able to dig out the potatoes without disturbing the main plant. They were delicious boiled with ranch sauce and salsa.


From top to bottom: Yellow Haze, Adirondack Blue, Peanut.


So what do you think of them?

Yesterday, I noticed that most of my early plantings of potatoes have died back, so I started digging.

I dug up 15 pounds total and have a couple more rows to go, including Yellow Fin, more Peanut and Yellow Haze.

Of the 15 pounds, 11 was Pinto Gold (14 plants), with the rest from Yellow Haze (7-8 plants). So, Pinto Gold was a bit more productive, though this is hardly a scientific test (middle row, vs edge row, etc). Pinto Gold seems to be half-way between a normal potato and a fingerling. I love it’s distinctive coloring.

I haven’t had a chance to sample much of the new ones, but I did use up a lot of the tiny fingerlings I dug earlier in the summer. Some of these are Peanut, and some are various fingerlings from last year. Regrettably, I haven’t noticed any peanut-flavor from them.

I did include one Pinto Gold (damaged with the shovel) which I thought was tastier than average, but that could just be because it was larger and needed to get cut up more. The cut edges get crispier when cooked in coconut oil, so it isn’t really a good test. I’ll really get a chance to compare next time I bake or steam them.

This turned out to be too much- I ate these for dinner and breakfast and still have more left.


As usual they look great Bob. Will dig mine tomorrow!


That’s about where I’m at too. I’v been to busy trying to eat up the more perishable garden foods and haven’t had much time for potatoes. I did fry some of the Peanuts in butter. And of course that tasted good. I also had some Adirondack Blue roasted with sausage, peppers, onions. Also good, but there was too much going on in that dish to really speak to the flavor of the potatoes alone. Regardless of all that, though, I really enjoy growing potatoes in grow bags. The harvest at the end of the season is like being a kid and dumping out a stocking on christmas morning.


BobI have my first grow bag filled with La Ratte this year . The green vines are starting to die . Will take picks.


Peanut one of my favorite fingerlings

I’ve been pulling Red Thumb one vine at a time for eating thru the summer. It’s OK and early for a fingerling, I’m getting about 1# per vine

But I think I’ll go back to peanut or Russian banana

Will dig the rest this week


My favorite fingerlings so far is the French fingerling. I think I’ve had some Peanut and they didn’t stand out to me. But, I could be thinking of some random leftover 2nd year fingerlings which could have been mixed in (like Russina Bananna, Yellow Rose, or Laratte), so I’ll keep the most recent batch aside to make sure that it is peanut that I’m trying.

I dug 2 small rows (each 4’ long, 1’ spacing), one of Peanut and the other of Yellow Haze.

The Peanut produced less than half as much, 31oz, unless you count the 4oz of the random purple potato which grew into it’s row. Taking the same space, Yellow Haze grew 64 oz (exactly 1lb per sq ft). It was a lot less work to dig 4lbs of YH, than it was to dig 2lbs of Peanut, as the tiny peanuts are hard to track down.

When putting down more cardboard to block weeds, I noticed one plant which isn’t unwelcome. I get mad at animals, but one must have planted this potato for me. It looks like it grew ll it’s potatoes between the cardboard and the ground. Nice- no digging on this one!


I finished digging my Red Thumb - got 15 # overall, about 1# per vine on average, but the potatoes were larger on the more mature vines

I can’t say what the yield was, didn’t weigh them before planting. The seeds were last year’s potatoes sprouting in the fridge


I grew German Butterball this year and they are the best potatoes I have ever eaten!


I’m growing Japanese sweet potatoes. I’ll give it another month or so before I dig them up; can’t wait!!! Those pictures look awesome!!!