The Maine Potato Lady


Katie, I’m not sure about per plant production. But I planted 3 lbs of Russian Bananas and final yield was a little over 60lbs. Rose Finn Apple, by contrast, was a very light producer of much smaller (and knobbier!) potatoes, though I didn’t weigh them. I got those from a source other than the MPL, but they were good seed potatoes. I got sidetracked and still haven’t dug the French Fingerlings—probably tomorrow—, but, based on some exploratory digging, it looks like they did okay.

I agree with you and @ltilton: they are very good simply roasted or sauteed.


OK, yes my yield on the first plant was less than a pound. So that’s normal then. Good to know, I thought maybe I should have watered more or something. Are you digging all of your taters now or do you save some for autumn at all?

@JeremiahT Any idea how the fingerlings store? I did notice the skin was nice and …thick, for a lack of a better term. Substantial, maybe. It didn’t rub off, like my kennebecs tend to. Which makes me think they may be good keepers.


I like to get them before the vines rot totally away, to be able to pull them out of the ground. I still have to dig, tho, with my really heavy soil. I waited too long this year on the fingerlings


That’s a GREAT yield! I can get that with russets, but not fingerlings


@Katie_didnt_Z4b I hear Russian Banana is a good storage potato—but don’t have any personal experience. We normally just grow regular Irish potatoes here. I’ve got them in a cool corner of the basement right now, so we’ll see how they do.

@ltilton I could be wrong (and I usually am!), but I think potatoes may like neem meal. Mine were grown in heavy soil—in one of the poorer spots in the garden actually— in a ridge (for drainage). Site was dressed with neem seed meal at a rate of about 5lbs per 100 square feet; and also a little kelp meal. Seed potatoes were planted several inches deep at a spacing of about a foot. Don’t know if it helped or not (as I didn’t run a control or anything), but I also inoculated at planting with Wildroot Mycorrhizal Fungi Concentrate. About mid-season I side dressed with more neem meal at a rate of about 1/2 cup per plant. As plants grew they were mulched with straw. I had around 3-4" on by the end of the season; but I think I really needed at least 6-8" of straw (I ran out!), as I lost some of the shallower potatoes to greening.

Anyway, I decided to try neem this year because I stumbled upon an ancient USDA bulletin that reported that neem cake increased yields in potatoes better than a number of other amendments tried—including “nightsoil”(!). Whether or not it (or anything else) positively impacted my yield I couldn’t say. Knowing me, probably a fluke—and it will never happen again. But I’ll try it again next year.

I also noticed that Colorado Potato Beetle pressure was low this year. Of course, I’d like to think the neem cake had something to do with it—but it could’ve just been the season.

(BTW, what a pretty tortoiseshell!)


i got a question. I’ve been following this thread for awhile. I’m in potato country in n. Maine. here we don’t grow potatoes. we just go to the fields and pick up the ones the harvesters left behind. 2 hrs. of picking gives me all i need for the season. i jump from field to field to get a good assortment of varieties. my question is, are these gourmet potatoes that much better than the varieties they grow commercially? should i be planting some here when i have access to dozens of varieties for free? hell, theres a farmer down the road here that sells 50lbs of russets for $5! i trade potatoes with my buddy who is a lobster /scallop fisherman on the coast.


Based on my limited experience with some of the fingerlings, I do think they’re a little better than common varieties: the texture, for one thing, is somewhat firmer; and they’re at their best when roasted. But I wouldn’t say the difference is dramatic. I like them well enough to grow them again—the higher yielding cultivars, anyway; but If you’re not really a spud connoisseur—and if you’re awash in cheap/free potatoes!—I’d say just invest your energies in growing something else. Again, speaking from limited experience here—and maybe I’ve just not met that life-changing 'tater yet.


Worth trying. I grow under straw, too. It takes a lot, to keep the tubers from poking up and turning green. Some varieties have a more vertical habit of growth than others.


i may try a few varieties in 30 gal fabric pots next year. that way they don’t tie up my garden space. :wink:


Variety can certainly help, but I feel that more than anything homegrown stuff just has better flavor than what you can buy in the store. Mono-culture, repeat planting, and all the other stuff just makes food taste less flavorful. IMHO. That’s why we garden. Well a major part anyway. However, if I had access to all the free potatoes I wanted, well then I would still grab at least 10-20 gallons.


Wow, that’s awesome that you can just go out and glean a whole year’s worth of potatoes! I am jealous. I would be doing that and devoting garden space to other things, I think. Fingerlings are good… this is my first year growing them. The yield isn’t out of this world though. For me anyways. I have a large family (by today’s standards) and one plant makes one meal for us. Probably not going to grow them again but it was fun.

These types of decisions tend to be very individual though, depending on how much growing space and time you have, as well as how many people you’re feeding or if you’re just doing it for giggles.


its just me and the wife now so it might be worth trying them. we are watching carbs so don’t eat nearly asa much as we used to anyway.


In case anyone’s wondering how the French Fingerlings from the MPL performed in the same conditions, my final yield (minus culls) from 3 lbs of seed potatoes was 51 lbs. I think they were actually a little more productive than Russian Banana, because my RB row was a lot longer than my FF row since I divided the seed potatoes for the former quite a bit more. I think they were also, on average, a little bigger than the RB. Will experiment more with neem cake and inoculation with beneficial fungi next year.


Those FFs are the size of Russets!


The seed potatoes looked like fingerlings. Maybe some russets were mixed in with them? There are a lot of typical-looking fingerlings in there, too—and they all (big and little) seem to have the same color and texture.


I pulled a couple of russets to see how they’re doing. Won’t be a big yield or many big bakers this year, it seemslike. But the tubers are perfect. No lumps and bumps, no rot or damage, almost no greening ones.


That’s what I was thinking, they almost look like a hybrid of fingerling and russet. More like a wristling or forearmling than fingerling!!


Those are absolutely huge, compared to the French Fingerlings I dug today.

The round yellow mottled ones are Masquerade and the longer ones are the French Fingerlings.

Masquerade (new to me this year, but they remind me visually of Pinto Gold):

I think it depends. I’ve actually been questioning it a bit myself recently. Some of the organic gold potatoes I get from Stop and Shop, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe have been as good as what I’ve grown. I didn’t weigh things, but I also haven’t seen the type of yields that I remember in the past (or the ~20:1 ratio that Jeremiah is getting).

Now, if I was comparing to whatever I happened to find left-over in the field, I may have a different opinion. I’m guessing that the more common varieties grown are probably russets for frying, rather than the better golden ones.

Another factor is what you plan to do with them. If it is just frying, I’d go with the free field potatoes. If you are going to be steaming them and want the potato flavor to come through, then it could make sense to plant some interesting varieties.


Those look like fingerlings look!

I finished pulling my Canela russets and the yield was pretty disappointing, but then my yields in the garden overall this year have been scant after the rotten weather earlier.


I was a bit slow in replanting and was into September when I finally got it done. We had out first frost last night, so the growing time was a bit under 60 days. Given that it has been pretty chilly recently, I was surprised by how much I was able to dig.

12lbs from this raised bed:

I tried a few for dinner and they were very good. I think there are 3 kinds: Adirondack Red, Masquerade, and one of Lilly/Butterfly/Natascha.