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You Say Potato…

May 24, 2016
Freshly hilled Yukon Gold potatoes in the hoop house.

I am hoping you all like potatoes, because this year we are planting a whole lot of them. We are not planting them because we didn’t have enough the past few years, but because of the symphylan we discovered we had in such high numbers last year. After all that we read about symphylan and all the people we talked to, we learned that the most effective ways to control the population in organic production is to crush them through tillage and to grow potatoes where the numbers are high every few years. This year we are tilling more than we like and we are starting a potato rotation through our fields with the little guys. We aren’t growing potatoes everywhere we found symphylan last year; that would be way too many, and as it is, with as much as we have planned for this year, it will still be too many potatoes. We expect that in a few years, we will have a rotation settled that will give us a more reasonable amount to grow.

For this year, we are growing a little under 3/4 of an acre of potatoes, out of the 2 1/2 acres of total vegetables. Here are a few numbers for comparison: last year, I bought 150 lbs of seed potatoes, this year it was 850 lbs; last year we planted 1200 row feet, this year it will be 7500 row feet. I planted the first tiny bit back in early April, when I discovered one of our hoop houses had some high numbers. I made a quick change in the planting plan and put a row of potatoes in. They are doing nicely and we will have some early potatoes this year! A few weeks ago, we planted out half of one field with three early varieties. We should get the rest in, in a week or so. I am keeping my fingers crossed that when next spring rolls around, we find that the potatoes worked.

WP_20160515_007In other news, we moved the chicks out to pasture a few weeks ago. They are settled in and are growing and looking like little hens now. We planted out the summer squash and tomatoes last week. More summer crops are going in this week. The season is just about ready to begin!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 24, 2016 10:30 am

    Great- we can make a potato soup so team bet all funny or too small ones are workable for me.

    Sent from my iPhone


    • jcgarden permalink*
      May 25, 2016 9:10 pm

      There will be enough for a lot of soup!

  2. Ingrid permalink
    May 25, 2016 11:43 am

    Those are good looking chicks! I was curious about their breed as they resemble golden sex links—- I had such poor luck with those and had read that many chicken keepers would not choose them as they were bred for high production (and short life-span) and seemed to have a preponderance of egg-bind and prolapse problems. Let me know how smoothly they go into their heavy laying period.
    In other news, we love the humble potato.

    • jcgarden permalink*
      May 25, 2016 9:24 pm

      They are NOVOgen Brown Egg Layers. They are a red sexlink breed, bred for production. The real reason I got them, was they were available from a local hatchery (Jenks) when I was ready for some chicks. I hope they won’t have a lot of problems. The breed comes from Rhode Island Reds and Leghorns. Now that I think about it, of the chickens we had in the first go round, our Rhode Island Reds did have some egg binding events. We don’t plan on keeping these ones for the long haul, just a couple years. (We have one left from our original flock; she is 8 yrs old.) So far, I like their personality. They are pretty friendly to us and they get along well with each other. I’ll let you know how the laying goes.

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