Thursday, August 16, 2012

Potato Test

We used potatoes leftover from last year to plant for this year's crop.  The sprouts on the potatoes were quite long so we decided to do a test to see which grew the best.  I had always use a piece of potato with several eyes as a start.  Usually by the time you cut the potato into chunks to plant, the sprouts fell off.

This year we planted:
1.  one row using small potatoes with foot long sprouts.  They were planted about six inches down with half the sprout sticking out of the dirt.  As time went on the sprout that stuck out died down to the ground level.

2.  one row with the foot long sprouts attached to the potato laying down and completely covered with soil

3.  one row with the sprout cut back to 6 inches and buried completely (planted like the first row but without the sprout sticking out)

4.  one row with only 2 sprouts with no potatoes planted in each hill (we thought these wouldn't grow because I had been told you need part of the potato with eyes to grow)

5.  the rest we planted small whole potatoes instead of pieces as there were quite a number of small potatoes left - these did not have any sprouts attached

All potatoes were planted on the same day in April.

In May I snapped some pics of all the potatoes.  Here were the results.

First row -  After that sprout died down to the ground, the potatoes grew quickly.

Second row - The potatoes grew the fastest and largest of the bunch - probably because they had the whole twelve inch sprout to grow with.

Third row - grew very similar to first row but was slightly slower.

Here you can see the row with only sprouts on the right and the small plants on the left were the potatoes planted normally.  They were a lot slower than the rest with the sprouts.

Now here are the sprout-test potatoes in July.  It is hard to tell the rows apart as the potatoes are all large and sprawling.

Here are the regular potatoes on the same day.  The plants are slightly smaller and the potatoes are not so developed.

Lulu and I dug two hills.  The first was a sprouts only plant.  My mom was sure that I wouldn't get any potatoes from planting only sprouts.  I was sceptical too, and thought that they wouldn't produce much either.

Lulu likes to help dig potatoes because there are always worms and bugs for her to feast on while I do all the work.

Okay, digging is all done.  Now on to the weigh-in.

I weighed the potatoes from the sprouts only hill and got over 8 1/2 pounds of potatoes.  Not bad from only planting a couple of sprouts.

The largest potato in that hill was over 1 1/2 pounds in weight plus there were two others that were over one pound each.


This was the haul from the second hill I dug.  This time it was from row 2 where the whole sprout was buried with the potato.  That hill yielded 20 pounds of potatoes!

I'm glad we did the test because now I know the sprouts are more important than the potato.

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