Saturday, May 1, 2021

Potatoes are in the ground!!!


My target day for planting the potatoes was May 1 but I would have been equally thrilled if they had gotten in the ground within a week on either side of that date.

I got the potatoes planted today.

The rows started bellying out to the left and then hooking back to the right. I was in a hurry and did not stretch a line. These rows are also longer than my usual garden row. They are 100 feet long, give or take a bit.

The problem, I deduced, was that the gas tank is biased to the right of the center line of my rototiller. I was visually sighting over the center of my gas-tank which first caused me to list to the port and then as I neared the far marker I corrected to the starboard.

I think I need to install gunsights on the tiller if I continue to favor long rows.

I am tuckered out. I put in 100 ft of Yukon Gold, 100 ft of Megachip, 100 ft of Kennabec, and 300 ft of "Rescued" feral potatoes from last year. I pulled the rescues from assorted patches where I had previously grown potatoes.

According to Michigan State University field trials, if you do everything right (enough nitrogen, irrigate, quick foliage canopy, control potato beetles, plant virus free seed) you can reasonably expect to harvest one pound of potatoes per square foot of potato patch.

In today's cosmetic world, a significant percentage of them cannot be sold as Grade A. Some will be too big or too small or too lumpy. But if you are hungry I don't know how worried you will be about cosmetics.

Because of the width of my tiller, I plant rows that are 42" apart. Roughly speaking, if everything goes peachy I might have to dig up 1800 pounds of potatoes. Experience tells me that digging potatoes is much, much heavier work than planting them.

I am an old man. Planting 600 feet of garden was enough for one day. I am recovering by sipping on a spring tonic that is a tincture of spearmint shoots and assorted carbohydrates as is traditional for the day the Kentucky Derby runs.

A few photos


A couple of shots showing the degree of leafing out of deciduous trees. I saw my second swallow today but in a different neighborhood.


I was at Mom's Thursday and Friday.

She wanted to show me this picture of her mother's family. There was a bit of speculation regarding which of these fine looking, young ladies is my mother's mother. My money is on the one behind the patriarch's right shoulder.

Weeds never sleep.

This is a photo of where I cut multiflora rose bushes. You can see where I missed one on the extreme right side of the photo. It is the ball of bright, spring-green.

Weed control is endless. It is a leaky process. As futile as controlling weeds seems to be, the only thing a hundred times worse than attempting to control weeds are the results you will get if you don't try to keep a lid on them.


  1. Regarding our cosmetic world and food, i believe about 75% of our population would starve if they had to eat regular food.

  2. Fried potatoes
    Baked potatoes
    Boiled potatoes
    And on and on and on......

  3. Replies
    1. I planted a few taters in an old tire I filled with top soil. They're already poking their leafy heads up. They were ones that had eyed out in the tater bin on the counter.

  4. When I talk to beginning gardeners about potatoes I tell them that if they do a good job planting 10 to 12 lbs. of seed per 100 foot row, fertilizing, controlling bugs and harvesting they should get 5 bushels per 100 feet at 54 lbs. per bushel. So I would figure 1620 for your 600 foot patch on average. 1800 would be peachy. Last fall I had a friend give me an old tractor pulled potato digger and I'm sure looking forward to using it. Hopefully no more pitchfork harvesting for this old guy.

  5. Good to hear your spuds are in. A very important crop. 1 lb. per square foot --- right on the mark and my goal as well.

  6. The gunsight idea has merit; a friend did something similar to keep his 14-year-old grandson planting straight when pulling the planter with the oldest tractor. He screwed a piece of 1X2 to the grill and placed "targets" - color-coded (R-W-B, repeat) cardboard squares on stakes - on the opposite ends of the field. All the kid had to do was sit in the center of the seat and keep the stick lined up with the correct color "target."

    Oh, and he also confiscated the kid's phone and introduced him to "books on tape" with his iPod.


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