Editor’s Note: Below is a rare communication from George Prell. He passes on a few potato growing tips to his friend Karl, which I hope are as revolutionary for your survival gardening this season as I believe they will be for mine. – John
It is good to hear that you have such an avid interest in growing potatoes. But before you order seed potatoes I want to tell you some facts that might help in growing them.
I had about given up on the tower method, but I just read what might have limited the yield I got. I found out that short-season potatoes produce early and then quit. In a tower setup you may only have tubers in the first six inches of soil and then just get vines.
This is from Greg at Irish Eyes Garden City Seeds, at Tipnut. I found it when I Googled “Growing Potatoes in Wood Chips”.
So I looked up “late season potatoes” and found ten varieties at “MainePotatoLady”, a very neat site. These varieties are 90-110 days.
Temperature is very important too. “When the temperatures in the daytime get above 80 degrees F , the potato plant basically shuts down. “The Best Potatoes in the World -or- What Makes Idaho Potatoes so Idahoy”.
I don’t remember the source, ( I’m looking) but found that potato plants like total darkness at night. Some plants are sensitive to light at night, even car headlights.
Armed with this new information I hope to try again this year and even grow some indoors in Perlite. I hope this helps, Karl.
P.S. You might want to look at “Growing Potatoes in Perlite”, by Terry DelValle, and Better Hens and Gardens, “Lazy Bed Method”.