That's right, four hundred pounds of potatoes from 400 row feet with 33 pounds of seed potatoes. Which sounds very organized, but actually it was 15 different varieties and the yields were highly variable. German Butterball, 5 pounds of seed potatoes, over 60 pounds harvest. That's the second year of stellar performance. Krista and I got the same result last year in our variety trials. The German Butterballs also had the most gaps in the row, so the yield was from 2/3 of the plants. I think it was voles. I found tunnels under my potato plants when I dug them up.
Red Lasoda, Russet Burbank and Red Chieftain seed potatoes are grown in Whatcom County for the commercial potato industry in Idaho. Red Lasoda is what a potato chip aspires to be. The glory of Red Lasoda fries is only available to the gardener, who can eat them while the sugar is still fresh. Our three local varieties had excellent yields and tolerance of local conditions. I started with conventional seed potatoes from the Whatcom Farmer's Coop in Everson and grew them out organically.
Elba (susceptible to blight), Red Norland (low yields) and Red Maria (just hammered), are not worth growing in this region. I bought the Fedco fingerlings mixed package and they all did well. Desiree, now that's a potato. Pink skin, sweet flesh, bullet proof in the garden, excellent yield, good steamed or baked in the oven with a little oil and some garlic.
Potatoes are great for greasing social relationships. People are always delighted to receive organic potatoes grown with love. They taste so much better. Most of the potatoes have already gone to friends and extended family. That time I borrowed my mothers hand truck and didn't return it for five months? All better now. The family member who has taken on raising her daughter's kids (don't ask, it isn't pretty.) I have the privilege of helping out a little.
Next year, grow plenty of potatoes.
Addendum: Two heritage varieties from the Northeast, Green Mountain and Katahdin, did very well here in 2011. Fedco didn't have any for sale in 2012 due to Hurricane Irene.