WHAT is new this year? Is a question always asked…..so how about fingerling potatoes? Give them a try and this is how.
How to Grow Fingerlings
Grow fingerling potatoes just as you would any potato. But keep in mind that all but 'French Fingerling' need at least 90 to 100 days of frost-free weather to produce tubers. Plant seed pieces in the garden after the last frost in your area. To avoid diseases, plant where potatoes or related plants (tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants) have not grown for at least a year.
Make fingerling seed pieces smaller than those for ordinary potatoes. Cut tubers into 1-ounce disks that have at least 2 to 3 eyes per disk. Larger potato varieties usually require a 2-ounce piece.
Set the seed pieces in 4- to 6-inch-deep planting holes or trenches. Because fingerling plants are usually larger and rangier than modern varieties, give them more room than you would typical potatoes: Space seed pieces about 18 inches apart in rows 3 feet apart.
Like other potatoes, fingerlings need a loose, deep, sandy, or sandy loam soil, or soils generously amended with organic matter such as compost. Ideally, cultivate a 3- to 4-inch layer of composted manure into the planting bed early in the season. All potatoes need regular irrigation or rainfall throughout the season. But be especially careful to keep fingerlings' soil moist. Even brief dry periods will produce misshaped or smaller tubers.
Once the plants have emerged from the ground, hill soil up, covering all but one-third of the sprout. Repeat hilling three to four weeks later. Mulch the rows with a 4- to 6-inch-thick layer of straw mulch when plants emerge to help conserve moisture and stop weed seeds from germinating.
How to Grow Fingerling Potatoes in a Container By: Caryn Anderson
Thanks to the ease of container gardening, you don't even need a garden to grow a bumper crop of elegant, delicious fingerling potatoes (Solanum tuberosum). These small, finger-shaped potatoes typically take 90 to 110 days to mature, and they grow well in soil temperatures ranging from 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, making them ideal for early- or late-season gardening. Place the container-grown fingerlings in a spot that receives direct sunlight for six hours or longer.
You can use nearly any type of container to grow fingerling potatoes, including barrels, garbage cans, terracotta or plastic planters, or commercially available potato growing bags, which can be found online or at garden centers.
Drainage and container size are two of the most important factors to keep in mind while choosing a planter. If the container lacks drainage holes or only has one hole, drill at least three to five 1/4-inch holes on the bottom to prevent soggy conditions. Allow 2 to 3 gallons of planter space for every fingerling potato you plan to plant. If you intend to plant three or four potatoes, select a 15-gallon container. If you're only planting one, a smaller container may suffice.
Thanks to the ease of container gardening, you don't even need a garden to grow a bumper crop of elegant, delicious fingerling potatoes (Solanum tuberosum).
Growing potatoes from fingerling potatoes purchased from the grocery store typically yields disappointing results because the potatoes are treated with a substance designed to retard sprouting. Instead, buy certified disease-free fingerling potato seeds from a local nursery or from a garden catalog.
Growing fingerlings in a container
Many varieties of fingerling potatoes grow well in containers, including "Russian Banana," a variety with 1- to 3-inch potatoes with yellow skin and yellow waxy, moist flesh. "Swedish Peanut," which yields tubers that grow 1 to 2/1/2 inches long, has yellow, nutty-flavored flesh. For show-stopping color, try growing "Purple Peruvian," which grows 3/4- to 2-inch potatoes with purple flesh and skin.
Prepare the fingerling seeds by cutting tubers into small 1-ounce rounds with at least two eyes on each piece. Choose a high quality, soil-less potting mix to reduce exposing the fingerling potatoes to the diseases and pests that naturally occur in garden soil.
Growing potatoes from fingerling potatoes purchased from the grocery store typically yields disappointing results because the potatoes are treated with a substance designed to retard sprouting.
For show-stopping color, try growing "Purple Peruvian," which grows 3/4- to 2-inch potatoes with purple flesh and skin.
Place 3 to 4 inches of the potting mix on the bottom of the container. Mix in two handfuls of organic starter fertilizer and arrange the seed pieces in the container. According to the National Gardening Association, fingerling potato plants generally grow larger and need extra room between seeds than other potatoes. Allow approximately 18 inches of space between the seed pieces. Cover the seeds with another 4 to 6 inches of soil, lightly tamp it down and water the container thoroughly.
Caring for Plants
Water the container regularly, adding at least 1 inch to the container weekly. Feel the potting mix every few days, and add water as needed to maintain evenly moist -- but not wet or soggy -- soil. As the young potato plants grow, hill them by adding enough soil or compost around the seedlings so that only 3 inches of the plant shows.
Place 3 to 4 inches of the potting mix on the bottom of the container.
Cover the seeds with another 4 to 6 inches of soil, lightly tamp it down and water the container thoroughly.
Fertilize the plants once every month with an organic fertilizer formulated for vegetables. Blend approximately 2 tablespoons of the fertilizer for every 1 square foot of planting space into the top 1 to 3 inches of potting mix.
Avoid overhead watering and check the plants once a week for signs of a Colorado potato beetle infestation, heralded most commonly by the presence of orange eggs located on the leaves' undersides. Remove and crush the eggs. Spray the leaves of the plant with Bacillus thuringiensis san diego, a food-safe insecticide, to kill larvae.
Good luck and give these a try.
Till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa firstname.lastname@example.org 641-794-3337 cell 641-903-9365