Help save whats left of my potatoes?
July 25, 2012 12:42 PM   Subscribe

Our potato plants are dying miserably with the drought in our area we tried for two weeks to water them when it was possible. To compound this problem pests were way up and the plants that aren't dying were eaten despite sometimes HOURS a day removing the problem bugs by hand. But we have potatoes... question inside.

So I went to one plant that looked the worst and sacrificed it. We have perfect early potatoes cut one open and it looks great... the question is can I save these for next year and use them as starts? or would they be to young? I would rather do that but I don't want them to go to waste. Out of about 50 Plants %90 look like they will not make it to full maturity. I hope someone has an answer even if it is Rosemary/olive oil :)

[Snowflake details of other issues. We also have lost ALL our corn to the drought (about 300 plants) and all our sunflower plants were "topped" off by the local deer.]
posted by mrgroweler to Food & Drink (3 answers total)
I've missed some immature potatoes like this in my garden from last year and they've grown entire new plants this year- so they should grow. I haven't dug around in the dirt to see what the results are like yet. However, I have about 4 potato plants (which unfortunately have also died from lack of water this year), so it sounds like you're operating on an entire different scale than I am.
posted by Secretariat at 2:23 PM on July 25, 2012

You can use them as seed potatoes. They'll grow fine next year. That said, I subscribe to the idea that it's worth buying certified disease free seed potatoes every year. Reason being that it's difficult, and slow, to resolve soil-borne disease issues, and replanting potentially diseased potatoes increases your risk. I prefer to save seeds and replant stock when I can, but I make an exception for potatoes. If it were me, I'd break out the butter and parsley.

You probably know this, but the lifespan of the potato plant is very dependent on the variety. Our midseason potatoes ("German Butterball" and "Carola" this year) have pretty well died back by now, which is right about when they usually finish up for us. Size and yield did suffer some because of the drought this year though.

And I'm extra-sorry to hear about the corn. Not much better than ridiculously fresh sweet corn.
posted by farmerd at 3:11 PM on July 25, 2012

Thanks Farmerd these were organic certified and disease free. I just started seed saving last year with seeds I was familiar with and those were a success. These potatoes are definitely not "done" but they are as good as they are going to get. I think we will do what you do and just get them every year as starts. Thanks again.
posted by mrgroweler at 7:01 AM on July 26, 2012

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