This will be our 3rd planting season here on the homestead. Last year's potato harvest was very good for us. We planted Red Potomac and Yukon Gold and took in 200 pounds combined. These were the two best performers based on the four varieties we had planted during the previous season. Performance was based on growth/harvest, taste and texture, and storage.
We have a cold room that was specifically built for storing our garden produce (squash, potatoes, onions, etc.) and home canning. It is a 10'x12' room located under the entry way for our house. When our contractor poured the foundation for the house, we had him pour the walls and floor and install an insulated door that opens into the rest of our basement, giving us this unheated room in our basement....the cold room. During the winter, the cold room temperature averages 38 to 42 degrees with about 40 to 50% humidity. We included duct work in the cold room for connection to the whole house heat recovery ventilator system. This provides a small amount of fresh air flow to the room and prevents the humidity from building up and causing a mold/mildew concern.
With it being spring time, Donna decided it was time to inventory the potatoes and select some for planting. We both decided the Yukon Golds were preferred over the Red Potomacs, not so much based on taste but more so on their ability to remain in good shape during storage.
These were the eyes from the Red Potomacs that Donna removed yesterday. There were in full on "let's grow some eyes" mode for planting season!
Here is the tub of Reds that the eyes were removed from. They were absolutely going crazy with sprouts as can be seen in the previous photo.
I think this eye was the longest one in the bunch. Of course, the potatoes are beginning to soften as they convert starch into sugar which goes for growth of the eyes. They are still edible, but are nothing like the Yukon Golds which are still as firm as when we put them in the cold room.
Donna found enough Yukon Gold potatoes with good eyes for this upcoming season and set them aside. She intends on having about 30 plants this season. By the time the ground is ready, these will be more than ready for planting.
We kept out a few of the better Red Potomacs and put them with the two tubs of Yukon Golds. These will keep us going until this season's harvest is dug and put into the cold room.
A little more about our cold room. When we were planning the house 3 years ago, our general contractor was planning on putting a concrete slab under the entry way since it would make that odd sized little room in the basement. When he told us of his plans, we told him we wanted the cold room walls poured when they did the rest of the ICF basement walls. After we discussed it with him, he agreed it was a very good idea. It basically has all the benefits of a good ol' fashioned root cellar....it just doesn't have a dirt floor and the usual outside door access. We love it!
I was cleaning up some of the pages in my website when I realized I hadn't published this article. OOPS! So I'll add a little more and get it out there. Another season has come and gone and it is spring again. We will be planting more Yukons this year as this is the potatoe we like the most. In fact, I just helped Donna put 30 plants into the ground yesterday and we got 3/4" of rain last night and it is raining still today so that was perfect timing. We will also be planting about 20 more plants in our neighbor's garden for her and us. She has the extra space and we ran short of potatoes from this past season so we won't make that mistake again.
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