First plant spotted: 5/27
5/22 -- Sowed 12 seed potatoes into a 4x8 bed. Spaced the seed potatoes at 12, 26, 40, 54, 68 and 82 inches. Added some extra raised bed soil to the bed to make it more suitable for potatoes. Ended up planting four varities, three seed potatoes each. Near row (left to right, as you look at the bed) is three Yukon Gold, and three Norland, far row is three Blue, and three Russet.
5/27 -- Spotted the first plant popping up through the soil today.
5/30 -- Five of the 12 have now poked through the soil.
6/9 -- All 12 of these have poked through and are growing extremely quickly.
6/13 -- These have gone crazy! Plants are now huge and I already had to hill them today. I might need to put some additional soil in this bed if the plants continue to grow at this pace.
6/25 -- These have continued to get just epically huge.
7/2 -- No change. Gigantic plants, trying to keep things covered with soil, not seeing much pest damage yet either, which is different than last year. So that's good Probably about three weeks away from the earliest possible harvest.
7/30 -- Harvested two plants worth of potatoes. One of the Blue, and one Yukon Gold. The Blue gave me a ton of potatoes, the Yukon Gold gave me a few. Likely an error to have grabbed Yukon this early, but honestly, I forgot which plant was which, and ALSO forgot that I documented it here. Double oops. I'll leave the other two Yukon alone for a while longer, but I think the rest are fair game at this point, given the output I got from the Blues.
8/25 -- All the rest of these have come out of the ground over the last month. Quite pleased with the results - got many potatoes, each plant did well. I would say that Blue and Norland did the best. Yukon did quite well too, and Russet did the worst, productivity-speaking. These are officially done for the year, and are also the best potato crop I've ever had. I attribute that to the lack of pests this year. The one time I spotted them, I removed them and they didn't come back.
RETROSPECTIVE -- I'm overall quite pleased with how these did this year - the plants had no disease, minimal pests, and it showed in the results. I'm particularly pleased with the quantity of Blue and Norland potatoes, and slightly disappointed in the Russet harvest. Yukon Gold seemed to do fine, although they seemed on the smaller side. Six plants per row seemed to also work fine - this was +1 from last year, and the plants certainly had enough space to produce plenty of potatoes. My planting technique (which I oddly didn't document above) ended up working fine - made sure I added extra soil/compost to the bed so there was plenty of room, buried each tuber 4-6 inches down, hilled them two full times until there wasn't any more material to add, then brought in more material for a third partial hilling. Only ended up with a single exposed potato turning partially green, the rest were buried adequately.
OVERALL SUCCESS RATING -- 8/10
THOUGHTS ON NEXT YEAR -- Russets are supposed to be great for french fry making, so I'd like to perhaps try them again next year and see if I can achieve better results. I've also wanted to do fingerlings again - it has been many years, and they're worth growing from my experience. Technique-wise, I'll shift beds, of course, but beyond potentially doing something different with the Russets, what I did this year seemed to work just fine.