Vermont Valley Community Farm LLC

4628 County Road FF

Blue Mounds, WI 53517

608.212.7816

potato@vermontvalley.com

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Approximate Seed Needed
(assumes 2 ounces/seed piece)
                                                Feet of
                           Seed         Row per
   In-Row      Per 100       50 lbs
   Spacing      Row Ft      of Seed
    4 inch         38 lbs         133 ft.
    6 inch         25 lbs        200 ft.
    9 inch         17 lbs         300 ft.
   12 inch        13 lbs         400 ft.
   15 inch        10 lbs         500 ft.

 

Planting Tips and Frequently Asked Questions

How many pounds of seed should I order?
Use the seed spacing table above to figure the amount you need.

What yield can I expect from my seed?
Potato yield can vary greatly.  More so than many other crops, potatoes respond to very high fertility and a constant water supply; they do not compete with weeds.  These are the factors you can control; of course the weather can ruin any crop.  After 19 years of growing, and now with full fertility, full irrigation and essentially a weed free field, we expect an average about 13 lbs of potatoes for every pound we plant (1.6 pounds per foot of row, or 28,000 lbs/acre).  We have done much better, but in the first years of growing, much worse.   If you are a new grower, you may want to expect between 5 and 10 lbs for every pound you plant (1/2 to 1 pound per foot of row, or 10,000 to 20,000 lbs/acre).  Potatoes can yield much higher than the numbers above, but we advise being cautious about your expectations.

When should I plant my seed?

Planting date depends on your location and micro climate and your harvest goals; there is no one answer.  Our planting goal is the end of April.  For our location late April is generally optimal for highest yield, but people plant using many strategies.  Several market growers intentionally plant much later (well into June), but we have no experience with that.  Others plant early varieties earlier hoping to get to market first.  Caution: cold and wet soils will delay sprouting and can lead to rotted seed pieces.

What size should I cut my seed pieces?
Two ounce seed piece size is the standard recommendation for most varieties.  Generally, smaller pieces will give fewer, larger potatoes and larger pieces will give more, smaller potatoes.  Cut the potatoes so there are “eyes” on the pieces.  The “eyes” are the growing points of the potato; no eyes/no plant.

Do I do anything to the seed pieces?

It is good to let the potatoes “warm up” before planting; “warm” tells the potato it is time to grow.   After cutting, you should let the seed pieces heal over, the cut area will form a skin.  We just let them site in a warmer area of our packing shed for several days.  We are not aware of any organic certified treatment to apply; we do not use any and we have excellent plant stands.

What spacing should I plant my seed pieces?
Spacing has a similar impact as seed piece size, with wider spacing meaning fewer/larger potatoes. We plant most varieties at 12 inch spacing. Exceptions are Yukon Gold which we plant at 6 inches for the best yield and Kennebec at 10 inches to try to keep them from getting to big. Do your own trials and spacing. In general, potatoes respond to narrow spacing (4 to 6 inches) by producing more, smaller potatoes.  Some varieties respond better than others to high density planting.  Yukon Gold and Dark Red Norland do well in denser plantings. Experiment for yourself.