I'm confused. I've read that potatoes here in NC Florida (I'm between Ocala and Gainesville) should be planted in February/March so that they are harvested before the big heat of summer. However, I'm also told they should have been planted in November and be finishing now. If I had done that, they might have been ruined by the freeze. I've also read to plant short season varieties, like Yukon Gold, but I haven't found any seed locally. There is also a new, low carb FL potato called SunLite, still, no seed found... Most online sources do not ship until early March. Is that too late?
One local feed store has Red Pontiac and Red LaSoda (which one site indicates are the same potato, so why are they labelled differently?)
I'd appreciate any advice. I really, really want to grow my own potatoes. Those in the stores are such poor quality...
I'm amazed at how different gardening is here.
Thank you in advance.
Oh, if there is already a thread about this, please let me know. I didn't find one...
I never go to all the trouble to find seed potatoes. My grandmother always just let her regular potatoes sprout, then cut them in pieces and planted them. Worked well for her, and works well for me too.
I agree with Howdy. Buying seed from your local feed and seed is the way to go. Unlike the big box stores who sell anything, many times mislabeled, the small feed stores do sell what grows in the local soil.
The first year I was here I planted seed potatoes but didn't get much of a yield in my ignorance. If my memory serves me, we planted sometime in January.
The IFAS site noted above says 80 to 115 days to harvest. As a test, you could go to the market and get a small bag of reds and follow the directions in that site for cutting and planting. Plant some and eat some. If you do it right away, you are looking to harvest in approx. mid to late May, still not terribly hot. Oops, the IFAS site says not to plant grocery potatoes. Oh well.
Darius was here when we planted those taters and I believe she recommended we roll the seeds in a lime powder? Can't remember for sure and it's too cold to go out to the shed to look at that bag right now.
Well anyway, if you can find the seed, it still might not be too late to try.
Thanks, Molly. I bought the reds and whites from the feed store; can't say they had much information and they told me they'd had the seed since November. I never noticed when I went in to buy dog food, but now I have some sprouting. I also have some from the grocery sprouting, and I put a couple in a 5 gallon bucket, and another three or four in a wire cage lined with a black garbage bag. They are sprouting though a thinnish layer of soil/sand under straw.
I noticed that the hardware store in Ft. McCoy has seed potatoes (on their sign), so I'll be checking them out this week.
I have a feeling I'll be doing a lot of hit and miss gardening for a while until I figure out what's up. That's ok, as long as SOMETHING grows successfully. So far, my garlic looks happy, but I can't know what's up underground.
The white potatoes usually don't do as well. The red variety (usually Red Pontiac) does best. To the best of my knowledge no one has developed a variety for Florida. Most of the red potatoes,found in grocery stores are Red Pontiac. I don't know what the overpriced ones in Walmart are.
If walmart hasn't already run your local seed and feed/ farm supply store out of business,it is the best place to find seed potatoes. Even there it is hard to find sprounting potatoes in the fall. Fall is actually the best time to plant them. They will provide a heavier yeild, growing all winter long. The bad part about it is that they have to be protected from frost and freeze,when planted that early. Straw,leaves or dirt can be used for that.
This year I have two thirty foot rows of bought red seed potatoes,and one of saved red sprouting potatoes.
When potatoes are grown late, in places where nut grass is a problem,you will often find the nutsedge "nut" inside the potatoes.