I know this is going to be the highlight of your weekend so I'll keep you in suspense no longer. Here's the straight skinny on our just completed potato harvest.
First off, above is a picture of the sum total of all the potatoes harvested from my experimental potato planting in a 4' x 8' raised bed, potatoes covered with mulch rather than hilled up with dirt. Success? Not so much. This clump of potatoes is all I got from what would be equal to a 28' row of potatoes. Omigosh. How pitiful. I planted 28 potato eyes in the bed, each in a little hole, covered with about 3-4" of soil, then mulched with straw when they started to grow. A couple of them came out honkin' huge although the quantity was definitely on the - yeah, I'll say it again - pitiful side. But, happy to say, we found not one single sign of wireworms in the soil in the raised bed.
Okay, adding the raised bed experimental yield and the potatoes we've stolen from the garden in the past couple of weeks to those harvested in the past two days from our main crop, the yield from the red potatoes was 93 pounds of good, solid, medium to large potatoes which should keep in storage through the winter. However, ([shudder] please pass me the smelling salts) we also harvested 42-1/2 pounds of red potatoes that have some infestation from the wireworms. That looks to me like about one-fourth of the harvest of red potatoes was attacked by the worms. Sigh.
The white potatoes yielded much smaller potatoes and only 53 pounds. But only 8 pounds of the 53 were bothered by the wireworms. For some reason the whites fared MUCH better than the reds as far as not attracting the wireworms.
That means we have a total of 138 pounds of really nice potatoes in storage which is plenty for the two of us and for sharing.
The bad news is that I have 50-1/2 pounds of potatoes with wireworm damage to process by either canning and/or freezing if I want to get any food value out of them. Our daughter says she will take some of them to make up into mashed potatoes for her freezer because that will be a real "convenience" food for her this winter. I'll do the same with some for us. (My husband, the mashed potato lover, is thrilled thinking he'll get mashed potatoes whenever he wants if we have a freezer full of them all ready to warm up.)
Bottom line, the experimental "cage" of potatoes grown under mulch in the raised bed didn't work for me this year. Would it give a better crop under different conditions in another year? Certainly might, but I don't know if I'll try it again soon.
The wireworms were a nasty little surprise but I've never had any trouble with them before. And we didn't lose our whole crop of potatoes to them either. We ended up with more potatoes than we'll need for the year so all is well.
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