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Buy your seed potatoes, grow them in your garden

The Archuleta County Extension Office is now taking orders for seed potatoes.

There are two kinds available: Sangre (red) and Yukon Gold (white). Currently we are charging 50 cents per pound for both species.

Those of you who are just starting out and are experimenting, it is our suggestion that you order two to three pounds of each species instead of ordering a whole lot of them. This way, you can experiment and see if you like them, then order more next year.

When orders arrive in mid-May at the Extension Office each person will be contacted to pick up their order.

If you are interested in ordering seed potatoes call 264-2388 or stop by the Extension Office at the fairgrounds.

Growing potatoes

Potato production can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience for the home gardener.

Few vegetables yield more food per square foot than the potato. A 100-foot row can yield more than 200 pounds of potatoes. The average potato provides 40 percent of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin C, has 3 grams of protein, is an excellent source of dietary fiber, and furnishes 12 other essential vitamins and minerals — all with no fat. Potatoes add diversity, versatility and convenience to menus. Skin color does not determine a potato’s use, its texture does. Potatoes that are high in starch or dry matter are mealier. They tend to bake up nicely and make good fries and chips. Those low in starch are waxier and often higher in sugar. These varieties hold together better during boiling and are best used for salads, soups and similar dishes. The two species available through the Extension Office are Yukon Gold and Sangre.

• Yukon Gold potatoes have an oblong tuber shape with buff skin and yellow flesh. They tend to be high yielding and are used for baking, mashing and roasting. Yukon Golds generally have an attractive appearance and a good flavor which make them suitable for many culinary uses.

• Sangre potatoes are a round type tuber with dark red skin. They tend to be high yielding and are used mostly for baking, boiling and for salads. The Sangre was developed in Colorado. They may emerge erratically and tend to develop a slight net in some soils. Sangres store well and have excellent cooking quality.

Plant potatoes up to two weeks earlier than the average date of the last spring frost. The average date of the last spring frost usually lies between June 15-20. The soil temperature should be 45 degrees or warmer. Potatoes prefer a sandy to sandy loam soil. Till the soil to a depth of 16 inches and pre-irrigate the soil until moist. You need about 15 pounds of seed for each 100 feet of row.

Plant potatoes in rows 30 to 36 inches apart. Space seed pieces within the row at 10 to 12 inches at a depth of about 4 inches. Hills may be formed at the time of planting or in the following four weeks. Hilling provides more space for the developing tubers to grow and helps prevent green potatoes. It is a good idea to rotate spots in the garden for potato production. Planting in the same area year after year may lead to disease and insect problems. Keep soil moist, but not wet. Potatoes require abundant oxygen and do not flourish in compacted soils. Generally, potatoes have a shallow root system. Most moisture is taken up from the top foot of soil. Be particularly careful to avoid over watering during the first weeks after planting. After plants have emerged, irrigate every three to five days, thoroughly wetting the soil to a depth of about 2 feet.

Treat insect pests with insecticides or, for those preferring organic controls, with insecticidal soaps. Common insects in home gardens include aphids, flea beetles, psyllids and, in some areas, Colorado potato beetles. Potato diseases may be seed-borne or acquired during the growing season. Many diseases can be avoided by using certified seed. Remove plants that are small, yellowing and sickly. Commonly encountered diseases in the garden include scab, early blight, pink rot and black scurf.

Calendar

April 14 — 10 a.m., Mountain View Homemakers.

April 14 — 5 p.m., 4-H Cake Decorating.

April 14 — 6:30 p.m., 4-H Shady Pine.

April 15 — 1:45 p.m., 4-H Cloverbuds.

April 15 — 2 p.m., 4-H Dog Agility.

April 15 — 3 p.m., 4-H Rabbit.

April 15 — 4 p.m., 4-H Turkey.

April 18 — 10 a.m., Painting Group.

April 18 — 3:45 p.m., 4-H Clothing Project.

April 18 — 5:30 p.m., National Weather Service Spotter training.

April 18 — 6 p.m., Back Country Horsemen.

April 19 — 9 a.m., CMG.

April 19 — 1:30 p.m., BoCC.

April 19 — 3 p.m., Mountain High Garden Club.

April 20 — 9:30 a.m., Mountain High Garden Club.

April 20 — 4 p.m., 4-H Sports fishing.

April 20 — 6 p.m., Archuleta County Fair Board.

April 21 — 5 p.m., 4-H Lamb Project meeting.

April 21 — 6 p.m., 4-H Goat Project meeting.

April 21 — 7 p.m., 4-H Swine Project meeting.

April 22 — 5:30 p.m., Pagosa Pathfinders.

Check out our webpage at www.archuleta.colostate.edu for calendar events and information.

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