Jul 12 • 8M

What's the Best Potato To Grow?

A viewer recently asked me, “what’s the best potato for taste and yield? So I thought I'd devote an article to discussing the answer.

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Exploring inexpensive ways to garden organically with minimal work and inputs.
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A simple question

A viewer recently asked me, “what’s the best potato for taste and yield?” I thought this was an odd question; but then my mind went back to when I was a new gardener, in a garden store, trying to choose from over a dozen varieties. Back then, I’m sure I used to ask myself that very same question. Now, with gardeners shopping online, one has to choose from dozens, if not hundreds of varieties of potato! It’s also the case that, since potatoes are only planted in the spring (in general), it’s an important decision, because the wrong choice means that the gardener has to wait a whole year to try something else!

I grow so many potatoes each year that we rarely have to buy them. These Red Norlands, one of the many varieties that I grow, are wonderful!

A simple answer

The simplest answer I can provide is the worst answer ever: it depends. It depends on how the potatoes are to be used; how they are being grown; what growing conditions they are grown in; and of course, the individual taste preferences of the gardener and those with whom the produce is shared. It also depends on how much space there is for growing potatoes, and how many potatoes the gardener can store and eat. The gardener with many mouths to feed and lots of space might plant three or four varieties of potato - so the question of which is best is less important. On the other hand, suppose a gardener only has one bed - then only one variety will be planted, and in this case the variety really matters and must be chosen with care. For the sake of this article I will leave the yield question aside, because so much of the yield equation is a function of the plants getting adequate sun, water and nutrients. For every variety I’ve grown, I’ve had good and bad yields depending on those factors, so at least for the home gardener, I don’t think choosing a variety for yield makes much sense.

A little taxonomy

There are many ways to classify and categorize potatoes, but I think the simplest is to put them all into three basic categories: starchy, waxy & all-purpose.

  • Starchy potatoes have a lot of starch and less moisture than the other types of potatoes. These are the best choice for mashed potatoes and French fries, an also really good for baking -

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