4800 foot elevation Spuds desired

Asked March 24, 2019, 11:35 AM EDT

hello, My name is Scott, I am a alfalfa farmer, that wants to put in a half acre of potatoes for our family and aging neighborhood. I am in the western mountains above silver lake in a place called oatman flat. elevation 4600-4800 foot, with 350 acres in alfalfa and timothy. I desire the traits of century russet or Kennebec for baking, and fries, etc. Potomacs and laSota have been a green house favorite, however I have a special high nutrient drained soil area that I want to expand this enterprise, and be a gifting neighbor. our normal last frost is June 20th and first significant frost was September 5th last year, and we will have a few 30 degree mornings in mid august usually. I have a lot of baby boomers that have supplied support with history, insight , a two row digger, hillers, and time...I have the cultivators, etc. We get a crop 3/5 years with "no name"common spuds that turned at the local mercantile. We are not strickly organic, options are open. I dont want to experiment with failures, what would survive and thrive in our area most likely? I want a utility yummy spud that handles our colder high desert summer. And have fun enjoying the crop we grow... Thank you! Scott

Lake County Oregon field crops small farms

1 Response

Hi Scott,

Early maturing potato varieties are most likely to do well at high altitudes. Russet Norkotah is recommended for high altitude areas in Idaho (https://www.cals.uidaho.edu/edcomm/pdf/bul/bul0863.pdf ), so that may be a good place to start. This link (https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/downloads/mw22v650n ) summarizes potato variety performance at the Klamath Falls and Tulilake research stations, both of which are around 4000 ft elevation. These links (http://www.pvmi.org/varieties/varieties.htm
https://idahopotato.com/directory/varieties) also list and describe several varieties. Look through these resources for early maturing russet varieties with the eating and storage qualities you want.

Since you are growing potatoes for your self and your neighbors, consider planting a couple different varieties. You can compare yields and do a taste test at the end of the season. Growing multiple varieties is a good way to avoid "experimenting with failures" because it is unlikely that they will all fail. One variety might do better in warmer year, while another might do better when it is cooler. Be careful to arrange your plots so that each variety is grown on similar soil. If one variety is on your high nutrient drained area and one is on another soil type, you won't be able to tell if differences were caused by the variety or the soil.