Choosing the Right Variety of Potato to Grow at Home

early red potatoesSome varieties of potatoes store better than others, some do well in shorter seasons and some are better enjoyed a particular way. Which particular spuds you choose to grow depends on what you are looking for.

Storage
Kennebec potatoes are often considered to be the best type for storage. Yukon Gold can keep a long time as well, and so can German Butterball. Many of the red potatoes are fun to grow but don’t store as well. Not a problem though, as potatoes can be pressure canned, dehydrated or simply frozen as is. You can also freeze them prepared, saving mealtime prep.

Harvest Time
If your season is short or if you plan to do some succession planting, you can choose from a number of varieties of potatoes that are ready to harvest earlier in the season. This would include Superior, Red Norland and Red Gold. Yukon Gold and Adirondack Red and Blue are close behind. Varieties that are ready about the middle of the season include Kennebec, Gold Rush, Purple Viking and Vicasso. Red Pontiac would be ready soon afterwards, with the German Butterball and the Fingerlings last to harvest.

Many gardeners plant a few varieties to have the fresh potatoes coming in throughout the summer by choosing an early variety, a midseason and a late season.

Use
Some red potatoes look great when they are prepared leaving the skins on, but if you are looking for a colorful peeled potato, we would recommend the Adirondacks. The colors of their skins are followed on in the flesh, unlike many similar taters.

Which potato is better prepared a certain way is to some extent a matter of preference. For baking however, you need a good skin; Gold Rush and the Adirondacks fit the bill. The Blue also make delightful potato chips.

In the Joneses’ garden you will find Kennebec, Yukon Gold and German Butterball. All three store well and are wonderful no matter how they are prepared. They mature at different times, so our supply of fresh potatoes is extended through the season. We will also plant the Red Pontiac variety as well, just for fun.

Watch a video about growing potatoes.

Read an article about growing potatoes.

Gardening Jones is a Pennsylvania master gardener. Learn more at her blog.

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