How To Grow Potatos
Potatoes.—Ground intended for Potatoes should be dug deeply in the autumn, thoroughly drained, well manured and trenched, and left rough on the surface during the winter. At the beginning of February stand the tubers on end in shallow boxes, and expose them to the light to induce the growth of short, hard, purple sprouts. Allow one sprout to each tuber or set, rubbing off the rest. They may be planted at any time from the end of February to the end of March in rows 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 ft. asunder, placing the sets 6 in. deep and from 6 to 9 in. apart. As soon as growth appears keep the ground well stirred with the hoe to prevent the growth of weeds, and when the tops are 4 to 6 in. high ridge the earth up about them. Directly flower appears, pick it off, as it retards the growth of the tubers. They should be taken up and stored in October. If short of storage room dig up every other row only, and give the remaining ridges an additional covering of earth. They keep well this way.
The Potato is a native of Central or Tropical America. In its wild or natural state, as found growing on the mountains of Mexico or South America, the tubers rarely exceed an inch in diameter, and are comparatively unpalatable. During the last half-century, its cultivation within the United States has greatly increased; and it is now considered the most important of all esculent roots, and next to the cereals in value as an article of human subsistence.
Soil.—The soils best suited to the Potato are of the dryer and lighter descriptions; pasture lands, or new land, with the turf freshly turned, producing the most abundant as well as the most certain crops. On land of a stiff, clayey texture, or in wet soils, they are not only extremely liable to disease, but the quality is usually very inferior. "On soils which have been long cropped and heavily manured, they rarely succeed well; and hence garden ground, in most cases, does not produce tubers of so good quality as those obtained from the fields."
Fertilizers.—"In good garden soil, the less manure that is used, the better flavored will be the produce; and it will also be much less affected by the disease. Therefore, whilst the malady prevails, or symptoms of it still remain, it is not advisable to apply much manure.
"Amongst the fertilizers that are employed, may be enumerated, in addition to barnyard and stable manure, leaves, leaf-mould, peat-charcoal, and other carbonaceous substances, lime, gypsum, or plaster, and bone-dust.
"Wood-ashes are useful in supplying potash and other inorganic substances required by the plant; and they may be advantageously applied where the soil contains a large amount of decayed vegetable matter. The same remark will also apply to lime, which is useful in destroying slugs and other vermin, which attack the tubers. Plaster, bone-dust, and superphosphate of lime, are best for humid soils. They induce earliness; and where this is an object, as it must be so long as the disease continues, they may be applied with considerable advantage."—Thomp.
Propagation.—"This is almost universally from tubers; the seed being seldom sown, except for the production of new varieties. With many it is a doubtful question, whether the tubers cut, or planted whole, yield the greater return. From experiments made in the garden of the London Horticultural Society at Chiswick, it was found, on the mean of two plantations,—one made early in the season, and the other about one month later,—that the produce from cut sets exceeded that from whole tubers by nearly one ton per acre. In the latter planting, the produce from whole tubers was somewhat greater than that from single eyes: but, in the early plantation, the cut sets gave nearly two tons per acre more produce than the whole tubers; the weight of potatoes planted being deducted in every case.
"Another important consideration is, whether small tubers or large ones should be employed for making sets; for if, by using the former, an equally good crop could be obtained, a considerable saving in the expense of sets would be effected. Large tubers, however, are preferable, for the following reasons: In all plants, large buds tend to produce large shoots; and small or weak buds, the reverse. Now, the eyes of potatoes are true buds, and in small tubers they are comparatively weak: they consequently produce weak shoots, and the crop from such is inferior to that obtained from plants originating from larger tubers, furnished with stronger eyes; and this conclusion has been justified by the results of actual experiments.
"The part of the Potato employed for planting is not a matter of indifference. It was found, by an experiment made in the garden of the Horticultural Society, that sets taken from the points of the tubers, and planted early in the season, yielded at the rate of upwards of three tons per acre more produce than was obtained from employing the opposite end of the tubers. In a plantation made a month afterwards, the difference was much less, but still in favor of the point, or top end, of the Potato."—Thomp.
With regard to the quantity of seed per acre, great diversity of opinion exists among cultivators. Much, of course, depends on the variety, as some sorts not only have more numerous eyes, but more luxuriant and stronger plants, than others. Of such varieties, a much less quantity will be required than of those of an opposite character. From a series of experiments carefully made for the purpose of ascertaining the amount of seed most profitable for an acre, it was found that from six to eight bushels, if planted in hills, answered better than more: for, when too much seed was used, there were many small tubers; and where the tubers had been divided into very small parts, or single eyes, the plants were more feeble, and the yield less in number and weight, though usually of larger size.
Methods of Planting and Cultivation.—Potatoes are usually planted either in hills or ridges; the former method being the more common in this country. If planted in hills, they should be made from three feet to three and a half apart; the distance to be regulated by the habit of the variety under cultivation. If in ridges or drills, they may be made from two and a half to three feet apart; although some of the earlier and smaller kinds may be successfully grown at eighteen or twenty inches.
"Of sets formed by the division of an average-sized tuber into four parts, three may be allowed a hill; or, if planted in drills, the sets may be placed from seven to twelve inches asunder,—the distance to be regulated by the habit or size of the plant. On light, warm land, the sets should be covered about four inches in depth; but in wet, cold soil, three inches will be sufficient.
"As soon as the plants are fairly above the surface, hoeing and surface-stirring should be commenced. The earth should gradually be drawn about the hills, or along the ridges, at each successive hoeing, and every encouragement given to the side-roots to extend themselves: for nearly at their extremities the tubers are formed; so that deeply stirring the ground between the hills or ridges tends to their extension. This latter treatment, however, must not be carried beyond a certain stage in the growth of the plant, or after the tubers have reached a considerable size, as the extremities of the roots might be seriously injured. Some varieties of potatoes produce their tubers at a much greater distance from the stem than others. These are chiefly to be found among the later sorts. Most of the early kinds produce theirs close to the stem, or at the extremity of very short runners; seldom more than nine inches from the stalk of the plant."
Forcing.—This should be commenced from three to four weeks before the season for planting in the open ground. The earliest varieties should be chosen for the purpose, selecting whole tubers of medium size, and placing them close together, in a single layer, among half-decayed leaves or very light loam, on the surface of a moderate hot-bed.
"When the shoots have attained the height of two or three inches, and the weather has become sufficiently mild, they should be carefully taken out, and divided into sets; in the process of cutting up the tubers, avoiding as much as possible doing injury to the small fibrous roots, and also to the growing shoots. These sets should then be planted out in hills or drills, in the usual manner and at the usual depth; if possible, leaving the upper portion of the young shoot just above the surface of the ground. Some care is requisite in planting out the sets, particularly in covering; for, if the soil is applied too rudely, the sprouts, which separate very easily from the tubers, are exceedingly liable to be broken off, and the set destroyed for early use. If severe cold or frosty weather occurs, the plants should be protected by straw, or any convenient, light material, placed along the drills or on the hills."
Taking the Crop, and Method of Preservation.—"The early varieties should be dug for use as they attain a suitable size; which, in warm exposure, will be about the beginning of July; and thence till the middle of August, in less favorable places. The practice of partially removing the soil from about the roots, and gathering the largest tubers, leaving the smaller ones, with the expectation that they will attain a larger size, is a mode of proceeding which seldom realizes the hopes of the cultivator; for the Potato, if once disturbed at the roots, seldom recovers the check.
"When no apprehension is felt on account of disease, a week's delay in commencing on the crop will be found of great importance both to the bulk and quality; for just previous to the decay of the tops, if pleasant weather prevails and the ground is sufficiently moist, the tubers increase in size with great rapidity.
"Late varieties usually constitute the great portion of the main crop, and are those which require most care in taking up and storing. So long as the plants continue green, the Potato should be allowed to remain in the ground; as this is quite indicative that the tubers have not arrived at full maturity."
In the preservation of potatoes, it is of the first importance that they be excluded from light. If this is neglected, they become not only injurious, but actually poisonous; and this is especially the fact when they are allowed to become of a green color, which they readily will do on exposure to the light. In a state of complete darkness they should therefore be placed, the day they are taken out of the ground; and it were even better that they were stored in rather a damp state, than that they should be exposed for a day to the light with a view to dry them. Drying has a bad effect on the skin of the Potato; for, if subjected to this, the skin and part of the epidermis are made to part with their natural juices, which ever afterwards renders them incapable of absorbing moisture, even if presented to them. Fermentation is also an important evil to be guarded against, as it changes the whole substance of the Potato, and, so far as seed potatoes are concerned, destroys their vegetative principle. As security against this, they should be stored either in barrels or boxes, or in long, narrow ridges, with partitions of earth between. Potatoes once dried should never be again moistened until just before using.
"Keeping potatoes has the effect of diminishing the quantity of starch contained in them. According to Mr. Johnson, those which in October yielded readily seventeen per cent of starch, gave, in the following April, only fourteen and a half per cent. The effect of frost is also to lessen the quantity of starch. It acts chiefly upon the vascular and albuminous part; but it also converts a portion of the starch into sugar: hence the sweetish taste of frosted potatoes."—M'Int.
Varieties.—Messrs. Peter Lawson and Sons describe one hundred and seventy-five varieties: and other foreign authors enumerate upwards of five hundred, describing the habit of the plant; size, form, and color of the tubers; quality and general excellence; and comparative value for cultivation.
They are obtained from seeds; the latter being quite small, flat, and lens-shaped. One hundred and five thousand are contained in an ounce, and they retain their germinative properties three years.
The process is as follows: "Select some of the largest and best berries, or balls, when fully ripe, which is denoted by the withering of the stalk; and separate the seeds from the pulp, and dry them thoroughly in the sun. These should be sown in the following spring, and the produce taken up in October. The tubers will then have nearly attained the size of small plums. The best of these should be selected, and the product of each plant carefully and separately preserved. In the month of April following, they should be planted at a distance from one another of from fifteen to eighteen inches; and, when they rise about two inches from the ground, they should be earthed up slightly with the hoe,—an operation which may be repeated during the season. When they have arrived at maturity, they are to be taken up, keeping the product of each stalk by itself; which product is again to be planted the ensuing spring. A judgment of the properties of the varieties will then have been formed, and those are to be reserved for cultivation which are approved of. It will be found, that, whatever had been the character of the parent stock, the seeds will produce numerous varieties, some white, some dark, in color, with tubers of different forms, round, oblong, and kidney-shaped, and varying greatly in the dryness, color, and farinaceous character, of the flesh."—Low.
Stem nearly two feet in height, erect, with long, smooth, shining, and drooping foliage; flowers very seldom produced; tubers white, roundish, rough-skinned; flesh white, of medium quality. The variety is healthy, and remarkably early; well suited to open culture, but not adapted for growing under glass, on account of its tall habit.
One of the earliest of the garden varieties, well adapted for forcing under glass or for starting in a hot-bed, and subsequent cultivation in the open ground. The plant is of spreading habit, and about eighteen inches in height; leaves small, recurved; tubers of medium size, kidney-shaped, white; flesh white, dry, and well flavored. Very healthy. Introduced.
Plant two feet and a half high, spreading; leaves rather rough, large, and of a pale-green color; flowers whitish; tubers rather small, round, smooth, and of a light-brownish color. A very healthy variety, mealy, well flavored, and quite productive. The plants do not decay, nor do the tubers attain full maturity, until nearly the close of the season: the latter are, however, of good quality, and in perfection for the table soon after being harvested.
Plant vigorous, and generally of healthy habit; tubers nearly of the form of the Lady's Finger, but of larger size; skin very deep purple, or nearly black; flesh purple, both in its crude state and when cooked; quality good, usually dry, and of good flavor.
The Black Chenango is moderately productive, and withstands disease better than almost any other potato; but its dark color is objectionable. Compared with many of the recent varieties, it has little merit, and is not a profitable sort for extensive cultivation.
A Western variety; grown also to a considerable extent in some parts of the Middle States. "It is a handsome, round potato; white throughout, except a little bright pink at the bottom of the eye. It is very early,—ripening as early as the Chenango; attains a good marketable size as soon as the Dykeman; cooks very dry and light; and is fine flavored, particularly when first matured. It throws up a very thick, vigorous, and luxuriant vine; grows compactly in the hill, and to a large size, yielding abundantly."
For planting for early use, it is a promising variety: but for a late or medium crop, upon strong, rich ground, it is said to grow so rapidly, and to so great a size, that many of the tubers are liable to be hollow-hearted; which considerably impairs their value for table use.
Similar to the Pink-eyed; varying little except in color, which is mostly red, with occasional spots and splashes of white. It is in no respect superior to the last-named variety in quality, and cannot be considered of much value for agricultural purposes or for the table.
A bright-red potato from California. Tubers variable in form, from long to nearly round, rather smooth; eyes slightly depressed.
It is one of the most productive of all the varieties; but, on account of its extreme liability to disease, cannot be recommended for general cultivation.
A medium-sized, roundish, flattened, white potato, once esteemed the finest of all varieties, but at present nearly or quite superseded by the Jackson White, of which it is supposed to be the parent. Eyes rather numerous, and deeply sunk; flesh very white, remarkably dry, farinaceous, and well flavored. Originated about thirty years ago, in Berkshire County, Mass., by Mr. John Carter.
A variety said to have originated in Maine, and often sold in the market for the "State of Maine;" which it somewhat resembles in size, form, and color. Flesh yellow. Not a desirable sort. It is much inferior to the "State of Maine;" and, in many places, the latter variety has been condemned in consequence of the Churchill having been ignorantly cultivated in its stead.
An early sort, of good quality, but rather unproductive. Shape somewhat long, though often nearly round; color white and purple, striped, and blended together. It is of no value as an agricultural variety; and, for table use, cannot be considered superior to many other varieties equally healthy and more prolific.
Introduced. Plant upright, stocky, surviving till frost; flowers pale purple; tubers pink or reddish, large, oblong, often irregular; flesh dry and farinaceous. Very healthy and productive, but better suited for agricultural purposes than for the table.
Plant healthy and vigorous. The large, full-grown tubers are long; and the smaller, undeveloped ones, nearly round. Color light red, with faint streaks of white; eyes moderately sunk; quality fair.
This variety originated in Danvers, Essex County, Mass.; and, when first introduced, was not only of good size and quality, but remarkably productive. It has, however, much deteriorated; and is now, both as respects quality and yield, scarcely above an average. At one period, it had the reputation of being one of the best varieties for keeping, and of entirely withstanding the attacks of the potato disease.
This variety originated in the town of Sterling, Mass.; and was early disseminated through the influence of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, at whose exhibitions it attracted much attention on account of its size and beauty. For general cultivation, it is probably one of the most profitable sorts known, as it yields abundantly, even with ordinary attention. Under a high state of cultivation, seven hills have produced a bushel of potatoes.
The tubers are of good size, red, nearly round, though sometimes more or less flattened. Eyes deeply sunk, and not very numerous; flesh nearly white, slightly tinged with pink beneath the skin when cooked; quality good, being dry, farinaceous, and well flavored. It requires the full season for its complete perfection, and resists disease better than most varieties. As a winter potato, or for extensive cultivation for market, it is one of the best of all varieties; and commends itself to the farmer, both as respects quality and yield, as being greatly superior to the Peach-blow, Pink-eye, Vermont White, and many similar varieties, which so abound in city markets.
Plant of medium strength and vigor, rarely producing seed or blossoms; tubers large, roundish, often oblong; color white, clouded at the stem-end and about the eyes (which are moderately sunk and rather numerous) with purple; flesh white, or yellowish-white, its quality greatly affected by season, and the soil in which the variety may be cultivated. In certain descriptions of rather strong, clayey land, the yield is often remarkably great, and the quality much above medium. In such land, if warm and sheltered, the tubers attain a very large size quite early in the season, and find a ready sale in the market at greatly remunerative prices. Under other conditions, it frequently proves small, waxy, and inferior in quality, and profitless to the cultivator. Notwithstanding these defects, its size, earliness, and productiveness render it worthy of trial.
Tubers of medium size, roundish, of a bright purple or bluish color; eyes moderately deep; flesh, when cooked, white, or yellowish-white, mealy, and well flavored.
This old and familiar variety is one of the earliest of the garden potatoes, of fine quality, and one of the best for forcing for early crops. It retains its freshness and flavor till late in the spring; is of comparatively healthy habit; and, though but moderately productive, is worthy more general cultivation.
Plant of medium strength and vigor, recumbent, rarely blossoming, and usually ripening and decaying early in the season, or before the occurrence of frost; tubers white, large, roundish, rough; flesh yellowish-white, or nearly white, dry, farinaceous, and of good flavor; hardy, moderately productive, and recommended as a desirable intermediate variety for the garden or for field culture. Introduced.
Plant medium or small, rarely blossoming, and decaying early in the season; tubers of medium size, white, roundish; flesh yellowish-white, dry, mealy, and mild flavored. It yields well, and is a good variety for early garden culture. Introduced.
Plant reclining, of rather slender habit, rarely blossoming; tubers of medium size, white, round, the skin quite rough or netted; flesh white, dry, farinaceous, and mild flavored. It yields abundantly, and is a good sort for the garden; but would prove less profitable for growing for the market than many other varieties of larger size.
Fluke Kidney. Cot. Gard.
Plant vigorous, with luxuriant, deep-green foliage; continuing its growth till late in the season, or until destroyed by frost. The tuber is remarkable for its singular shape, of a flattened oval, frequently measuring eight or nine inches in length by nearly three inches in width. The peel is thin, and remarkably free from eyes; the surface, very smooth and even; the flesh is very dry, mealy, and farinaceous, exceedingly well flavored, and, in general excellence, surpassed by few, if any, of the late varieties. It is also healthy, hardy, and very productive; but is much better towards spring than when used soon after being harvested.
The variety originated near Manchester, Eng., about the year 1844; and appears to be a cross or hybrid between the Lapstone Kidney and Pink-eye.
In this country, the variety has never reached the degree of excellence it appears to have attained in England. With us the yield has been small, and it has suffered greatly from disease. The flesh is also yellow when cooked, and quite strong flavored. Not recommended for cultivation.
An English variety. Plant healthy, ripening about the middle of September, rarely producing seed or blossoms; tubers white, of medium size, round; skin rough or netted; flesh white, comparatively dry, and well flavored. It yields abundantly; is a good kind for forcing; and, though the plants remain green until frost, the tubers attain a suitable size for use quite early in the season. An English sort, known as Taylor's Forty-fold, is quite distinct; the tubers being oval, much flattened, and of a reddish color.
Stem not long or tall, rather erect, sturdy, and branching; flowers abundant, pale purplish-white, and usually abortive; tubers red, or garnet-colored, very large, roundish, and comparatively smooth and regular; flesh white, dry, mealy, and, the size of the tuber considered, remarkably well flavored. The variety is healthy, yields abundantly, is greatly superior to the Peach-blow and kindred sorts for table use, and might be profitably grown for farm-purposes. The plants survive till destroyed by frost.
Tubers large, oval, or oblong, flattened, white, and comparatively smooth; flesh white, dry, and of fair quality. The plants are healthy, and the variety is very productive: but it is inferior to many others for table use; though its uniform good size, and its fair form, and whiteness, make it attractive and salable in the market. It is similar to, if not identical with, the St. Helena and the Laplander.
Plant strong and vigorous; flowers dull white, generally abortive; tubers quite large, white, roundish, often irregular; eyes deep-set; flesh white, comparatively dry, and well flavored. The variety is productive, and of healthy, hardy habit; not early; the plants continuing green till destroyed by frost. Introduced.
An old variety, very little, if at all, earlier than the White Chenango. Quality not much above mediocrity; its chief recommendation being its earliness. Skin and flesh yellowish-white; eyes rather deeply sunk; size medium; form roundish; moderately productive. It does not ordinarily cook dry and mealy; and, though desirable as an early potato for a limited space in the garden, cannot be recommended for general cultivation.
Tubers nearly round, yellowish-white; eyes deep-set; flesh yellow, and strong flavored when cooked. Unfit for table use.
Aside from the difference in form, the variety somewhat resembles the Rohan.
This comparatively new but very excellent variety originated in Maine; and is supposed to be a seedling from the celebrated Carter, which it much resembles. Tubers yellowish-white, varying in size from medium to large; form somewhat irregular, but generally roundish, though sometimes oblong and a little flattened; eyes rather numerous, and deeply sunk; flesh perfectly white when cooked, remarkably dry, mealy, farinaceous, and well flavored.
The variety unquestionably attains its greatest perfection when grown in Maine, or the northern sections of Vermont and New Hampshire; but is nevertheless of good quality when raised in the warmer localities of New England and the Middle States. It is earlier than the Davis Seedling; comparatively free from disease; a good keeper; commands the highest market-price; and, every thing considered, must be classed as one of the best, and recommended for general cultivation.
The plants are very erect, the flowers nearly white; and the balls, or berries, are produced in remarkable abundance.
A variety of comparatively recent introduction. Plant very strong and vigorous; tubers of extraordinary size when grown in strong soils, long and somewhat irregular in form, thickly set on the surface with small knobs, or protuberances, above which the eyes are placed in rather deep basins, or depressions; color red and white intermixed, in some specimens mostly red, while in others white is the prevailing color; flesh yellow when cooked, and quite coarse, but esteemed by many as of good quality for table use.
One of the largest of all the varieties, remarkably productive, quite free from disease, keeps well, and, as an agricultural potato, rivals the Rohan. Requires the full season. It sports more than any potato; being exceedingly variable in size, form, and color.
Ruffort Kidney. Law.
Stem from one foot and a half to two feet high, of straggling habit of growth; leaves smooth, and of a light-green color; blossoms rarely if ever produced; tubers white, smooth, long, and slender, and of nearly the same diameter throughout; eyes very numerous, and slightly depressed.
A very old variety, of pretty appearance, long cultivated, and much esteemed as a baking potato; its peculiar form being remarkably well adapted for the purpose. It is, however, very liable to disease; and as many of the recently introduced seedlings are quite as good for baking, as well as far more hardy and productive, it cannot now be considered as a variety to be recommended for general culture.
Lapstone Kidney. M'Int.
A variety of English origin. M'Intosh describes it as being "decidedly the best kidney potato grown, and an excellent cropper. Tubers sometimes seven inches in length, and three inches in breadth. It is longer in coming through the ground in spring than most other varieties, and the stems at first appear weakly; but they soon lose this appearance, and grow most vigorously. It is a first-rate potato in August and September; and will keep in excellent condition till May following, without losing either its mealiness or flavor."
Form long, often somewhat flattened,—its general appearance being not unlike that of the Jenny Lind, though of smaller size; color red; flesh marbled or clouded with red while crude, but, when cooked, becoming nearly white. The stem-end is often soggy, and unfit for use; and the numerous prongs and knobs which are often put forth on the sides of the tubers greatly impair their value for the table.
A few years since, this variety was exceedingly abundant in the market, and was esteemed one of the best sorts for use late in spring and early in summer. It was also remarkably healthy and very productive, and was considered one of the most valuable kinds for general cultivation. It has somewhat improved in quality by age, although not now to be classed as a potato of first quality. The Jenny Lind and other varieties are now rapidly superseding it in most localities.
A very handsome white variety, long and smooth, like the St. Helena, but not quite so large; eyes very slightly depressed. It is of poor quality, quite unproductive, rots badly, and not worthy of cultivation.
This old variety, at one period, was very extensively cultivated, and for many years was considered the most profitable of all the sorts for raising for market or for family use. Form nearly round, the larger specimens often somewhat flattened; color light blue; eyes moderately depressed; flesh white, dry, and good. It yields abundantly; but, in consequence of its great liability to disease, its cultivation is now nearly abandoned.
Tubers kidney-shaped, white; flesh yellow, rather waxy, and of indifferent flavor.
It is neither very productive, nor very valuable in other respects; and it is now little cultivated.
Tubers similar in form to the Davis Seedling, but rather more smooth and regular; color red, the eyes not deeply sunk; flesh yellow when cooked, dry and mealy, but only of medium quality, on account of its comparatively strong flavor.
It is hardy and quite productive; keeps well; and is extensively cultivated for market in the northern parts of New England and the State of New York, as well as in the Canadas. It is common to the markets of most of the large seaport cities; and, during the winter and spring, is shipped in large quantities to the interior and more southern sections of the United States. The Davis Seedling—which is quite as productive, and much superior in quality for table use—might be profitably grown as a substitute.
Tubers nearly round; eyes rather large and deep; color mostly white, with spots and splashes of pink, particularly about the eyes; flesh yellow.
The Pink-eyed is an old but inferior variety, hardly superior in quality to the Vermont White. Though quite productive, it is generally esteemed unworthy of cultivation.
Poggy, or Porgee.
A dark-colored variety, extensively cultivated in the British Provinces, particularly in Nova Scotia; and, during the autumn, imported in considerable quantities into the principal seaports of the United States. It is of excellent quality, and by some preferred to all others, especially for baking; for which purpose, on account of its size and remarkable form, it seems peculiarly adapted. It is moderately productive, and succeeds well if seed is procured every year or two from the East; but, if otherwise, it soon deteriorates, even under good cultivation.
Size above medium; form long, broadest, and somewhat flattened, at the stem-end, and tapering towards the opposite extremity, which is often more or less sharply pointed. It is also frequently bent, or curved; whence the name "Cow-horn," in some localities. Skin smooth; eyes not depressed; color dark-blue outside, white within when cooked. Not very hardy; requiring a full season for its complete perfection. Unless where well known, its color is objectionable; and it is generally less salable than the white-skinned varieties.
A large, white, roundish, English potato, not unlike the variety universally known and cultivated many years since in this country as the Orange Potato. Plant vigorous, and of strong, stocky habit; flowers purple, generally abortive; flesh yellowish-white, of fair quality for table use. A hardy, very productive sort, which might be profitably grown for marketing and for agricultural purposes. The plants survive till frost. Not early.
Tubers very large, in form much resembling the Jenny Lind,—the full-developed specimens being long, and the smaller or immature tubers nearly round; eyes numerous and deep-set; color yellowish-white, with clouds or patches of pink or rose; flesh greenish-white when cooked, yellowish, watery, and strong flavored. The plant is strong and vigorous, and continues its growth till destroyed by frost. The flowers are generally abortive.
Mr. Hyde describes it as a variety famous in history, but infamous as a table potato, and fit only for stock. It formerly gave an immense yield, but now produces only moderate crops; and its cultivation is nearly abandoned.
Shaw's Early. M'Int.
An English variety, much employed for forcing, and extensively cultivated in the vicinity of London for early marketing. It is, for an early sort, a large, beautiful, oblong, white-skinned potato. Its only fault is its hollow eyes. It is very productive.
State of Maine.
This variety, as implied by its name, is of Maine origin, and was introduced to general notice six or seven years ago. In form, the tubers are similar to the White Chenango, being long, smooth, and somewhat flattened; though the smaller and undeveloped bulbs are often nearly round. Eyes almost even with the surface, and quite numerous; color white, like the Jackson White. When cooked, the flesh is white, very dry, mealy, and of good flavor.
It is quite early, but more liable to disease than the Davis Seedling and some other varieties. In Maine it is grown in great perfection, nearly equalling the Jackson White and Carter as a table potato. On light soil, it is only moderately productive; but on strong land, in high cultivation, yields abundantly.
An old and very productive variety. Plant erect, and of a bushy habit, about two feet and a half in height; foliage light green; flowers pale reddish-purple. The tubers are of an oblong form, and remarkably large; specimens having been produced measuring ten inches in length. Eyes numerous, but not deeply set; skin white and smooth; flesh white when cooked, mealy, and of fair quality. It is a very healthy variety, and not easily affected by disease; but belongs to that class of late field potatoes, the foliage of which does not in ordinary seasons decay until injured by frost, and the tubers of which generally require to be kept some time before they are fit for using to the greatest advantage.
Taylor's Forty-Fold. Law.
Plant about one foot and a half high, slender, and spreading in habit; foliage light green; flowers very rarely produced; tubers oval, much flattened, and of medium size; skin rough, and of a dull, reddish color. This variety is very dry and starchy, well flavored, and suffers comparatively little from disease. It is also very productive, and a good early sort for the garden; but not well adapted for field culture, or for cultivation for agricultural purposes.
Plant quite low and dwarf, decaying with the season; flowers lilac-purple, large and handsome, generally abortive; tubers of medium size, roundish, of a pink or reddish color; flesh yellow, dry, but not of so mild a flavor as many of the more recent kinds. Moderately productive. Introduced.
A very fair and good-sized but poor variety, grown to a considerable extent in the northern and more interior portions of New England. Color white outside; but the flesh, when cooked, is yellow, soft, not dry, and strong flavored. It is a strong grower, and very productive, but rots badly. It commands only a low price in the market, on account of its very inferior quality; and cannot be recommended for general cultivation.
Veto, or Abington Blue.
Tubers long, resembling in form those of the Long Red, and, like that variety, often watery at the stem-end after being cooked; color blue or purplish; flesh white; quality fair as a table potato.
This variety originally was remarkably productive, and at one period was in very general cultivation; but now is rarely planted, as it is extremely liable to disease, and rots badly.
Chenango. Mercer, of New York.
An old and familiar variety; at one period almost everywhere known, and generally acknowledged as the best of all varieties. As a potato for early planting, whether for family use or for the market, it was a general favorite; but, within a few years past, it has not only greatly deteriorated in quality and productiveness, but has been peculiarly liable to disease and premature decay of the plants. When well grown, the tubers are of good size, rather long, slightly flattened, and comparatively smooth; eyes slightly sunk; color white, with blotches of purple,—before cooking, somewhat purple under the skin; flesh, when cooked, often stained with pale purple; in its crude state, zoned with bright purple. Quality good; dry, mealy, and well flavored.
The variety is considerably affected by the soil in which it may be cultivated; in some localities, being much more colored than in others. It is now rapidly giving place to new seedling varieties, quite as good in quality, and more healthy and productive.
Tubers long and flattened, somewhat irregular; eyes deeply sunk; skin yellowish; flesh white.
It is a very handsome variety, of Maine origin, but is only moderately productive. It is also of ordinary quality, rots easily, and will probably never become popular.
Tubers large, long, white, smooth, uniformly fair and perfect. Appears to be nearly identical with the St. Helena and Laplander. It is very productive, and a good agricultural variety; but, for table use, can be considered only of second quality.
Tubers of a pinkish-white color, and similar in form to the Jackson White. Eyes deep-set; flesh white, more so than that of the Davis Seedling. It keeps well, and is an excellent variety for cultivation for family use, but less profitable than many others for the market. Stalks upright; blossoms pinkish, but not abundant.
In quality, this comparatively old and well-known variety is nearly or quite equal to the Carter; and, besides, is much more productive. As a garden potato, it deserves general cultivation. Requires the full season.