My Potatoes Arrived. Wow!

The $15 potato sampler, as pictured on Tom's website

I was not dissatisfied with last year’s potato crop, but now I’m ready for something different. It seems that everyone is selling “Yellow Finn” and “All Blue” and “Red Pearl,” and they are all fine cultivars. But I like to experiment, because I find it’s a good way to learn something new from my garden and because it’s fun. I began my quest for unusual seed potatoes about two months ago. I finally found “New World Seeds and Tubers,” a website run by Tom and Rob Wagner.

It didn’t take much research to realize that I had stumbled on THE Tom Wagner, who is probably the preeminent potato guy – otherwise known as the “Tater Mater.” Wagner is primarily a researcher. One of his best-known tomatoes is the famous “Green Zebra,” which I  – and probably many of you – have grown and enjoyed. Now, thanks to Rob, Tom’s cultivars can  be bought online, through his new website. He also offers a selection of tomatoes and cereal grains.

I decided to take a chance and buy the 1-pound potato sampler. It’s a box crammed with as many seed potatoes as Tom can get in, and you don’t choose them – Tom does. I asked that it be delivered in April, and sure enough it arrived right on time. When I opened the box, it was indeed crammed with potatoes, with the cultivar names written right on the skins. There were 18 of them in there and I had only heard of a couple.  I’m going to need a lot of markers, so I can keep track of the different varieties once they’re in the ground.

Now for the best part: inside my box, along with the printed  list of cultivars, was a receipt on which was a handwritten note from Tom himself! He actually apologized for the lateness of my order (it wasn’t) and ended with: “I did, however, send you a very special collection of varieties to play around with. Thanks… Tom”

No. thank YOU, Tom! I can’t wait to start playing.

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About dirtynailz

Writer for a daily newspaper, gardener, tree hugger, orchid-grower, photographer, animal lover, hiker, wilderness seeker. Proponent of clover in the lawn and a dog on the bed.
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12 Responses to My Potatoes Arrived. Wow!

  1. cjwright says:

    I have a newbie question, dirtynailz. What’s the difference between a seed potato and a potato we get from the store to eat?

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    • dirtynailz says:

      The potatoes we buy in stores have usually been treated to keep them from sprouting, although I know people who have grown them successfully anyway . Seed potatoes are supposedly disease-free and are often already beginning to sprout – which you DO want if you are growing them as plants. Of course when you buy seed potatoes, you also choose the variety, which gives you a vastly wider and better selection. Does any of this make sense?

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  2. cjwright says:

    All the sense in the world! Thanks for the good info.

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  3. HerbDoc says:

    Labeling right on the potatoes…ingenious! Love that idea. Although I always grow my potatoes in trenches with straw (I hate digging them up
    and puncturing them), this year I’m trying the potato bag idea. Will let you know how it turns out.

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  4. cjwright says:

    How about growing them in boxes? I’ve heard this is a good way to grow them on decks.

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    • dirtynailz says:

      I’ve heard that too. Some people also use grow bags on their decks, and others just fill trash bags with soil and do them that way.

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  5. joyce c. torrice says:

    hi…and great BLOG…love reading all the good stuff….the web is outstanding and very informative…lots of hard work went into that for sure. Hopefully the “BOOK ” will emerge from this …..

    good luck and you have a “world of gardening knowledge” to share.

    thanks

    Like

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