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Full text of "The potato; a compilation of information from every available source"

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THE POTATO 



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THE POTATO 

A Compilation of Information from Every 
Available Source 



BT 

EUGENE H. GRUBB 

Mt. Sopris Farm, Carbondale. Colorado: Consulting Apriculturist for the 
Twin Falls North Side Land and Water Company, Idaho, and the 
Sacramento Valley Irrig-ation Company, California; Special 
Commissioner to Europe in Potato Investigations for 
the United States Government ; author of 
"The Modern Delicacy", "Orchard 
Heating," "Farmers' Bulle- 
tin 386 on Potatoes." 



AND 

W. S. GUILFORD 

Jerome, Idaho, and Willowa, California ; Director of Agriculture, Sacra- 
mento Valley Irrigation Company. California. 




Garden City New Yokk 

DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COJSIPANY 

1912 



Copyright, 1912, by 

DOUBLEDAY, PaGE & CoMPANY 

All rights reserved, including that of 

translation into foreign languages, 

including the Scandinavian. 




W. C. Brown, president New York Central Lines — a leader in 

agricultural j^rogress 




LuLher Burbaiik, the world's greatest plant breeder 




James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture 



DEDICATION 

Recognizing their valuable, lasting and unselfish work 
for American Agriculture in different fields, for the common 
good, this book is respectfully dedicated to 

James Wilson 

Secretary of Agriculture, 

Luther Burbank 

The World's Greatest Plant Breeder. 

W. C. Brown 

President, New York Central Lines. 

Three men whose past work, present achievement, and 
plans for the future place them high in the list of those 
whose names live through all time. 



ACKNOWT.EDGMENTS 

The authors desire lo acknowledge courtesies so 
numerous that to enumerate them is not possible, from 
potato growers, government and state agricultural authori- 
ties, dealers, officials of transportation companies and 
others interested in agricultural uplift, both in America 
and Europe. Every source of information has been drawn 
on, and credit has been given in the text of the book 
where quotations occur. 

They also desire to thank Mr. Cassius K. Michael, with 
Doubleday, Page & Company, for many valuable sugges- 
tions as to the compilation of the matter for this book 
and his careful and conscientious work in editing and 
preparing the copy for same. 



AUTHORS' PREFACE 

It is with the hope that a compilation of in- 
formation in regard to one of the world's greatest 
food plants — the potato — will be of service to 
the increasing thousands of people now interested 
and becoming interested in practical, scientific 
agriculture, that this work is published. 

Never before in the history of the world has 
the production of human food received as great 
attention as at the present time. Population is 
increasing with alarming rapidity, while the supply 
of land on which it is possible to grow food is 
limited. The one solution of the problem is the 
production of more and better food on every acre 
of land on which crops are grown. 

The working out of this problem calls for broad, 
liberal education, not the least factor of which is 
to benefit by the experience of others. This has 
been made a keynote in this work, and while 
growers may not see fit to adopt wholly some of 
the methods described, it is believed that they 
will find the suggestions helpful. 

The senior author has grown a large acreage of 
potatoes at Mt. Sopris Farm for years, and has 
made a careful study of the practical side of potato 
growing all over the world. The discussion of 
problems, and the suggestions made, are from the 
standpoint of the practical grower. 

E. H. Grubb. 
W. S. Guilford. 
March, 1912. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER 




PAGE 


I 


Importance of the Potato . . • 


3 


II 


The Potato as Food . . . . 


7 


III 


Chraatic Requirements 


17 


IV 


Potato Soils . . . . . 


21 


V 


Drainage ...... 


28 


VI 


Seed Slocks and Varieties 


37 


VII 


Seed-bed Preparation and Phmting 


7G 


\in 


Cultivation . ... 


95 


IX 


Irrigation ..... 


101 


X 


Harvesting ..... 


111 


XI 


Potato Machinery- 


119 


XII 


Selling and Storage 


127 


XIII 


Cost of Growing Potatoes — Yield — 


- 




Prices — Profits 


141 


XIV 


Markets and Marketing 


154 


XV 


Enemies of the Potato . 


167 


XVI 


Dming Cars, Hotels, and Restaurants 


208 


XVII 


Fertilizers ..... 


210 


XVIII 


The Farm Rotation 


221 


XIX 


Early Potatoes — Specialties . 


224 


XX 


The Burbank Potato 


237 


XXI 


The Sweet Potato 


241 


XXII 


Legislation ..... 


254 


XXIII 


Cooking the Potato 


261 


XXIV 


Manufactures .... 


277 


XXV 


Potatoes and Potato Products as Stock 






Feed 


303 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER 






PAGE 


XXVI 


Potatoes for Exhibition — Score Cards 






and Standards . . . . . 


311 


XXVII 


Potato Superstitions and Prejudices 


319 


XXVIII 


Recent Development in New and Old Dis- 
tricts ..... 


. 322 


XXIX 


North Atlantic States . 




. 328 


XXX 


South Atlantic and Gulf States 




347 


XXXI 


The Middle West 




354 


XXXII 


Colorado ..... 




363 


XXXIII 


Idaho — Twin Falls County — 1 


[Jpper 






Snake River .... 




382 


XXXIV 


The Northwest .... 




396 


XXXV 


California ..... 




409 


XXXVI 


The Island of Chiloe, Chile . 




434 


XXXVII 


Great Britain .... 




. 437 


XXXVIII 


The Channel Islands . 




477 


XXXIX 


Ireland ..... 




486 


XL 


Continent of Europe 




489 


XTI 


History 




512 


XLII 


Botany, Physical and Chemical Com- 






position of the Potato 


521 




APPENDIX 




The World 


s Food Problem 


535 


Potato Statistics ....... 


540 


Acreage, Production, Value, Prices, etc. . 


• 


542 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



Field of potatoes on Mt. Sopris Farm at Carbondale, 

Colo Frontispiece 

James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture . . ^ Preceding 

Luther Burbank > Dedication 

W. C, Brown, President N. Y. Central Lines ) Page 



FACING PAGE 



Map showing production of potatoes in the world 
Graphic map showing production of potatoes in the 

United States , 
Dr. J. H. Kellogg 

Battle Creek Sanitarium, Battle Creek, Mich 
Some potatoes before paring 

After paring 

Chart showing origin of potato varieties 

A Burbank potato 

Standard early varieties .... 
Standard late varieties .... 
Two views of Iron Age cultivator at work 
Potato field at Mt. Sopris Farm 
Iron Age potato hoe or ridger . 

" " riding cultivator 

" " potato digger .... 

" " traction sprayer 

" " (Improved Bobbins) potato planter 
Seed pieces in place of furrows 
Dowden potato digger 
Deere disk harrow 



cultivator 
potato digger . 
two-way plow . 
double-action disk harrov/ 
shaker potato digger 



5 

8 

8 

9 

9 

38 

30 

40 

41 

96 

97 

120 

120 

120 

120 

121 

121 

121 

122 

122 

122 

122 

122 

122 



(< 
(( 
<< 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

FACING PAGE 

" Picker " in Aspinwall planter 123 

Aspinwall two-row planter 123 

planter with fertilizer attachment . .123 

potato sorter 123 

potato planter 124 

sprayer ........ 124 

Thompson's Greeley potato sorter 125 

Dowden potato digger at work on Mt. Sopris Farm . 126 

Iron Age digger at work 126 

Hauling potatoes to storehouse in "half -sacks" — Mt. 

Sopris Farm 126 

Iron Age planter at work 127 

New potato cellar of Commissioner of Agriculture, A. 

W. Gilman 130 

Potato storage cellar plan 131 

Wart disease of potatoes 172 

Early blight 173 

Potato Scab 173 

Late blight — diseased leaf and tuber of potato . .178 
Late blight — last stages of disease . . . .179 

Hill of potatoes partly diseased by dry-rot (Fusarium) 194 

Various stages in destruction of potatoes by Fusarium 195 

Rhizoctonia — showing development of" little potatoes" 198 
" — showing stem of young potato plant 

affected from the seed 199 

The potato eelworm, showing eggs, worm and infected 

potato 206 

Iron Age sprayer in operation 207 

E. L. Cleveland, Houlton, Maine 226 

E. L. Cleveland Co. potato storehouse .... 227 

Carbondale Peachblow potatoes on exhibition . . 312 

An attractive English exhibit of potatoes . . . 313 

Map showing some potato districts in the United States 322 

D. E. Burley and C. H. Schlaacks 323 

James J. Hill 324 

Eugene H. Grubb 325 

Mt. Sopris and a part of the Carbondale district, Colo. . 374 
Lord Ogilvy, agricultural editor of Denver Post, 

Denver, Colo 375 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

FACING PAGE 

Potato digging near Twin Falls 384 

Planet Jr. furrower or ridger for hilling potatoes . 384 

Potatoes near Jerome 385 

Irrigating potatoes near Wendell 385 

I. B. Perrine and H. L. HoUistcr 386 

Map showing districts in Great Britain where there are 

prominent potato farms ...'... 438 

Sir Matthew Wallace 442 

Potato digging in Scotland 443 

Potato field on the farm of Matthew G. Wallace . 443 

Mr. Hannah and Mr. Grubb in potato jBeld . . . 450 

Potato field on Girvan Mains farms .... 450 

Digging potatoes at Girvan Mains 450 

Garden on Girvan Mains farms 450 

Buildings on Little Pinmore farm, Scotland . . .451 

House on Little Pinmore farm 451 

Farm buildings, Girvan Mains farms . . . .451 

Laborer's house, Girvan Mains 451 

A party of leading British farmers 456 

Sutton's Windsor Castle 457 

Intensive British agriculture illustrated . . . 458 

W. Dennis & Sons 464 

Potato storage house on farm of W. Dennis & Sons . 465 

Titus Kime 470 

Northern Star potatoes grown by Titus Kime . . 470 

Half acre challenge plot of Northern Star potatoes . 471 

Harvesting early potatoes on the Island of Jersey . 478 

Oats on the Island of Jersey 478 

Plow for very deep plowing used in the Island of Jersey 478 

Sutton's Ninety-fold potatoes 479 

Composition of the potato 524 

Transverse and longitudinal sections of the potato . 525 



THE POTATO 



CHAPTER I 

IMPORTANCE OF THE POTATO 

DURING the season of 1911-1912 the United 
States has imported large quantities of 
potatoes from Europe. The crop of 1911 
was a good many milhon bushels short of the 
needs of the nation. 

This situation causes the thoughtful student of 
the food problem to ask why we do not grow more 
potatoes. Have we not a suflScient area suited 
to the crop.'^ or is the average production per acre 
too low, and if so, can it be increased? 

A potato shortage is apt to result in this 
country any year that weather or soil condi- 
tions are unfavorable in our principal producing 
districts. 

We can and must grow more and better po- 
tatoes. There are good undeveloped districts 
that can produce a large tonnage, and by better 
methods of propagation and cultivation the yield 
on areas now in the crop can be very greatly in- 
creased. 

The potato comprises about 25 per cent, of 
the food of European and English-speaking 
people. Only the Oriental races exist without 
it. If the potato crop of Europe should fail, 
famine would result, as it did in Ireland between 
1840 and 1850. More pounds of the potato are 
produced than of any other food crop in the 
world. 

3 



4 THE POTATO 

The number of pounds of food produced to t*he 
acre in the potato crop is large, as compared with 
some other crops. In a 90-bushel potato crop 
there are 5,400 pounds of food; a 14-bushel wheat 
crop weighs only 840 pounds. 

Although good yields are made by some growers 
in the United States, the average production is 
only 89.8 bushels per acre, while in Germany the 
average yield is 197.3 bushels, and in Great 
Britain 186.4 bushels. 

In the United States the average consumption 
of potatoes per capita is between three and four 
bushels. In Europe it greatly exceeds this, in 
some sections being more than twenty -five bushels. 
The potato furnishes a cheap, wholesome food, 
and its use could be considerably increased with 
benefit to the race. 

At the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan, 
under the direction of one of the greatest food 
experts in the world, 1,000 people consume 7,000 
bushels per year — seven bushels per capita. 

The use of the potato can and will be very 
greatly extended. In Europe, especially in Ger- 
many, the potato is largely used in manufacturing 
and for stock food. The price of gasoline and 
kerosene is kept down by the low price of spirit 
distilled from the potato. A very high-grade 
glucose, from which confectionery is made, is a 
potato product. It is superior to grain glucose. 
Flour which is used in all kinds of cooking is made 
from the potato. Potato starch is also made in 
Germany and in the United States. 

It was with the idea of improving potato con- 
ditions that the senior author wrote the following 
letter, dated December 7, 1908, to Secretary of 
Agriculture James Wilson: 




O 



o 



o 
5 



o 



bO 



O 

-a 





Jl^ I J»l 



POTATOES 

AVERAGE 'ANNUAL 
PRODUCTION 

DEC/IDE f/a99-/90&J , 

IN M/i.i.ib/1/s or Busȣi.s 1 



Graphic map showing production of potatoes in the United States 



THE POTATO 5 

"It may seem presumptuous on my part to sug- 
gest any remedy for the betterment of the present 
unsatisfactory conditions obtaining in American 
potato growing, but the more I investigate the 
subject of potato culture in this country the more 
I am convinced of the necessity of more thorough 
and special knowledge of potato growing by 
American farmers, if they are ever to compete 
with the vast influx of foreign potatoes to our 
shores. It seems to me urgent that our Govern- 
ment exert itself to ameliorate, in some measure 
at least, the present deplorable state of this great 
and vital industry. We should investigate the 
causes whereby the foreign potato culturists are 
able to so considerably exceed our own best efforts 
of production, and the diffusion of such informa- 
tion among our American farmers would be in- 
valuable and certainly productive of the use of 
more intelligent methods by them, resulting in a 
perceptible increase in this great food staple, to- 
gether with a much needed improvement in 
quality. 

"I am fully persuaded that we imperatively need 
a more practical knowledge of seed growing and 
seed selection, of growing special seed stocks, the 
proper storage of seed stocks during the winter, 
preparation of seed bed and cultivation, bal- 
anced plant foods and fertilization of soil. I 
know of no acquisition to agricultural knowledge 
so devoutly to be wished, or that would be so 
valuable to our farmers. 

*'If Germany, with an area not more than twice 
that of Colorado, can and does produce fully two 
biUion bushels of potatoes annually, and the 
United States, in its entirety, a meagre two hun- 
dred and seventy-five million bushels annually 



6 THE POTATO 

(which latter Is vastly overestimated) , we ought to 
know what it is that produces such marvellous 
results on foreign soils, which have been cropped 
for a thousand years." 

Since this letter was written the senior author 
has carefully studied the European potato situ- 
ation, and the results of his investigations are 
incorporated in the chapters which follow, being 
given in detail in chapters XXXVII, XXXVIII, 
XXXIX and XL. 

The attention that is given to this matter abroad, 
and the esteem in which it is held, are shown by 
the following extract from a very able address 
by David Young, editor of the North British 
Agriculturist, Edinburgh, Scotland, entitled "The 
Potato Crop." He says: 



til 



The potato crop is one of the most important 
of all in the rural economy of the United Kingdom. 
The potato is an esculent which is largely used and 
highly relished as an article of diet by rich and 
poor alike. The very poorest of the population 
find it one of the cheapest forms of sustenance they 
can obtain, and no well-ordered banquet, however 
sumptuous, would be considered complete without 
the roti-boeuf and the poulet being flanked by the 
pommes de terre. 

"The potato crop is practically the one farm 
crop grown primarily for human food of which the 
United Kingdom can in ordinarily favorable sea- 
sons supply the wants of its teeming population." 



CHAPTER II 

THE POTATO AS FOOD 

DEFINITE knowledge in regard to, the 
world's greatest food crop is very meagre. 
This is true not only of the mass of con- 
sumers, but even doctors and cooks, who should 
be well informed on every subject pertaining to 
food. 

One of the greatest authorities on food in the 
world is Dr. J. H. Kellogg, superintendent of the 
Battle Creek Sanitarium, Battle Creek, Mich. 
He has spent a lifetime in the study of the vari- 
ous articles of food, his investigations covering 
all possible sources of information, not only in 
America, but in Europe. The following article on 
''The Special Dietetic Virtues of the Potato, '** by 
this foremost authority, is one of the best ever 
written about the potato: 

"Soon after the potato was introduced into 
Europe in the sixteenth century the ridiculous 
notion somehow got afloat that the use of the po- 
tato was the cause of leprosy, which at that time 
was quite prevalent in most European countries. 
The prejudice which was thus created against this 
most valuable of all garden vegetables has never 
been quite overcome. Various malicious libels 
against the good name of this most innocent and 
wholesome of foodstuffs are still afloat. Mul- 
titudes believe the potato to be difficult of di- 



8 THE POTATO 

gestion. Even physicians often prohibit its use 
on the supposition that it is Hkely to ferment in 
the stomach — a mistaken notion, as the writer 
will show. The belief is quite general that the 
potato especially promotes fat-making, and hence 
that its use must be avoided by persons who have 
a tendency to obesity. This is also an error. All 
foods tend to produce obesity when taken in ex- 
cessive quantity; that is, more than the individual 
needs to maintain his nutrition on equilibrium. 
No foods produce excess of fat when limited in 
quantity to actual daily bodily needs. 

"The potato is truly a most remarkable product. 
It contains within its aseptic covering a rich store 
of one of the most easily digestible of all forms of 
starch. The observations of Mosse, Von Noorden 
and others have shown most conclusively that the 
starch of the potato is more easily digested and ap- 
propriated by the body than the starches of wheat, 
corn, and most other cereals. In laboratory tests 
made by the writer it was found that potato starch 
digested in less than one sixth of the time of cereal 
starches. The experience of hundreds of phy- 
sicians in the treatment of diabetics has shown 
that in many cases the starch of the potato is 
more easily assimilated or better utilized than 
other forms of starch. 

"Potato gruel made from specially prepared 
potato meal or the pulp of baked potatoes has 
been found in Germany of very great service in 
the feeding of infants and invalids. Potato starch 
is far better for this purpose than cornstarch, arrow- 
root and similar substances which are pure starch 
and cannot be properly considered as foods. The 
long continued use of these starches in the feeding 
of young infants often results most disastrously. 




DR. J. H. KELliKiG 




Baltic Crock Sanilaiiuiu. Battle Crock Mich. 




#: 




M- 





Illustration shows desirable and undesirable types of pota- 
toes before paring 



\ 






< 





-^ 



Same potatoes after paring. At the left is shown Dalmeny 
Challenge potato. The unpared tuber weighed 13.4 oz. and the 
parings 1.7 oz. or 12.6 per cent. In the centre is shown the Mc- 
Cormick potato. The unpared tuber weighed 13.9 oz., and the 
parings 3.2 oz., or 23.2 per cent. At the right is shown Red 
Peachblow potato. The unpared tuber weighed 9.5 oz., and the 
parings 1.2 oz., or 12.4 per cent. 



THE POTATO 9 

"The potato is not only an easily digestible 
foodstuff but possesses much higher nutritive 
value than is generally supposed. According to 
Gautier, about one fourth of the weight of the 
potato is food substance, consisting chiefly (nine 
elevenths) of starch. Of the remainder, three 
fifths are protein, the tissue-building element, and 
two fifths alkaline salts in combination with citric 
and malic acids, the acids of the lemon and the 
apple. 

"From a dietetic standpoint, the potato is per- 
haps slightly deficient in protein, though this 
statement would be disj^uted by some physiolo- 
gists whose experiments appear to demonstrate 
that the amount of protein contained in the po- 
tato is quite sufficient for ordinary bodily needs. 

"The potato is certainly deficient in fats, of 
which it contains almost none, because of the fact 
that it is not, like so many of our vegetable foods, a 
seed, but a curiously modified and enormously 
fleshy tuber. This deficiency in fat must always 
be remembered in the use of the potato, and the 
lack must be made up by the addition of cream, 
butter, or some other foodstuff rich in fat. 

"What the potato lacks in fat and protein, how- 
ever, it makes up in salts, which constitute nearly 
5 per cent, of its dry substance and are perhaps its 
most characteristic quality from a dietetic stand- 
point and one of its chief excellences. These salts 
consist chiefly of potash, and in the ordinary form 
in which they are supplied do a most important 
service in maintaining the alkaline condition of the 
blood, which is essential to good health and re- 
sistance to disease. Meats contain a very great 
excess of acid-forming elements and tend to acidify 
the blood. Cereals have some tendency in the 



10 THE POTATO 

same direction. The lowering of the alkalinity 
of the blood by acid-forming foods, especially by 
the free use of meat, is unquestionably one 
of the chief causes of the rapid increase in chronic 
diseases, the mortality from which has doubled 
within thirty years, causing a loss annually of 
350,000 more lives than would occur if the aver- 
age citizen was as healthy as he was thirty years 
ago. This is probably also one of the chief causes 
of arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, 
gout, rheumatism, Bright's disease, apoplexy, and 
other degenerative maladies. The alkaline salts 
of vegetables are needed to balance the dietary. If 
the consumption of potatoes in this country could 
be quadrupled, the result would undoubtedly be 
the saving of many thousands of lives annually and 
an incalculable amount of suffering from disease. 

*'The great nutritive value of the potato, not- 
withstanding the fact that it is three fourths 
water, may be best shown by comparing it wuth 
other known foods. A study of the nutritive 
value of various common foodstuffs shows that 
one pound of baked potato is equivalent in total 
nutritive value to the quantities of various foods 
shown in the following table: 

Food Equivalent in Total Food Value to One Pound of 

Baked Potato 

1^ pounds of boiled potato 

5| ounces boiled beef 

I pound of chicken 
1§ pounds of codfish 

2j pints of oysters (solids) 

4 pints of clams (in shell) 

4| pints of beef juice 

10 pints bouillon or beef tea 

II pints whole milk 



THE POTATO 11 

3 pints skimmed milk 

8 eggs 

9 ounces baked beans 
7 ounces bread 

If pints oatmeal or corn meal mush 

Ig pints hominy (cooked) 

1 pint boiled rice 

1 pound of bananas 

2 pounds parsnips (cooked) 

1 pound green peas (cooked) 

3 pounds beets (cooked) 

4 pounds boiled cabbage 

4 pounds radishes 

5 pounds tomatoes 

5 pounds turnips (cooked) 
6^ pounds cucumbers 

"From the above table it will readily appear 
that the potato is one of the most nourishing of 
our common foods. Its value is still further 
emphasized by the fact that steamed or mashed 
potato digests in two or three hours, whereas roast 
beef requires four to five hours, or double the time 
(Gautier). 

"As already noted, the potato is not rich in 
protein, although the amount of this element in the 
baked potato reaches the Chittenden standard 
of 10 per cent, of the total nutritive value, a pro- 
portion which in feeding many thousands of per- 
sons, those in health as well as invalids, at the 
Battle Creek Sanitarium, we have found amply 
sufficient. The writer adopted personally a very 
low protein standard in early life and has adhered 
to it for more than forty -six years, and with great 
benefit. Nevertheless, if a larger amount of pro- 
tein is required, it may easily be obtained by 
the addition of milk or eggs, substances which 
while increasing the proportion of protein also 
add the fat necessary to render the potato a com- 



12 THE POTATO 

plete food. Half a pint of rich milk will thus 
balance a pound of baked potato; or an equally 
good balance may be made by adding to a pound 
of potato two ounces of white bread (two ordinary 
slices) and an ounce of butter. 

"Bunge, the world's greatest authority on the 
chemistry of foods, has called special attention to 
the importance of the alkaline salts that are found 
in vegetables, and in a much larger proportion in 
the potato than in any other vegetable used as food, 
the potato containing nearly forty times as much 
of this useful element as some cereal foods. No 
farmer would think of feeding his horses or cattle 
on grain alone. Cereals of all sorts contain a con- 
siderable excess of acid-forming elements. Grass 
and herbage of all sorts, as well as fresh vegetables, 
contain an abundance of alkaline salts, and hence 
are a necessary part of the diet of animals. Human 
beings, as Bunge has clearly shown, require such 
vegetables for the same reason, and the potato is 
the most valuable of all known foods as a source 
of these essential elements. This is perhaps the 
reason why the potato is an almost invariable 
accompaniment of meat dishes. Meat contains 
an enormous excess of acid-forming substances, 
which are to some extent neutralized and anti- 
doted by the basic salts of the potato. 

"Graham bread with butter, or beans with but- 
ter, however, are much better combinations with 
potato than meat, for the reason that both meat 
and potato are lacking in lime. The body requires 
about thirteen grains of lime a day. Meat con- 
tains but half a grain of lime to the pound. The 
potato contains only about a grain and a half to 
the pound. Wheat flakes and other whole wheat 
preparations contain four grains of lime to the 



THE POTATO 13 

pound, and pciis and beans contain eight grains 
of lime to the pound. Cow's milk contains four- 
teen grains of lime to the pint. The American 
people are losing their teeth, and hone diseases 
are increasing, as a result of this deficiency of 
lime. Professor Sherman of Columbia University 
declares that half the people of the United States 
are suffering from lime starvation. This is in part 
because of the meat diet and free use of cane sugar. 
Less meat, a larger proportion of potatoes, com- 
bined with wheat preparations and other cereals, 
beans, peas, and cow's milk would help to check 
this degenerative tendency. 

THE POTATO AS A FOOD REMEDY 

*'The potato is of immense service as a food 
remedy in the treatment of a large number of dis- 
eases. It is especially valuable in cases of chronic 
intestinal auto-intoxication or 'biliousness.' It 
affords bulk for the intestine to act upon, and so 
antagonizes constipation. The large proportion 
of starch and other carbohydrates encourages the 
growth of friendly bacteria in the intestine, thus 
preventing putrefaction. For the same reason 
the free use of potatoes combats rheumatism and 
gout, which are results of chronic intestinal poi- 
soning. 

*'Tlie potato is valuable in the treatment of 
anemia, because it combats the growth in the 
intestine of the germs which produce blood- 
destroying poisons. The death rate from diabetes, 
according to the mortality statistics of the United 
States Census Bureau, has increased nearly 50 
per cent, in ten years. The freer use of potatoes 
as an article of diet and the lessened consumption 



14 THE POTATO 

of meat would perhaps do more than any other 
one thing to suppress the alarming increase of this 
fatal malady. 

"Arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, 
a disease which causes apoplexy and is associated 
with Bright 's disease and various forms of heart 
disease besides being the cause of premature old 
age, is most often directly the result of chronic 
poisoning, the source of which is the putrefaction 
of undigested remnants of animal substances 
which have been eaten, which undergo decay with 
the absorption of poisonous products. The free use 
of the potato as an article of diet in place of the 
excessive consumption of meat and fish, a prac- 
tice widely prevalent, would unquestionably check 
the alarmingly rapid development of this disease, 
which, according to the United States mortality 
reports, has increased 400 per cent, in the last ten 
years. 

"The potato, buttermilk, and oatmeal diet of 
the Irish has developed one of the most sturdy and 
enduring races of men to be found anywhere. The 
proportion of centenarians in Ireland is more than 
ten times as great as in England. There can be 
no doubt that the free use of potatoes by the Irish 
is in large measure responsible for the remarkable 
longevity of this nation. 

"The idea that the potato is difiicult of diges- 
tion and thus gives rise to fermentation in the 
stomach is entirely erroneous. The fault is not 
with the potato but with the manner of eating. 
When acted upon by the sahva, the starch of the 
potato is converted into maltose and dextrin, 
which Pawlow of St. Petersburg has shown to be 
powerful stimulants of the glands of the stomach. 
Properly cooked and well chewed, the potato is 



THE POTATO 15 

thus not only a good food but an aid to the di- 
gestion of other foods. In persons whose stom- 
achs have a tendency to produce excessive acid 
the stimulating effect of the potato may be so 
great as to produce the symptoms characteristic 
of hyperacidity, heartburn, tenderness of the 
stomach, regurgitation of gas with acid liquid, 
and other well-know^n symptoms. This difficulty 
is not at all due to fermentation but to an exces- 
sive amount of acid and the resulting spasmodic 
contraction of the pylorus, so the stomach is 
stimulated to violent contraction. The gas con- 
tained in the stomach cannot be forced downward 
in the proper direction, and so escapes upward. 
This difficulty is not likely to occur, however, 
except when chewing is neglected. The gastric 
juice has little action upon the potato. Coarse 
particles of potato may remain in the stomach 
many hours, causing excessive acid fermentation, 
irritation and eructations. In eating potato every 
morsel must be chewed until reduced to a smooth 
paste in which no coarse particles can be detected 
by the tongue. 

"The remedy is simple. Pawlow has shown 
that fats lessen the activity of the stomach in the 
secretion of gastric juice. Hence, it is only nec- 
essary to increase the amount of fat eaten with 
the potato. In extreme cases the potato should 
be eaten in the form of a puree with the addition 
of butter or rich cream. This difficulty is es- 
pecially noticeable in persons who have habitually 
eaten large quantities of meat when they under- 
take to change their eating habits, taking less 
meat and more cereals and potatoes. With a 
change in eating habits, the unpleasant symptoms 
usually disappear in a short time. 



16 THE POTATO 

"Some persons find it necessary to avoid the use 
of tomatoes and acid fruits with potatoes. The 
apparent disagreement of the potato witli acid 
fruits is chiefly due to neglect to thoroughly mas- 
ticate the food. If tlie potato is eaten in the form 
of a puree or well mashed, and if the fruit is also 
in the form of a puree, or if pains is taken to mas- 
ticate it very tliorouglily, inconvenience from the 
combination will he rarely, if ever, exi^erienced." 

In Chapt(n* XXIII i he potato as food is discussed 
further by Mrs. K. II. (iru})b and many valuable 
recipes for preparing the potato for the table are 
given. 



CHAPTER TTI 

CLI-MATIC REQUIREMENTS 

THE potato grew wild and now grows to pf;r- 
f action in southwestorn Colorado, in the 
Jlocky Mountains, and under similar con- 
ditions in the Andes Mountains in South Arn(;riea. 

In these districts the winters are cold, and the 
ground is generally covered with snow from early 
fall — before the ground freezes — until late in the 
spring. There is often a heavy blanket of snow 
until May. In the growing season there are 100 
to 110 days between killing frosts. During this 
period the nights are cool, but there are twelve to 
fifteen hours of bright, intense sunshine during the 
day. Occasional light showers of a few minutes' 
or hours' duration occur, but the total summer 
rainfall is very small in comparison to the total 
for the vear. 

Nothing but the strongest plants and animals 
live under these conditions, but such grow to the 
highest perfection and strength. The air is vital- 
izing and invigorating. Vigorous, healthy peoj)le 
choose it, while debilitated people of low vitality 
jjrefer more mild conditions. 

Long hours of bright sunshine make the potato 
in its native home free from disease; and where 
the tuber is grown imder less favorable conditions 
the ingenuity of man has supj>lied as nearly as pos- 
sible the things that nature has furnished in the 
Rocky Mountain region referred to. 

17 



18 THE POTATO 

At Prospect Farm, at Redstone, on Crystal 
River, in the coal fields of western Colorado, 
potatoes were grown for the camp during the early 
'80 's. This farm was maintained for eight or ten 
years, then abandoned. Potatoes have grown 
in this neglected field from year to year without 
replanting, ever since that time. Under the con- 
ditions in this natural home of the potato the 
growth of the plant is checked by the frosting of 
the haulm, or top, in the early fall. This stops the 
rank, watery growth and the tuber ripens in the 
dry soil. This growth checking seems an essen- 
tial in the growing of the highest class product, 
and where frost does not come in time the same 
effect has been secured by mowing off the tops. 

Since potatoes have been grown commercially 
under similar conditions to those in the home of 
the wild potato, it has been found that varieties 
last longer there without "running out" or "chang- 
ing seed." Old varieties that have become less 
valuable each year in other districts are revitalized 
and restored to their original perfection when 
planted there. The places referred to are the 
Carbondale district in Colorado; the Twin Falls 
country and other sections along Snake River in 
Idaho; and an instance of this reinvigoration is 
the success of the "Perfect Peachblow" at Mt. 
Sopris Farm, Carbondale, Col. At Dalmeny Farms, 
Edinburgh, Scotland, conditions are similar in 
some particulars, and potatoes live over winter in 
the ground and produce crops the next year. 

While the potato grows best and with the least 
care from man in its native habitat, it has been 
adapted to a wide range of climatic conditions. 
It is successfully grown in practically every coun- 
try in the temperate zone and in some places under 



THE POTATO 19 

very unfavorable conditions. The potato cul- 
turists of Europe have originated and adopted 
cultural methods and moulded varieties to con- 
ditions in a most scientific, skilful, and practical 
way. Potatoes are grown successfully on shifting 
sands so light that they are thatched with straw 
to keep the soil from blowing away, and on clay 
lands so heavy that they require close tiling 
(underdraining with tiles forty to sixty feet apart) 
and the most careful, watchful cultural methods. 

It is true that there is no place in the temperate 
zone where potatoes cannot be grown by adding 
artificially to the natural conditions those things 
necessary to make the soil and climate approach the 
natural environment. It necessarily follows, how- 
ever, that in selecting a place to grow potatoes under 
ideal conditions some of the mountain valleys of 
the Rocky or Andes Mountains would be chosen, 
other things being equal. Latitude and altitude 
are synonomous as far as they relate to potato 
conditions when other requirements are the same. 
There are good districts north at low^ altitudes 
and good potatoes grown at high altitudes south 
or at low altitudes south at sea level where nights 
are cool and the air is moist. 

Maine, New York, Michigan, "Wisconsin, and 
Minnesota are examples of low altitudes north, 
the Snake River country, the Greeley and Car- 
bondale districts of high altitudes south, and 
Santa Rosa, Lompoc, and Salinas on the Pacific 
coast in California, and southern Great Britain 
and the Channel Islands of low altitudes at sea 
level. 

These statements as regards north and south 
refer to the north temperate zone and would be 
reversed for the south temperate zone. 



20 THE POTATO 

The sweet potato is another consideration and 
is described in another chapter. 

It is possible that the change in temperature 
each day, which approximates 30 to 50 degrees, 
has something to do with the vitahzing of plants, 
the same as man is apparently invigorated and 
restored daily in these mountain districts where 
such changes occur. 



CHAPTER IV 

POTATO SOILS 

DRAINAGE is the most important requisite 
in a potato soil. It must either be present 
naturally or supplied artificially. 

So important is this subject considered that a 
chapter on tile drainage is being included (Chap- 
ter V). 

As in the subject of climatic requirements, 
much regarding the soil requirements of the potato 
may be learned from a study of the soil conditions 
in the home of the wild potato. In its native 
habitat the potato grows in loose, friable, well- 
drained, easily worked, perfectly aerated soil. 

The physical or mechanical condition of a po- 
tato soil is a more important factor than the fer- 
tility, although any plant requires a rich soil for 
its greatest development. 

For the uniform, perfect development of all 
parts of the potato plant there must be a constant 
supply of air and oxygen, moisture and fertility. 
It is impossible to grow good potatoes in a water- 
logged soil. 

Where soils are infected with disease it is found 
beneficial to turn out the furrow in which the po- 
tatoes are to be planted, allowing the sun and air 
free access to it. European growers who practise 
this believe that they lessen liability to infection. 

In the Twin Falls country in southern Idaho — 
one of the best potato growing sections in the world 

21 



22 THE POTATO 

— the soil is called lava ash, is very mellow and 
friable, does not bake, can be worked at almost 
any time in the year, is rich and well drained 
both by a natural slope and by deep coulees run- 
ning through it to Snake River. 

At Greeley, Col., some of the soil in which 
potatoes are grown is a medium desert loam, 
drained by an underlying strata of coarse gravel ; 
other soils are heavier. 

The soils at Carbondale are a reddish granite 
formation and very mellow. The country is very 
steep. It is drained by the Crystal River, a 
rushing mountain stream with an abrupt fall. 
This gives ample drainage to the more level mesa 
or table lands on which potatoes are grown. 

In Wisconsin, Michigan, and other Middle West- 
ern States many of the best potatoes are grown on 
river sands and sandy loams — soils that are very 
well drained naturally. 

In the Salinas and Lompoc districts in Cali- 
fornia the best potato soils are friable, sandy 
loams. 

In Aroostook County, Maine, the soil is rolling, 
well drained, of lime-shale formation, and easily 
worked at all times. 

Large quantities of potatoes are now being 
grown in the Red River Valley, in Minnesota and 
North Dakota, on the big grain farms. The soil 
is a rich alluvial deposit. 

Potatoes are grown on well-drained sandy soils 
in Great Britain, but also on heavier soils per- 
fectly drained. The soil in some places in Europe 
has been made suitable to the crop, even when not 
naturally so. There are places where sand to a 
depth of five inches has been hauled on and incor- 
porated with heavy clay. Other heavy soils are 



THE POTATO 23 

kept filled with humus by cover cropping and the 
use of barnyard manures. 

These experiences show that districts not gen- 
erally considered capable of growing potatoes — 
like the territory around Denver and some parts of 
California — can be made to produce the crop if 
proper methods of soil treatment are used. 

The opinions of various authorities as regards 
potato soils are very interesting*, because each is 
based on local conditions and experience. While 
there may seem to be differences of opinion, all 
really agree on the essentials — drainage, aeration, 
and easily worked, mellow, porous soils. 

Wm. D. Hurd, of the University of Maine, says: 

"In its native state the potato is found growing 
on high, dry plateaus. One of the first essentials 
then is a well-drained soil. The kind of soil and 
proper drainage influence yield, cooking quality, 
liability to disease, and keeping quality of the 
tubers. 'Virgin soils' grow potato crops of the 
finest quality because they are usually free from 
diseases which affect the crop and have an abini- 
dance of organic matter and available plant food. 
The most desirable potato soil is a deep, free, easy 
working loam. Loams which are inclined to be 
sandy are usually too poor in plant food and dry 
out readily, while those inclined to clay may be 
too hard and apt to retain too much moisture. 
A proper supply of humus is very important in 
potato growling. The humus content determines 
to a great degree the moisture content of the soil. 
The potato is a crop which uses considerable 
water in making its growth. Much moisture is, 
of course, lost by evaporation from the soil, but 
aside from this it is estimated that a yield of 225 



24 THE POTATO 

bushels of potatoes to the acre takes 1,420,000 
pounds of moisture from the soil. Unless humus 
has been supplied in the application of stable 
manure to previous crops, green crops such as 
rye, oats, clover, etc., should be turned in to 
supply this." 

David Young, editor of the North British Agri- 
culturist, Glasgow, Scotland, says : 

"The potato crop is not at all fastidious as to 
the soil in which it is grown, provided the soil be 
properly cultivated and manured, and in practically 
all classes of soil, excepting the stiffest clays, this 
crop may be successfully grown." 

Professor A. R. Kohler, Assistant in Horti- 
culture, University of Miimesota, in "Bulletin 
114," says: 

"A sandy loam soil usually produces potatoes 
of better quality than a heavier soil does. It 
also has the advantage of remaining in a more 
mellow condition during the growing season, 
thus giving the tubers a chance to become more 
shapely, and making it easier to dig the crop. 
A heavier soil will sometimes produce a larger yield 
because it is often more fertile, but brown rot of 
the tubers is apt to be worse on such soils. New 
land is the best for large yields, or sod land which 
has been in clover or meadow. Sod land is some- 
times infested with white grubs and wire worms 
which may do much damage. These pests are 
not likely to be present in sufficient numbers to 
do very extensive injury unless the land has been 
sod for some years." 



THE POTATO 25 

In a treatise on "Early Potato Growing" for 
the Department of Agriculture and Teelinical In- 
struction for Ireland, Matthew G. Wallace says: 

"Soils have considerable influence on earliness. 
Sandy loams are best, red or gray. It is wonderful 
what can be done even with poor sand under favor- 
able circumstances and with generous treatment. 
Here again Rush (a district) may be cited. Much 
of the soil there appears to be drifting sand, and 
farmers have to resort to an expedient of lacing it 
with straw and seaweed to keep it from blowing 
away and laying bare the potato sets. Still it 
bears good crops of potatoes. Black lands, or bogs, 
are not suitable for early potatoes, as the frost 
seems to grip more keenly there, and, besides, the 
sample is not so nice, nor is the quality so good." 



Walter P. Wright and Edward J. Castle, in 
Pictorial Practical Potato Growing," say: 



"Potato soil is a loam w^ith an inclination to 
heaviness rather than sandiness, but cultivation 
will do much to bring either a clay or a sandy loam 
into line." 

Organic matter, or humus, is a great factor in 
potato soils. It tends to hold light, drifting soils 
and makes them more retentive of moisture. 

When properly worked, loams, sandy soils, 
alluvial silt soils, lava ash soils, granite soils, 
limestone soils, and many others are good for 
potatoes. 

The following by Lord Ogilvy, from the Denver 
(Col.) Post, is interesting to the student of potato 
soils: 



26 THE POTATO 

"A Greeley farmer said the other day that his 
soil was a good one, especially for potatoes, if he 
kept it built up so that it would not blow. This 
soil, twenty years ago, was considered about worth- 
less, except to grow alfalfa, and there was con- 
siderable difficulty in securing a stand. Even in 
this unfavorable season (1910) the output of pota- 
toes is 125 sacks to the acre. 

"This particular farmer moved off a very rich 
bottom farm, which was a heavy producer of all 
crops except potatoes, on to the land he occupies 
to-day. I remember that his neighbors said he was 
foolish for moving, that the bottom land had twice 
the productivity of the other tract. 

"The man who moved said that they were right 
in a general way, but that he had always made his 
money with potatoes, which blighted on the bot- 
tom lands and were only of moderate quality, and 
that the nature of the subsoil made their irriga- 
tion a matter of chance. 

*'I have myself seen water turned on at one 
comer of a field in such lands, come bubbling up 
forty or sixty rods away, having in some places 
sub-irrigated considerable areas to the point of 
saturation, in others passing through contracted 
channels, leaving the surrounding soil as dry as a 
bone. 

"The man who moved and the man who suc- 
ceeded him on the bottom farm have both done 
well by specializing (the latter growing sugar-beets) 
somewhat on the crops their lands were adapted to, 
but the potato man has made his money easier, has 
had less help than is entailed in growing beets, and 
has been able to make good with the help of his own 
family; in other words, has had the more self-con- 
tained business venture. 



THE POTATO 27 

"By the use of plenty of alfalfa, mostly fed on 
the place, he has added to his sandy soil the ele- 
ment it needed by increasing its organic and humus 
content, and the sand seems to contain those other 
elements necessary to the growth of good, clean 
potatoes." 

The value of aeration is very convincingly il- 
lustrated by digging into a hill of potatoes grown 
on heavy, poorly drained and aired soil. The 
deeper into the hill that tubers are found, the 
rougher and more diseased they are. It is also a 
notable fact that the exhibit potatoes from an 
average field are those that develop close to the 
surface. 



CHAPTER V 

DRAINAGE 

IN ATTEMPTING to accomplish the object 
sought in this work — i.e., that of embodying 
in one pubKcation as nearly as possible all 
that is available and valuable information in the 
potato field — the subject of drainage is held to 
be of such importance that considerable space is 
devoted to it. The following article is made up 
of extracts from "Bulletin 199" of the Agricultural 
Experiment Station of the University of Wis- 
consin and is by E. R. Jones, one of America's 
foremost drainage experts: 

"Of the several conditions which influence the 
growth of crops none is more important than the 
amount of water in or on the soil. While w ater in 
a thin film around the soil grains is absolutely es- 
sential to plants, an excess is as bad as a deficiency. 
The removal of this excess is known as land 
drainage. Surface drainage deals with the sur- 
face runoff, and under-drainage with the water 
which occupies the spaces between the soil grains. 
Most land has some natural drainage, but many 
acres have it to such a limited degree that an im- 
provement therein is found profitable. 
"Too much water is detrimental because: 
"1. It makes areas so soft that they cannot be 
cultivated. When these soft areas are long and 
narrow in form, they cut the upland into ir- 

28 



THE POTATO 29 

regular pieces that cannot be cultivated con- 
veniently. 

"2. It delays cultivation, particularly in the 
spring. 

"3. It makes soils cold: (a) because in the spring 
more than half of the heat that the soil receives 
is used to warm this unnecessary water; (b) be- 
cause its evaporation consumes heat that the soil 
could otherwise retain; and (c) because its pres- 
ence in the soil prevents the entrance and down- 
ward movement of rainwater, which in the spring 
is usually warmer than the soil. 

"4. It crowds out the oxygen from between the 
soil grains, thus hindering the necessary decom- 
position of organic matter in the soil. 

"5. It prevents all crop growth where it stands 
on the soil to a sufficient depth. Where it stag- 
nates only a few inches from the surface of the 
soil it prevents healthy root development below 
that depth. The shallow root system thus devel- 
oped limits the depth from wliich the plant may 
get water, and with it plant food material. 

"The occurrence of an excess of water in a soil 
or on an area is an indication that some source 
supplies water faster than it can be removed. The 
water is either coming too fast or it is going too 
slowly. Areas at the foot of uplands from which 
numerous small or large springs run during the 
greater portion of the year owe their wetness to the 
excessive seepage from the upland; while reten- 
tive clavs, due to the fineness of the soil, and flat 
muck or peat marshes, due to lack of fall, are too 
wet primarily because the water is very slowly re- 
moved from them. 

"It is evident that the drainage conditions on 
an area may be improved either by hindering the 



30 THE POTATO 

entrance of damaging water upon one side, or by 
facilitating its removal from the other. To ac- 
complish one or both of these improvements 
drains must be constructed which will give gravity 
a better opportunity to remove surplus water. 

"When the drainage needs of our lands are ana- 
lyzed it is evident that those that have good drain- 
age owe it to: 

"1. Some natural condition that prevents the 
entrance of an excessive amount of water; 

*'2. A valley or ravine to serve as an outlet for 
the water that does enter; 

"3. A surface slope to allow the escape of sur- 
face water to the outlet, or 

*'4. A subsoil sufficiently porous to admit of 
some under-drainage. 

*' Consequently, improvements in drainage con- 
ditions consist of: 

"1. Protection ditches in the absence of natural 
protection ; 

"2. Outlet ditches where there are no valleys 
or ravines; 

"3. Surface ditches to aid the limited slope in 
removing surface water, or 

"4. Covered under-drains to facilitate the re- 
moval of damaging water from wet subsoils. 
Some areas need only one of these types, while 
others need them all. 

*'When water oozes into the dead furrows and 
shallow ditches until they are kept wet almost 
continuallv it is an indication that the land needs 
tiling. The water table, instead of extending 
horizontally from a tile, bends upward at a slope 
that increases with the retentiveness of the soil. 
It is evident that laterals may be farther apart in 
sand than in clay, and that the deeper the laterals 



THE POTATO 31 

are the farther apart they may be. Four rods is 
a common interval in clay subsoils and eight rods 
in open subsoils. In muck or peat it is frequently 
best to put them eight rods apart at first, and if 
that does not i)rove to be close enough together 
an intermediate line may be put in later in each 
space, making them eventually four rods apart. 
In rare cases of springy soils it has been found 
necessary to have lines of tile two rods apart. 

"A single line of tile in a wet sag is frequently 
sufficient, but if more than four rods wide, two 
lines are better, each to be located as near to its 
side of the sag as seems necessary. In this way 
the centre of the sag, unless it is exceedingly low, 
will be protected from the seepage of the adja- 
cent upland. 

"Mains are generally located parallel to a nat- 
ural water course — a little to one side if there is 
danger of washing by the surface runoff. Sub- 
mains should be so laid out as to give the lat- 
erals a sufficient gradient without an excessive 
depth. 

"Instead of permitting each lateral to dis- 
charge directly into the outlet ditch, it is best to 
put in a main perhaps four rods away from the 
ditch and parallel to it, to receive the discharge 
from the laterals. The expense is but little 
greater because of the saving in the length of 
the laterals, and there is an advantage in having 
only one outlet — that of the main — to look 
after. 

"The water in an outlet ditch should be enougli 
below the banks to afford an outlet for a line of 
tile which may be laid to it from any part of the 
marsh of which the ditch is the direct outlet. This 
line of tile is entitled to a depth of 3 feet at the 



32 THE POTATO 

head, and a gradient of 0.1 foot in 100 feet. On 
a marsh exactly level and with no part more than 
half a mile from an outlet ditch, this means that 
the 3 feet of depth at the head, added to the 2.64 
feet of fall in a half mile requires a depth a little 
more than 5J feet deep at the outlet. With an 
allowance of 2J feet for the depth of the water in 
the outlet ditch, it is evident that, under these 
conditions, it should be dug 8 feet deep. Where 
there is a surface slope toward the ditch, its depth 
may be decreased by an amount equal to the fall 
causing the slope. Following this rule, the depth 
may, in rare cases, be reduced to 4 feet. Tile out- 
lets may be submerged for a short time during 
flood flow without serious results. 

"It is impossible to drain too deep for the 
majority of farm crops. Our upland soils remain 
moist where the water table is 100 feet or 
more below the surface. It is true that a drained 
peat unless compacted with a heavy roller will 
dry out almost completely to a depth of from 3 to 
6 inches. How^ever, below that depth, it is un- 
usual if the peat does not remain moist regardless 
of the depth of the water table. 

"When plants 'dry up' in a peat soil it is an 
indication that at some time the water table has 
been so near the surface that onlj^ a shallow root 
system was developed. With deep drainage from 
the beginning, conditions favor the development 
of a root system deep enough to reach through the 
dry layer at the surface into the moist soil below. 
This is the moisture that must be relied upon dur- 
ing a drought. It is best to prepare for a drought 
by deep drainage during the w^et season of the 
year. 

"Tile laid deep seem to begin their increased 



THE POTATO 33 

discharge as soon after a rain as do those laid 
more shallow. However, the rate of increase does 
not seem to be so great in the deep tile in reten- 
tive clay soils. To this is probably due the fact 
that deep drains continue their discharge when 
shallow drains have become nearly or wholly dry. 
Furthermore, deep drains are effective for a 
greater distance on each side of themselves than 
are shallow drains. Generally speaking, tile should 
be laid deeper in sand, muck, and peat than in 
clay. 

*'In narrow wet ravines and in springy spots 
the demands made upon single lines of tile may 
require a diameter of five or six inches. With 
the vast majority of laterals, particularly those in 
the gridiron systems, this is larger than the diame- 
ter actually required if the tile remain entirely un- 
obstructed. However, there should be made an 
allowance: (1) in sandy soils, for the sand that 
finds its way into the tile while they are being laid, 
and before they are properly blinded; (2) in peat 
soils, for the uneven settling that may take place 
and cause a tile to 'jog' slightly past the ad- 
jacent one; and (3) in all soils, for the empty space 
that should be maintained in the top half of the 
tile to facilitate the entrance of water. Laterals are 
most efficient as collecting drains when they are 
less than half full. They lose this efficiency when 
made to discharge under a pressure head. For 
these reasons three-inch tile should be rarelv laid 
except in retentive clay soils and then in lines less 
than five hundred feet long. Four inches is the 
diameter most commonly used. 

"Areas requiring drainage are usually so nearly 
level that it is necessary to make the best possible 
use of every inch of available fall. The gradient 



34 THE POTATO 

of laterals may be increased by laying them shal- 
low at the head and deep at the outlet, sometimes 
only two feet deep at the head and three and a half 
at the outlet. The gradient of a main cannot be 
controlled in this way, because at the head it must 
be deep enough to receive the discharge from the 
laterals. However, the diameter of the main may 
be increased to give it the required capacity. A 
gradient of a tenth of a foot, or about one and a 
quarter inches, to a hundred feet is generally con- 
sidered a minimum gradient for laterals. The gra- 
dient in large mains may be decreased to almost 
nothing, because the diameter of the tile itself 
may be considered as constituting a gradient. 

"With the cost of the main seldom more than 
$4 an acre, and the cost of the labor and tile for 
laterals fairly constant at about 75 cents a rod, 
it is the frequency of the laterals that is the chief 
factor in determining the cost of tile drainage. 
The cost will range from $20 to $35 an acre ac- 
cording as the laterals are placed four rods 
apart or eight rods apart. This frequency should 
be based upon principles which have been dis- 
cussed in the preceding pages. It is safe to say, 
however, that while eight rods is the interval 
which in some soils may yield the greatest dividend 
upon the money invested in the improvement, yet 
there is no danger of eventually getting the lat- 
erals too close together. 

" Where under-drainage is desired tile are cheaper 
than open ditches of the same depth. Further- 
more, they offer no obstacle to cultivation, take 
up no surface space, and are more permanent than 
the ditches. There are tile in Wisconsin that are 
working as good or better than ever at the end of 
thirty years, and in some states the life of tile 



THE POTATO 35 

has been miieli longer than that. If tile are laid 
more than two feet deep, it does not hurt them to 
freeze if they are empty when they freeze. There 
should be no sags in a grade line to prevent the 
tile from emptying themselves. Silt also has a 
tendency to settle in such sags. At that depth 
the expansion of the water in the walls of the tile 
has but httle apparent effect upon the tile. Tile 
exposed to the frequent and sudden freezing and 
thawing occurring at an exposed outlet or on the 
surface of the ground may crumble in a single 
winter. 

"There is danger in sandy subsoils of the en- 
trance of soil particles larger than can be removed 
by the running water. Sand enters with ease, but 
is carried away with difficulty. Tile laid in sandy 
subsoil should be 'blinded' or entirely surrounded 
by and packed with clay, muck, or old grass. 
This being done, cracks an eighth of an inch wide 
are permissible. 

"A single tile may break some years after being 
laid, and the earth that enters is apt to render the 
line useless above that point. Such a place can 
usually be found with ease. The broken tile 
should be replaced with new ones, after the earth 
has been removed from the tile that have been 
wholly or partly filled. 

"On springy areas having a slope sufficiently 
great that water runs rapidly in shallow ditches 
the flow of water will invariably indicate the 
proper direction for main and laterals. On areas 
less favored with a fall a few^ preliminary readings 
with a level are of value to indicate how small the 
fall is. If less than two feet in eighty rods, none 
but a survevor's instrument should l^e used for the 
remainder of the work. If greater tlum that 



36 THE POTATO 

amount, a carpenter's level carefully used or 
perhaps the water's surface in the bottom of the 
trench will do. Borings made with an auger or 
post hole digger will show the nature of the sub- 
soil, and the size, depth, and frequency of the 
laterals should be based thereon." 



CHAPTER VI 

SEED STOCKS AND VARIETIES 

AVERY frequent question asked by amateurs 
and others is, "What is the best potato?" 
The answer is that there is no universally 
"best" potato, but that certain varieties have 
proved best for certain conditions, and as con- 
ditions change, or the varieties change, further 
changes must be made. 

There are hundreds of varieties of potatoes, a 
large number of them good under certain con- 
ditions. This must be determined by experiment 
and test in the locality in question. 

The origin of a number of the leading varieties, 
showing shape and relative size, is shown on the 
accompanying " Pharo's Potato Chart. " The time 
of maturity is also shown, EE meaning Extra 
Early; E, Early; Med., Medium, and L, Late. 

Practical results seem to indicate that when po- 
tatoes are grown under favorable conditions (such 
as the mountain districts of Colorado, Idaho, and 
other parts of the West), and when cultural meth- 
ods are good, they do not "run out" and deteri- 
orate. 

Lack of care in selecting seed true to type, use of 
small whole seed and small cut seed, and storage 
under conditions that lessen vitality, tend to 
weaken the plant and the strength and size of root 
system, all of which result in lessened vitahty and 
an inferior "run out" product. 

87 



38 THE POTATO 

It is generally considered that seed grown at 
high altitudes or well north is superior to lower 
altitude or southern seed. One reason for this 
is that the frost checks late growth and the tubers 
do not fully mature. Partially matured seed keeps 
better and makes stronger growing plants that are 
less liable to disease. 

Certain districts in Maine, Wisconsin, Colorado, 
and other states make a specialty of growing seed. 

The potato is not propagated commercially from 
a seed, but from a cutting from the tuber, the tuber 
being an enlargement of an underground stem. 
Potatoes grown from the true seed ball of the 
potato do not reproduce true to type. 

An interesting discussion of seed and varieties 
is contained in "Potatoes," a lecture delivered by 
Arthur W. Sutton before the Royal Horticultural 
Society and reprinted by permission from that 
body and Mr. Sutton. An extract follows: 

"There is a misunderstanding arising from the 
fact that 'seed potatoes' and 'potato seed' are 
sometimes regarded as synonymous terms. 'Seed 
potatoes' are grown from perfectly true and reli- 
able stocks, the crops being carefully examined 
year after year with the special object of insuring 
the perpetuation, unmixed, of any given variety. 
Frequently the tubers Ox an ordinary crop, which 
are too small for market, are kept back for plant- 
ing, and dignified with the title 'Seed Potatoes.' 

"I need scarcely remind you that potatoes are 
mere enlargements of undergiound stems, short- 
ened and thickened, in which starch is stored up in 
smaller or larger proportion according to the char- 
acteristics of the se\eral varieties. Like other un- 
derground stems, the tubers possess buds or eyes. 




















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THE POTATO 39 

from which, by fresh shoots, the plant is capable of 
redevelopment; and although the tubers may be 
preserved through the winter for planting again 
in the following spring they are neither more nor 
less than portions of the plant which died down 
and apparently ceased to exist in the previous 
autumn. Hence the life of a single potato plant 
may be prolonged year after year until through 
weakness or deterioration it comes to an end. 

"Potato seed, on the other hand, is totally dis- 
tinct in every way, being the seeds formed in the 
potato berries which some, though not all, varieties 
of potatoes bear freely. A berry may contain 
from 100 to 300 seeds, the average of five berries 
examined being 232, and as the parent plant ap- 
pears able to control but slightly the distinctive 
character of its progeny, and as all the different 
seeds from one potato berry may produce plants 
differing from one another, not only in form, but 
many of them in color also, it is here we find the 
great possibilities for improving the race by selec- 
tion of the better seedlings. Even if no cross- 
fertihzation of flowers was attempted, great im- 
provement might be made by the selection of the 
most promising seedlings during the first few years 
of their existence; but where judicious crossing of 
the best known varieties is undertaken, we can in a 
great measure combine in some of the resulting 
seedlings the merits of both male and female par- 
ents, although even then no two seedlings from the 
same berry may be exactly alike. 

"Those who attempt to raise seedling potatoes 
must possess abundant patience. Like many 
other species which are not habitually multiplied 
by seed, the potato has a remarkable tendency to 
revert to the wild form. It may be necessary to 



40 THE POTATO 

cultivate 100 or even 1,000 seedlings before find- 
ing one which is really worthy of a place among 
the better varieties already existing. M. Vilmorin 
says that in France the raising of seed potatoes has 
been proceeded with in a somewhat haphazard 
manner; whereas, in England, on the other hand, 
a more systematic method has been followed, rich- 
ness in starch, excellence in flavor, power of resist- 
ing disease, with little tendency to develop haulm 
(top), being the characteristics we on this side of the 
channel generally seek. Unfortunately, he says, 
they are not always able to profit in France by 
progress realized in England, because the French 
have a marked preference for potatoes with yellow 
flesh; whereas in England, for many years past, 
there has been a preference for white-fleshed pota- 
toes. On this account even the celebrated Mag- 
num Bonum, which my house had the honor of 
introducing in 1876, after having enjoyed a brief 
popularity in the Paris markets, has been almost 
aba*ndoned as a table variety on account of the 
flesh being too pale in color. M. Vilmorin re- 
marks that in Germany considerable attention has 
been given to the raising of seed potatoes, and more 
particularly with the object of obtaining varieties 
which are specially adapted for the production of 
alcohol and starch. " 

Improvement in the potato comes from a search 
for the ideal. The Irish Farming World says : 

The potato wanted should possess the follow- 
ing essentials: 

" (1) It should be a heavy cropper. 

*' (2) It should have good table qualities. 

*' (3) It should be a good disease resister. 



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Standard Early Varieties: upper left-hand corner shows Early 
Ohio; u|)per rij;ht-hand corner shows Early Rose; lower left-hand 
corner shows Irish (\)l)l)lcr; lower right-hand corner shows 
Trinniph. The Irish Cohhler is not as vet raised extensively in 
Wisconsin, hut is a standard early variety of the East. — Eroin 
University of Wisconsin Agricultural Exi)eriment Station Bulletin 







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Standard Late X'arieties: Upper left-hand corner shows Burbank; 
upper right-hand corner shows Green [Mountain; lower left-hand 
corner shows Rural New Yorker; lower right-hand corner shows 
Peerless. These varieties represent typical commercial types. 
The Green Mountain is not raised commercially in AYisconsin, but 
is one of the leading late varieties of the East. — From University 
of Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 



THE rOTATO 41 



<(i 



Or, in other words, *the three R's' of the ideal 
potato are: Rcproductiveness, Rehsh, Robust- 



ness.'* 



It must always be remembered that varieties 
moved from one locality to another, especially with 
radical changes of conditions such as European 
varieties brought to America, must be acclimated 
before the best results can be expected. It is possi- 
ble that excellent sorts imported from England 
have been discarded before they have become 
thoroughly adapted to our conditions. 

In Europe potatoes are classed as "soft" and 
"hard," depending on their texture and keeping 
quality. When cut seed of the "soft" varieties is 
used it is apt to decay rapidly. 

The experts in the United States Department of 
Agriculture are doing a great work in breeding 
and hybridizing potatoes. In 1910 Prof. L. C. 
Corbett of the Bureau of Horticulture, who is in 
charge of the Experimental Farm at Arlington, 
near Washington, w^as growing 40,000 plants — 
the results of cross-pollinizing almost every known 
variety. Careful records are kept of every plant. 
In the experimental potato field over one half mil- 
lion tubers were produced. 

This work gives promise of wonderful results for 
the American potato grower in new varieties that 
will be greater yielders of a higher class product, 
stronger growers, and more disease resistant. 

The varieties of potatoes in highest favor differ 
in almost every locality, as has been already noted. 
In order to give an idea of the varieties being tried, 
with some views as to their value, quotations will 
be made from several sources. This information 
will be of comparative value, only, to the indivi(hial 



42 THE POTATO 

grower, and must be used more for the purpose of 
deciding what might be well to try than to follow 
the suggestions blindly. 

NEW HAMPSHIRE 

In "Bulletin 3" of the New Hampshire Experi- 
ment Station is the following: 

** As our New England markets demand a round 
or oblong white potato, we recommend for main 
crop the planting of such varieties as the Green 
Mountain and Delaware, or varieties that closely 
resemble them. 

"As seedsmen are each year introducing and 
selling at fabulous prices new and untried varieties, 
the most of which are soon dropped from their 
catalogues and forgotten, we advise growers to de- 
pend on standard sorts that have been fully tested 
and found adapted to their soil and market, and 
allow their experiment station to test the novelties 
for them, thus preventing a large annual waste of 
time and money. " 

OHIO 

That the Ohio Experiment Station has tested 
hundreds of varieties of potatoes and is yet con- 
tinuing this work is reported in "Bulletin 218." 

"Many new varieties are constantly being offered 
by originators, introducers, or dealers in different 
parts of the country. A few of these prove of 
value; an occasional one is excellent; many are 
quite inferior to our already well known and 
standard kinds. The question of varieties is one 
that cannot be treated in a general way with equal 



TIIE POTATO 43 

benefit to all potato growers. Each grower must 
determine for himself those varieties which do best 
under his pjirticuhir conditions of soil and climate, 
and use his own judgment in retaining the choicest 
of these for home use, or market, or both. 

"It has been remarked by certain growers, too, 
that it is well nigh useless to buy new varieties; 
for, an many cases, they declare, the alleged new 
variety proves to be only an old sort renamed and 
sold at a fancy price. This position tends to con- 
fusion and misunderstanding and often unjust 
criticism of originators, introducers, and dealers in 
pure seed stock. True, there are cases in which 
old varieties may have been reintroduced under 
new names — we are aware of a limited number of 
such cases — but such deception is more rare than 
general. Usually the confusion of growers is oc- 
casioned by the fact that there are several distinct 
types, families, or groups of potatoes and that the 
hundreds of varieties of different origin may be 
classified in these several groups. Indeed, there 
are many varieties of separate and distinct origin 
which follow a single type so closely as not to be 
readily distinguished from each other, either by 
habit or growth of plant or character of tubers, 
even by an expert potato specialist. 

"To present in completeness and with absolute 
accuracy the lists of varieties belonging to the 
various groups would tax the most careful student 
of botany. Such exact classification is neither 
necessary nor advisable in a purely practical treat- 
ise of this kind. In the following classification 
the writer has not only reduced the groups to the 
least possible number, but mentions only a few 
of the many varieties which might easily be in- 
cluded in each one. The classification is based 



44 THE POTATO 

principally upon similarity of the character of the 
tubers of the different varieties, without special 
consideration of the similarity of the plants of 
each. In many cases, however, there is a similar- 
ity of plants as well as of tubers. 

^^The Triumph Group: Round, white, red or mot- 
tled; first early. Bliss Red Triumph (known also 
as Stray Beauty, Strawberry and Bermuda red), 
Bliss White Triumph, Norton Beauty, Nott's 
Early Peachblow, Woods' Earliest. 

^'The Early Market Group: Round or oval, flat- 
tened; white or slightly tinted; very early; good 
quality, much superior to the Triumph group. 
Early Market, Early Standard, Early Petoskey, 
Irish Cobbler. 

^^ Early Ohio Group: Very similar to Early Ohio 
in various ways. Early Ohio, Early White Ohio, 
Early Six Weeks, Baker's Extra Early, Peck's 
Early, Acme, Ohio Junior. 

''Early Rose Group: Long or oblong, cylindrical or 
flattened; pink or white or mottled. Early Rose, 
Early Roser, Mountrose, Northern Star, Early 
Fortune, Early Bovee, Early Sensation, Early 
Northern, Algoma, Miller-Brooke, Early Break- 
fast (white). Early Michigan (white). 

"Green Mountain Group: Oblong to long; some- 
what irregular in form; usually white or straw 
color. Green Mountain, Whiton's White Mam- 
moth, Gold Coin, Ionia, Uncle Sam, Washington, 
Happy Medium, American Giant, State of Maine. 

""Seneca Beauty Group: Long or oblong, smooth; 
small, very shallow eyes; red, pink or white with 
pink eyes; quality excellent. Seneca Beauty, 
Livingston (White Seneca Beauty), Piqua Chief, 
Pat's Choice. 

''Rural Neio Yorker Group: Round or oval, much 



THE POTATO 45 

fl<attened; few shallow eyes; color iisiiallj^ white; 
quality variable. Rural New Yorker, Ilural Rus- 
set, Banner, Carman No. 3, President Roosevelt, 
Prosperity, Sir Walter Raleigh, Ohio Wonder, 
Green's No. 21, White Giant, World Wonder." 

MINNESOTA 

The Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station 
in "Bulletin 118" furnishes the following infor- 
mation : 

"1. The better varieties of potatoes are as 
follows: 

"Recommended for planting: early. Early Ohio, 
and for southern markets, the Red Bliss Triumph; 
late, Rural New Yorker No. 2, Sir W^alter Raleigh, 
and Carman No. 3. 

"Worthy of trial: early, Acme and Norton 
Beauty; medium early. Early Bird, Early Mich- 
igan, Early Norwood, and Queen of Sweden; 
medium to medium late, Carman No. 1, Norcross, 
and New Queen; late, Pingree and California 
Russet. 

"2. Twelve groups of potatoes, more or less 
distinct, are being studied. The more important 
commercial groups in Minneosta are the Rural, 
Ohio, Michigan, Cobbler, and Green Mountain 
groups. 

"The indications are that, whenever a valuable 
new variety of potato is originated, different deal- 
ers put it on the market under different names. 
Other evidence also indicates that some dealers 
put well-known and well-established varieties on 
the market under new names. Many dealers do 
not seem to be sufficiently careful to keep their 



46 THE POTATO 

potato seed stock pure or true to variety name. 
Some, if they run out of a variety, will substitute 
the one nearest like it which they have on hand. 
The result of these pernicious practices is an end- 
less confusion of varieties, which may require 
years of study and observation to unravel. To 
the farmer it means that he is never sure of the 
variety he is getting, unless he knows the general 
reliabihty of the firm from which he buys, and 
that it has a man in charge of its potato depart- 
ment who knows varieties." 

COLORADO 

The following is from "Farmer's Bulletin 386" 
of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, by the 
senior author: 

*' Years of experience have demonstrated that 
comparatively few varieties of potatoes are really 
adapted to Western or mountain conditions. 
Among the early varieties none has been so univer- 
sally successful as the Early Ohio. This potato is 
of fine quality and uniform in size and shape, 
though not a heavy yielder. Another good potato, 
though not so early, is the Rose Seedling. 

"For a medium to late variety, the Dalmeny 
Challenge, a Scotch variety, is being used quite 
extensively on the western slope of Colorado. 
For later varieties, the \^liite Pearl, and Rural 
New Yorker No. 2 are more extensively used at 
Greeley, in the San Luis Valley, and in the Un- 
compahgre Valley; and the Perfect Peachblow is 
the favorite in the upper Grand Valley. The lat- 
ter variety has been grown continuously by the 
writer for twenty -five years, and under the system 



THE POTATO 47 

of seed selection already described it has become a 
much better and more perfect type of potato than 
it was ten, twenty-five, or even sixty-five years 
ago, when first introduced." 

KANSAS 

Secretary F. D. Coburn, of the State Board of 
Agriculture of Kansas, says: 

"Early varieties for summer marketing are 
planted mostly, and of these the Early Ohio is by 
all odds the favorite, followed to a small extent by 
the Early Rose and Triumph, as named. The 
small proportion of late sorts planted are the Bur- 
bank and Peachblow. Even for winter use the 
early varieties are grown, and left undisturbed in 
the ground until fall. While some home-grown 
stock is planted. Northern-grown seed is found 
best, and each year thousands of bushels are 
shipped in by planters and dealers, who buy from 
Minnesota and eastern North Dakota, in the Red 
River Valley." 

WASHINGTON 

In "Popular Bulletin No. 11" of the Washington 
State Experiment Station A. G. Craig says: 

"There are often different strains of a single 
variety of potatoes which differ from each other 
in their characteristics — especially yield — more 
than do the different varieties. Many varieties 
possess more characteristics in common than do 
two different strains of the same variety. Hence, 
the importance of a well-bred strain of any given 



48 THE POTATO 

variety for seed purposes. Select only such vari- 
eties for late potatoes as will mature early enough 
to give ample time for digging in the fall under 
normal conditions. A few of the best of the many 
hundred varieties which have been grown on the 
station farm and at other places in the state are 
described below. They are arranged in groups 
according to their habits of growth, and in each 
group the varieties are placed in the order of 
preference — yield, shape, color, character of eyes, 
etc., being taken into consideration — as judged 
by the results of our tw^o years' tests. 

'^ Group 1: Varieties that produce new potatoes 
early, and mature early in the season: New Queen, 
White Ohio, White Rose, Pick's Early, Irish Cob- 
bler, New Early Standard, Six Weeks, White Star, 
King of Michigan, Early Thoroughbred, New 
Century, New Climax, Early Ohio, Early Rose. 

^' Group 2'. Varieties that produce new potatoes 
early and mature early in September: Sweet Home, 
Champion of the World, Early Excelsior, Rural 
Red, Crine's Lightning, White Victor, Early 
Hamilton. 

Group 3: Varieties that produce new potatoes 
early but mature late: Burpee's Extra Early, 
Arcadia, Crown Jewel, Bovee, Algoma. 

'''Group Jf-: Varieties that produce good, market- 
able tubers and ripen early in the fall; promising 
for localities where potatoes have a tendency to 
grow too late in the fall: New Burbank, American 
Wonder, White Lily, Medium, Carman No. 1, 
Sir Walter Raleigh, Green Mountain, Vermont 
Gold Coin. 

'''Group 5: Varieties that yield heavily, matur- 
ing late in season: Governor Folk, Ross Favorite, 
Rural New Yorker No. 2, Snowflake Junior, Car- 



THE POTATO 49 

man No. 3, Burbank, White Beauty, White Mam- 
moth, North Pole Easterly, Great Divide, North 
Pole Stinnett, Harvest King, North Pole. 

Group 6: Heavy yielding varieties; undesirable 
for market purposes, but may be grown for stock 
feed: Johnson's Seedling, Purple and Gold, Pin- 
gree. Red Jacket, Empress of India. " 

GREAT BRITAIN 

The following letter from Arthur W. Sutton, 
Royal Seed Establishment, Reading, England, ex- 
plains the variety situation in Great Britain: 

" As regards a list of the best potatoes now grown 
in Great Britain, I should like to explain that it 
would be quite easy to double and treble the sorts 
mentioned in the enclosed list, but you have asked 
for a list of the best potatoes now grown in Great 
Britain, and I have therefore confined myself to 
those I consider the best, and those which at the 
same time are fairly widely cultivated. 

"You are of course aware that whenever a po- 
tato is introduced which proves to be of exceptional 
merit, a great number of other so-called novelties 
very rapidly appear in commerce under different 
names, which cannot be distinguished from the 
original type. This applies particularly to the 
class of 'Up to Date,' some of the most popular 
of this type of potato being 'Duchess of Cornwall, ' 
'The Factor,' and 'Scottish Triumph;' also types 
corresponding very closely to 'Sutton's Abun- 
dance, ' such as ' Cramond Blossom, ' 'The Provost,' 
'Diamond,' and 'The Crofter,' also to 'Lang- 
worthy,' which very closely resembles 'Clarke's 
Maincrop.'" 



50 THE POTATO 

Following is a list of potatoes chiefly grown in 
Great Britain: 

Earlies. Sutton's May Queen: This variety is 
very extensively grown, especially in the very 
earliest districts, such as Cornwall, Jersey, etc., 
and is without doubt the finest and best cropping 
first earlv. 

Sutton's Ringleader: White kidney, white flesh, 
the earliest potato grown. 

Sutton's Harbinger: A white round, white 
fleshed variety, an excellent cropper of superb 
flavor. 

Sutton's Epicure: A white round, white fleshed 
variety. This variety is more largely grown than 
any other variety in the north, as the northern 
people prefer a round to a kidney variety. This 
particularly refers to Ayrshire one of the earliest 
districts in the United Kingdom. 

Sutton's 90-fold : This is a heavy cropping white 
fleshed kidney, of American texture. 

Sir John Llewelyn: White kidney, white flesh, 
a heavy cropping first early. 

Duke of York: White kidney, yellow flesh, an 
excellent cropper, of good flavor. 

Second Earlies. Sutton's Windsor Castle: A 
vv^hite round, white fleshed potato, heavy cropper, 
considered by connoiseurs to be one of the best 
flavored varieties in cultivation. 

Sutton's Supreme: White kidney, white flesh, 
heavy cropper, excellent quality. 

British Queen: A heavy cropping variety of 
good flavor, largely grown by farmers. 

Sharpe's Express: WTiite kidney, white flesh, 
excellent cropper, of good flavor. 

Late Varieties. Sutton's White City: White 
kidney, white flesh, handsome shape, perfect cook- 



THE POTATO 51 

ing quality, and has withstood the ravages of the 
"black scab" or "wart disease." 

Sutton's Abundance: White round, white flesh, 
very heavy cropper, of splendid flavor. 

Sutton's Superlative: White kidney, white flesh, 
one of the heaviest cropping main crop varieties 
grown. 

Up to Date: Wliitc kidney, white flesh, excel- 
lent flavor, one of the most popular varieties. 

King Edw^ard VII: Pink mottled kidney, white 
flesh, heavy cropper, and is largely grown in the 
Midlands. 

SIZE OF SEED AND RATE OF SEEDING 

Growlers will be found to recommend the use of 
seed varying in size from cut pieces having one 
small eye to whole seed weighing six to eight 
ounces. 

The best growlers everywdiere — those who are 
getting the greatest yields — are using larger seed 
each year, as will be noted in the chapters on 
Great Britain and the Channel Islands. 

A simple fundamental is the reason for it: the 
furnishing of more nutriment to supply the needs 
of the young plant. 

The rate of seeding is dependent entirely on the 
size of the seed piece and the distance of planting. 
Growers use from 300 to 5,000 pounds per acre. 
The practice of successful growers indicates the 
best policy to be: 

High fcTtility of soil 

Close planting 

Whole seed or large seed pieces 

Heavy rate of seeding per acre 



52 THE POTATO 

At Mt. Sopris Farm it has been found that it is 
cheaper to grow medium sized seed in large quan- 
tities per acre (by planting in rows thirty-two 
inches apart and hills six inches apart), store it 
separately and plant whole, than to cut seed. 
It costs $5 to $6 per acre to cut seed, and there 
is greater danger from dry rot with cut than 
with whole seed. 

In "The Potato Crop" Mr. David Young, 
editor of the North British Agriculturist, of Edin- 
burgh, Scotland, and one of the foremost agri- 
cultural authorities in Great Britain, gives the fol- 
lowing very interesting information about potato 
varieties : 

"If in the first two centuries (from the time of 
its introduction) the progress of potato culture 
was very slow in the United Kingdom, a different 
state of matters prevailed in the early part of the 
nineteenth century. By that time the valuable, 
or rather we should say invaluable, properties of 
the potato crop had been fully realized, and its 
culture on a large scale was the order of the day 
throughout the country. The plan of producing 
new varieties from the seeds in the 'plums' or 
'apples' was w^ell understood also, and early in 
that century there were numerous different vari- 
eties in general cultivation. The famous whole- 
sale seed firm of jMessrs. Peter Lawson & Son, 
Edinburgh, which still retains its pristine emi- 
nence in the Scottish seed trade, was then de- 
voting great attention to potato culture, and in 
the agricultural museum, which was located in 
the chambers owned and occupied by the High- 
land and Agricultural Society, it had specimens 
of over 100 different varieties on exhibition. 



THE POTATO 53 

"It is also interesting to note that the National 
Agricultural Society of Scotland was a pioneer of 
progress in potato culture. In 1827 the society 
awarded a medal to Mr. Richard Lowthian Ross 
of Staffold Hall, Cumberland, for bringing out a 
new variety of potato called Staffold Hall, which 
that gentleman had grown successively on a deep 
rich soil, approaching clay, for a long period and 
had never found it to present the least symptom of 
curl or disease of any kind, either on its foliage or 
tubers, and its produce per acre he has found in 
several instances to exceed thirty tons. 

"In the premium article by ]Mr. Peter Lawson on 
'The Comparative Value of Different Varieties of 
the Potato,' published in Vol. IX. of the society's 
Transactions, it is recorded that the * Staffold Hall, ' 
or ' Late Wellington, ' as it is sometimes termed, was 
found superior in specific gravity and quantity of 
starch contained in a given weight of tubers to any 
of the others there enumerated, amounting to 
seventy-three. It would rather seem that if a 
potato answering the description of the Staffold 
Hall were to be brought out nowadays it would be 
hailed with universal acclamation as the very 
kind that potato raisers and potato growers had 
for many long years been looking for and striving 
to obtain. 

"In the 'Agriculturist's Manual,' published in 
1836 by Messrs. Peter Lawson & Son, 'Seedsmen 
and Nurserymen to the Highland and Agricultural 
Society,' there is given a list of 140 different vari- 
eties in ordinary cultivation, and full particulars 
are given respecting each variety under the differ- 
ent heads of ' Habit of growth, ' ' Foliage, ' ' Flower, ' 
'Shape of tubers,' 'Color and other peculiarities 
of skin,' 'Fold of increase,' 'General remarks' and 



54 THE POTATO 

'Weight of starch in one pound of tubers.' From 
these 'General remarks' we learn that some 
varieties were then marked as 'healthy,' 'pretty 
healthy, or 'very healthy,' while others were 
marked as 'unhealthy' or 'very unhealthy,' and 
quite a number were marked as 'subject to curl,' 
or 'very subject to curl.' The 'weight of starch 
in one pound of tubers' was found to vary im- 
mensely in the different varieties, the range of vari- 
ation being from 408 to 903 'grains troy.' Two 
varieties — namely, the Sawyer's Red and the 
Late Jersey — were found to show 903 grains troy 
of starch for one pound of tubers, but both these 
varieties were branded as ' rather waxy and indif- 
ferent in flavor. ' 

"It is worthy of note also that in those early 
days the intelligent growers of potatoes were pos- 
sessed of a good deal of knowledge which is fre- 
quently supposed to be the product of modern 
experiment and experience. Thus we find in the 
first edition of Johnson's 'Dictionary of Modern 
Gardening ' that the plan of sprouting seed tubers 
in trays or boxes for the growing of early potatoes 
was well known and widely practised, particularly 
in Cheshire, 'where they are celebrated for the 
early production of potatoes. ' The same author- 
ity was also very emphatic in regard to the impor- 
tance of using fairly full-sized uncut tubers for 
seed, and of conserving the first sprout of the seed 
by way of preventing the loss of stamina inevitably 
caused by the breaking of the first sprouts; and he 
was equally emphatic in regard of using potatoes 
that had been brought from a district that was 
higher and cooler than that in which it was to be 
planted. It was also known in those early days 
that tubers which had been harvested before being 



THE POTATO 55 

fully matured were better adapted for seeding pur- 
poses than those which had been fully matured 
before being harvested. When it is added that in 
those early days the average yield of the crop was 
eight tons per acre, or quite two tons more than the 
official estimate of the crop nowadays, it will be 
seen that these potato growers of seventy years 
ago were not so very far behind. 

"The year 1845 was a fateful one in the history 
of potato-growing. In that year the dreaded 
disease Phytophthora infestans (late blight) 
wrought sad havoc among the potato crops 
throughout the country. 

'"The disease,' as it is called by potato growers 
— other diseases in potatoes are always indicated 
by a specific name, but this one is 'the disease' — was 
by no means a new pest, for, according to numer- 
ous old records, it had year by year done more or 
less damage to the potato crops of the United 
Kingdom and the Continent. But the disease had 
rarely, if ever before, been so virulent as it was in 
1845. But worse was yet to come, and in the fol- 
lowing season, which was wet and ungenial, the 
disease fell like a pestilence on the crops and prac- 
tically ruined them. The ruin of the potato crop 
of that year had one most important permanent 
effect on the agriculture of the kingdom, for it led 
to'^the abolition of the protective duties which had 
up till then been levied on all foodstuffs imported 
from abroad. 

"The potato growers of Great Britain suffered 
heavy financial loss through the failure of the crop 
in 1846, and for a time they lost confidence in their 
own ability to fight the battle against the dreaded 
disease, so that the area under this crop was for 
some years greatly reduced. But just as a crisis 



56 THE POTATO 

of any sort in public affairs usually brings to the 
front some strong man capable of dealing with it, 
so this crisis in the history of the potato-growing 
industry in the United Kingdom brought to the 
front a man who rendered incalculable service to 
his country and his fellow-men. This was Wil- 
liam Paterson of Dundee. 

"As a market gardener and potato-seed grower 
on a large scale Mr. Paterson had been experi- 
menting for twenty years previously in the raising 
of new varieties of potatoes; but all the new vari- 
eties which he had brought out prior to 1846 had 
gone down before the disease, like all the others in 
that disastrous year. But the failure of his exer- 
tions in that way only caused him to redouble his 
energies, with the fixed determination to discover 
the means of either preventing the scourge alto- 
gether or at least of checking its ravages to a 
material degree. With the zeal of a devotee he 
set himself to investigate the nature and cause of 
the disease, while carrying on at the same time his 
experiments in the way of raising new varieties 
wdiich should show sufficient constitutional vigor 
to hold the disease at bay. 

"For several years Mr. Paterson worked on with 
little success and less encouragement, but at 
length, in the second half of the '50's, he brought 
out the Paterson's Victoria, which proved to be 
not only a splendid cropper of excellent quality, 
but practically immune against the disease. The 
success of the Victoria was immediate and out- 
standing, and very soon it was largely grown all 
over the country. The late Queen Victoria wrote 
with her own hand a letter to Mr. Paterson order- 
ing a quantity of Paterson's Victorias for planting 
on the royal farms at Windsor, and that letter is 



THE POTATO 57 

one of the most treasured possessions of his family 
to this day. By way of doing honor to the man 
whom the Queen had thus dehghted to honor, the 
landowners and farmers of Forfarshire presented 
him with a soHd silver epergne and a claret jug, 
which are also carefully treasured in the family. 

"In his 'Report on Experiments in Propagating 
New and Superior Varieties of the Potato Plant, ' 
for which he was awarded the gold medal of the 
Highland and Agricultural Society in 1869, ]\Ir. 
Paterson tells the story of his hmg-continued and 
costly struggle to produce a variety which should 
be distinguished by its heavy-cropping, good- 
cooking, and disease-resisting qualities. From 
this report, which is published in the society's 
'Transactions' of 1870, we quote the following 
extract : 

" 'My own conviction regarding the potato blight 
is that there is no direct cure for it, but that it is 
entirely owing to atmospheric action in tlie plant, 
and that it will be always more or less subject to it. 
From this time (viz., 1853) I determined on carry- 
ing out my original idea of raising and improving 
seedling varieties from the plum or apple of vigor- 
ous and healthy tubers. The initial difficulty was 
very great. Potatoes in this country had almost 
ceased to flower, and at considerable expense I 
imported them from England, the Cape of Good 
Hope, Australia, America, and Calcutta, from 
which, as w^ell as from our own standard kinds, I 
selected the healthiest tubers and planted them in 
a field of newly taken in land, with reed manure, 
by the side of a stream where the atmosphere was 
damp. All produced flowers, and most of them 
"apples." The experiment was successful, and 
from the seed or "apple" I produced those ne^v 



58 THE POTATO 

and improved varieties which I have given to the 
pubHc, and Vvhich are acknowledged to be at home 
and abroad of so much benefit to the community. ' 
As already noted, the success of Paterson's Vic- 
toria, and several other new varieties raised by 
him in the way described above, was remarkable 
and immediate. But the scientific methods of 
booming new varieties of potatoes were not known 
in his days, and Mr. Paterson himself was more 
concerned about doing an incalculable and per- 
manent service to his fellow-men than he was 
about using even legitimate means of snatching a 
chance of making a fortune for himself; and not- 
withstanding all the tokens of public appreciation 
bestowed on him by the Queen and his fellow- 
agriculturists, he actually was a heavy loser 
financially through his efforts to bring out a potato 
which should realize his ideal. 

"It is claimed that jNIr. Paterson, the raiser of the 
Victoria, was the first to hybridize or cross-fertilize 
different varieties of potatoes. It is impossible to 
say whether that claim be well founded or not, 
for some of the older wa-iters refer in a vague way 
to crossing different varieties of potatoes, and Mr. 
Paterson, in his report to the Highland and Agri- 
cultural Society, makes no specific mention of hy- 
bridizing. But as the science of botany was well 
understood in his day, and as he devoted so much 
attention and skill to the propagation of different 
varieties, it is quite likely that he followed the 
principle of cross-fertilization. It may be well, 
therefore, at this stage to give a brief account of the 
system which is now so largely followed in the 
cross-fertilization of potatoes. 

"It will be noted that Mr. Paterson in his report 
to the Highland and Agricultural Society says 



THE POTATO 59 

that, before he got on to the line of experiment 
which 1( d up to the production of the Victoria, 
'potatoes in this country had ahnost ceased to 
flower,' let alone bearing 'apples' or 'plums.' 
Whether that was due to the loss of constitutional 
vigor, or to the fact that through the process of 
selection, the varieties which expend all their 
energies on the production of tubers and not on the 
production of 'apples' had come to be the only 
kind generally grown, cannot now^ be determined. 
And here we may note a somewhat remarkable fact 
in this connection. Many years ago Mr. John 
Wilson, Chapelhill, grew a variety of potatoes 
which regularl}^ produced a full crop of 'apples.' 
Mr. Wilson came to the conclusion that the plants 
could not possibly produce such a heavy crop as 
they could otherwise do if a great part of their 
energy was expended in the production of ' apples, ' 
and by way of experiment he set his 'hands' to 
snip the blooms off the plants in a few acres situ- 
ated in the centre of the field. The result was that 
the part of the field so treated yielded a crop which 
was quite two tons per acre heavier than that 
yielded by the same variety in the other parts of 
the field which were not so treated. But in the 
evolution of heavy-cropping varieties ' apple '- 
bearing varieties are now very few and far between. 
"In the scientific process of hybridizing, the 
anthers have first of all to be removed at an earlv 
stage of the flowering process in order to prevent 
the pollen produced on them from lighting on the 
pistil. Care must also be taken to prevent the pol- 
len of any neighboring plants from lighting on the 
pistil of the plant to be impregnated. Then the 
pollen collected from the anthers of the plant to be 
used as the 'male' in the crossing process has to 



60 THE POTATO 

be dusted on the pistil which is to be impregnated. 
Care must also be taken that no other pollen is 
allowed to get near that pistil. Some hybridizers 
put a glass vase over the cross-fertilized plant, 
and others follow the plan of tying a muslin bag 
over t'he pistil for the same purpose. 

*'One difficulty that often confronts the hybrid- 
izer is that the plant he wants to use as a 'male' 
may not be in bloom at the time that the plant he 
wants to use as a ' female ' is ready for the impreg- 
nating process. Another difficulty is tlxat, owing 
to the 'apple'-bearing capacity having been almost 
entirely bred out of the heaviest cropping varieties, 
the plant may not produce any 'apples' though the 
pistil has been duly impregnated. The taking off 
of all the blooms but the one to be impregTLated has 
a marked effect in the way of making the plant 
produce 'apples.' Some hybridizers pick away the 
growling tubers from the roots for the purpose of 
causing the plant to expend its energy in the pro- 
duction of 'apples' in place of tubers. With all 
these devices, however, the hybridizer may pol- 
linate twenty different blooms, and consider him- 
self very lucky if he gets 'apples' on one or two of 
them. When the 'apples' are full-grown they are 
gathered and the seed washed out from the sur- 
rounding juice, each 'apple' containing from 100 to 
300 seed. 

"The seed are sown in fine rich mould in a green- 
house in the early spring, and after they have 
sprouted the young plants are planted out in the 
garden or elsewhere. Each of these transplanted 
plants will produce a few tubers, mostly all of small 
size. The first year's seedHngs are not invariably 
of small size, however. Thus at the first show of 
the National Potato Society at London in 1904 



THE POTATO CI 

the Sir John Llewelljni Challenge Cup for the best 
collection of potatoes was awarded to Messrs. 
Sutton & Sons for a collection of fifty different 
varieties, which included a selection of seedlings 
grown direct from the 'apple' seed in the same 
year, these seedlings being for the most part of 
quite the size ordinarily obtained from the plant- 
ing of full-sized 'sets.' Last year also Doctor 
Wilson, the lecturer on agriculture at St. Andrews 
University, who has devoted much attention to 
the scientific hybridizing of farm plants, had an 
'apple' seed planted in March which in October 
showed a yield of six pounds one ounce of fairly 
full-sized tubers. 

"The tubers of the seedlings in the first year 
from 'apple' seed generally show a great variety of 
type, and even of color, 'blues' and 'reds' being 
quite common in first year's seedlings, even from 
seed produced by the cross-fertilizing of two white- 
skinned and white-fleshed varieties. Then the 
process of selection begins, and has to be continued 
for several years until the types selected are prop- 
erly fixed. A vast amount of patience is required 
for this work, as very frequently a seedling which 
gives great promise in its second, third, or even 
fourth year has eventually to be discarded on 
account of its failing to come up to the promise of 
its earlier years. 

"The Victoria and other new varieties brought 
out by Mr. William Paterson 'held the field' for 
a good many years, but in process of time they 
l)ogan to lose their pristine vigor. There were 
others, however, who took up the work that Mr. 
Paterson had expended so nuich zeal upon, and 
one of the most notable of these workers was ]\lr. 
John Nicol, then of the Ochterlony Gardens, 



62 THE POTATO 

Forfarshire, who in the early '70's brought out 
the Champion, which was a heavy cropper of 
fair quahty and had great disease-resisting power. 
In the course of a few years this variety was very 
largely grown in Scotland as well as in Ireland. 

"Early in the '70's also a number of new 
varieties were imported from America, and from 
one of these — the Early Rose — crossed with 
Paterson's Victoria, there was produced the Mag- 
num Bonum, which was brought out by the Messrs. 
Sutton in 1876. The Magnum Bonum was a cap- 
ital cropper, of excellent quality and great capacity 
for resisting disease. In a short time it took the 
leading place among all the varieties grown in 
England. 

"A series of wet seasons, culminating in the dis- 
astrous season of 1879, wrought great havoc 
among the crops of the country, particularly in 
England. A departmental committee w^as ap- 
pointed to investigate the whole question of pro- 
ducing new varieties, and they recommended that 
parliament should initiate and subsidize experi- 
ments designed to produce new and disease-proof 
varieties; but this recommendation was never 
acted on. Lord Cathcart, in commenting on this 
report, states: 'All potatoes have degenerated in 
their disease-resisting powers. A variety from 
seed takes four to six years for its establishment, 
and under the most favorable circumstances a good 
variety may be expected to degenerate in twenty 
years. The production of new varieties is of na- 
tional importance. ' 

"Through the influence of Lord Cathcart, Mr. J. 
G . Baker, the eminent botanist, was led to make an 
exhaustive study of the genus Solanum, in order to 
advise as to the relation of the cultivated varieties 



THE POTATO 63 

to the various wild species found in the American 
continent, preparatory to hybridizing experi- 
ments in which these wild species might be used. 
As a result of his investigations, detailed in his 
' Review of the Tuber-Bearing Species of Solanum, ' 
he recommended the crossing of the cultivated 
varieties with the Darwin potato, Solanum Maglia, 
from the Chonos Archipelago, and the Uruguay 
potato, Solanum Commersoni. Lord Cathcart fur- 
nished specimens of the S. Maglia to the Messrs. 
Sutton for crossing purposes, but the produce 
obtained from crossing the best cultivated varieties 
with the S. Maglia were far behind in appearance, 
crop, and quality. The cross with the Commer- 
soni was attempted year after year, but without 
success. 

" During these years of investigation and experi- 
ment, however, the hybridizer, like the school- 
master, had been abroad. Many excellent new 
varieties were brought out by the Messrs. Sutton, 
whose name is synonymous with excellence and 
quality in every department of farm and garden 
seeds. Numerous other enthusiasts in the same 
line added their quota to the national stock, but 
all through the '80's the Champion and the Mag- 
num continued to hold the leading places. But in 
England in particular the crops were often very 
disappointing. The English growers had not then 
learned the lesson so well known by the early 
Scotch growers of getting a change of seed from 
the colder and later climate of Scotland. 

"In the end of the '80's public attention began 
to be attracted to the new varieties raised by ^Ir. 
Findlay, then of Markinch, Fifeshire. His first 
success was the Bruce, which gave excellent 
results for a time. Later on he followed with the 



64 THE POTATO 

Up-to-Date and the British Queen, both of which 
were excellent varieties. At one time it seemed 
as if both these varieties would have to be dis- 
carded on account of disease, but they seemed to 
recover their vigor and reputation. In fact, the 
Up-to-Date, though it has now been before the 
public for some fourteen years, is still probably the 
variety most largely grown throughout the coun- 
try. Shortly after it was brought out it was grown 
on a large scale on Lord Rosebery's home farms 
at Dalmeny, and the enormous crops of Dates 
then produced — which certainly were grown on 
exceptionally excellent and lavishly manured soil 
— helped greatly to bring the Date into public 
favor. The Langworthy, brought out by Mr. 
Niven of Madderty, Crieff, about the same time 
as the Up-to-Date, is a variety of exceptional cook- 
ing quality, but is not so heavy a cropper, though 
it generally commands a higher price per ton. 
Other varieties, such as the Scottish Triumph 
(raised by Mr. Gemmell, Flakefield, Hamilton), 
the Crofter, and the Factor (raised by Mr. Chap- 
man, Bathgate), the Dalmeny Hero (raised by Mr. 
John Hunter, F. I. C), and many others, have 
their backers as the main crop varieties most ap- 
proved by them. 

"So matters stood at the end of the nineteenth 
and the beginning of the twentieth century. Then 
there was brought about the great Potato Boom, 
which may well take its place in history along with 
the South Sea Bubble. The circumstances at the 
time were all in favor of those who worked up the 
boom, for in 1902, and still more so in the following 
year, the season was very unfavorable for the po- 
tato crop in the United Kingdom as well as on the 
Continent, so that prices for sound tubers ruled 



THE POTATO 65 

high; and those who were fortunate enough to 
have large and sound crops — as many of the 
farmers in Scothxnd were — reaped a golden har- 
vest in each of these years. The methods and 
agencies by which it (the boom) was worked were 
those so well known and so frequently resorted to 
by the Bulls and the Bears of the Stock Exchange. 
In the centre of the boom were two new varieties, 
which were declared to be immense croppers and 
practically immune against the disease. During 
the winter of 1902-1903 prices for one of these va- 
rieties were forced up to an unprecedented level. 
But at the end of the following season, when the dis- 
ease was again very prevalent and prices for sound 
tubers were abnormally high, a perfect frenzy for 
new varieties seemed to seize upon growers. Day 
by day and week by week the reading public were 
informed that some prominent grower or other had 
bought a tuber of one of these new varieties at 
$100, $250, or $500, and as these reports increased 
the delirium of buyers increased. Some of these 
reported purchases of tubers at more than their 
weight in gold were undoubtedly genuine; and in a 
lawsuit regarding the non-delivery of a stone (14 
pounds) of one of these new varieties in the spring of 
1904 evidence was led to show that three pounds of 
that precious stone had been sold before hand at 
$800 per pound ! The public appetite for new vari- 
eties seemed to be insatiable at the time, and scores 
of new varieties — most of which were old friends 
with new names — were rushed upon the mar- 
ket and eagerly snapped up at fabulous prices by 
growers. 

"Even at the termination of the ])lanting season 
of 1904 the delirium had not subsided. The boom- 
ers had still another arrow in their quiver, and 



66 THE POTATO 

they shot that shaft with far-reaching aim. Miles 
of greenhouses were rushed up for the purpose of 
'forcing' tubers of the $800 per pound variety, 
and the pubhc was conjured to buy shoots or 
sprouts of that and other varieties at $20 each. 
Thousands of farmers and gardeners who could 
not afford to buy a pound of tubers at $800 per 
pound rushed to buy these precious shoots at 
from $10 to $20 each. One developer boasted 
that he had taken 1,000 shoots from a single tuber, 
so that if he had sold all these at an average of 
$15 each he would have made $15,000 off a single 
tuber, and had that precious tuber left to grow a 
further crop with. 

"But the potato harvest of 1904 found the 
growers of new and high-priced varieties in a ver^'' 
different frame of mind. The precious shoots 
which they had bought at from $10 to $20 apiece 
had each and all of them yielded a caricature 
of a crop, as the merest tyro in botanical science 
and farm practice could have told them would be 
the case. Most of the new, or so-called new, 
varieties had also proved to be quite as susceptible 
to the disease as the older varieties. And above 
all, the general crop of the country was. a very full 
one, so that prices ruled very low. Then there was 
a rush to sell for seed the stocks which had been 
bought at fabulous prices, but the demand had 
gone off and the slump came. The following year 
— 1905, that is — was also a favorable one for the 
potato crop, and on account of the heavy yield 
prices were low. The new varieties rushed upon 
the market two years before had, as a rule, proved 
no better than any of the well-tried standard 
^^arieties, and some which were undoubtedly new 
varieties developed a fatal facility for going wrong 



THE POTATO 67 

in the pits, though they looked quite sound when 
Hfted. The result is that at the present time po- 
tato growers are greatly at a loss as to what variety 
they should plant, and they are cautious, even to 
the verge of suspicion, as to the purchase of any 
new variety whose merits as a cropper and disease- 
resister have not been fully proved on a large scale, 
and for at least a couple of years. 

"But while the potato boom was being shot up 
by scientific and other devices on its rocket-like 
course, there were scientists in Ireland engaged in 
experimental work which was destined to be of 
great and permanent interest to potato growers. 
The Department of Agriculture and Technical 
Instruction for Ireland — a Board backed with 
ample funds and staffed with able and energetic 
men — had been most successfully carrying on a 
great work for the advancement of the agricultural 
and other industries of Ireland. That experimen- 
tal and demonstration work carried on by the Irish 
department was destined to be of paramount im- 
portance to potato growers in Great Britain as well 
as in Ireland. The potato crop covers such a vast 
area in Ireland, and is so staple a food of the Irish 
peasantry, that the department wisely devoted a 
great part of its resources toward the development 
of the potato-growing industry. The chief scien- 
tific adviser of the Irish department is Professor 
J. R. Campbell, a young and very able Scotsman, 
who was formerly assistant lecturer on agriculture 
at the Glasgow Agricultural College before being 
appointed Professor of Agriculture, first at the 
Lancashire Agricultural College, and afterward at 
the Yorkshire College. Professor Campbell, while 
engaged as lecturer on agriculture for the Glasgow 
Agricultural College, was well acquainted with the 



68 THE POTATO 

principles and practice so profitably followed by 
the skilful and enterprising farmers on the Ayr 
and Girvan coasts, and other parts of the southwest 
of Scotland, in the growing of early potatoes for 
the early market, and on his being translated to 
Ireland he soon decided to make a vigorous effort 
in the way of stimulating the Irish growers to take 
up that same very profitable business, as Ireland, 
owing to its earlier and milder climate, was even 
better suited than the seaboard of Ayrshire for the 
production of early potatoes in the month of June, 
when prices for new potatoes are always at their 
highest. 

"Knowing full well the outstanding abilities of 
Mr. Wallace, Terreglestown, Dumfries, as a highly 
successful grower of both early and main-crop 
potatoes, Professor Campbell secured in 1900 the 
services of Mr. Wallace to deliver an annual course 
of lectures in Ireland, and supervise numerous 
experimental and demonstration areas for the 
department in Ireland. This experimental and 
demonstration work proved a great success. 

*'The system of sprouting seed tubers of the 
earliest varieties in boxes during the winter and 
planting them out early in spring, which was fol- 
lowed in Cheshire in the early part of the nineteenth 
century and has long been followed in Ayrshire 
and the west coast of Scotland, produced for the 
Irish growers a good crop which was ready for 
harvesting in the early part of June before even 
the Ayrshire crops were ready, and were all mar- 
keted at highly satisfactory prices before the time 
at which the disease makes its appearance, while a 
fairly full crop of roots, cabbages, or other produce 
could be afterward grown on the same ground the 
same season. This was a new and very profitable 



THE POTATO 69 

venture for the Irish growers, and the system is 
spreading so rapidly in Irchmd that the Uirge quan- 
tities of early potatoes now annually shipped from 
Ireland to the British markets are very sensibly 
affecting the prices and profits realized by the 
growers on the Ayrshire and west coast generally. 
The official report of the Irish department showed 
that the crops of early potatoes in Ireland last year 
had been all marketed at prices averaging over £30 
per statute acre. 

"It was probably intended at first that the 
efforts of the department in this direction should 
be concentrated on the development of the early 
potato-growing business. But the experimental 
and demonstration work of the department broad- 
ened out into new^ fields of far-reaching importance. 
The crops of the earliest varieties of potatoes, 
when the seed tubers are sprouted in boxes and 
planted early in early districts, are usually mar- 
keted before the disease begins to make its ap- 
pearance in the fields. For some years the Irish 
department had made an exhaustive series of 
experiments in spraying the late or main crops 
with Bouille Bordelaise or sulphate of copper solu- 
tion, and had proved up to the hilt that this sys- 
tem was of incalculable value in either altogether 
preventing or at least very materially checking 
the ravages of the disease. Professor Campbell 
and Mr. Wallace came to the sound conclusion that 
no variety of potato which was then on the market, 
or was ever likely to be on the market, was i)roof 
against the disease, and that while it was very 
desirable to give a preference to those varieties 
which showed the greatest power in resisting the 
disease provided their flavor and yield were satis- 
factory, yet the best plan of preventing or check- 



70 THE POTATO 

ing the ravages of the disease was to systemati- 
cally follow the plan of spraying. Mr. Wallace also 
well knew the old fact which had been stated in the 
'Dictionary of Modem Gardening' sixty years 
before, but had been practically forgotten by 
growers in the second half of the nineteenth 
century — namely, that it was not only most 
desirable to plant good-sized seed, preferably un- 
cut, but it was also of the first importance to pre- 
serve the first bud of the seed tuber in order to 
provide against loss of stamina in the plant through 
breaking off the shoots. He therefore proceeded 
to prove by demonstration on the field what he had 
previously proved in his own practice at Terregles- 
town, that it was a most profitable plan to have 
the seed of even the late or main-crop potatoes 
sprouted in boxes during the winter, as was done in 
the case of the early varieties for the early market. 
"The first Irish experiments in this direction in 
1902 were very conclusive, as the crops of good- 
sized seed tubers which had been sprouted in boxes, 
and had their sprouts toughened by exposure to 
light and air before being planted, were not only 
much larger in yield but were much freer from 
disease than those which had not been so treated, 
but had got their first shoots broken off by handling 
at the time of planting. The department's experi- 
ments showed that over all the numerous fields 
on which these tests as between boxed and un- 
boxed seed had been conducted, the average in- 
crease in yield obtained from the boxed seed was 
over 100 bushels per acre. A similar experiment 
conducted in the following year at the Yorkshire 
College farm showed precisely similar results, and 
attracted much attention in England. Year after 
year similar experiments were conducted in Ireland 



THE POTATO 71 

by the department, and in every year the results 
have been practically the same. 

''Further experiments conducted by the depart- 
ment proved that not only was there a great 
increase in yield obtained from boxed as against 
unboxed seed, but that the system of spraying 
with the sulphate of copper solution, if efHciently 
and timeously carried out, had not only a most 
marked effect in preventing or checking disease, 
but that it had also a most marked further effect 
in prolonging the growing period of the crop, and 
in that way increasing the yield. Mr. Wallace 
unhesitatingly and emphatically declared his set- 
tled conviction that, when once the Irish growers 
had learned to box and spray, the Green Isle, with 
its potato area of 600,000 acres and its relatively 
small population of 4,250,000 souls, would be able 
not only to supply the wants of its own people, 
but would also be able to regularly export enor- 
mous quantities to the British markets instead of 
requiring to import large quantities, as had often 
been the case in former years. The Irish depart- 
ment has therefore concentrated its efforts on 
stimulating and encouraging the Irish culti- 
vators to box and spray, and the Irish growers have 
been quick to learn a lesson which promises to be 
so very profitable to them. 

"Last year the Irish growers who had learned 
to box and spray had very heavy and sound crops 
and the total output of potatoes in the Green Isle 
was so heavy and plentiful that it is having a most 
decided effect, and keeping prices at a very low 
level in this country. There seems no reason to 
doubt that as more and more Irish growers are led 
to box and spray, the crops grown on the vast area 
under potatoes in Ireland will be heavier year by 



72 THE POTATO 

year, and the effect of that on the prices in the 
home market will be keenly felt by British growers. 
"Within the last few years also another great 
change, which promises to increase the total aver- 
age yield of the potato crops of Great Britain, has 
been taking place. The change in question was 
due to what may be called the rediscovery of a fact 
which was well known to the gardeners and other 
growers of potatoes more than half a century ago 
— namely, that in getting seed potatoes it was 
always desirable to get them from a colder and 
later district and climate than that to which they 
were taken. In comparatively recent years many 
English growers frequently obtained potato seed 
from Scotland, and found that in almost every 
case the seed tubers grow^n in Scotland yielded 
much better crops than those obtained from the 
use of seed grown in England. The great yield 
of crop obtained through the use of Scotch-grown 
seed was, however, generally ascribed to superior- 
ity of variety, as the tubers taken south to England 
for seed were generally of a different variety from 
those previously grown. That, however, was 
not the correct explanation. Certain it is that, as 
a general rule, seed tubers grown in the colder and 
later climate of Scotland give much better results 
than tubers grown in the warmer and earlier cli- 
mate of England. Several reasons may be adduced 
in partial explanation of this fact. For one thing, 
owing to the climate of Scotland being colder and 
later than that of England, the potato crop in 
Scotland is not usually so fully ripened when it is 
harvested as the potato crop in England is when 
harvested, and it is an old but recently redis- 
covered fact that potatoes harvested before being 
fully matured are much better for seeding purposes 



THE POTATO 73 

than potatoes which have, in a way, exhausted 
their vitaHty in ripening. For another thing, 
again owing to the cHmate of Scotland being colder 
and later than that of England, seed tubers taken 
from Scotland to England for seeding purposes 
are not usually so much sprouted as those in the 
warmer south at the same time of vear, and conse- 
quently do not lose so much of their stamina and 
vitality through the breaking of sprouts in hand- 
ling. 

"But over and above these considerations there 
is undoubtedly in the potatoes grown in the colder 
and more bracing climate of Scotland some subtle 
force which makes for greater constitutional vigor 
and habit of growth than is characteristic of those 
grown in the warmer and more relaxing climate of 
England. 

"In 1903 Professor Seton, at the Yorkshire Col- 
lege farm, carried out an experiment on this point, 
and found that seed grown in Scotland, when 
planted in Yorkshire, showed an increase of crop 
to the extent of two tons per acre, and was much 
freer from disease than the adjoining crop of the 
same variety grown from native seed. Much 
attention was attracted to these findings at the 
time; but since then they have been very fully con- 
firmed, not only by the experience of hundreds of 
English growers, but also hy scientific and careful 
experiments at practically all the agricultural col- 
leges in England. At the Cambridge University 
farm Professor Middleton found that the crop 
from Scotch-grown seed was so vastly heavier 
than the crop from native seed of the same variety 
that he was fairly staggered at the result, and half 
inclined to doubt the accuracy of his own findings. 
At the Northumberland County Council farm of 



74 THE POTATO 

Cockle Park, Professor Gilchrist found similar 
results, but found that these were only in accord- 
dance with the experience of growers seventy or 
eighty years ago. 

"At date of writing, the latest series of experi- 
ments recorded in this connection is a most ex- 
haustive one from the Lancashire County Council 
farm, where four different tests, all in duplicate, 
were carried out with wonderfully uniform results, 
which led the experimenters to draw the following 
conclusion — viz., seed potatoes brought from a 
northern to a southern latitude give a larger crop 
than those from a southern to a northern latitude, 
the difference, according to this experiment, being 
on the average about one hundred bushels per acre. 

"If the English growers not only learn to box 
and spray as the Irish farmers are learning to do, 
but also learn that seed potatoes brought from a 
northern to a southern latitude give a crop of three 
tons per acre more than English-grown seed, that 
will all make for a greatly increased average yield 
per acre in England and a comparatively lower 
range of prices per ton. 

As already noted, there is no variety of potato 
on the market which is not more or less susceptible 
to the disease, though undoubtedly some varieties 
show much greater capacity for resisting the 
disease than others. It is also a notorious fact 
that many of the new varieties of potatoes which 
have been put on the market within the last few 
years at fabulous prices, as being practically im- 
mune against the disease, have proved to be quite 
as liable to succumb to the attack of the dreaded 
fungus as any of the well-proved standard vari- 
eties which have been before the public for a dozen 
years or more. Judging from the experience of the 



THE POTATO 75 

past century, it is not at all likely that a potato of 
good quality that will be disease-proof for any con- 
siderable number of years will ever be brought out. 

"It was reported from France last year that, 
after many unsuccessful efforts, a cross between 
the cultivated potato and the wild potato — 
Solanum Commersoni — had been brought out 
and gave every promise of high disease-resisting 
power, but that it was not well adapted for table 
use, as its cooking quality left much to be desired. 
It seems clear enough, therefore, that growers need 
not rush wildly after any so-called disease-proof 
new variety for protection against the Phytoph- 
thora infestans, but that they should follow the 
lead of common sense and science in the preven- 
tion of the disease. 

"Planting good-sized tubers, whose first sprouts 
have been carefully preserved, is a most impor- 
tant matter in the way of maintaining the con- 
stitutional vigor of the plant. As a matter of 
course also, preference should be given to those 
varieties which show the greatest capacity for 
resisting the disease — that is to say, if their crop- 
ping powers and cooking qualities are up to the 
mark. For those who farm in the warmer and 
earlier climate south of the Borders, it is also a 
most important fact, as was urged upon the at- 
tention of growers seventy years ago, that seed 
potatoes should be brought from a colder and later 
climate than that in which they are to be planted. 
Seed tubers that have been harvested before being 
fully ripened are also to be preferred." 



CHAPTER VII 

SEED-BED PREPARATION AND PLANTING 

SO MUCH depends on the conditions in the 
different districts, that seed bed preparation 
and planting methods differ somewhat. 

The fundamentals, however, are the same every- 
where. These are whatever cultural methods are 
necessary to make a deep, mellow seed bed or root 
nest. The success of the crop depends on the size 
and vigor of the root system. 

The seed should be planted sufficiently near the 
surface to get the benefit of the heat of the sun, and 
deep enough that the root system be in contact 
with the moist earth. 

The seed bed must be sufficiently firm that the 
rootlets come immediately in contact with the soil 
particles, yet open enough that they readily pene- 
trate. 

Humus — decayed vegetable matter — from 
every source is an essential in a good potato soil. 
Legumes and barnyard manure are valuable, and 
decayed turf, from meadows or pasture, is ideal 
for potato culture. It seems to "clean" the soil 
from injurious diseases, and because it has grown 
in it is thoroughly incorporated in the entire soil. 
All vegetable matter should be plowed under the 
fall previous to the cropping season. 

The cover crop, or green manure — a mass of 
vegetation turned under in a green state — has a 
wonderfully beneficial effect on soils, both for the 

76 



THE POTATO 77 

fertility it furnishes and the bettered meclianical 
condition. Some of the best cover crops are the 
clovers and alfalfa, peas, vetch, rye, and Italian 
Rae grass. 

If the manager of an agricultural proposition 
knows the conditions necessary to accomplish a 
required result, his problem is to bring about these 
proper conditions. When Prof. F. H. King, one 
of the Avorld's greatest soil authorities, was at the 
head of the Soil Physics Department of the Agri- 
cultural College of the University of Wisconsin, 
his slogan was "Learn to know why — for this 
teaches how and when. " 

The philosophy of seed-bed preparation for 
potatoes and the planting of the crop is simply 
this : 

First. The soil must be looSe and mellow to a 
sufficient depth to make it possible for the root 
system to spread freely, and for the tubers to form 
readily and develop uniformly and normally. 

Second. The soil must be sufficiently firm that 
the rootlets may come in contact with the soil 
particles from which the nutriment for the plant is 
taken. 

Third. There must be sufficient moisture, but 
not too much. 

Fourth. There must be sufficient fertility, and 
it nuisi; be in such available form that the plant 
can use it readily. 

Fifth. The soil must be warm enough at plant- 
ing time to start the plant vigorously and rapidly. 

All of these conditions in the nearest possible 
perfection are necessary for the i)roduction of the 
most profitable crops. A deficiency in any one 
will mean loss. 

Thorough seed-bed preparation kills weeds and 



78 THE POTATO 

disease germs. The killing of ^Yee(is before the 
seed is planted makes the cultivation of the grow- 
ing crop easier, and the constant stirring and work- 
ing of the soil that kills the weeds aerates and 
makes possible sun action that kills spores and 
germs of disease. On Mt. Sopris Farm the soil is 
often worked six, seven, and eight ti'mes before 
planting. When the good results that are accom- 
plished in the preparation are continued by deep 
cultivation closely following planting, a splendid 
crop is, in most instances, assured. 

Where soils are badh' infected with disease 
germs it is best to rotate the potato crop with 
grains and grasses. George Sinclair, farm man- 
ager of the Earl of Rosebery's Dalmeny Farms, 
a prominent British agriculturist, says that one 
year in grain and three in sod will free soils of most 
potato diseases, and that this practice will make 
possible the continual growing of big crops. 

When crops are to be grown in succession it is 
found advantageous to open up the furrows in 
which the potatoes are to be planted and let the 
sun and air disinfect them for a day or longer 
before planting. 

In the Twin Falls country in southern Idaho, 
or elsewhere throughout the mountain valleys of 
the Northwest, potatoes make the greatest yields 
on alfalfa or clover sod. It is always best to grow 
them in a crop rotation so that not more than two 
crops are raised in succession on the same land. 
Growing potatoes puts ground in excellent tilth for 
grain, because the thorough cultivation makes 
large quantities of plant food available for the 
rootlets of the gi*ain plants. One of the most suc- 
cessful crop rotations practised by the best growers 
is three jnears of alfalfa or clover, the last cutting 



THE POTATO 79 

of the hay the third year being plowed under ten 
inches deep in tlie fall; two years in potatoes, and 
one year in grain, reseeding to grass with the 
grain. 

Good crops are raised on both spring and fall 
plowing, but the latter has several advantages. 
The ground can be plowed to a greater depth, mak- 
ing a deeper seed bed and a larger storage capacity 
for moisture. The weathering through the winter 
makes fertility available, so that the same soil, if 
turned up, unweathered, in the spring would con- 
tain less food in shape to be used by the plant. 
Fall plowing for potatoes should be deep, at least 
eight inches, but ten is better. 

Fall plowing in north latitudes or high altitudes 
makes possible the storage of heat from the sun's 
rays. Land that has been fall plowed is often 
eight to ten degrees warmer at planting time than 
land plowed deep in the spring (thereby turning up 
a cold subsoil). Fall plowing, in this way, length- 
ens the growing season, where seasons are short, 
and often eliminates fungous development that 
might be damaging to tender potato sprouts. 
Fall plowing should generally be followed by 
another plowing in the spring. 

In the Channel Islands the potato land is plowed 
eighteen inches deep every four years. 

When alfalfa or clover sod is turned under, the 
plow should be sharp enough to cut the roots; 
otherwise it is not all killed and the grass may come 
up later and bother in cultivation. 

If manuring is done, it should be in the fall. 
Probably the best time to apply manure is to the 
crop that precedes the potatoes — on the clover or 
alfalfa sod. In this way there is no possibility of 
the fermenting or rotting manure making a breed- 



80 THE POTATO 

ing place for disease that might affect the potato. 
If manure is not apphed, similar results in restor- 
ing vegetable matter and fertility to the soil are 
obtained by the turning under of the last crop of 
alfalfa or clover, should either of these crops pre- 
cede the potatoes. The freezing and thawing of 
the average winter help to incorporate the vege- 
table matter in the soil. 

In the spring the ground should be thoroughly 
disked and harrowed, making a fine, firm seed bed. 

Small acreages (five acres or less) of potatoes 
may be planted by hand if a horse planter is not 
available. Good potatoes have been raised by 
dropping them in every third furrow when plowing 
the field, letting the next furrow cover the seed to 
the depth of four to six inches. 

Any larger acreage of potatoes, either on one 
farm or in a neighborhood, is best planted with a 
modern planter. With any of the standard two- 
horse planters five or six acres a day can be planted. 
In many places in the West potatoes are planted 
one piece in a place in rows thirty-six inches apart, 
and the pieces dropped eight to fourteen inches 
apart in the row. Planted twelve inches apart in 
the row makes 14,500 hills to the acre. If con- 
ditions were perfect, and each hill produced ten 
marketable potatoes weighing ten ounces each, a 
yield of nearly 1,500 bushes per acre would be 
secured. This is entirely possible. Fifteen years 
ago R. A. Chisholm of Del Norte, Col., grew 847 
bushes to the acre, winning a gold purse offered by 
the Orange Judd Farmer for the best measured acre 
of potatoes in the United States. 

Potatoes that are infected with any disease should 
never be used for seed. They frequently are, how- 
ever — often when the grower is not aware of their 



THE POTATO 81 

presence. When disease is present, it can be carried 
from a diseased potato tea healthy one by contact 
in the bin, in the sack or in a planter. The knife 
used in cutting seed pieces is capable of spreading 
a disease throughout an entire lot of seed, and the 
"picker" on a picker planter may do the same 
thing. Disinfecting potatoes, as indicated in the 
chapter on diseases, is a good practice for skin 
diseases, but does not kill internal germ disease. 

In southern Idaho potatoes are planted from 
May 1st to July 1st. Some early potatoes are 
planted as soon as April 1st. If these escape the 
late frosts they make big money, generally selling 
locally at from three to five cents a pound. If the 
frost catches them the ground may be planted to a 
later crop, so that some gamble on a few earlj'' 
potatoes to the extent of the price of seed and labor. 
There is always a possibility of a killing frost dur- 
ing the first two weeks of April. 

From May 10th to June 10th is generally con- 
sidered the best time to plant the main crop of late 
potatoes in the inter-mountain West. 

With the horse planters a furrow two to four 
inches deep is opened by a pair of disks, and a ridge 
about two inches higher than the level of the field 
is turned up, putting the seed piece under about 
four to six inches of earth. 

The amount of seed used by different potato 
growers varies from 600 to 3,000 pounds per acre. 
The growers who get the biggest yields plant the 
most seed. The largest crop ever grown in the 
country was with whole seed, using nearly 3,000 
pounds per acre. Good yields are secured by using 
seed cut in two to four ounce pieces and having 
one to two eyes. Commercial seed potatoes weigh 
from two to ten ounces. The small seed is not cut 



82 THE POTATO 

the larger generally cut about four times. These 
work well in the planter and contain suflScient re- 
serve nourishment to give the plant a good start. 
It is important that any plant to give the best 
returns in yield should start strong and vigorous. 
When potatoes are planted twelve inches apart in 
the row with rows three feet apart, if a perfect 
stand is secured and four ounce seed used, 3,630 
pounds of seed per acre is required. With smaller 
seed and an ordinary stand, which is far from per- 
fect, about 1,200 to 1,500 pounds of seed is used. 
The big seed starts a plant capable of making a 
big root system. The size of the root system bears 
a close relation to yield. With a large number of 
roots in the feeding area the greatest possible 
amount of food can be secured by the plant. 
Extremely large yields are secured by close plant- 
ing. 

Lawrence G. Dodge, in "Bulletin 365" on 
*'Farm Management in Northern Potato Growing 
Sections," says: 

"The general methods of potato culture in use 
have developed during the past fifteen years, or a 
little more, and are followed with considerable uni- 
formity throughout the section. The rotation is 
a simple one, but is undoubtedly the foundation 
of the success of the growers. Potatoes are grown 
on any piece of land only one year as a rule and are 
followed by one crop of oats or spring wheat, with 
which are sown clover and timothy for hay. This 
crop is cut for hay one year by many of the best 
farmers and plowed in the fall for a new potato 
crop. The furrow is usually turned to a depth of 
seven or eight inches, and on most of the farms 
this work is done with a reversible sulky plow, an 



THE POTATO 83 

implement admirably adapted to working on side 
hills. Some growers like their hayfields to stand 
a second year before plowing, but rarely longer 
than that, for the land is in too nmch demand for 
potatoes to continue it in grass more than two 
years. 

"The sod, usually containing a large amount of 
clover which was plowed the previous fall, is har- 
rowed in the spring as soon as the season permits, 
usually being worked over thoroughly four times 
in all with a disk harrow followed by a spring- 
tooth harrow. 

"Planting is done from the 15th or 20th of May 
to the 1st of June, using about five barrels of seed 
to the acre — that is, thirteen or fourteen bushels. 
The seed is cut by hand into pieces containing 
about two eyes and of such a size as to feed readily 
through a planter, and is dropped by the planter in 
rows about thirty-three inches apart and from 
twelve to fifteen inches apart in the row, so that 
the ground is entirelj^ occupied with the crop, and 
the vines in midseason meet in the rows. 

"There are two prevailing types of planter, in 
one of which the seed pieces are distributed by 
steel forks or pickers, and in the other by pockets 
in a revolving disk. Both types are two-horse 
machines, the former being operated by one ma'b 
and the latter requiring a second man to attend to 
the seed distribution. Either type will plant 
about five acres per day. The planter at the same 
time distributes the fertilizer, from 1,200 to 1,500 
pounds i)er acre usually being apj)lied. This 
amount of fertilizer can be safely used directly in 
the drills. The fertilizer commonly used contains 
about 3 per cent, of nitrogen, 7 or 8 per cent, of 
phosphoric acid, and 9 or 10 per cent, of potash. " 



84 THE POTATO 

Chas. D. Woods, Director Maine Agricultural 
Experiment Station, in an address before the New 
Jersey State Board of Agriculture, said: 

*' While potato growing is somewhat a matter of 
soil and climate, it is even more dependent upon 
the ability, knowledge, and energy of the man who 
is trying to grow them. This fact w^as very clearly 
demonstrated in Aroostook County, Maine, in the 
season of 1907. Aroostook County is perhaps the 
richest agricultural county in the United States, 
and the potato is the money crop. Upward of 
eleven million bushels of potatoes were shipped 
from the crop in 190G, besides all that went into 
starch. The shipments from the crop of 1907 were 
less than half that of the preceding year. And yet 
the good farmers had as large, and in some in- 
stances larger, crops than in 1906. The season of 
1906 was favorable for a large crop, and everybody 
that planted potatoes succeeded in growing and 
harvesting a good crop. The season of 1907 was 
unfavorable, and only the good farmers had good 
crops. The men that thoroughly prepared the 
seed bed on well selected soil, planted only wdiat 
they could properly care for, who used fertilizer 
liberally, cultivated all the season, and who 
sprayed early and often against insect and fungous 
enemies, and harvested as soon as the crop w^as 
ready, not only had a large yield per acre, but 
because of the high price of potatoes after the 
poorly grown early ones were marketed, brought it 
about that with many Aroostook farmers the sea- 
son of 1907 was the best for years. On the other 
hand, the farmer that planted illy adapted and 
slovenly prepared land, of larger acreage than he 
could well care for, who neglected to spray because 



THE POTATO 85 

the weather was not good for spray to adhere, who 
had so many acres he could not get them harvested 
before the unusually early freezing of the ground 
(over 11,000 acres of potatoes were frozen in 
Aroostook County in 1907), found the year a 
disastrous one. In many instances the crop har- 
vested was not sufficient to pay the fertilizer bills. 

"By practising the methods of the good farmers 
of Aroostook County, many men in other parts of 
Maine are successful with potatoes as a money 
crop. There is no reason why men in other states 
may not grow the potato at fully as good a margin 
of profit as the farmer in Maine. 

"At the annual meeting of the Massachusetts 
State Board of Agriculture in 1901 the writer 
(Doctor Woods), in answer to a question, said in 
substance: 'If a Massachusetts farmer plants a 
few potatoes, there is not one man in twenty but 
will allow something else to crowd in and cause 
him to neglect his potatoes. The one great reason 
they grow better potatoes in Aroostook County 
than elsewhere in Maine is that it is the farmer's 
business to grow potatoes. He does not allow his 
stock or other farm duties to lead to the neglect of 
his potato crop. He makes it his first duty to take 
care of his field of potatoes, and the field will have 
from twenty to fifty or more acres in it. One man 
and a pair of horses work on twenty acres from 
spring until the fall, and the one man and pair of 
horses will care for the twenty acres, and he will 
not be taken off to do anything else. This is one of 
the reasons they grow potatoes better — because 
they are growing them for business. They are not 
thinking of the dairy cow or the breed of sheep; I 
wish they were, but they are not. They are think- 
ing about growing potatoes. When I used to live 



86 THE POTATO 

in Connecticut, up and down the Connecticut 
valley were men that ate, drank, and slept tobacco. 
And so there are men that eat, drink, and sleep 
potatoes down in Aroostook County, Maine. ' 

"The potato is so generally and extensively 
grown, we are so familiar with its qualties and the 
various methods of culture, that most farmers are 
very positive as to the best methods of growing 
this crop. During the past twenty -five years 
hundreds of experiments have been made at experi- 
ment stations and by practical growers, and the 
results from experiments in propagation and cul- 
ture are so conflicting that the careful student will 
be very slow in drawing conclusions. While he 
will be convinced that there are ideal ways of treat- 
ment under certain conditions, he will be equally 
convinced that under different conditions very 
different practice will be necessary to insure the 
best crop. In potato growing, as with most farm 
operations, the soil and atmosphere are such deter- 
mining factors that there is no best way. Each 
farmer who would grow potatoes to the best advan- 
tage must be suflSciently intelligent to under- 
stand the conditions of the soil on his own farm. 
The methods of preparation of soil, of planting, 
cultivating and fertilizing the crop depend largely 
on the character and condition of the soil and the 
season. 

"The successful growing of the potato crop 
demands careful and conscientious work from start 
to finish. There are many details which, if 
neglected, mean partial failure, and which must be 
complied with in order to insure the fullest success. 
It is not practicable in a short paper to hint at 
more than a very few factors which enter into 
successful potato growing. Among the most im- 



THE POTATO 87 

portant are the selection, the preparation of the 
soil, including application of fertilizer; the seed and 
the care of the crop during the growing season. 

"A soil to grow potatoes well must be in an 
excellent state of tilth, sufficiently mellow to make 
a good seed bed and place for the tubers to develop. 
Abundant plant food must be supplied, and the 
land must be so situated that it will not suffer from 
excessive rain and will be well adapted to stand 
drought. If not naturally well drained, it must be 
under-drained. If it is not of good water-holding 
capacity, this must be secured by increasing the 
humus by green manuring or the use of liberal 
quantities of stable manure. 

"There is no farm crop that is more easily, 
speedily and greatly affected by the supply of 
moisture than is the potato. It has been found by 
experiment that it takes about 425 tons of water to 
grow a ton of drj^ matter of potatoes. A crop of 
200 bushes per acre would therefore require approx- 
imately 650 tons of water, equivalent to a rainfall 
of nearly six inches. Because of its need for large 
water supply, and its remarkable susceptibility to 
climatic conditions, it follows that the average 
potato yield is affected more by water supply than 
by lack of plant food. The selection of soil and 
methods of culture must be with this fact in view, 
if success is to be had. The liberal applications of 
fertilizers or the presence of large amounts of 
readily available plant food will prove of but little 
value if the moisture supply is deficient. It is also 
true that too much water will check the growth as 
quickly and effectually as too little. 

"Too much attention to the fitting of the soil 
for the crop can hardly be given, for no amount of 
after tillage can overcome neglect in preparation. 



88 THE POTATO 

Deep and thorough plowing and harrowing, so as 
to make a perfect seed bed, not only establishes an 
earth mulch so as to prevent the loss of moisture of 
the spring rains, but it so fines the soil that the 
plant food contained in it becomes accessible to the 
growing plant. The conservation of moisture by 
frequent tillage is not understood or practised as 
it should be. The old notion that potatoes should 
be hilled and that tillage should cease as soon as the 
potato is in bloom, is wrong for most situations. 
Hilling is frequently practised so as to keep the 
tubers from becoming exposed to the sun; that is 
not necessary if the soil is properly prepared. 
On hard, compact soil the potato will, because of 
less resistance of the soil, push out of the ground. 
This will not happen in deeply worked land. 

" The proper preparation of a soil for the potato 
crop is a matter of years and not a single season. 
A soil, in order to do the best must be in excellent 
state of tilth and a high state of fertility. Such 
conditions can only be obtained by careful fore- 
thought and planning. Frequently soil is not 
plowed deeply enough. It is very common for 
people to speak of plowing seven, eight, or even 
nine inches, but most men would be surprised if 
they were to apply a rule to see how much short of 
this depth the plow actually goes below the actual 
level of the field. Many men who think they are 
plowing seven or eight inches deep are only plow- 
ing five inches. If this shallow plowing has been 
practised it is bad management to suddenly deepen 
the plowing, as this brings too much of the sub- 
soil to the surface in a single plowing. 

" Good potato land may be handled in a three or 
four year rotation — potatoes, grain, grass one or 
two years, and then potatoes again, in some such 



THE POTATO 89 

way as the following: Land which is used for 
potatoes should, immediately after harvesting of 
the crop, be treated to a liberal application of farm 
manure, if it can be obtained, and plowed with lap 
furrow. The plow can well run an inch deeper 
tlian it did the preceding year when the land was 
prepared for potatoes. In the spring the soil will 
have crumbled by the frosts, and should then be 
thoroughly worked by frequent harrowings with 
some such tool as a disk or spading harrow. It 
should then be smoothed with an Acme harrow, or 
some other tool, and seeded to grain. If it is 
designed to grow only a single crop of grass, it is 
best at the time of seeding to sow clover with the 
grain. If, however, it is designed to remove two 
crops of grass, it can be seeded with a mixture of 
clover and timothy. The grain crop will be har- 
vested the first year; the second season the crop 
will be chiefly timothy; the third it will be timothy 
and clover, and at the end of the two or three years, 
whichever plan is followed, there will be in the field 
in the fall a good stand of second growth clover. 
This should not be cut or fed, ])ut should be plowed 
under, and this is all the more important if the 
piece has not been treated with farm manure. 
This fall plowing should be with lap furrow and 
the following spring it should be thoroughly worked 
with the disk and smoothing harrows in order to 
get ready for planting. 

"It may in many situations be desirable to fol- 
low the grass crop with corn, and then follow with 
potatoes. The same thorough preparation will be 
of advantage to the corn crop. The land for the 
corn should be liberally fertilized. Farm manure 
will be again used in this part in the rotation to 
advantage. The corn must be overfed in every 



90 THE POTATO 

way so that the land will be in a higher state of 
fertility at the end than at the beginning of the 
season. If com enters into the rotation, fall 
plowing should be again practised, and the follow- 
ing spring the land should be thoroughly worked. 
The best possible seed bed should be prepared, so 
that the soil will be light and thoroughly pulver- 
ized to a depth of jBve or even six inches. In a soil 
thus prepared the planter will run easily. " 

In the senior author's trip to Europe in 1910 he 
found all of the best growers in Great Britain and 
Germany using nothing but whole seed. He did 
not visit a grower abroad who used cut seed. He 
secured a shipment of a ton of very select seed 
the from Earl of Rosebery's Dalmeny Farms, and 
George Sinclair, the farm manager, advised plant- 
ing them whole, even though they cost $200 a ton 
laid down at Carbondale, Col. 

In cutting seed, especially where soils are apt to 
be infected with fungous disease, the *' armor" of 
the potato is broken in cutting and the tender tis- 
sue is exposed. 

"Farmers' Bulletin No. 92" of the United States 
Department of Agriculture contains the following: 

"As a recent bulletin of the New York Cornell 
Experiment Station shows, the average yield of 
potatoes in the United States is far below what it 
should be. This bulletin states that 'the average 
yield of potatoes throughout New York is not 
more than one half what is should be and what it 
would be were better methods practised.' This 
low yield is not due, as a rule, to poverty of tlie soil, 
because 'all soils of ordinary fertility contain 
sufficient potential plant food to produce abundant 



THE POTATO 91 

crops, * and a part of this potential plant food can 
))e made available for the use of plants by tillage, 
and drainage, if necessary. The experiments of 
the Cornell station, which have now covered four 
seasons, were planned with a view to learning 
what superior tillage and care would do in the 
way of unlocking the hoarded fertility of the soil 
and increasing the yield of the crops. 

"The soil on which the potatoes were grown has 
been continuously under crop without fertilizers 
since the winter of 1893—94, except that cover crops 
of rye, crimson clover, or wheat, to be turned under 
in the spring, have as a rule been grown. But the 
growth of these has necessarily been so small and 
the cropping so intensive that the soil is beginning 
to show a deficiency of humus, indicated by its 
tendency to become hard and compact under beat- 
ing rains; for 'in order to keep a soil permanently 
in good physical condition, it is absolutely neces- 
sary that organic matter be returned in some wa^', 
either by green manuring or the use of barn ma- 
nures.' 

"Notwithstanding this fact, the yields in the 
Cornell experiments have been much above the 
average each year. This was as true of 1898 as of 
previous years, in spite of the additional fact that 
the latter season was one of severe drought and the 
soil used in the experiments ' is gravelly and porous 
and especially subject to injurious effects from 
drought. ' 

"It is probable that frequent and deep plowing 
has done much to bring and keep the land pro- 
ductive. So far as tlie plowing is concerned all 
plats have received the same treatment . The land 
has been turned from two to three times each 
year, and the pulverizing which has resulted there- 



92 THE POTATO 

from lias liberated sufficient plant food to mature 
large crops. In addition to the plowing the land 
has been frequently harrowed and cultivated and 
the intensive culture which has been given has 
liberated all the plant food that could be used by 
the growing crops with the amount of moisture 
that was present. 

"A fact clearly brought out by these experi- 
ments is that 'success with potatoes depends 
largely upon the preparation given the soil before 
the potatoes are planted. Plowing should be deep, 
and at the time of planting the soil should be 
mellow and loose. ' 

"Only first-class marketable potatoes should be 
used for seed. These should be cut into pieces 
averaging two strong eyes. 'Seed should not be 
cut for any considerable period before planting. 
If it becomes necessary to delay planting for some 
considerable time after potatoes are cut, the cut 
pieces should be dusted with plaster and spread 
out in a moderately moist, cool place. ' 

"Early planting has usuallj^ given best results, 
but this necessitates careful spraying with Bor- 
deaux mixture and P'aris green to protect the 
plants from diseases and insects. Early and deep 
planting and frequent and level tillage are espe- 
cially important in soils like that used in these 
experiments, which are likely to be seriously 
affected by drought. 

"The methods of planting and cultivation used 
at the Cornell station in 1898 were as follows: 
'The pieces were dropped in the furrows directly 
after the furrows had been opened, one piece being 
put in a place and at distances fourteen inches apart 
in the row. A furrow was opened (with a shovel 
plow) in the middle of the space left when the first 



THE POTATO 93 

furrows were opened. Tliis served to cover the 
potatoes, the earth being ridged up directly over 
the potato row. Tlie planting was done on May 
10th. The soil was then left undisturbed until 
May 28th. The ridges which w^ere left over the 
seed potatoes covered them to a depth of about 
eight inches. By May 2Sth the weed seeds whicli 
were in the surface soil had germinated and tlie 
whole surface was covered with tiny w^eeds. A 
spike-tooth harrow was fitted Avith a piece of 2 x 
4 scantling placed diagonally across underneath 
the frame and held in place by the harrow teeth. 
The harrow^ thus rigged was used upon the potato 
plats, being first run lengthwise of the rows and 
tlien crosswise. The weight of the driver ii])on 
the harrow was necessary in order to make it do 
the leveling as required. The benefit derived 
from this treatment was very marked. All weeds 
were destroyed, the surface crust was broken, all 
clods and stones were removed from above the row 
and deposited in the centre of the space between 
rows, the surface was leveled, and in every way 
the conditions were made favorable for the rai)id 
growth of the potatoes, and they appeared above 
ground in three or four days. 

"In genend it may be said that 'on soils which 
are not well drained, either naturally or artificially, 
and on clay or clay loam soils, potatoes may be 
planted somewhat shallow and slight hilling may 
be practised with benefit. ' 

"If planting is done veiy early in the spring the 
ridges may be permitted to remain for ten days to 
two weeks before harrowing down. If planting is 
d(me somewhat late the ridg(^s should be harrowed 
within one week after planting. In the case of the 
early planting there is usually enough moisture 



94 THE POTATO 

present so that the ridging may temporarily prove 
a benefit by enabling the soil to become warm. In 
the case of late planting all the moisture should be 
conserved, and this is best done by leveling the 
ridges. 

*' Harrowing the soil before the plants appear 
above ground, followed by from six to seven culti- 
vations during the season, is recommended." 

Thoroughness and care are qualities that must 
be given attention in seed-bed preparation and 
seeding, for with these operations well done the 
crop is well on its way toward success. 



CHAPTER VIII 

CULTIVATION 

THE objects sought in cultivating the potato 
are: First, keeping tlie soil in the seed bed 
loose and retaining moisture for the crop, 
and, second, keeping down the growth of weeds, 
which, if allowed to grow, not only rob the potato 
plant of moisture but also of available fertility. 

Moisture is taken from the ground into the air 
by capillary action. By cultivation the surface 
of the soil is broken and the evaporation checked. 

Disease germs find it difficult to live and de- 
velop in soil that is exposed to the sun and air, 
providing there is thorough aeration and conse- 
quently plenty of oxygen. 

It is not possible to farm by definite rules. 
Conditions change daily, sometimes hourly, so 
that a farmer must know what result he desires 
to obtain and use judgment in the time and fre- 
quency of such operations as cultivation and ir- 
rigation, and be governed by circumstances. 

In an irrigation district, if ground is dry before 
planting, it should be irrigated well, so as to make 
the soil and subsoil a reservoir of moisture to be 
drawn on by the starting and growing plant. Some 
growers maintain that potatoes should not be 
watered after this "before planting" irrigation until 
the tubers are well set; that the moisture must be 
conserved by cultivation. Conditions may arise, 
however, such as a long dry spell with winds that 

96 



96 THE POTATO 

draw the moisture from the soil, that would make 
irrigation advisable sooner. 

In the irrigated West the crop should be culti- 
vated deeply, soon after planting making a loose, 
deep seed bed. Cultivator shovels fourteen working 
inches long and about four inches wide, two on 
each side of the row, are valuable for this work. 
If this deep cultivation just after planting turns 
up the soil rough, a harrow may follow to fine the 
surface in order to hold moisture. The second 
cultivation can come when the plants begin to 
show. The number of cultivations depends on the 
condition of the soil, weeds, and number of irri- 
gations or rains. Cultivation after the tubers 
are set should not be so deep nor so near the hills, 
because a potato torn off while in the forming 
stage is lost. Tearing off feeder roots or rootlets 
at this stage also reduces yields. 

Ditches between the rows for irrigation are made 
with a double shovel plow attachment fastened to 
one beam and a two-horse cultivator. The best 
potatoes and the heaviest yields have been pro- 
duced where deep ditching and heavj^ ridging have 
been practised. Ridges must contain plenty of 
dirt to protect the tubers from the sun and to pre- 
vent greening, but growing in fairly loose, well- 
aired soil into which the moisture comes up from 
the bottom has proved best. The bulk of the 
roots of the plant go deeper, but the tubers have 
the benefit of forming and developing in a favor- 
able environment. 

Flat cultivation, stirring the surface only, so 
as not to destroy the surface roots, is advocated 
in potato growing in some sections of the rain belt. 
There, all moisture is applied evenly over the sur- 
face in the form of rain, and it is necessary that 





IVo views of Iron A^c ( "iilli\ ;iloi- ;il work 




-T3 



<v 



o 
■=c 

o 






o 

V2 



^3 



THE POTATO 97 

moisture be carefully conserved for fear of drought 
at some time during the growing season. The 
available plant food is also more largely in the 
first few inches of surface soil than in the more 
loose desert soils that have had the action of the 
elements for ages without the packing and leaching 
heavy rainfall. 

It is important to run the irrigation water low 
in the furrow to keej) from solidifying the soil and 
soaking the tubers. The root system seems to go 
deeper and adapt itself to the conditions as long as 
the irrigation water is supplied evenly and the soil 
is rich. Each of these conditions is under control 
where the water is abundant and the soil fertile. 

Irrigation is followed by cultivation, and by 
irrigation again as soon as necessary. This is 
determined by examination of the soil and the 
color of the leaves of the plants. If the soil about 
the roots is so dry it will not remain moulded with 
the imprint of the hand when a small handful is 
compressed, it is too dry and needs water. This 
cannot be taken too literally, but some judgment 
must be used even in making as simple a test as 
this. One novice, making this test, found that the 
mould he formed stood all right, but on being 
touched crumbled away. Literally, as he under- 
stood the rule, the test showed sufficient moisture. 
Actually, the ground was getting dry and, needed 
irrigation. 

When potatoes require water they indicaie it 
by the dark green, almost black, color of the leaves. 
When watered too heavily they get too light 
green, almost yellow. The characteristic healthy 
medium green of a potato plant in good condition 
and doing well must be seen to be appreciated, 
but these things are easily learned. 



98 THE POTATO 

Good potatoes are grown with one to five ir- 
rigations, the last one not much later than August 
20th, to give forty to sixty days for finishing growth 
and ripening. Some of the best growers irrigate 
alternate rows at each irrigation, taking two 
waterings to go over the entire field. 

There is good reason why irrigation conditions 
are ideal for the production of potatoes. The 
value of this crop, as of many others, depends on a 
right amount of moisture at the right time, the 
demand for moisture being heavy while the tubers 
are forming and developing. In Wisconsin it is 
assumed that the eighteen inches of water generally 
counted on during the growing season is sufficient 
to mature a maximum crop. In ten of the past 
twenty-one years the amount of rainfall during 
the growing season has been fourteen iiiches or 
less. Prof. F. H. King, the soil expert, found at 
the Wisconsin Experiment Station that the ad- 
dition of two acre inches of water by irrigation 
increased the yield of marketable potatoes 100 
bushels per acre. In the Twin Falls country 
in Idaho and some other places in the Rocky 
Mountain country the moisture supply is under 
absolute control, making, with an ideal soil, a 
sufficient and legitimate reason for the production 
of the most perfect potatoes. 

It requires from 270 to 500 pounds of water to 
make one pound of dry matter in the vine and 
tuber of the potato plant. 

The best growers favor several rather fight irri- 
gations to fewer heavier applications. 

In "Bulletin 132" of the Maryland Agricultural 
College is given the result of an experiment to ascer- 
tain whether deep or shallow cultivation would pro- 
duce the best potato crop. The summary follows : 



THE POTATO 99 

Surface Medium Deep Deep 

Bu. Bu. Bu. Bu. Bu. Bu. 

Primes Culls Primes Culls Primes Culls 

127.3 30.0 137.9 30.3 141.6 28.2 

And also the average of yields as affected by 
frequency of cultivation, disregarding depth: 

Five Days Ten Days Fifteen Days 

Bu. Bu. Bu. Bu. Bu. Bu. 

Primes Culls Primes Culls Primes Culls 

126.5 27.4 132.4 27.6 147.5 33.2 

In discussing it the Maryland people say : " The 
above jSgures seem to clearly indicate that the 
deep and infrequent cultivation was most profit- 
able, there being a difference of more than fourteen 
bushels per acre in favor of the deep over the shal- 
low cultivation, and of twenty-one bushels in 
favor of infrequent working. It would seem, 
therefore, that the practice of farmers who usually 
cultivate with such tools and at such times as will 
keep the crop free from weeds is about all that is 
necessary to produce a good crop under the con- 
ditions prevailing here. The result may have 
been different if the same experiment had been 
conducted in the arid West. It is only at rare 
intervals that the rainfall in Maryland is so slight 
that it is practicable or necessary to work for a 
'dust mulch.' What is really important is to 
destroy the weeds and stir the soil fairly deep to 
aerate, and at the same time dry it and make it 
loose and friable." 

In an essav bv Dr. Chas. D. Woods of Orono, 
Maine, in the fifty sixth annual report of the IVIas- 
sachusetts State Board of Agriculture is the follow- 



100 THE POTATO 

ing: "All through the gi'owing season the field 
should be kept free from weeds. The exaggerated 
ridge culture which is so common in Aroostook 
County could be better replaced in Massachusetts 
by a less pronounced ridge, or as level culture as is 
practicable. Suitable potato land is naturally or 
artificially so well drained that it does not suffer 
from excessive moisture, and with the high-ridge 
culture there is danger even in a moderately dry 
season of the crop suffering from lack of water. 
The frequent running of the cultivator not merely 
keeps down the weeds, but it lets the air into the 
soil and prevents excessive loss of moisture from 
evaporation, and in every way seems to be bene- 
ficial to the crop. This should be kept up until the 
vines pretty well cover the ground. If weeds are 
appearing in the drill, these should be removed 
by hand." 

By the foregoing it will be seen that much de- 
pends on the individual, who must study his 
conditions and adapt practice accordingly. 



CHAPTER IX 

IRRIGATION 

FUNDAMENTALLY and theoretically, irri- 
gation is the simplest operation connected 
with the growing of a crop on an irri- 
gated farm. 

At first thought it was intended to preface this 
chapter with a note to the effect that the ideas 
which follow will pertain only to those parts of 
the earth where crops can be grown only with ir- 
rigation. 

The practice of irrigation, however, is simply 
that of supplying a plant the quantity of moisture 
required to bring about its most perfect, normal 
development. There are times wiien an appli- 
cation of water to the soil of what is called the 
"rain belt" would be of great benefit and result in 
profit to the grower. 

The practice of irrigation is sure to increase as 
the productiveness of the acre must continually 
be made greater. 

It cannot be made too plain that irrigation is 
easy as long as the operator keeps in mind the 
moisture needs of the plant. 

The following interesting article on irrigation is 
from the "Irrigator's Hand Book," which is a 
compilation of suggestions on various agricul- 
tural subjects written in 1909, primarily for the 
settlers on the J. S. & W. S. Kuhn irrigation proj- 
ects in southern Idaho by the authors of this work 

101 



102 THE POTATO 

in collaboration with other members of the Agri- 
cultural Department of the Twin Falls North 
Side Land & Water Company, and published by 
H. L. Hollister of Chicago. C. J. Griffith, one of 
the foremost agriculturists in America, and at 
present Director of Agriculture for the company 
mentioned above, prepared the following: 

"Irrigation is the artificial application of water 
to land. It is necessary in arid regions in order 
that profitable crops may be grown; and it is use- 
ful in semi-arid regions to increase their produc- 
tion. Although most useful in arid regions, it is 
often practised in localities of heavy rainfall, for 
instance in the rice-growing districts of the South, 
where the annual rainfall is from forty to sixty 
inches. 

"The practice of irrigation is older than the 
Pyramids of Egypt. The valleys of the rivers Nile 
and Euphrates have an unbroken historical rec- 
ord of more than 4,000 years. 

"In a great many places in this hemisphere 
there are ruins of irrigation works that antedate 
any written history, and the civilization of the 
race that built them is only surmised. 

"The irrigated area of all the nations of the 
world does not exceed 100,000,000 acres, or a land 
area of less than twice the acreage of the state of 
Idaho. Of this area India has 53,000,000 acres, 
and in that country may be seen some of the most 
expensive irrigation works in existence. 

"There are only 13,000,000 acres of irrigated 
land in the United States, and the greatest systems 
yet developed are in the Twin Falls country. 

"The preparation of land for irrigation consists 
in: First, putting the land in condition for farm- 



THE POTATO lOP, 

ing; and, second, a proper surface grading for the 
even distribution of water. 

"There is nothing that pertains to irrigated 
farming that pays better than proper levehng or 
grading of the land. It is the key to the whole 
situation, and when once done it is done for all 
time. 

"It is not always necessary to change the gen- 
eral grade or lay of a piece of land, but it is ab- 
solutely essential to take off high places and build 
up low ones. 

"There are several implements with which to 
do leveling and grading; among these are Fresno 
scrapers, buck scrapers and land graders of dif- 
ferent makes. Each one has a special use, some 
being for heavy cuts and long hauls, and some best 
for short hauls. The character of the work to be 
done will be the determining factor in the imple- 
ment chosen. After the grading is done, in order 
to get surface smoothness, a home-made leveler 
or jointer made of plank should be run over the 
land to take out all small unevennesses. This 
leveler or jointer should be used every time a 
field is plowed. It firms and fines the soil. On 
some land this leveler is the only implement 
needed for leveling. 

"No hard and fast rules can be given for the 
laying out of the ditch system for a new tract of 
land, but there are a great many essential points 
to be considered in order to have satisfactory re- 
sults. It is desirable to bring the water to the 
liighest point on the farm, so that every part can 
be reached. The 'farm supi)ly dilcli' sliould be 
as short as it is possi})le to make it in order to les- 
sen seepage, evajioration and mainlonance. It 
should ordinarily be made on a grade of 1 foot (1.2 



104 THE POTATO 

inches) to 0.2 feet (2.4 inches) fall per hundred 
feet, according to the firmness of the soil through 
which it is made. Ditches that carry over three or 
four second feet of water should have less grade. 
Whenever the current of the water picks up and 
carries sediment, the ditch will give trouble, be- 
cause the sediment will be dropped in places where 
the current is slower and eventually this will 
choke up the ditch and cause a break. Especially 
in sandy soil should care be used to get an even 
and light grade, which should not exceed 1.5 
inches per hundred feet. Where it is necessary to 
take a farm supply ditch down a hea\y grade, drop 
boxes should be put in to take care of the excess 
grade. Farm supply ditches should be so 
located, if possible, to avoid dikes and flumes. 
A dike where absolutely necessary should be made 
of stiff soil, the banks should be made wide and 
high, and the dirt for it should not be taken closer 
than four feet from the toe of the bank on each 
side. When water is put through it for the first 
few times, it should never be allowed to run all 
night, because the soil thus thrown up is loose and 
readily fills with water. After a few hours' run, 
the water begins to seep through the banks, and 
until the dirt in the fills has repeatedly soaked up 
and settled there is always danger of it breaking. 
As soon as the dikes are firm and solid, the banks 
should be seeded to some grass that makes a good 
sod. Kentucky blue grass and Brome grass 
(Bromus Inermus) make good sod for holding 
ditch banks. Sandy soil makes a very unsatis- 
factory dike, as it never hardens like a stiffer soil. 
Flumes are unsatisfactory unless well made. Gal- 
vanized iron flumes give good service. Farm 
supply ditches should have ample capacity. New 



THE POTATO 105 

ditches lose a great deal by seepage, and until they 
become silted up they do not carry as much water 
as their size would indicate. New land in an arid 
district takes more water the first year than it 
ever requires thereafter. For an 80-acre tract of 
new land the supply ditch should be made with 
a slip scraper and it should generally be at least 
one foot deep in the solid ground, to say nothing of 
the height of the banks made by the dirt scraped 
out. 

"Care should be used to run the distributing 
laterals on a light grade, because water must be 
taken out of them for the corrugations or checks, 
and if they have a heayj^ grade it is a difficult 
thing to do, because it requires so many checks in 
the laterals. These laterals can be made wuth a 
plow and a go-devil, or a regular ditch plow. The 
corrugations should be run in the direction of the 
greatest fall. 

"The best method of irrigation to be followed 
is dependent upon the character of soil and the 
slope of the land. The corrugation system is 
suitable for land that takes up water readily and 
that has ten feet of uniform slope per mile (a 
trifle more than one inch per fifty feet) or more. 
Corrugations may be placed as close together as 
is necessary. Usually twenty inches apart is the 
minimum width and three feet apart the maximum. 
The furrows are made about four inches deep and 
should be made immediately after seeding or be- 
fore the seed germinates. In old alfalfa fields 
the corrugations can be renewed when it becomes 
desirable with an iron corrugator that has sharp, 
plow-like points. 

"Sub-laterals are made parallel with the laterals. 
For corrugation or furrow irrigation in Idaho 



100 THE POTATO 

a sufficient head of water is taken from tlie lateral 
to supply about twenty corrugations. This is run 
into the sub-laterals, and from these distributed 
to the corrugations. This breaks up the head of 
water into small streams that can be more easily 
handled. A controlling device to regulate these 
small heads of water may be made from 1x4 inch 
stuff nailed together, making a box four inches 
square outside measurements and about three feet 
long. This box is placed between the lateral and 
sub-lateral low enough to intercept the flow of 
water. The sub-lateral is generally a plow furrow 
with the dirt thrown down hill. Dirt dams are 
placed in it at proper intervals (about every 
twenty corrugations) to force the water out to the 
corrugations. 

*'It is sometimes necessary to place checks im- 
mediately below the diversion points in the lat- 
eral in order to raise the water level high enough to 
force the water into the corrugations. These 
checks are boxes or gates put in ditches or lat- 
erals through which the water is made to pass. 
The height of water maintained above the check 
is regulated by building up the opening (with 
narrow strips beginning at the bottom) through 
which the water passes. Canvas dams can also 
be used as checks when they are properly made. 
Sacks filled w4th dirt can also be used for diver- 
sions. 

"The corrugation or furrow system is the 
method best adapted for the watering of all root 
crops. Potatoes show the bad effects of even a 
break between the furrows and consequent flood- 
ing. For potatoes the furrows are made quite 
large, the rows being ridged and furrows made be- 
tween the rows. Sometimes the best method for 



THE POTATO 107 

the crop and the most economical in the use of 
water is to irrigate only alternate furrows at each 
irrigation. Water should be on the ground until 
it is sufficiently wet, sometimes from twelve to 
twenty-four hours. If the soil is very mellow and 
readily permeable, then four to eight hours is 
generally sufficient. The irrigation should con- 
tinue until the moisture 'subs' between the fur- 
rows until it meets. Orchards are commonly 
irrigated by the furrow method. Care should be 
taken to keep the water away from the trees, as it 
is found that they thrive better when the water 
does not touch them but percolates into the soil 
and reaches the roots. When all the ground be- 
tween the trees is moistened the roots spread uni- 
formly. Grain and alfalfa may be irrigated with 
corrugations and in this section it is the most com- 
mon method. By its use water is evenly distrib- 
uted over the fields, is absolutely under control 
all the time, and where the land is in proper shape 
the work is quite rapid and probably less expen- 
sive than any other method except by the border 
system. 

"The flooding system of irrigation can be used 
for watering grain and alfalfa. The laterals are 
most commonly run parallel to the slope, water 
being taken out from only one side of the lateral 
and extending to the next one. Sometimes on 
nearly level land they are run down the steepest 
slope, the irrigation water being taken out from 
each side and extending midway to the next lat- 
eral. Under this method the distance between 
laterals should not be over 200 feet and it is better 
to have them closer together, not over 100 feet. 
These laterals may be either permanent or made 
over each year, as in the case of grain crops- 



108 THE POTATO 

This method is in general suitable for medium 
slopes, soils which do not bake, grain pasture and 
hay crops, and where lands are not of great value, 
such as meadow lands at high altitudes. One 
man can irrigate from two to five acres a day. As 
a rule the irrigation by this method is more un- 
even than with the other system. 

"Some system to care for waste water is a nec- 
essary part of an irrigated farm. Especially 
where the ranch is bordered by other irrigated 
tracts or by public roads it is essential to have an 
adequate system of waste ditches that will re- 
ceive and care for whatever water is not used by 
the irrigation. It often happens that draws or 
coulees are so located that they will carry away 
the waste water and in such cases no further at- 
tention is necessary. The amount of waste water 
is so variable that it is seldom satisfactory for 
any one else to try to use it for irrigation, and be- 
cause of the fluctuations in its flow is not best to 
waste the water into another farm ditch. 

**The term 'duty of water' as used in irrigation 
is accepted to mean the acreage of land that a 
certain amount of water should sufliciently ir- 
rigate. The standard measurement for running 
water is in cubic feet per second — that is, a run- 
ning stream is measured by the number of cubic 
feet which pass a given point per second. In 
Idaho a miner's inch of water is one fiftieth of a 
cubic foot per second. The amounts used in ir- 
rigation are commonly spoken of in acre feet or 
acre inches. This is the amount covering an 
acre of land one foot deep or one inch deep as the 
case may be. 

"The amount of water needed to grow and ma- 
ture a crop is dependent on a great variety of 



THE POTATO 109 

conditions, some of which fluctuate even on a 
given farm from year to year. The composition 
of the soils, the subsoil, the annual rainfall, the 
humidity of the air, temperature, the time of 
seeding and many other things have appreciable 
effects upon the amount of water necessary for a 
given crop for maximum results. It is a question 
of knowing how little instead of how much to use. 
The soil can retain only a certain amount, and 
whatever is applied more than this is lost by perco- 
lation into the subsoil and beyond the food gather- 
ing area of the roots of plants. An appreciably 
large per cent, of irrigation water is lost in this way. 
New land will take more w^ater the first year than 
thereafter, and for the third year less is required 
than for the second. The time to apply water is 
when the crop needs it and not before. This is 
determined in alfalfa by a darkening in the green 
of the leaves. The moisture content of the soil 
should be closely watched, and by the exercise of a 
little good judgment no serious mistake in applj-- 
ing water need be made. Too little as w^ell as too 
much moisture in soils injures plants. The 
amount of water to be put on at one application is 
dependent on the crop and the soil, but generally 
about five acre inches is sufficient for an irrigation. 
On sandy loam, and making allowances for some 
loss as waste and evaporation, this amount will 
wet the soil about as deep as plant roots go. 

"In localities where water for irrigation is scarce, 
fall or winter irrigation is often practised. It 
has a number of things to commend it besides the 
principal fact that if the water is not stored in the 
land it is lost. By using the water in this way, 
where there is a scarcity, additional land can be 
farmed and made to yield remunerative crops. 



110 THE POTATO 

Enough moisture can often be stored in the soil 
during the fall or winter to grow a crop of grain or 
potatoes. Cultivation usually plays quite a prom- 
inent part in raising such crops. It too often 
happens that where water is plentiful irrigation is 
substituted for cultivation. Where water is 
scarce it is an advantage to get the seed in the 
ground just as early in the spring as is possible so 
that the crop may be shading the ground before 
warm weather comes on. This prevents evapora- 
tion." 



CHAPTER X 

HARVESTING 

THE bulk of the potato crop of the world is 
grown m what may be called "short season" 
territory, and by that is meant that there 
is danger to the crop from frost at both ends of 
the growing period. 

Because of this the main harvesting care is 
"weather." The potatoes must be out of the 
ground and cared for before the heavy freezes. 

Potatoes that are not fuUv matured at the time 
in the fall of the year when frost threatens must 
be dug green. 

Practically all large acreages of potatoes are now 
dug or "lifted" by machinery. There are several 
excellent horsepower potato diggers. These 
have a projecting "snout" or flat shovel which 
runs under the row, lifting the entire mass of dirt 
which contains the tubers to an apron made of 
iron rods. The dirt falls through these iron rods 
and the potatoes are passed along — to be finally 
dropped on the top of the ground. 

The process of harvesting potatoes has passed 
through the same evolution as other farm opera- 
tions. At first the tubers were dug by hand with 
a hoe or shovel, or "plowed out" with an ordinary 
moldboard walking plow. Then a pronged fork 
took the place of the hoe and shovel, and a flat 
nosed plow with wide double moldboard made 
of iron rods was used. Wilh this sort of digger 

111 



112 THE POTATO 

the dirt fell through and the potatoes were car- 
ried over. 

To make a field trial of a machine in the par- 
ticular character of soil it is to be used in is a safe 
way to select a digger. 

Green, heavy tops clog a digger. Some pull the 
tops and haul them off the field in order to make 
digging easier. A simpler way to remedy this dif- 
ficulty is to run a harrow over the field — in the 
same direction that the digger will run. This 
straightens out the tops and they make less 
trouble. A long spike tooth harrow, with teeth 
slanted back, should be used. 

An essential in digging potatoes is to let the 
tubers lie on the top of the ground for two or six 
hours to dry out any dirt clinging to them and 
toughen the skin. In this way the potato is less 
liable to bruise in the after handling and much 
less dirt is carried from the field. 

Some potato digging machinery manufacturers 
have been trying to perfect a device for sacking as 
well as digging potatoes. It would seem that the 
"drying out" in the sun, previously mentioned, is 
of such importance as to make this attachment 
impractical. 

In the districts in the western part of the 
United States potatoes are picked by hand into 
pails or baskets and deposited in *'half sacks.'* 
Regular potato sacks are half filled and pickers are 
paid a stated price for filling into each one bushel. 
Half sacks are used to make handling easier. 
(Filled and sewed, the sack holds about two bushels, 
or 120 pounds.) The usual price is three cents 
per bushel for picking. 

These small sacks are hauled from the fields to 
the cellar and there the potatoes are spread out 



THE POTATO 113 

in thin layers. These layers gradually become 
thicker as the cellar is filled, but it is best not 
to fill any one part of the cellar too deep at one 
time. 

Sometimes potatoes are run over a sorter in the 
field and the marketable ones either taken direct 
to the shipping point or stored separately in the 
cellar. Potatoes marketed from the field weigh 10 
per cent, more than those taken to the cellar and 
rehandled. If weather conditions are urgent, and 
help scarce, this can often be done to better ad- 
vantage in the cellar. 

A machine digger will handle four to six acres 
a day. 

Irrigated districts, where there is no rain during 
the growing and digging season, have a consider- 
able advantage in the ability to turn out a product 
free from mud. This is emphasized by a study of 
the potato bulletins of the Eastern States and 
Europe, where the grower is admonished to "lift 
early," and in dry weather if possible. 

Potatoes should always be dug when the vines 
die — frost conditions must indicate how long be- 
fore that time. As long as the vine is green, the 
tubers are growing. One experiment shows that 
one third of the merchantable part of a crop was 
made (developed) in the last thirty of the 120-day 
period from planting to digging. 

Careful handling pays at every stage of the 
harvesting process. A cut or badly bruised po- 
tato decays readily and every tuber lost reduces 
the profits. 

While the toughening described is beneficial — • 
especially as regards bruising in handling — the 
potato must not be left too long in the sun or it 
will turn green and be unfit for food. 



114 THE POTATO 

In gardens, "grabbling" is sometimes practised, 
especially in Germany. This is to dig carefully 
into the sides of a hill of potatoes and remove the 
largest tubers for early use or market. If care- 
fully done this will cause no injury to the smaller 
tubers. 

An excellent description of handling potatoes in 
the field in the East is given by Alva Agee, in 
"Bulletin No. 105"of the Pennsylvania Department 
of Agriculture. It follows: 

"In great potato-growing sections years ago it 
w^as a common practice to pour bulk potatoes into 
wagon-beds, and to shovel them out into baskets 
when unloading. This primitive method was 
laborious, and did injury by bruising the tubers. 
Potato boxes have now come into common use in 
many districts. They are made of light mate- 
rial, preferably basswood or similar wood. The 
boards for sides and bottom should be three 
eighths inch in thickness, and the ends one half. 
The size of box should be such that it will contain 
2,688 cubic inches, level full. The legal bushel 
measure for grain contains 2,150.4 cubic inches, and 
in measuring roots or potatoes the rule is to heap 
the half-bushel measure sufficiently to add one 
level peck to the two level half -bushels. Five 
level pecks, or 2,688 cubic inches, are the equiva- 
lent of two rounding half-bushels and of a level 
potato box rightly made. The following dimen- 
sions are the ones used by a leading manufacturer 
of these boxes: Twelve and one half inches deep, 
thirteen and one half inches wide, and sixteen 
inches long. This gives exactly 2,700 cubic 
inches. This size probably' is more convenient 
than any other that could be devised. The length 



THE POTATO 115 

of two boxes is near the width of the ordinary 
wagon-bed, leaving only room for the hands when 
putting them into position, and, when empty, one 
box can be placed inside of two others, economizing 
space. With high sideboards on the wagon-bed, 
it is convenient to tier up sixty bushels when draw- 
ing from the field to the cellar or to market, but 
the extensive grower may prefer a long platform 
that will hold twenty or more boxes in a single 
tier. 

"The home-made box is usually less satis- 
factory. It is rarely made of the best light mate- 
rial, and when one takes into account the number 
of times the boxes must be handled, he may see the 
advantage of having the very best. Manufac- 
turers furnish solid boxes that weigh only seven 
pounds, are exact in size, trim in appearance, and 
will last for fifteen or twenty years, if cared for 
properly. Other boxes, slatted on ends and sides, 
are furnished at a less price, and are less sub- 
stantial. The boxes, bought in crates of a dozen, 
cost about 18 cents apiece for the soUd ones and 
14 cents for the slatted. 

"The potatoes are picked up after the digger 
and placed in the boxes, the unmerchantable 
tubers being left on the ground. A\lien a load is 
ready, the boxes are handed up to the driver of the 
wagon, and while he takes the load to the car, cel- 
lar or other place of storage another load is made 
ready by the pickers. Returning, the driver puts 
his empty boxes out, takes on his load of full ones, 
and the work proceeds with a minimum amount 
of handling. If the potatoes are drawn directly 
to consumers, neat boxes for handling them are a 
good advertisement as well as a means of saving 
labor, time, and injury to the stock. 



116 THE POTATO 

"When good seed, cut to two eyes, has been 
planted in good ground, and the tillage has 
been right, the number of unmarketable potatoes 
usually is small, and many years we do not pick 
them up. It is the practice of some growers to 
pick up all sizes together and then to sort out 
those that are not merchantable, using the best 
of these for planting and the remainder for stock 
feed. The small tubers are not the most desir- 
able for use as seed. If there is a considerable 
proportion of the crop that is too small for market 
it should be gathered from the ground after the 
merchantable potatoes have been taken up." 

The practice of washing potatoes is not com- 
mon, and there is a general idea that it is detri- 
mental, but the Wisconsin Farmer says editorially : 

"A good deal may be said in favor of the prac- 
tice of washing potatoes, provided they are thor- 
oughly ripened before being dug. We know of 
one instance where a shipper of early potatoes re- 
fused to fulfil his part of the contract on account 
of a customer having washed his early potatoes. 
He said that washing greatly impaired the keeping 
quality of early varieties. However, in the case of 
mature potatoes, if for any reason they are dug at 
a time when the dirt adheres to them, it will un- 
doubtedly pay to give them a good washing. 
Nevertheless, it is highly important that they be 
thoroughly sun-dried before they are stored in 
the cellar or cave or before they are placed in 
sacks. It is reasonable to suppose that dried 
mud adhering to potatoes will carry a certain 
amount of germ life, and it is not strange if some 
of this form of life tends to induce decay. One 



THE POTATO 117 

grower informs us that he makes a practice of 
thoroughly washing his potatoes every year, after 
which they are stored in bushel boxes. The 
claim is made that by this method the highest 
market price is obtained on account of the fine, 
clean appearance of the tubers, and also on ac- 
count of the splendid condition in which they keep 
stored in this fashion." 

An Iowa grower believes in the practice of wash- 
ing potatoes, and says in the Wisconsin Farmer: 

"According to my experience, too much cannot 
be said in favor of throughly cleaning potatoes as 
soon as they are dug. The finest crop I ever saw 
was rotting in the ground on account of the w eather 
being hot and moist. As soon as they were dug 
the spray-pump was started and the potatoes 
thoroughly washed. They were then allowed to 
dry before being housed, and after being sorted 
not a solitary tuber decayed. I had another ex- 
perience that tends to corroborate this practice. 
Over a year ago I bought some potatoes, but when 
they were delivered they were covered with dry 
mud. These potatoes when cooked had a nau- 
seating taste, and in several instances had a sick- 
ening effect. I came to the conclusion that when 
potatoes were left in this dirty condition germs 
of disease were present, and it is my opinion that 
the law should prohibit the marketing of potatoes 
in this condition. Not only are they unwhole- 
some, but they are much more apt to decay than 
if they are thoroughly cleaned l)y washing.'* 

Another grower condemns the washing of the 
tubers and says: 



118 THE POTATO 

"All any one need do to know whether it spoils 
them or not is just to try it. Cook some that 
have been washed a week or two; then cook some 
that have been dug when the ground was in con- 
dition — the more fresh dirt among them the 
better — and see how much better and more 
mealy and palatable they are than the washed ones. 
Potatoes that are to be kept over winter should 
be left in the ground as long as possible, until there 
is danger of freezing them. Then dig when the 
ground is in condition, not when the mud will 
stick to them, and the more fresh dirt the more 
brittle and fresh they will come out in the spring." 

The natural, normal way to take potatoes from 
the ground and store them is when the soil is dry. 
When this is the case no washing is necessary. 

Whether harm comes with washing depends on 
the drying and after care, and the need of washing 
depends on the amount of mud adhering to the 
tubers when they are dug. 

Good, hard headed, common sense is required 
in all harvesting operations, and no rules can cover 
all conditions. 



CHAPTER XI 

POTATO MACHINERY 

DURING the past decade great improvements 
have been made in agricultural machinery. 
The up-to-date farmer of to-day is not con- 
tent with old methods or tools, if there is no better 
reason for their use than that his father or grand- 
father used them. Every machine that will do 
work more cheaply or better finds a welcome on 
the strictly modern business-farmer's place. 

The senior author has been intensely interested 
in the betterment of machines that will render 
farm operations more effective. Over forty years 
ago he made plows and agricultural machinery in 
a plow factory in Illinois, and appreciates the situ- 
ation more than one less conversant with the 
details of the machinery business both from manu- 
facturer's and user's standpoints. 

It is true of makers of potato machinery that it 
is their desire to make an implement that will do 
the greatest possible service for the user, and they 
welcome suggestions from practical growers for 
improvements. 

During the past twenty-five years the senior 
author has been responsible for a great many im- 
provements to machinery now in use. 

The increasing interest in farm machinery, or 
farm mechanics, is indicated by the fact that 
practically all of the leading agricultural colleges 
now have departments devoted to this subject. 

119 



120 THE POTATO 

It is the intention of the authors to present in 
this book descriptions and illustrations of a large 
number of implements used satisfactorily in the 
potato industry. This will enable the reader to 
form an opinion as to those best suited to his 
conditions. 

THE IRON AGE MACHINERY 

The following machines are made by the Bate- 
man Manufacturing Company, Greenloch, N. J. : 

Iron Age {Improved Robbins) Planter 

This planter feeds the seed automatically. It 
shakes the seed out into the pockets of an elevator 
wheel, which m turn drops it through a short spout 
to a horizontal feed wheel, also provided with 
pockets. This wheel makes one complete revo- 
lution in front of the boy or man on the rear seat; 
when he finds a pocket that has no seed in it, he 
supphes a piece from a pile within reach; if a 
pocket gets two seed pieces, he takes one out. The 
result is that you get one seed piece in every space 
and one only. You can understand what this 
means if you will consider a few figures. If a 
normal average for a perfect stand were 150 
bushels (and this is very reasonable) 5 per cent, 
skips would mean a loss of seven and one half 
bushels, or $3.75 per acre at an average price of 
50 cents. It costs no more to cultivate, spray, and 
fertilize a perfect stand than it does one with skips 
here and there. 

Iron Age Riding Cultivators 

Cultivators should have all of the necessary 
adjustments for narrow or wide rows, deep or 




Iron Auc Potato Hoc or Ri(l<i;er 



[ 




Iron Ago Riding Cultivator 




Iron Ag(^ Potato Digger 




Iron Age Trad ion S|)rayer 




on Age (Improved Robljinsj Potalo Planter 




Seed pieces in place in the 
furrow opened by the Iron 



Age Planter 




Dowden Potato Digger 



THE POTATO 121 

shallow cultivation, and the teeth changed quickly 
to any position in the row while the team is in 
motion. All of these necessary adjustments are 
found on Iron Age cultivators. They are of many 
styles and combinations to fit the varied conditions 
of ground and cultivation desired. Pivot wheels 
are used on three styles — they make guiding 
easy. High or low wheels — six or eight hoes — 
for one or two rows, break-pin hoes, spring hoes, 
or spring teeth can be furnished. The hoes are 
kept in the ground by spring pressure; thorough 
cultivation is the result. Disk, plow, ridging, and 
other attachments are furnished. 

Iron Age Traction Sprayers 

The Iron Age sprayer drives from the centre, has 
a perfect working relief valve and a big air chamber, 
is thoroughly protected against corrosion, and is 
easily shut off from the seat. It is furnished in 
four, six, or seven row sizes, with 55 or 100 gallon 
wood or 55 gallon steel tanks, and revolving mixer, 
single or double action pumps. It is made for one 
or two horses. 

Iron Age Potato Hoe or Ridger 

These tools are adjustable at any position on 
the frame by simple eccentric levers. They are 
also adjustable for angle of the blades, position of 
the handles, etc. Made with plain steel blades, 
or with detachable shoes for stony ground, or with 
twenty-inch disks. 

Iron Age Potato Diggers 

The Iron Age line comprises four machines: 
No. 125 is a rotary disk, low down machine for 
light, sandy soils; No. 127, same digger with 



122 THE POTATO 

elevator and shaker attached; No. 150, medium size 
elevator and twenty-eight-inch wheels; No. 155, 
large elevator, thirty -two-inch wheels, and kickers 
for heavy conditions, as to ground, grass, vines, 
etc. They have steel spurs on the wheels, and are 
designed so that wearing parts can be easily and 
cheaply replaced. They can be thrown in and 
out of gear from the seat. The plow is adjustable 
so as to get all of the potatoes with as little cutting 
as possible and as little soil, and so that draft will 
not be too great. 

THE JOHN DEERE MACHINERY 

The machinery described in the following para- 
graphs is made by Deere & Company, Moline, 111. : 

John Deere Two-Way Sulky Plow 

A fine plow for potato growers and truck farmers. 
It turns all the soil one way, leaving no dead fur- 
rows or back-furrow ridges. In irregular fields it 
leaves no crooked dead furrows — and all furrows 
are straight. When used in arid climates, harrow- 
ing and planting can be kept up with the plowing. 
In this way evaporation is checked and seed is 
planted in moist soil. 

John Deere Model "5" Flexible Disk Harrow 

No tools equal a good disk for finely pulveriz- 
ing the soil. One or two diskings make a nice, 
deep, mellow seed bed for potatoes. 

Spring pressure enables this harrow to penetrate 
and cultivate an even depth the full width of cut. 
Third lever controls spring, hence operator can 
set the disks for thorough work in all conditions. 
Either solid or cutaway disk blades may be had. 




MOLlNT. ILL 

Deere Disk Harrow 




Deere Potato Digger 



molintTiu. 




Deere Shaker Tolalo Digger 




Deere ( "ultivator 




HOUNl. ll-L 



Deere Two-Wav Flow 




MtillM.'iM. 

Deere Double-Aetion Disk Harrow 





Picker" in Aspinwall Planter 



Aspinwall Two-Row Planter 







Aspinwall Planter with Fertilizer 
Attachment 




Aspinwall Potato Sorter 



THE POTATO 123 

John Deere Double-Action Disk Harrow 

Double disking saves one half in time and labor, 
and secures better results than two single diskings, 
because the soil, freshly broken by the first selec- 
tion, is pulverized by the second section without 
giving any opportunity for drying out and harden- 
ing. Front section is out-throw, rear, in-throw, 
leaving the land surface level. Furnished with 
both solid and cutaway disks. 

John Deere KA-Pivot Axle Cultivator 

This machine is especially good for cultivating 
potatoes, because it will work in wide or narrow 
rows and rigs can be spaced to suit lean or bushy 
rows. AYheels are shifted by foot pedals which 
make it easy to guide cultivator and dodge plants 
out of line with row. Spring tooth rigs, disk or 
moldboard hillers can be used on a John Deere 
KA cultivator. It is equipped with spring trip 
or pin break rigs. Longer, narrow shovels are also 
used on this cultivator in some districts in the West 
where extra deep cultivation is required. 

Deere Potato Digger 

The Deere potato digger has been in successful 
use for many years, and is equal to any require- 
ment that may be made on it. It works with very 
light draft and throws the potatoes out of the 
ground without cutting, leaving the ground in 
good shape. The gauge wlieel regulates the depth 
and helps to steady the digger. 

JoJin Dccrc Shaker Potato Digger 

An ideal implement for the man who grows a 
limited area of potatoes. Sprocket, which runs on 



124 THE POTATO 

ground, gives hinged grating and up-and-down 
motion. This shakes out the dirt and leaves the 
tubers in a clean, compact row. Weed fender clears 
away weeds and vines ahead of blade. This dig- 
ger is inexpensive and can be owned by any one. 
A wing shovel and extra bars to widen grate are 
furnished for sandy soils. 

THE ASPINWALL MACHINERY 

The Aspinwall Manufacturing Company, Jack- 
son, Mich., makes the machinery which is de- 
scribed in the following: 

Aspinwall Potato Planter No. 3. 

This planter is entirely automatic. The picker 
represents the automatic action of the hand in 
planting, and is mechanical, but six of these hands 
are employed for all distances of planting. The 
distance is regulated by gears instead of change in 
number of pickers. 

With the Aspinwall potato planter the fertilizer 
attachment is used largely in the East. 

• Aspinwall Tioo-Roiv Planter 

By using this machine there is a saving of time 
and labor, one man and team doing double the 
work of the single row. The two rows are abso- 
lutely equal in distance apart, w^hich is of great 
advantage when using a two-row cultivator, as it 
permits of very close cultivation. The draft of the 
machine is but slightly more than the single row. 
The large wheels and narrow furrow openers reduce 
the draft and compensate for the increased size of 
the machine. Centre draft. The hopper capac- 
ity enables planting one half mile without refilling. 




Aspiiiwall Potato Planter 




Aspiiiwall Sprayer 




Thompson's Greeley Potato Sorter 



THE POTATO 125 

Distance of planting between the rows is adjustable 
to suit requirements. The furrow openers are very 
narrow, which insures planting in straight lines. 
The disk coverers are set inside of the furrowers 
and close the earth into the individual furrows 
with a single disk. 

Aspinwall Potato Sprayers 

These machines are made with attachments for 
all purposes, including orchard attachment and 
attachments for the various crops grown by truck 
gardeners. They are equipped with nozzles in 
front, adjustable by pedals which the driver can 
guide so as to deflect the spray and overcome any 
tendency of the wind to drive it from the rows of 
potatoes. The spraying capacity is four rows in 
one operation, or twenty acres per day. Pressure 
is from 60 to 120 pounds and adapted to spray 
Paris green, Bordeaux mixture, or sulphate of iron 
used with the broadcast attachment for grain fields. 

Aspinwall Potato Diggers 

The Rotary potato digger is intended to dig 
potatoes under various conditions. In operating 
the machine it is best to work around a number of 
rows or drills of potatoes the same as in plowing 
or mowing, discharging the potatoes constantly to 
the right side of the machine. This machine is 
not illustrated. 

Aspimvall Potato Sorter 

The manufacturers state that this machine will 
sort from 500 to 1,000 bushels per day, and work is 
superior to hand work. The low-down hopper 
makes easy work when shoveling and feeding the 
machine. It may be run by hand or power, as re- 



126 THE POTATO 

quired. The entire work is under the control of 
the operator and any potatoes which are decayed or 
ill-shaped may be removed while the work is pro- 
gressing. The sorting or separation divides the 
potatoes into three sizes. 

THOMPSON MACHINERY 

The Thompson potato sorter is made by James 
Thompson, Greeley, Col., and is largely used 
in the West. Mr. Thompson also makes bag 
holders and potato baskets. The sorter is oper- 
ated by rocking back and forth the part into 
which the potatoes are emptied, the small potatoes 
dropping through the screen and being conveyed 
into one sack, the larger ones going over the screen 
and into the other sack. It is used both in the 
cellar and field. 

By laying a burlap sack over the upper end of 
the screen there is less bruising of the potatoes as 
they are shoveled or emptied on the sorter. The 
sack may cover one quarter to one third of the 
top surface of the sorter. 

THE DOWDEN MACHINERY 

The Dowden potato digger, made by the Dow- 
den Manufacturing Company, Prairie City, Iowa, 
weighs 1,140 pounds and is drawn by two or 
four horses, although made strong enough that six 
may be used, if required. 

The point, or "snout," of the digger goes under 
the rows, elevating the potatoes over an apron 
made of rods spaced far enough apart to let the 
dirt fall through, but close enough together to 
carry the potatoes over and deposit them on the 
top of the ground. 




Dowden Potato Digger at work on Mt. So])ris Farm 




*m:<cxi^. 



Iron Age Digger at work 




Hauling potatoes to storehouse in " liall'-sarks" — Mt. Sopris Farm 



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5» %^. 




;»;■>-*.< 



CHAPTER XII 

SELLING AND STORAGE 

DOES it pay to store potatoes or sell direct 
from the field to the dealer, and if storage 
pays what sort of structure is best? 

The answer to the first must be made by the 
individual grower. The element of chance en- 
ters very largely into this problem, to a greater 
degree, perhaps, than with any other farm crop. 

Statistics show that this statement is true — 
viz., that the farmer who has favorable conditions 
for potato growing and can practise a good rota- 
tion, who will grow the same acreage of potatoes 
each year for ten years, selling half at digging 
time and storing the balance, will show a nice an- 
nual profit on his ten years' operations. 

To say that prices will be good this year or next, 
or that it will pay to sell or store this fall or any 
later single fall, is simply making a guess. 

The Government reports showing acreage and 
condition of crop during the season and a compari- 
son with other seasons give some idea of what to 
expect. In addition to this the grower should know ^ 
what other districts besides his own are in position 
to compete with him in his natural markets, and 
the condition of their crop is another fact on which 
to base his guess. Figuring the average pro- 
duction in the United States at about ninetj' 
bushels per acre, the per capita consumption 
four bushels, and the population of the country, 

127 



130 



THE POTATO 



Wholesale prices of ■potatoes per bushel, 1896-1909. 





Chicago. 


Milwaukee. 


St. Louis. 


Cincinnati. 


Date. 


Burbank, 
per bushel. 


Per bushel. 


Burbank, 
per bushel. 


Per bushel.o 




Low. 


High. 


Low. 


High. 


Low. 


High. 


Low. 


High. 


1896 


Cenls. 
10 
18 
29 
26 
25 
30 
30 
38 
31 
18 


Cents. 

31 

62 

87 

75 

50 

125 

100 

85 

122 

72 


C<nU. 
10 
15 
25 
15 
20 
25 


Cents. 
35 

100 
90 
90 
80 

185 


Cenli. 
20 
21 
30 
25 
27 
18 
41 
40 
36 
27 


CerU>. 

45 

65 

85 

75 

64 

140 

105 

125 

125 

175 


JO. 60 

.90 

1.25 

1.10 

.32 

.30 

.90 

1.20 

1.20 

.25 


$1 35 


J897 


4.75 


1898 


3 75 


1899 


6 00 


1900 ^ 

1901 


.57 
1 20 


1902 


3 00 


1903 ^ 


35 
20 
10 


90 

120 

70 


3 00 


1904 


4 80 


J905 , 


80 






190C. 
January 


55 
47 
43 
67 
48 
60 


65 
57 
68 
63 
73 
87 


45 
35 
35 
60 
45 
60 
40 
35 
35 
25 
25 
25 


58 
60 
62 
62 
75 
80 
87 
60 
65 
40 
40 
40 


58 
63 
51 
65 
60 
65 
35 
37 
43 
48 
45 
40 


82 
61 
70 
68 
8S 
125 
75 
60 
62 
56 
65 
46 


.55 
.45 
.45 

.60 
.55 
.90 
.75 
.58 
.55 
.50 
.45 
.45 


65 


February 


62 


March 


75 


April ; 


85 


May 


75 


June 


1.05 
.90 


July...., 


August 






80 


Seoternber 


45 

40 

41 

ti40 


58 

47 

48 

US 


.60 
60 


October 


November 


.58 


Decern ber / 


.47 






Year 


40 


R7 


25 


87 


35 


125 


.45 


1 05 








1907. 
January 


34 
37 
33 
33 
65 
32 
30 


45 
48 
47 
01 
75 
70 
50 


25 
25 
25 
25 
40 
30 
35 
30 
45 
40 
40 
40 


45 
45 
45 
CO 
70 
70 
90 
80 
75 
75 
65 
65 


43 
51 
43 
63 
74 
60 
50 
60 
45 
65 
S3 
65 


63 

56 
65 
68 
75 
78 
125 
95 
72 
70 
65 
64 


.45 

.48 
.50 
.40 
.70 
.60 
.25 
.70 
.60 
.60 
.60 
.50 


.50 


February 


.53 


March 


.53 




.80 


May 


.80 




.70 




.85 




.80 




60 
45 
45 

40 


60 
65 
63 
68 


.85 


October..., 


62 


N ovem ber 


65 




.65 






Year 


?0 


75 


25 


90 


43 


125 


.25 


85 






1908. 
January 


52 
58 
62 
00 
50 
63 
70 
68 
58 
60 
57 
60 


65 
73 
75 

77 
80 
150 
110 
90 
78 
81 
71 
77 


53. 
65 
63 

65 
58 
68 
65 
60 
CO 
54 
6S 
64 


75 
70 
70 
8Q 
80 
150 
110 
85 
80 
80 
70 
70 


62 
67 
71 
73 
65 
100 


69 
77 
78 
78 
74 
105 


.60 
.65 
.70 
.70 
.00 
.60 
1.10 
.85 
.76 
.65 
.65 
.65 


.68 


February 


82 




.80 




.85 


May 


.85 


June 


1 35 


July 


1 35 








1. 15 


September 


72 
67 

69 
69 


— 72 
70 
72 
75 


.85 


October 


80 


November..^ 


. 75 


December 


.80 








50 


150 


63 


150 


62 


105 


.60 


1 35 






1909. 
January 


60 
65 
80 
,85 
'70 
20 
15 
38 
42 
35 
15 
20 


79 

95 

93 

110 

150 

145 

125 

60 

65 

55 

50 

58 


60 
60 
70 
70 
SO 
39 
20 
40 
45 
40 
30 
30 


72 

88 

95 

115 

135 

105 

100 

90 

65 

60 

50 

50 


73 
80 
89 
92 
85 
40 
40 
35 
45 
42 
40 
40 


83 

93 

9S 

lOS 

102 

140 

110 

62 

72 

56 

52 

60 


.72 
.75 
.85 
.95 
.95 
.90 
.50 
.70 
.55 
.55 
.30 
.30 


.80 


March , 


.90 
.95 


April.. J 


1.15 


M^y 


1.00 


Tune. . . , . . , 


1.20 


July. ..:. 


.95 


August 


.75 


September. ,. 


.70 


October 


.60 


November 


.60 


December, i 


.48 






Year 


15 


150 


20 


135 


35 


140 


.30 


1.20 







a Pel barrel iot 1396-1899 md 1902-1901. 



t Cotomon to fancy. 






New potato cellar of CoiiiinissiontM- of Ai,M-icullurc A. \\ . Ciiliuan; 

Foxcrofl, Maine 



/=^o Tv< 7^0 -s- Tofp.^ a^s: 





.Si/re /*-- e a -*"<■ ' - -S ^ • «f^ 




^/icf 



£'/G Ku tyo/t 








_S/Ve- 



^/e-i^eT/o/r 



Potato storage cellar plans 



THE POTATO 



131 



Average farm price of potatoes per bushel, monthly, 7908-9. 



Month. 


Unlt«d 
States. 


North 
Atlantic 
States. 


South 
Atlantic 
StaUs. 


N. Cen. 
States Ea'st 
of Miss. R. 


N. Cen. 
St-.tcs West 
or Miss. R. 


South 
Ontral 
StatfS. 


Far WcsN 
crn States. 




1909. 


1908. 


1909. 


1906. 


1909. 


1908. 


1909. 


19a<!. 


1909. 


1906. 


1909. 


1903. 


1909. 


1908. 


January 

February 

March 


as. 

72.0 
73.3 
80.0 
86.3 
97.3 
97.7 
91.0 
85.1 
71.5 
64.3 
57.8 
54.9 


at. 

63.4 

69.6 
70.4 
73.3 
71.3 
77.8 
83.6 
78.0 
74.8 
69.2 
70.6 


Oj. 
74.5 
75.4 
77.2 
82.8 
93.6 
91.4 
91.2 
89.1 
77.6 
65.3 
58.5 
56.2 


as. 

04.9 

'73.0 
73.0 
79.2 
72.3 
70.4 
93.2 
87.8 
80.3 
71.9 
73.7 


as. 

83.2 
77.6 
90.3 
96.5 
101.3 
99.9 
94.5 
79.6 
76.7 
78.0 
70.7 
75.1 


Os. 
70.0 

84.2 
85.8 
SO- 4 
86.1 
80.6 
74.9 
75.3 
74.7 
76.5 
81.6 


On. 

09.4 
70.6 
77.1 
83.2 
97.6 
94.1 
79.5 
77.9 
60.9 
54.0 
47.2 
44.4 


as. 

55.5 

'59.7' 

64.8 

60. 8 
07.7 
80.6 
8.';. 9 
77.0 
74.9 
67.3 
07.0 


as. 

04.1 
60.9 
72.3 
81.9 
91.2 
99.0 
91.8 
70.8 
05.3 
61.9 
50.2 
53. S 


as. 

02.5 

00.0' 
07.2 
07.3 
08.3 
7.i. 9 
73.4 
04.3 
04.0 
01.1 
02.6 


as. 

92.1 
87.9 
118.2 
117.0 
119.5 
113.4 
9.). 
77.9 
81.2 
91.8 
80.0 
80.3 


as. 

92.7 

ioo.'s' 

104.9 

in-i. 8 

91.4 
SO. 
80.8 
82.6 

87.1 
88.2 
88.9 


Os. 
00.9 
73.6 
83.5 
91.1 
100.5 
115.0 
115.1 
110.9 
81.1 
69.1 
58.0 
57.6 


as. 

62.7 
59 8 


April 


May 


61. « 
61.6 
68.7 
69.6 

75.2 
70.9 
67.8 

66.4 


Juno 


July 


August 

September 

October 

November 

December 



crop is dug, or a few days thereafter, must be 
stored in frost-proof buildings or pits. 

Potatoes grown in southern chmates may be 
stored in dark warehouses or in straw-covered piles 
in the field. 

The normal losses in storage from October to May 
amount to 5 to 12 per cent, of the total bulk. This 
does not include losses due to disease or sorting. 

It has been estimated that of the total storage 
loss 75 per cent, is due to loss of moisture and 25 
per cent, to respiration. The potato tuber does 
not die when taken from the ground and placed 
in a cellar, but it lives by using some of the food 
material stored up in its cells. The material used 
is in the form of sugar, which a ferment forms 
from starch. Respiration is practically stopped 
when the tuber is frozen and the sweet taste of 
frozen potatoes is due to accumulation of sugar. 

The important points to be considered in potato 
storage are: 

Conditions to keep a temperature as low as possible with- 
out freezing; 

Conditions to keep the air as dry as possible, and a place 
where potatoes may be kept dark. 



132 THE POTATO 

While mining at an altitude of 1,000 feet in 
Colorado, a good many years ago, the senior 
author of this work met a prospector who was going 
to leave the country. He said that in an old 
tunnel would be found some supplies, including 
twelve sacks of potatoes which had been put there 
two years before. These the prospector gave to 
him. The condition of these potatoes was ap- 
parently the same as when they were dug; they 
were not shriveled, no shrinkage was apparent, 
they had not started to sprout, and when cooked 
they were just as edible as when dug out of the 
ground. There had been an airshaft constructed 
at the end of the tunnel and through the tunnel 
was a good current of dry air. The temperature 
was uniformly about 40 degrees F., being in a 
rock tunnel 200 feet below the surface of the ground. 
In building a potato cellar he tried to get as near 
those conditions as possible. 

The cellar illustrated is about 50 by 200 feet. At 
each end there is a dead-air space ten feet square 
in the form of a vestibule between the outer and 
inner doors. This affords protection from freez- 
ing. There is a driveway clear through, with 
bins on either side, skylights and ventilators being 
placed every ten feet. The temperature of the 
cellar may be lowered by opening the doors and 
letting a current of air pass through. When it is 
too cold for this, the ventilators at the top may 
be opened. The best ventilation is always se- 
cured bj^ building the cellar in line with the direc- 
tion of the prevailing air currents. During the 
winter the temperature should be kept as near 32 
degrees F. as possible; it is best when it does not 
go below 30 degrees nor above 36 degrees. A tem- 
perature of 28 degrees F. for one or two hours will 



TIIE POTATO 133 

not freeze potatoes when in large qnantitles. In 
a cold country some means for providing artificial 
heat shoidd be provided. In the spring of the 
year, when the weather becomes warm, the cellar 
doors are kept open at night and closed in the 
daytime. 

The plans submitted give a general idea of a 
satisfactory cellar, and can be modified to suit 
conditions. In planning the size of the structure 
it is safe to estimate one bushel at one and one 
fourth cubic feet. 

In a small cellar built with a driveway this 
space need not be wasted but filled with potatoes 
or other vegetables after the bins at the side have 
been filled. 

One important point in the storage of potatoes 
is to reduce the temperature to as low a point as 
possible directlj^ after the product is stored. Put 
about one foot of potatoes on the cellar floor, and 
by the time the entire floor is covered to that 
depth the heat from those potatoes is pretty well 
carried off by the air currents. Then add another 
layer, thus properly regulating the temperature as 
the storage progresses. Ordinarily, when the cel- 
lar is filled, the potatoes are piled about five feet 
deep. 

There are many types of potato cellars, each 
suited to individual conditions and factors which 
control size, material used, and construction. In 
Maine, steam-heated, double-wall stone masonry 
warehouses are used. In some sections of the 
West poles and timbers are used largely in con- 
struction and the storage space is largely under 
ground. Cellars built entirely imder ground are 
used in some other localities. 

Pits, covered with straw and earth, are used 



134 THE POTATO 

to store thousands of bushels of the world's crop. 
The principal objection to these is the absence of 
control over conditions during the coldest weather. 
In zero weather they cannot safely be opened to 
haul the crop to market, or for sorting if the tubers 
are rotting. Heavy rains may cause damage to 
pitted potatoes. A grower with one acre can af- 
ford to have a ventilated storehouse, even if this 
is only a well-covered underground cellar. 

Sorting potatoes that have started to rot from 
freezing or disease requires a cellar that can be 
lighted when desired. Careful growing to pre- 
vent disease, and careful handling for the same 
purpose, may cost a httle more than slipshod 
methods, but the probability of marketing a crop 
without the expense and loss of rehandling rotten 
potatoes warrants the expense. 

Ventilation devices, such as open partitions, may 
be used to advantage when large quantities of 
potatoes are stored in bulk. 

Sacked potatoes corded in piles keep well in a 
good cellar, and when sprouts start in the spring 
the growth of these may be checked by moving 
the sacks. A bruised sprout dies. 

When the floor is of dirt, it is well to use some 
sort of material, preferably strips of wood, be- 
tween the dirt and the potatoes, to prevent rot. 

It is important that potatoes be free from dirt 
when taken from the field to the cellar. Dirty 
potatoes do not keep well, because of the dirt that 
adheres to the individual tubers, and that which 
falls off and fills up the air spaces between the 
potatoes, preventing free ventilation. 

A very satisfactory place to build a cellar is on 
a knoll, thus insuring perfect water drainage and 
a good circulation of air. 



THE POTATO 135 

There is no limit to the ingenuity of the builder 
in providing conveniences in the way of sorting 
rooms and divisions in a potato cellar. 

It is hard to conceive a well-planned, diversified 
farm anywhere in the temperate zone that is com- 
plete without a storage cellar for potatoes and 
other vegetables. A "hoed" crop, requiring deep, 
thorough cultivation, is an important factor in a 
rotation of crops, and a business farmer is not 
living up to his possibilities when he grows a crop 
that for lack of storage facilities he must sell in a 
short time after its maturity, thereby placing him- 
self at the mercy of the middleman and retailer. 

In the well-regulated farm we have in mind a 
fairly definite proportion of the farm would be in 
potatoes and roots each year, one part of the 
potatoes to be sold at digging time, the balance 
held for later marketing; and a quantity of roots 
always stored for livestock feeding. This system 
makes a storage cellar as important a factor as the 
stock barns. 

Following are specifications for the potato cellar 
illustrated: 

To be built with eight-inch concrete walls with 
six-inch footing, one foot below floor line. Inside 
width thirty-six feet, making twenty-seven feet 
storage space and a nine-foot driveway. Length 
to accommodate the amount of potatoes to be 
stored. Height of side walls seven feet from floor 
line, three and one half feet underground level, 
centre ten feet from floor line. Heavy posts to 
be set every ten feet along each side of driveway. 
Round posts would answer for this purpose as 
well as the more expensive sawed lumber. 

On top of these posts is run a ten-inch by ten- 



136 THE POTATO 

inch stringer or girder the length of the building. 
It rests on the concrete of each end. This is the 
support for the rafters ; all rafters two inches by ten 
inches. 

Two-inch by six-inch plate is bolted to the top of 
the concrete wall for the rafters to be nailed to. 

A portion of the cellar can be fitted with shelves, 
or drawers for tray storage of different kinds of 
seed potatoes. 

The yield of potatoes in this country can be 
very greatly increased by more careful selection 
and storage of seed. Growers in Europe find it 
profitable to store selected potatoes, to be used 
whole for seed, in trays. This is especially desir- 
able for early potatoes. With this system, stubby 
strong sprouts are grown on the seed tubers before 
they are planted. 

On top of rafters wire netting is placed. On this 
is placed fifteen inches to twentj^-four inches of 
straw; then well covered with earth. Straw is a 
good insulator and absorbs moisture. Any kind 
of tight, rainproof outer covering may be used 
above the earth if conditions make this necessary. 

Ventilators are placed every twenty feet, with 
tight fitting cover on top and hinged sash on bot- 
tom. 

Doors to be made of three-fourths-inch flooring, 
to be of a double thickness, with heavy building 
paper between the boards. 

In places where cement is much more expen- 
sive than lumber, this building could be built by 
setting posts and making a frame wall. 

The Colorado Agricultural College built a cellar 
sixty by eighty feet at a cost of about $1 ,150. Piled 
fiv^e feet deep and with the driveway filled this 



THE POTATO 137 

would hold about 19,500 bushels. It is estimated 
that a farmer could build a cellar of like capacity 
for a cash outlay of $900. They estimate the 
cost of a cellar at from 7 to 30 cents per hundred- 
weight of potatoes stored — depending on the per- 
manence of the structure. 

Wliere large quantities of potatoes are to be 
handled, it is well to have a switch run to the cellar 
and load direct from the cellar to the car by use 
of a small engine and belt to carry the filled sacks. 

Potatoes for seed in Europe are stored in crates, 
insuring more uniform conditions for each tuber. 

Keeping potatoes in the South is a problem. It 
is very desirable to keep those grown in the spring 
for fall planting. In a Bulletin of the Florida Ex- 
periment Station, J. F. Mitchell says: 

*'The method that has proved uniformly suc- 
cessful at the station has been to take a slat crate, 
place a layer of pine straw needles in the bottom, 
then a layer of potatoes, covering them with a 
layer of pine straw, and continue the process until 
the crate is filled. Finally, the crate is covered 
with a layer of pine straw and stored in the barn 
without further attention. On taking the po- 
tatoes out in the fall they have been found to be 
sound and fresh in appearance and there has been 
no difficulty as to their sprouting when planted. 
Fall planting at the station has just been com- 
pleted. The potatoes cared for as above described 
were in prime condition; in fact, they were as good 
as, if not better than, seed potatoes shipped from 
the North. 

Storing potatoes in oat straw proved a failure 
on account of the tendency of the potatoes to 
decay. Spreading the potatoes on a board floor 



138 THE POTATO 

was unsuccessful, as the potatoes turned green and 
shriveled, being then unfit for either shipping or 
planting. On trying a mixture of lime and dry 
sand, in the proportion of one pint of lime to a 
bushel of sand, it was found that, while the po- 
tatoes did not decay, they were no longer viable, 
the lime apparently killing the eyes and thereby 
preventing them from sprouting successfully. Dry 
sand alone produced better results." 

In *' Bulletin No. 2, Volume 8," of the Com- 
missioner of Agriculture of the State of Maine, is 
given the following description of a potato cellar 
built by Hon. A. W. Gilman, Foxcroft, Maine, 
the Commissioner: 

"This house and plan are recommended to 
any who intend to grow potatoes for a series of 
years. This building is located on a side hill, and 
is fifty feet long by thirty feet wide, and serves 
both as a storehouse for potatoes and for the hous- 
ing of farm implements. 

"The bottom is concrete, the walls are of grout 
coated on the outside and inside with cement to 
prevent the moisture soaking through. They are 
eight feet high, eighteen inches wide at the bottom, 
ten inches at the top. The plates which are used 
for sills and set on these walls are chambered an 
inch and a half both on the outside and inside. 
These pieces are filled with cement to keep the 
cold air out. The sleepers on which the floor is 
laid are six inches square. These are boarded on 
top with a double floor with tar paper between, 
and single boarded underneath, thus giving a 
dead-air space of six inches. The rafters are nine 
feet long, coming up nearly perpendicular, giving 



THE POTATO 139 

more storage space. The second rafters are fifteen 
feet long, forming the roof. 

"The part that forms the cellar proper is thirty- 
eight feet long, the remaining twelve feet making 
a room for sorting and packing potatoes. The 
cellar is divided by two partitions, making three 
bins each ten feet wide. Each bin has trap doors 
in the centre of the floor covering that bin. Each 
trap is about five feet long by eighteen inches wide, 
with three feet between each trap. 

"The potato bins, each thirty -eight feet long, 
are partitioned off from the sorting room. Both 
sides of the partition are boarded up with matched 
boards. A double door leads from the sorting 
room into each bin. These doors are closed in the 
coldest weather. The sorting room has two win- 
dows for fight and air. 

"If the potatoes begin to sweat in storage or 
need ventilation, the trap doors can be raised, and 
the doors from the bins into the sorting room can 
be opened, giving a perfect system of ventilation, 
which soon dries the potatoes off. 

"The potatoes are removed fom the storage 
house through the sorting room, the floor of which 
is on a level with the road outside, thus saving 
much labor. 

"Bill of material for this storage house. (Esti- 
mates furnished by W. L. Brown, Foxcroft, Maine) : 



No. of 






pieces 


Size 


Lengths 


16 


4x6 Posts for cellar partition 


8 ft. 


6 


6x6 End and cross sills 


30 ft. 


5 


6x6 Side sills 


20 ft. 


40 


2x6 Floor timbers 


20 ft. 


20 


2x6 Floor timbers 


12 ft. 


60 


2x5 Rafters 


9 ft. 



6 in. 



140 THE POTATO 

Bill of Material — continued 
No. of 
pieces Size Lengths 

60 2x5 Rafters 13 ft. 

Plates 250 lin. ft. 

20 2x6 Beams 22 ft. 

50 2x4 Studding for gables 12-16 ft. 

8 M Boards P.I.S. includes double 

floors matched and beaded 
pine for doors 250 ft. 

15 squares Neponset waterproof paper for floors. 

5 M Sheathing for cellar, ceiling and cross partition. 
22 M XI Shingles with four rolls sheathing paper, or 
22 Squares 1-ply Paroid roofing for roof. 

500 feet 5-inch clear spruce clapboards with one roll 

paper for gables. 
600 feet Pine finish. 

6 9 " X 3" 12-lighted windows and frames. 
1 M Brick for chimney. 

All timber is spruce. If of fir add one inch to depth of all 
sUls and floor timbers. 

Grout wall (150 lin. ft. 8 ft. high) and cement floor would 
cost about $250." 



CHAPTER Xin 

COST OF GROWING POTATOES YIELD — - 

PRICES PROFITS 

THE yield of a crop of potatoes, the cost of 
growing and the consequent profits, vary 
not only with conditions, but with indi- 
vidual operators under similar conditions. In 
common with every other phase of agriculture, 
and everything else in the world, the individuality 
of the man in charge is the most potent factor. 

The price is a proposition that the individual 
grower has no control of and varies with the 
world's supply and demand. 

Average yields do not represent the possibilities 
of the business, and are not fair to the industry. 
The best growers always produce crops far in ex- 
cess of the average for a district or a community. 
The average producer of potatoes is not a potato 
grower in the strict sense of the term — he is 
simply a farmer growing potatoes and giving little, 
if any, thought or study to the "reasons why" for 
various operations. 

The estimates and figures which follow regard- 
ing prices of the various operations and the profits 
in potato growing show the possibilities and prob- 
abilities in various sections. The best grower may 
make larger profits than some of these — poor 
growers nmch less. 

In the Twin Falls countrv in southern Idaho 
the yield of potatoes is from 100 to 700 bushels 

141 



142 THE POTATO 

per acre. The cost of producing a 150-bushel 
crop is estimated as follows: 

Plowing $ 3.00 

Harrowing .75 

Floating 1.00 

Seed, average planting 700 lbs. at 2c 14.00 

Planting 2.50 

Irrigating first year 5 . 00 

Cultivating three times at 50c 1 . 50 

Digging 1.50 

Picking — 150 bu. at 4c 6.00 

Sacks — 75 at 7c 5.25 

Hauling to pit 2 . 00 

Total $44.00 

If potatoes are worth 50 cents a bushel, this crop 
would sell for $75, leaving a profit of $30.50 per 
acre, not deducting rent or interest or taxes. 

If, however, the grower produces a 600-bushel 
crop, the cost of producing (figuring twice as much 
seed and increased cost of the operations) would 
be about $95.75. The crop would sell (at 50 
cents a bushel) for $300, leaving a profit of $204.25. 

In their work on "Potato Culture" (published 
by A, I. Root Co. Medina, Ohio), T. B. Terry of 
Hudson, Ohio, and A. I. Root of Medina, Ohio, 
estimate the cost as follows: 

Plowing $ 2.00 

Harrowing with Thomas and three horses ... 33 

Rolling 25 

Eight bushels seed at 50 cents average . . . . 4.00 

Cutting to one eye 1 . 50 

Planting with planter 1 . 00 

Harrowing three times 45 

Harrowing four times with weeder 80 

Cultivating eight times, once in a row . . . . 3 . 36 

Bugs 2.00 

Hand puhing or cutting weeds 75 



THE POTATO 143 

Digging with four horses 2.50 

Picking up and storing 3,00 

Marketing three-mile haul 6 . 00 

Manure 5.00 

Interest on value of land $100, at 6 per cent. . . 6.00 

$38.94 

If the crop makes 250 bushels and sells for 40 
cents a bushel, the profit will be as follows: 

250 bushels at 40 cents $100.00 

Cost of production 38.94 

$ 61.06 

Lawrence G. Dodge, scientific Assistant in the 
Bureau of Plant Industry, gives, in "Farmers' 
Bulletin 465" of the U. S. Department of Agri- 
culture, the following: 

"The accompanying table represents the usual 
expense of growing an acre of potatoes in Aroo- 
stook County, Maine, and in many parts of Mich- 
igan and Wisconsin. In fact, the second column of 
figures will represent the expense put into growing 
the crop in most localities where potato growing 
is carried on, on a less expensive and through- 
going basis: 



Cost of supplies and 

labor with rent 

of land 


Maine 


Wisconsin 


Cost of supplies and 

labor with rent 

of land 


Maine 


Wisconsin 


Plowing . 
Harrowing . . 
Fertilizer. . . 
Seed . . . 
Cutting . . . 
Planting . 


ai.5o 

50 

24.00 

5.00 

75 

75 


§1.25 
25 

2.50 
60 
60 


Cultivating . 
Spraying. . 
Digging . . 
Rent of land . 

Total 


^^3.50 
3.00 
6.00 

15.00 


§1.90 

*80 

2.10 

5.00 


00.00 


15.00 



Tor beetles only 



144 THE POTATO 

"The more expensive method of growing potatoes 
usually gives a yield of 275 bushels or more to the 
acre. Unless an application of barnyard manure 
is made in addition to the expense estimated, at 
an added cost of from $5 to $10 per acre, the less 
expensive method rarely produces more than 125 
bushels per acre and in a great many instances 
decidely less than 100 bushels per acre. The in- 
crease in yield as a result of the more costly method 
is suflBcient to more than pay the difference in 
cost, supposing potatoes to sell as low as 33J cents 
a bushel. One hundred and twenty-five bushels 
per acre grown at a cost of $15 per acre and sold 
at 33J cents a bushel yield a net profit of $26.66 
per acre. Two hundred and seventy-five bushels 
per acre grown at a cost of $60 per acre and sold 
at 33 J cents per bushel yield a net profit of $31.66 
per acre. The second profit is $5 more per acre 
than the first. 

"A farmer in Van Buren County, Mich., states 
that his potato crop, mostly marketed in the fall, 
sold at an average price of 44 cents a bushel for a 
period of ten years. At the latter price the more 
expensive method of culture would yield a profit 
of $61 per acre, against $40 from the cheaper 
method. Furthermore, some of the leading potato 
dealers of the North have stated emphatically 
that a better quality of potatoes is normally ob- 
tained with large yields than with small." 

The dean of the College of Agriculture of the 
University of Maine, Dr. William D. Hurd, says: 

**Many questions are asked as to the cost of 
growing an acre of potatoes. So many things, 
different circumstances, facilities for carrying on 



THE POTATO 145 

labor, kind of season, etc., enter into the problem of 
cost in such varying proportions that it is almost 
impossible to give statistics which will prove of 
much value to others. From records for several 
years on the college farm at Orono, the cost of 
growing a ten-acre field of potatoes is about as 
follows: Man and team labor are reckoned at 
$3. .50 per day, extra men at $1.50 per day. 

Ten-acre field 

Plowing at $2 per acre $20.00 

Harrowing five limes, $3.50 per acre .... 17.50 

Fertilizer (Iiomo mixture) $30 a ton .... 225.00 

Seed — 130 bushels, 75 cents a bu.shel . . . 97.50 

Disinfecting seed (labor and material) . . . 3.00 

Cutting seed (by liand) at 6 cents per bushel . 7.80 

Planting, team and two men three days, $5 . 15.00 

Harrowing or weeding before crop is up, four times 10.50 

Cultivating crop eight times at $3.50 . . . . 28.00 

Spraying six times ($1 per acre each application) . 60.00 

Hand hoeing and pulling weeds once (if necessary) . 15 . 00 
Digging and hauling to storehouse or station at 

$15 per acre 150.00 

Rent of land (5% on $50 per acre value) 10 acres . 25 . 00 
Depreciation of implements, (plows, harrows, 
planter, sprayer, digger, etc.) value $250 esti- 
mated at 10 % 25.00 



$699 . 30 
Value of crop, 225 bushels to acre (2,250 bushels at 

50 cents) $125.00 

Value per acre 112.50 

Cost of growing per acre 69.93 



Net profit per acre $ 42 . 57 

The E. L. Cleveland Company of Houlton, 
Maine, one of the largest growers and dealers of 
seed potatoes in America, makes the following es- 
timate of the cost of growing an acre of potatoes: 



146 THE POTATO 

Commercial fertilizer 1,500 lbs. to 2,000 $28.50 to $35.00 

Preparing ground for seed . . . . 3 . 00 

Seed 600 pounds 7 . 00 

Planting 2.50 

Cultivation 3.50 

Gathering or harvesting 7.50 

Preparing for market 50 

Wear and tear on implements ... 50 

Rent of land (tenant farmer pays) . . $10.00 to $20.00 

Bordeaux mixture 4 . 00 

Paris green 50 

Hauling to market 3.50 

Average yield of product per acre . . 220 bu. 

Average value of product per acre . . $88 . 00 

Average size of fields 15 acres 

Average value per acre of land growing 

such crops 75.00 to 100.00 

Profit per acre 17.00 

*'Much depends on the weather conditions as 
to the cost of applying Bordeaux mixture, Paris 
green, cost of cultivation, labor and general net 
results. 

"The above estimates may be regarded the aver- 
age for a series of years." 

Mr. L. F. Shanklin of Lompoc, Cal., estimates 
the cost of producing an acre of potatoes as fol- 
lows : 

Use of land (will rent for) $30.00 

Seed 400 pounds at 1 1 cents 6.00 

Plowing and preparation 5 . 00 

Cultivation twice — hoeing once 1 . 00 

Digging and picking 3 . 00 

Sacks 5 cents, sacking 5 cents (100 sacks per at) . 10 . 00 

Hauling . 1.00 

$56.00 
His average crop is: 



THE POTATO 147 

70 sacks firsts 115 lbs. to sack at $1.30 per 100. $80.50 
30 " seconds 120 lbs. to sack at $1 . 00 per 100 . 3G . 00 
30 " cow feed or waste at 10 cents per 100. . 3.00 

$119.50 
Profit $63.50 

The cost of producing one acre of potatoes on 
the farm of W. Dennis & Sons, Kirton, Lincoln- 
shire, England, is: 

Seed per acre 2,600 pounds $16.00 

Rent 15.00 

Rate Tax (special Government income tax) 2 . 50 

Eight tons barnyard manure 13.75 

Commercial fertilizer (phosphate nitrate, potash) . 15 . 00 

Planting 1.25 

Cultivation 1 . 25 

Harvesting and marketing 15 . 00 

Plowing and preparation after planting . . 1 . 20 

Ridging and covering in 2 . 50 

Spraying 5.00 

Hauling 5.00 



^o 



Average cost $ 93 . 45 

Total average revenue $125.00 

Profit $ 31.55 

W. Dennis & Sons grow 3,000 acres annually 
and these figures are an average for that acreage. 

Prof. L. A. Merrill of the Utah Agricultural Col- 
lege reports that the cost of growing according to 
Mr. W. F. Hai-per of Smithficld, Utah, is as follows: 

Plowing, harrowing and leveling the land . . $5 . 00 

Fifteen loads of manure at 25 cents per load . . 3 . 75 

Hauling manure at 75 cents per load . 11.25 

Seed 10.00 

Cutting and planting seed 9 . 00 

Cultivating, weeding and irrigating 5 . 00 

Picking and sacking 10.00 

Loading on car 4.50 

$ 59.00 



148 



THE POTATO 



To this should be added interest on the money 
invested in the land which would vary with the 
price of land, and also taxes on the land; these two 
items will probably average $10. 

The profits will range from $20 in the poorer 
potato sections to $125 per acre in good potato 
districts. Mr. Harper reports a net profit of the 
latter sum from his potatoes in 1910. 

The cost of producing the acre of potatoes that 
won the first prize in 1910 Burley Contest (prize 
of $500 cash given by D. E. Burley, General 
Passenger Agent, Oregon Short Line Railroad, for 
best measured acre in territory tributary to that 
railroad) is estimated by L. A. and W. L. Snyder, 
Twin Falls, Idaho, the growers, as follows: 



No. of 
horses used 



No. of 
men 



Plowing alfalfa to kill the plants 
(crowning or plowing three 

inches deep with sharp plow). . . 3 

Disking in spring 3 

Harrowing 2 

Corrugating 2 

Irrigating before plowing 

Plowing 4 

Planking 2 

Cultivating first time 2 

Cultivating second time 2 

Hilling first time 1 

Hilling second time 1 

Irrigating 

Digging 3 

Planting 2 



7 
2 



No. of 
days 



3 

4 
1 

1 



1 
2 

1 

¥ 

1 

1 
3 

1 

2 
3 
1 
2 



This makes a total of 18 horse days — or about 
18 horses working 1 day; and about 12 man days. 
Estimating the horse time at $1 a day and the 
man time at $2 a day, the labor bill is: 



THE POTATO 149 

Horse work, 15 (lays at $1 $15.00 

Labor. 1^2 days at i^-^ 24.00 

Additional charges are as follows: 

Twiue 75 

Sacks 350 sacks at G| cents each 22.75 

Hauling 13.80 

1,750 ])oim(ls of seed at 2 cents per pound . . 35.00 

Twelve loads of manure at $1 i)cr load . 12.00 
Rent of land (0 i)er cent, on valuation of $200 per 

acre) 12.00 



$125.30 



The yield was as follows : 

Gross weight .... 38,685 pounds 644 . 75 bushels 
Less Culls .... 4,150 pounds 



Marketable . . . 34,535 pounds 575.5 bushels 

Estinialiiig the returns from tlie crop at $1 
per hundred, or 60 cents a bushel, the market- 
able potatoes are worth $345.35, a profit of 
$220.05 without figuring the waste potatoes. 
With waste potatoes at $5 a ton, the total revenue 
is $10.40 more, or $230.45. 

Ashel Smith, a successful grower and exhibitor 
of potatoes of Ladner, British Cohimbia, says 
that he pays $25 an acre per year rent for land in 
sod, and that some sod land would be worth a 
rental of $50 for growing potatoes. 

When land that has been in sod from three to 
ten years can be secured, no commercial fertilizer 
is used. The sod is thoroughly disked to a depth 
of six inches (even if six diskings are required) be- 
fore plowing. 

Where sprouted whole seed is used the earliness 
of the crop is increased three \veeks as compared 



150 THE POTATO 

with cut seed. They are planted thirteen inches 
apart in rows thirty-six inches wide. 

Seed stock is graded by numbers according to 
the diameter. For instance, No. 2 seed weighs 
about ten ounces, and No. 7 is about one inch in 
diameter. 

The per acre cost of production is about as 
follows: 

Rent of land " .... $25.00 

1,400 pounds of seed 21.00 

Seed bed preparation 8 . 00 

No spraying is required 

Cultivation five times 3 . 50 

Digging 14.40 

Sacks 14.40 

Storage 6.00 

$92.30 

The yields run from 200 to 400 bushels, with an 
average of about 245 bushels per acre. 

Potatoes usually bring about $1 per hundred or 
60 cents a bushel. 

A yield of 9 tons (18,000 pounds or 300 bushels) 
at $20 a ton ($1 per hundred) would bring $180. 

This would make: 

Returns from crop $180.00 

( ost of producing 92 . 30 

Net profit $ 87.70 

In the Hastings district in Florida, F. E. Bugbee 
gives the following cost and revenue for an acre 
of potatoes: 

"Where the common methods described above 
are used, the figures are about as follows: 



THE POTATO 151 

Fertilizer $30.00 

Seed 14.00 

Barrels 12.00 

Rent 15 . 00 

Digging and delivering 10.00 

Cultivation 7.50 

$88.50 

Revenue 40 barrels at $3.25 $130.00 

Cost 88.50 

Profit $ 31.50 

"Where land is tiled with three-inch tiles eigh- 
teen inches deep, with lines of tile forty feet apart, 
with a device for closing tiles at outlet so as to 
control moisture content of land greater revenue 
is made. The cost of tiling is $30 an acre. 

*'0n tiled land there is no waste from open 
ditches and more seed and fertilizer are required. 
More seed is required because hills are planted 
closer together. 

"Following are figures on tiled land: 



Fertilizer $40.00 

Seed 25.00 

Barrels 30.00 

Rent 30.00 

Cultivation 7.50 

Digging 20.00 

$147.50 

Revenue 120 barrels at $3.25 $390.00 

Cost 147.50 

Profit $242.50 

The cost of growing an acre of potatoes in 
Kansas is given by Secretary F. I). Coburii, of the 



152 THE POTATO 

Kansas State Board of Agriculture, in a consensus 
of the detailed statements of forty representative 
growers, reporting from thirty-two different Kan- 
sas counties the crop averaging 122 bushels: 

Average cost of plowing $ 1 . 20 

Harrowing , 54 

Seed 7.25 

Planting 1.35 

Cultivating 1 . 66 

Digging and marketing 8 . 85 

Wear and tear of tools and rental of land or interest 

on its value 4 . 42 

Total cost per acre, or 122 biLsheLs $25.27 

Averages of other items, gathered from those 
furnishing the forty foregoing reports, are as fol- 
lows: 

Average number of years each of the forty reporters 

has raised potatoes in Kansas 18 

Average number of acres raised by each annually . 26 

Average quantity of seed planted per acre (biLshels) 9 

Average yield per acre (bushels) 122 

Average value of potato land per acre .... $60 . 00 

Statements of ten of the growers reporting who are most 
extensively producing potatoes for commercial purposes, in 
the Kaw Valley, average as here shown : 

Average cost of plowing $ 1 . 45 

Harrowing 51 

Seed 8.05 

Planting , . 65 

Cultivating 1.46 

Digging and marketing 11.00 

Wear and tear of tools and rental of land or inter- 
est on its value 6.85 

Total cost per acre, or 154 bushels .... $29 . 97 



THE POTATO 153 

Range of price per husliel $0.11 lo $1.15 ])vr hiishel. 
Average price per bushel Ivaw Valley on board cars 

is about 37 

Average number of years each of these ten reporters 

has raisc'd potatoes in Kansas 18 

Average number of acres raised by each annually . 80 

Average quantity of seed planted per acre (bushels) 10 . 4 

Average yield per acre (bushels) 153.7 

Average value of potato land per acre .... $105 . 00 

Incidentally, by these forty reports it is noted 
that the number of times the ground is harrowed 
ranges from one to four and in one it is given as 
eight; in some cases the ground is disked also; 
and in the Kaw Valley it is not uncommon for 
some of the more extensive growers to plow their 
potato ground twice. 

Likewise, in the more western counties, in 
cases where the crop is mulched with a covering 
of straw or hay where irrigated, the cost of cul- 
tivating, which includes these items, is propor- 
tionately higher, owing to extra labor in the first 
instance and more frequent cultivating in the 
second. 

In the item of planting, the cost to Kaw Valley 
growers is lessened by the quite general use of nui- 
chine planters. 



CHAPTER XIV 

MARKETS AND MARKETING 

FTTIHE marketing of high-class farm products 

I in attractive packages, to special trade — 
-^ is a department of agriculture that has a 
most promising future. 

Farm marketing has been too much like other 
farm operations — slipshod and easy going — with 
little or no system. There has been too little 
care as to the quality of the product. 

The demands of the market to be supplied 
should be the first consideration. If a white po- 
tato is the popular one — the best possible white 
potato of the size and shape desired should be 
grown — selecting to that type consistently each 
year — making a product that so much excels the 
bulk of the offerings that it always demands a 
premium. An instance of this is the Salinas 
Burbank on the Pacific coast and the Mt. Sopris 
Farm or Carbondale Peachblow on the Denver 
market and for the dining car trade. Both of these 
are products of exceptional quality, smooth, even, 
and good cookers, but the former is a long white 
potato, the latter round and red. 

In the fruit trade, where selection and package 
have been given careful consideration by up-to- 
date growers in the western part of the United 
States, the marketing of all grades and sizes in 
the same package is no longer considered good 
business. The best and most select are packed in 

154 



THE POTATO 155 

separate packages and often under separate brands. 
During the 70's, potatoes were shipped on boats 
;uid cars in bulk, now the crop is handled in bags, 
boxes and barrels. 

It pays to sort the crop carefully — offering 
only sound, clean tubers for human consumption, 
feeding all refuse to stock. Then the sound, clean 
potatoes should be sorted as to size; large, medium 
and small for different requirements. Potatoes 
of uniform size cook most evenly. Each size 
should be put up in clean, new packages. Bar- 
rels and sacks are acceptable for the large users — 
hotels, restaurants and dining cars, but crates or 
cartons make attractive packages for the retail 
trade. It may not be good business on the part 
of the average purchaser of supplies for the house- 
hold, but it is nevertheless doubtless true, that 75 
per cent, of the potatoes consumed by city and 
toA\Ti people, pass over the counter of the retail 
grocer in small lots. For such trade, five, ten, 
and fifteen pound cartons would be very attrac- 
tive. 

The potato for this high-class trade should be 
packed on the farm a short time only before being 
retailed, and go in an original sealed package to 
the consumer. There would be no bruising and 
the potato could go to the table free from dis- 
figurement. This should bring the grower a con- 
siderable premium for his work. 

Quality and flavor in the potato receives more 
attention in Europe than in the United States. 
The early crop can be lower in quality than any 
other because it is not kept so long. A low quality 
crop, however, causes a falling off in consumption, 
as in 1907. On the other hand, an increase in 
(quality greatly increases consumption — the aver- 



156 THE POTATO 

age per capita demands could be greatly increased 
by attention to this detail. 

W. C. Brown Presiident of the New York Cen- 
tral Lines, says that since eating scientifically ir- 
rigation grown potatoes from Mt. Sopris Farm, 
where the moisture content supply is controlled, 
his family eat four times as many as when they got 
the ordinary run of the market. The same report 
has come from many other epicures. 

Ninety per cent, of the potatoes used in hotels, 
dining cars and restaurants are pared. Economy 
in the cost of producing food of high quality for 
the table is a question that the modern chef and 
manager give the utmost consideration. For this 
reason his ideal potato would weigh fourteen to 
sixteen ounces, be smooth and even and was the 
smallest possible percentage in paring. Of course 
all cannot be this size, but the smaller ones are 
used for baking. The ideal potato would be a 
little smaller than the hotel man likes to pare, and 
would weigh twelve ounces, have smooth, clean 
skin, shallow eyes, smooth eyebrows that do not 
protrude, and as nearly as possible the shape and 
size of a turkey egg. Potatoes that weigh eight to 
sixteen ounces are those most highly valued for 
the best trade. 

Several years ago, at the beginning of his dining 
car trade, the senior author of this book went to 
Mr. John F. Smart, superintendent of dining cars 
of the New York Central Railroad, with a sample 
of the smooth, even potatoes Mt. Sopris Farm 
produces. By actual demonstration he was able 
to show that these potatoes at double the prevail- 
ing market price, would make a saving because of 
their evenness and smaller percentage of waste in 
paring and preparing for the table. At least 20 



THE POTATO 157 

per cent, of the total wcigfit of ordinary potatoes 
was beini? thrown out the dining car windows as 
waste. This consisted of small, cut, diseased and 
rough potatoes. 

The business of growing and marketing potatoes 
should not be unlike any other manufacturing 
enterprise, both the producing and the market- 
ing are very important. A modern manufacturer 
would not think of sending a shipment of goods to 
a customer, a part of which shipment was culls 
and of no use — and expect to hold his trade. 
Yet the potato grower will sack for the consumer 
10 to 25 per cent, of absolutely useless potatoes — 
cut, diseased, rotten and frozen — for the buyer 
to pay for and pay freight on and then discard. 

At one time the farmer or grower of produce of 
all kinds held it to be good })usiness to deceive the 
buyer. The best berries and apples were put on 
top — the culls beneath; rocks were weighed in 
loads of grain and bad eggs sold for fresh ones. 
The modern apple grower of the Northwest, mar- 
kets train-loads of fruit of uniform quality, the 
apple in the centre of the box in the centre of a 
car being as good as any in the entire shipment. 
This practice has made money. Western apples 
often sell for more per one bushel box than East- 
ern apples per three bushel barrel. One reason 
for this is that the barrel is often faced at the top 
and bottom with good fruit and has the bottom 
filled with comparativeh^ poor. 

The average potato grower has not yet risen to 
the same plane as the best fruit men. Putting 
good ones on top is an old trick. It was common 
practice in Colorado a short time ago to put good 
potatoes at the bottom of the sack, fill the centre 
with the poorest, iind put good ones on top. This 



158 THE POTATO 

was to fool the buyer if he opened the bottom in- 
stead of the top of the sack. The broker and 
dealer got around this by slitting the side of sacks 
for a sample. This led to the stovepipe method 
of filling. A few good potatoes would be placed in 
the bottom of a sack, a section of stove pipe in- 
serted and the culls dropped in this, surrounding 
the pipe by good potatoes, withdrawing the pipe 
and fining the top with extras. Every kind of 
deception in marketing is poor business — and 
must sooner or later be stopped. 

In some districts growers have formed associ- 
ations and potatoes are marketed under a brand 
insuring quality. This will in time cause potatoes 
carrying this brand to command a premium. 

Every employer of labor in potato work will 
find it hard to get men to be careful in sorting, 
no matter how strict the instructions. This was 
found to be the case at Mt. Sopris Farm, where a 
select trade has been built up by marketing po- 
tatoes on the same basis and method as the 
apple business at Hood River — upon honor. 
The fact that there has never been a complaint 
is an indication of how well the plan has succeeded. 
"Do not put a potato into a sack for market that 
you would not be proud to serve on your own 
table " — this is the instruction to the employees 
in the potato cellar that makes it most easy to 
accomplish the result. 

A great many growers make a practice of 
planting their entire acreage to the same class of 
potatoes and marketing all at one time. For 
instance, it may be all Earlies, or second Earlies, 
or Later, and all marketed from the field — or in 
the case of the late crop, all held for the winter or 
spring trade. 



THE POTATO 159 

A modification of this policy is suggested. This 
is to lengthen the planting, harvesting and market- 
ing season by planting some acreage to an early 
variety or varieties; some to later sorts and the 
balance to late varieties. This makes it possible 
to do the work with less help at the "rush" time, 
keeping the fewer extra help required for a longer 
period. It makes it possible to market a portion 
of the crop from the field, saving rehandling. 
Some money is brought in early to pay the season's 
expenses. By reason of getting a part of the crop 
out of the way and off the farm early, the propor- 
tionate loss from shrinkage and possible loss in 
the storage cellar in the entire crop is lessened, 
while enough of the crop is carried over to get the 
benefit of possible high prices the coming spring. 
This plan has been adopted at Mt. Sopris Farm 
and is working out very satisfactorily. 

The potato shrinks its greatest percentage dur- 
ing the first ten days after digging — probably 10 to 
12 per cent. Potatoes clipped by the digger are 
usable at digging, while if put in the cellar they 
decay, and cause decay in the tubers with which 
they come in contact. 

(xreater economy in grading is possible in Amer- 
ica. The common market requirement is to dis- 
card as culls, all potatoes that will not pass over 
a two-inch screen or riddle. In some places those 
passing through the screen are thrown away, not 
even being used for stock food. Some of these 
small potatoes are perfectly good for human food 
and should be put up in packages — graded to 
size and sold at a discount. They are quite as good 
as any for making soups and are all right baked. 
They can be easily and thoroughly cleaned with 
brushes. They do not require paring and can 



160 THE POTATO 

be used down to a size as small as one inch in 
diameter. Crops often run from 10 to 33 per 
cent, of potatoes under two inches in diameter, 
and the difference between profit and loss is con- 
tained in this part. The economy of the world's 
food supply seems to demand that they be utilized. 

Potatoes that can be marketed at home, with- 
out incurring transportation, middlemen and 
retail expense, make the most net money for the 
grower. Local market places where seller and 
buyer could meet would be a benefit to both. The 
net price at the farm — after deducting charges 
above the cost of growing — often leaves the pro- 
ducer only 25 to 75 per cent, of the retail price. 
When a potato farm is a long distance from mar- 
ket or railroad shipping point and the roads are 
bad, the wagon haul is a large item of expense 
because of the great per acre weight of the crop. 

Following are some interesting marketing ideas 
from ''Farmers' Bulletin 386": "Potato Culture 
on Irrigated Farms of the West,'* by E. H. Grubb, 
transmitted December 30, 1909: "In deciding 
what kind of potatoes to plant, the grower should 
study the conditions and demands of the market. 
He should grow a medium-sized potato. On 
rich land the potatoes planted eight inches apart 
in the row will yield not only a great tonnage, but 
tubers of more desirable size. There are few mar- 
kets, except in the- South, that will pay a high 
price for large potatoes. Our methods of packing 
and marketing potatoes have been and are yet 
for the most part, more crude than those used 
with other products. By the time they get to the 
consumer they are more or less bruised or crushed. 
The writer has thought of crating potatoes and 
developing that idea in Denver and New York. 



THE POTATO 161 

At the present time he favors a forty-pound crate. 
This size may be increased or decreased to suit 
the market. The grower should cater to the de- 
mands of the most particular and exacting con- 
sumers. He should try to educate the public to 
appreciate the delicacy of a first-class potato. 
The grower need not be afraid of freight bills if 
he can furnish better potatoes than anybody else. 
Hood River has a reputation for apples that makes 
them cost more to the consumer on the eastern 
market than the eastern apples by two or three 
times. This reputation was gained by packing 
apples that did not have an imperfect specimen 
in a car. Do not put in a package a potato that 
you would not serve to a guest at your own table." 

J. G. Milward of the Horticultural Depart- 
ment of the University of Wisconsin is doing a 
great work for the potato growers of that state. 
In a circular issued by him in May, 1911, he says: 

" The growing of miscellaneous types not adapted 
to competition on the leading markets, causes 
difficulty in sorting and grading at the loading 
stations. Growers in several sections have 
responded to a plan to establish community 
centres where uniform car lots of one variety can 
be handled. An important step toward the de- 
velopment of this plan will be to secure the best 
seed raised in the state in car lots, and reserve it 
for Wisconsin planting. The Agricultural Ex- 
periment Station through its Agricultural Exten- 
sion Service has secured hearty endorsement, 
from growers, commission men, buyers, of a prac- 
tical plan to disseminate the best seed raised in 
Wisconsin on the basis of a community centre 



162 THE POTATO 

plan. If the majority of growers in these centres 
select one standard variety adapted to their soil 
conditions the following advantages will be gained: 

1. Reputation on the market as a variety centre; 

2. Possiblity of handling straight, uniform car 
lots; 3. Easier disposal of stock during periods of 
depressed prices; and 4. Better prices under close 
competition. 

"Many sections in northern Wisconsin have 
become important commerical potato centres. 
Northern fields under the direction of this Station 
are being j^lanted largely to the standard varieties: 
Rural New Yorker, Burbank, Peerless, Early 
Rose, Early Ohio and Triumph. MarKet stock 
of a high standard can be produced on the good 
potato soils in this section. Coarse, undesir- 
able types are being planted too often on land 
which will produce standard stock of high grade. 
This Station has been in touch with the leading 
commission houses of the West, and all these 
firms complain of the mixtures and substitutions 
of type in Wisconsin shipments. In addition they 
emphasize the need of closer attention to sorting 
and grading. 

"During the past ten years Wisconsin has ranged 
from third to fifth in the rank of states in potato 
production. Available records show that there 
are thousands of acres of developed and undevel- 
oped potato soils in this state adapted to produce 
stock of as high quality as any of the other famous 
potato centres of the country. Notwithstand- 
ing these possibilities for development there has 
been a falling off in many sections in the stand- 
ard of both seed and commercial table stock. This 
circular is designed to urge improvement in uni- 
formity and quality of car shipments. In ac- 



THE POTATO 1G3 

cordance with this need this Station does not as- 
sist in the dissemination of any but recognized 
standard market types. In some of the northern 
counties the Burbank, Rural New Yorker or 
Triumph j)redominate. In relation to market 
conditions these sections have recognized the ad- 
vantage of a community industry. The potato 
industry in this state will be benefited by the elim- 
ination of coarse imitative types, novelties and 
local varieties and a return to straight car lots of 
the standard varieties, notably Burbank, Rural 
New Yorker, Peerless, Early Rose, Early Ohio and 
Triumph." 

It is possible that many do not realize the scope 
of the potato business in a single market. The 
following interviews with the senior author in the 
Chicago Tribune in December 1910, is very in- 
teresting : 

"Chicago as a market is next to New York in 
the number of bushels of potatoes consumed and 
distributed. A vast area, comprising among others, 
the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota 
North and South Dakota, Colorado, and Idaho, 
ships its product to Chicago to be marketed. 

"About 24,000 cars of potatoes are handled in 
Chicago annually, making an average of a little 
more than sixty cars daily. INIany of these pot atoes 
are consumed within the city and the rest sup})lies 
vast territories where the growing of the vegeta- 
ble is practically unknown. 

"As in all products of the farm, the crop and 
cost of potatoes is dependent largely upon the 
season. This year the price of potatoes has been 
high, due to the drought, and the market is just 



164 THE POTATO 

beginning to assume a normal tone. The mar- 
ket price determines to a great extent whether or 
not potatoes grown in states near Chicago will be 
shipped here for marketing. When the Chicago 
price is not sufficient to allow a fair return for the 
product and the New York price is higher, the 
shipper does not hesitate to send his potatoes to 
New York. And the same is true of potatoes 
grown in the East. 

"But the United States nowhere near equals 
foreign countries in the growing of potatoes. 
There are three or four times as many potatoes 
grown per acre in Europe as in this country. 
Regular shipments of European potatoes arrive in 
New York and occasionally reach the Chicago mar- 
ket. In 1908, when there was a shortage of po- 
tatoes throughout the country and the prices were 
high, a large proportion of potatoes sold in the 
Chicago and Missouri River markets were grown 
in Europe. Potatoes ordinarily are cheaper in 
October than any other month. October is the 
month for harvesting the great crops from the 
Northern States, although it is true that new 
potatoes begin to arrive as early as September 1st. 
It is, however, possible to secure new potatoes in 
Chicago the year round. Bermuda furnishes 
potatoes in January and February. Florida 
furnishes them a httle later. Potatoes in the 
spring come from Texas, and following northward, 
the market is supplied with a certain number of 
new potatoes in all seasons, but those which come 
from the Bermudas and Texas command fancy 
prices and go only on the tables of the wealthy or 
of the high-class restaurants. 

"People of the laboring class eat more potatoes 
than those in other walks of life, and potatoes are 



THE POTATO 1C5 

valued especially by thorn because of the nutri- 
ment they supply, and their cheapness as com- 
pared with other food. 

"Fifty cents a bushel is a fair price for the large 
commission men who handle large quantities of 
potatoes to pay, but by the time they pass througli 
the hands of the jobber and the retailer a bushel of 
potatoes for which the commission man paid only 
50 cents arrives on the table of the ultimate con- 
sumer at a cost of 80 or 85 cents or more a bushel." 

Potato dealers are not unlike all others on a city 
market. There are many tricks in the seed trade. 
It is so hard for the amateur or the old practical 
dealer or grower to tell the difference in varieties, 
and there are so many so similar that a buyer can 
almost always be accommodated, no matter w4iat 
stock is on hand. Instances are common where 
a half dozen different varieties have been supplied 
to as many different customers from a single ship- 
ment of a single variety. In the early spring it is 
common to see small old potatoes washed and 
sold for new potatoes at fancy prices. 

It is probably true that the American or Euro- 
pean potato grower will find his greatest future mar- 
ket in the increase in population at home, yet 
there are sections both in the Arctic and Tropical 
zones, where the Irish potato does not grow, that 
can be exploited for special long keeping and 
generally heavy skinned varieties at high prices. 
Some of these are Alaska, Gulf States, Old ^Mexico, 
Panama, Orient, and Philippines. There seems to 
be a good future in the preparation of dried or 
desiccated potatoes for this trade. 

The potato market is very uncertain, the grower 
reaping a handsome profit one year, a loss the next. 



166 THE POTATO 

No one seems to be able to forecast or guess the 
future — even one season ahead. The " mtermit- 
tent" potato grower may make big money or go 
broke, but the one who grows a stated acreage 
every year for ten years makes a nice average an- 
nual profit. 

As is true of all crops that make food for the 
human race, the ultimate future of the potato 
crop for the intelligent grower is certainly very 
bright. No market is so panicky and so subject 
to rise and fall in price. This is true in both 
Europe and America. This is one of the phases 
of the business that should make the grower alert 
and watchful of crop and market conditions. It 
requires more than ordinary judgment to know 
when to hold or sell. 

There are several ways of loading potato cars 
for shipment in cold weather to prevent freezing. 
At Carbondale a foot of straw is put on the bottom 
of the refrigerator car and a foot around the sides 
as the potatoes in bags are laid in tiers. After 
the car is fully loaded, oil stoves are put in, the 
temperature raised to 80 degrees, the stoves re- 
moved and the cars tightly sealed. This generally 
insures the car going through in good shape. 

In Maine, a false bottom and false sides are made 
in the refrigerator car, leaving a two-inch air 
space all around. This frame is covered with 
building paper. The air space serves the same 
purpose as the straw. About 300 sacks of a little 
over 100 pounds each — or about 30,000 pounds 
is the weight usually loaded per car, although 
double this tonnage is sometimes loaded. 



CHAPTER XV 

ENEMIES OF THE POTATO 

THE potato is less subject to diseases and 
pests in the higher mountain country 
where it grows wild, than in any other part 
of the world. 

Thousands of tons of tubers — the bulk of the 
crop of the world, in fact — are produced where 
the grower must fight many kinds of fungous and 
insect enemies. 

The large amount of work being done along the 
line of securing disease resistant varieties — either 
by selection or hybridizing — has resulted in the 
production of some varieties of market value for 
the disease infested regions, and doubtless more 
will be produced. 

The enemies of the potato may be divided into 
two classes; diseases and insects. 

The diseases include: 
Blights, 
Scab, 

Rot of various kinds, 
Black leg, 
Black scab or European wart disease. 

Among the insect enemies are: 
Flea beetles, 
Colorado potato beetle, 
Potato bug, 

167 



168 THE POTATO 

Potato worm, 
Potato stalk weevil, 
Potato eelworm. 

One of the diseases of the potato that is attract- 
ing much attention abroad is the wart disease — 
and steps have been taken to prevent its intro- 
duction into America. Following a discussion of 
this, the various blight, scab and rot diseases are 
described. 

WART DISEASE 

In "Leaflet 105" of the Board of Agriculture and 
Fisheries of the British Government, (information 
and illustrations from this source are used by per- 
mission of the Controller of His Britannic Majesty's 
Stationery Office), this disease is described as fol- 
lows : 

"The disease known as Wart Disease (Syncny- 
trium endobioticum Percival), formerly known as 
Chrysophlyctis endobiotica, Cauliflower Disease, 
Canker, 'Fungus ' or Black Scab, attacks the tubers 
and haulms of potatoes, giving rise to large and 
irregular outgrowths which suggest a resemblance 
to pieces of cauliflower. In bad cases these ' warts ' 
may appear at the surface of the soil and can be 
detected at the base of the haulm as yellowish 
green masses. 

"Warts or wrinkles appear at first in the eyes of 
the young tuber, and later several warts by grow- 
ing together form a brown spongy scab, which 
finally rots and becomes black. This scab has no 
connection with ordinary potato scab and does not 
resemble it in appearance, but as both are fre- 



THE POTATO 109 

quently found on the same plant they are some- 
times confused. 

"The disease has caused most damage in gar- 
dens or allotments where potatoes are grown every 
year, but in a few cases there has also been serious 
loss in potatoes grown on farms worked on a four- 
course rotation. 

"The occurrence of the wart disease in the 
affected districts is similar to that of the Finger- 
and-toe disease which, on certain soils and in some 
seasons, causes serious damage to turnips. Al- 
though in the first instance only a few plants may 
show the wart disease, it is almost sure to spread, 
and the disease nuist be treated as a dangerous 
enemy, which, if neglected, may entirely prevent 
the profitable culture of potatoes where it occurs. 
Land may be inifit for potato growing for as long 
as six years after infection, and possibly for a much 
longer period. 

"The diseased tubers or haulms contain number- 
less 'spores' (the 'seeds' of the disease), which are 
not only capable of infecting healthy potatoes the 
following season, but appear to be able to lie dor- 
mant in the soil for several years. 

"The diseased tuber is the usual source of infec- 
tion and tlie spread of the disease from one hold- 
ing to another is mainly to be attributed to the 
planting of infected sets. 

"When disease appears it may, if neglected, 
spread over a farm and render the soil useless for 
potato growing in the course of a few years. It is 
spread by manure, by the decay of affected haulms, 
tubers and runners in the soil, and it may even be 
carried from one field to another on implements and 
boots. 

"Diseased potatoes must always be well boiled 



170 THE POTATO 

before being given to cattle or pigs, for Infection 
is very readily spread by manure if raw diseased 
tubers are fed to stock. For the same reason 
diseased haulms must be burned and never be 
thrown on the manure heap; this should be done 
as soon as possible after the crop is hfted, as the 
'warts' rot very quickly and further contaminate 
the soil. Dung which has been contaminated in 
any way should not be used for potato growing. 
If practicable, it should be applied to land under 
permanent grass. 

"*Seed' potatoes from a diseased crop or from a 
field in which disease is kno^\^l to have occurred 
within six years should be avoided. If 'seed' 
potatoes are purchased in a district in which the 
disease is common, they should be bought as soon 
after harvest as possible, so that they may be kept 
under observation; the sets should be freely 
sprinkled with sulphur (four to five pounds will 
dress a ton) and should then be stored in boxes or 
pits until required. 

"Tubers only slightly diseased may be easily 
overlooked, and may cause widespread infection 
when planted. Potatoes from an infected crop 
may appear to be perfectly sound when lifted, but 
after storing they may develop warts. It is im- 
portant, therefore, that seed should be carefully 
examined before planting. As minute warts are 
difficult to see, a grower would be well advised to 
reject any seed potatoes among which diseased 
tubers have been found. 

"In the case of a disease, like wart disease, which 
infects the land gradually, it is necessary to detect 
and stamp out the fungus as soon after infection 
as possible. When discovered the entire plant 
affected should be carefully removed, the useless 



THE POTATO 171 

portions burned, and the tubers boiled without 
delay. If possible the surrounding soil should also 
be removed and burned, or at least heavily dressed 
with gas-lime. Further, when the field is next 
planted with potatoes the piece of ground where 
the disease appeared should be fallowed and 
dressed with gas-lime at the rate of four to five tons 
per acre. 

"If the attack has occurred in a garden required 
for frequent potato growing, the occupier should 
dig out and burn, not only the affected plant, but 
a considerable quantity of the surrounding soil so 
as to ensure that every fragment of the diseased 
plant is destroyed. Gas-lime should then be ap- 
plied to the soil. 

"If fields worked on the four-course rotation 
have become generally infected, farmers should 
replace the potato by some other crop, so as 
to let eight years intervene before the next 
potato crop is planted. The sets should be dusted 
with sulphur before planting, as recommended 
above. 

"In gardens and allotments in which the disease 
has appeared, potatoes should on no account be 
planted on the same piece of land next season, and 
one of the following methods of treatment may be 
adopted: 

"(a) The ground toward the end of April, 
should be covered with gas-lime (two pounds to the 
square yard), which may be forked into the surface 
soil to a depth of three inches. After lying fallow 
until the end of June it should be dug and prepared 
for cabbages. 

" (b) If the soil be deep, two pounds of gas- 
lime per square yard may be applied at the end of 
March, and a month later the soil should be in- 



172 THE POTATO 

verted by deep trenching. Any crop except pota- 
toes may be grown. 

"Whichever of these methods may be adopted 
it is desirable, when potatoes are next planted in 
the garden, that the sets should be dusted over 
with sulphur, and as they lie in the drills should be 
freely sprinkled with sulphur before they are cov- 
ered in. Before the potatoes are earthed up, the 
surface of the soil round the haulms should be 
sprinkled with sulphur. 

"Gardens in which even a single diseased potato 
has been found, the course recommended in the 
foregoing paragraphs should be adopted; but if no 
other land for growing potatoes is procurable, and 
occupiers of gardens and allotments are obliged to 
grow potatoes on land on which disease has been 
seen, they should apply gas-lime in autumn or 
early winter at the rate of three pounds to the 
square yard. After the sets have been placed 
in the drills they should be freely sprinkled with 
sulphur. Before the plants are * earthed up' the 
ground should again be sprinkled with sulphur. 

"Some varieties of potatoes are not affected by 
wart disease, or are very slightly affected. The 
varieties known as ' Snowdrop, ' ' Conquest, ' ' Abun- 
dance,' ' Langworthy , ' * What's Wanted,' and 
'Golden Wonder,' have escaped infection, when 
such other sorts as 'Up-to-date,' 'Northern Star,' 
'British Queen,' 'Royal Kidney,' 'King Edward 
VII.,' 'Epicure,' 'Ex-press,' 'Ninety-fold,' and 
'May Queen,' planted in the same soil have been 
severely attacked. Early potatoes often escape 
attack the first two or three years, i. e., until the 
soil gets badly infected. 

"If an early potato be required 'Snowdrop' or 
* Conquest' should be planted; if a late variety, 




w 



f \: ' ^ , " 




WATIT DISK ASE OF POTATOES 
Upper leil-haiul fij;uro shows allVctod stem. Ippci riirlit- 
haiid fijiure shows tuhcr sli-^lilly attacked. Lower liirurc 
sliow's tuhor hadly allackcil. llhislralioii iroiii circular of 
British Hoard of Atxricull iir<' and Fisheries 





irly Blight. Characteristic appear- 
ance of badly bUghted leaf 



Potato Scab. From Farmers' Bulletin 
91, U. S. Department of Agriculture 



THE POTATO 173 

preference should be given to 'Langworthy.* 
This variety is commonly cultivated in the potato- 
growing districts of the east of Scotland, and relia- 
ble seed is easily procurable. It does not yield so 
heavily as 'Up-to-date,' but is less liable to ordi- 
nary potato disease, and the cooking quahty is 
much better, so that even in districts where wart 
disease has not appeared it is a variety to be 
recommended. It requires rather a long period of 
growth, well-tilled soil, and a free use of manure. 
Those who wish to grow it successfully should give 
attention to the following points: 

"(1) Cultivate the land deeply: shallow soils 
should be subsoiled, or in the case of gardens, 
trenched to a depth of fifteen inches. 

*' (2) Apply dung liberally. In the case of 
fields, fifteen to twenty tons per acre, and supple- 
ment this dressing with a mixed artificial manure. 

"(3) Sprout the tubers before planting, and 
plant early. 

"Sulphur suitable for the purposes indicated 
above should be procurable at from 9s. ($2.25), to 
lis. ($2.75), per cwt., or Is. 3d (31 cents), to Is. 
6d. (37 cents), per stone (fourteen pounds). Sul- 
phur has been recommended because, of many 
remedies tried for dressing soil during the growing 
season, it seems to be the best. It occasionally 
does good, especially in light soils, but it cannot be 
relied upon to protect potatoes planted in badly 
affected soils. Its good effect seems to be en- 
hanced by using black sulphur and mixing it with 
an equal quantity of quicklime. 

"Wart Disease (Synchytrium endobioticum), is 
scheduled as a notifiable disease under the Destruc- 
tive Insects and Pests Acts, 1877 and 1907, and 
occupiers of land on which the disease occurs must 



174 THE POTATO 

at once report it to the Secretary, Board of Agri- 
culture and Fisheries, 4 Whitehall Place, London, 
S. W. In reporting an outbreak, occupiers must 
state their names in full and their postal address, 
and it is desirable that specimens for identification 
should be sent to the Board. Neglect to report 
renders the owner liable to a penalty not exceeding 
ten pounds ($50)." 

EARLY BLIGHT 

Potato Leaf Blight (Alternaria Solani). The 
following description is from ' 'Bulletin No. 71 " of 
the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station: 

"This disease has probably been long in exist- 
ence. Our knowledge of it, however, is exceed- 
ingly recent. So long as the real nature of potato 
diseases were not understood, the different kinds 
of such diseases were not discriminated. They 
were all classed under one name, if named at all. 
Our first definite knowledge of the early blight was 
worked out in this country in the early '90's, though 
references to it occur somewhat earlier in the 
nineteenth century in European hteracure. It 
had been overlooked or confounded with the late 
blight, but it is now fully understood that the 
parasitic organism causing it is wholly different 
from the one causing the late bhght in structure, 
in method and time of development, as well as the 
conditions under which it occurs. 

"The fungus, like most other plant parasites, 
lives within the tissues of the host, spreading its 
mycelium through the intercellular spaces of the 
leaf. It consists of slender threads (hyphse), more 
or less branched, which tend to become aggregated 



THE POTATO 175 

in certain areas, the tissues of which die, producing 
the characteristic brown spots. While in full 
growth and while the tissues of the host are supply- 
ing an abundance of food, there are few, if any, 
reproductive bodies (spores) produced. When the 
leaves become partially exhausted and dry, spore 
reproduction takes place freely and the character- 
istic several-celled spores, formed in chains, occur 
abundantly. 

"Since the early blight has only recently 
attracted attention in this state, it is not generally 
known to our growers. It may, however, be 
readily recognized and easily distinguished from 
the late blight and the other potato diseases. 
Early blight begins to show itself about the time 
that the blossoms appear, which, with us, is usually 
in July. More rarely it attacks plants scarcely six 
inches high. The first indications are relatively 
small grayish brown spots, which, as they become 
larger, are marked with faint concentric circles, 
giving a target-like appearance to them. The 
spots may increase in size until several of them 
run together and form large patches of dead tissue. 
In the course of a few days these spots become 
brown and withered, while the rest of the leaf 
takes on a yellowish, sickly color, though the 
stems may remain green. Sometimes the disease 
progresses quite slowly and the vitality of the 
plant is only gradually reduced. In any case, 
however, the tubers either stop growing entirely 
or remain so small as to make them of little 
value. The death of the vines in this way is 
often mistaken for early ripening and it then 
occasions a surprise to find that no tubers of value 
are present. 

"Any injury to the foliage, such as insect bites 



176 THE POTATO 

or bruises from hail, seems to furnish the condi- 
tion for the entrance of the fungus into the leaf. 
Likewise any decline in the vigor of the plant 
seems to invite attack. Drought, poor soil, de- 
layed development due to cold weather, exces- 
sive heat tending toward wilting or sun-scald, all 
make the plants less able to withstand the at- 
tacks of this blight. In other words, the more 
nearly perfect the plant and the more vigorous its 
growth the less likely it is to suffer from this para- 
site. 

"But little is known concerning the source of the 
disease. The tubers seem to be wholly free from 
attack, and there is therefore no reason for sus- 
pecting that the seed potatoes carry the disease 
over from one year to the next. Certain it is 
that somewhere the several-celled black spores 
winter over and start the disease again the fol- 
lowing season. That this might happen where 
the dead tops are not destroyed, but are scattered 
about over the field and farm, is easily under- 
stood. 

"Satisfactory treatment for this disease has not 
yet been found. Many experiments, however, 
have shown that the effects of the disease may be 
greatly reduced by two or three thorough sprayings 
with Bordeaux mixture. The spraying must be 
thoroughly done and the first application must be 
made previous to the appearance of the blight. 
After the leaves have become filled with the my- 
celium and the spots are beginning to show, it 
is too late. Prevention must be the aim, and 
this is accomplished by putting the leaves in 
such a condition by the apphcation of the Bor- 
deaux that the spores cannot germinate upon the 
leaf surface." 



THE rOTATO 177 

THE LATE BLIGHT 

The Late Blight (Phytophthora infestans) is a 
\'ery serious disease. The following is from "Bul- 
letin 71" of the Wyoming Experiment Station: 

"Though this disease had not been fully worked 
out until in comparatively recent times, yet there 
are references in literature to potato epidemics 
which devastated the fields of Europe at intervals 
during the nineteenth century, which were undoubt- 
edly due to it. The first recognizable description 
occurs first in 18-45. Its life history, however, has 
now been known for some time, though as late as 
the '80's and '90's this trouble was still confused 
with the early blight. For a considerable time it 
was not known that the rot which usually follows 
an attack is also due to the same parasite. While 
probably of rare occurrence in the Rocky Moun- 
tain states, late blight is feared more than any 
other disease in the potato districts of the Eastern 
States. It is estimated that the loss in New York 
alone sometimes amounts to $10,000,000 a year. 

"Though this fungus resembles the early blight 
in many respects, yet it is easily distinguished 
from it by its mode of growth, the effect it pro- 
duces on the leaf tissues, and especially by the 
spores and the way in which they are produced. 
It finds entrance into the potato leaf through the 
stomata, and the mycelium once having found 
entrance spreads by numerous branching liyi)hae 
through the leaf among its cells, from which the 
fungus draws its nourishment. After the leaf 
has become filled, as it were, with the mycelium, 
the fruiting period of the fungus is reached. Sonu- 
of the hyphse then grow out through the stomal a, 



178 THE POTATO 

branch, and produce small pear-shaped bodies on 
the tips of the branches. These latter structures, 
known as sporangia, serve to spread the disease 
to other parts of the field. They are very readily 
detached from the filament upon which they are 
grown and then fall upon the soil, or are carried 
far by the wind. If they happen to fall upon a 
potato leaf they will begin to grow just as soon as 
a little moisture either from rain or dew is present. 
This growth consists either in the formation and 
discharge upon the surface of the leaf of several 
free swimming spores, capable of infecting the 
plant, or in the direct formation of a filament 
which enters the leaf through a stoma and develops 
again a mycelium. From this mycehum other 
similar reproductive bodies are formed, in turn, to 
further infect the field. 

*' During the time that the fungus is spreading its 
mycelium through the tissues of the leaf there is 
little to indicate its presence. When the fruiting 
stage is reached it soon becomes evident enough by 
the formation of brown spots, which grow grad- 
ually larger and larger, finally turning black and a 
little later decomposing and emitting a disagreeable 
but characteristic odor. If one of these infested 
areas be examined closely it will be found to be 
bordered by a grayish white mildew. This latter, 
under examination with a lens, is seen to be the 
branched fruiting hyphse bearing the sporangia 
described in the preceding paragraph. 

*' For the development of the mycelium — that is, 
for the growth of the fungus within the potato 
plant — moderately cool weather seems the most 
favorable. For this reason this disease rarely 
proves troublesome where high temperatures pre- 
vail for considerable periods of time. Spore pro- 




Laic IJligliL DisoMscd leal' and tuber of j)()tat(>. From Iho Journal 
of the British Board of Agric-ullurc and Fislicrics 




Late Blight. The last stages of the disease. When this 
is reached the field looks as if fire had swept over it. (From 
the New York Experiment Station, Geneva, Bulletin '•241). 



THE POTATO 17;) 

duction, however, seems to be Iiastened and 
enormously increased when a few days of warm, 
cloudy and muggy weather alternate witli llie 
longer, cooler periods. Under such conditions a 
field showing but slight infection may in a few 
days look as if it had been swept by fire or frost. 
It rarely attacks early potatoes, mostly appearing 
upon the late varieties durmg the tuber-forming 
period. 

"Various experiment station workers have tried 
different remedies for holding this disease in check. 
At some stations these experiments have been 
carried on for many years. While several have 
given results Avliich were of value, no treatment 
has been as uniformly successful as the application 
of Bordeaux mixture. The universal experience 
is that spraying with this fluid will so nearly con- 
trol the late blight as to make it possible to secure 
a crop even in those years when this disease is 
most prevalent. It requires, however, that the 
spraying should be begun in time and continued 
at intervals throughout the growing season. As 
already stated, it must be a precautionary measure. 
If not begun until after the blight is evident in the 
field only partial control can be expected. If the 
spray is applied thoroughly from the begiiniing, 
not only will the blight be controlled, but the rot 
of the crop which usually follows a severe attack is 
altogether prevented. 

" It has been almost conclusively proved that the 
rot of the tuber which follows an attack of late 
blight is reallv due to the infection of the tul)er bv 
the spores which have fallen upon the soil and 
which, in the course of the season, are earried by 
rains or irrigation waters into contact willi the 
tuber itself. Here it may begin growth at once or 



180 THE POTATO 

it may develop after the potato has been dug and 
stored. Sometimes a large portion of the crop 
is thus lost even after it has been harvested. 
Thorough spraying of the vines will, at the same 
time, impregnate the surface of the soil with the 
copper-sulphate solution. Thus not only is the 
formation of any considerable number of spores 
prevented, but the spores that do happen to reach 
the soil are destroyed. 

"It is believed that the spores of the fungus do 
not live through the winter. If that be true the 
mycelium of the fungus must either live over in 
the dead tops that are left strewn about the field, 
or else the tubers carry the disease over from one 
season to the next. The latter is thought the more 
probable, as it has been seen that the blighting of 
the tops (if not checked by spraying) is very likely 
to be followed by rot of the tubers, either before or 
after digging. Of course, no one would think of 
planting badly rotted potatoes, but those that are 
but slightly affected may escape notice. These, if 
planted, will be sufficient to start the infection the 
next year, and once started it soon goes over the 
field." 

This disease is very serious in Europe. In "Leaf- 
let 23" of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries of 
Great Britain is the following: 

'*This disease, well termed by agriculturists the 
' potato disease, ' has in the past been the cause of 
immense loss, and is even at the present day the 
chief trouble with which potato growers have to 
contend. 

"The first sign of this disease is the presence of 
yellowish spots on the leaves. These spots grad- 



THE POTATO 181 

ually increase in size and become brown, this con- 
dition being followed by the curling of the leaves. 
If the under surface of a diseased leaf is examined 
with a magnifying glass, the fruiting branches of 
the fungus will be seen forming a delicate white 
mold. 

"The spores of the fungus are exceedingly' 
numerous and minute, and are scattered by wind, 
or by ground game and other animals running 
amongst the plants. When it is stated that every 
spore brought into contact with a damp potato 
leaf is capable of starting a new centre of infection, 
the rapid spread of the disease under favorable 
conditions will be readily understood. The disease 
develops and spreads with the greatest rapidity 
during damp, warm weather, such as often occurs 
in July. 

"Spores that fall to the ground are washed 
through the soil by rain and may infect young 
potatoes, especially those growing near the sur- 
face. It is probable, too, that the mycelium of 
the fungus passes down diseased stems into the 
young potatoes. If the season be wet and warm 
the mycelium present in the potato continues to 
grow, soon causing brown spots to appear, and 
ending in the rotting of the tuber. On the other 
hand, if potatoes that are infected be kept dry, 
the mycelium in their substance may remain 
stationary until the following spring, when it may 
commence growth and infect the new crop, after- 
ward appearing in the fruiting condition on the 
leaves. 

"Preventive and remedial measures suggested 
are: 

" 1. Potato disease is propagated and cnriied on 
from season to season in the sets. It is therefore 



182 THE POTATO 

of tlie utmost Importance tliat sound crops only 
should be kept for seed, and that sets should be 
stored under the most favorable conditions. In 
an ordinary way seed potatoes should be carefully 
selected, all those being rejected that show the 
least sign of taint; they should be allowed to 
get thoroughly dry before clamping and should be 
stored separately. 

*'2. Diseased haulm should be removed and 
burned before the potatoes are hfted. If the 
disease appears late in the season when the tubers 
have attained a fair size much benefit may be 
derived by pulling the haulm at once. 

"3. Potatoes are found to become less resistant 
to disease the longer they have been in cultivation, 
and therefore a good, new strain is to be preferred 
to an old stock; but most of the new varieties 
offered for sale are more susceptible to disease 
than old stocks of the best kinds, and grovv^ers are 
warned against relying on the disease-resisting 
power of a potato merely because it is a recent 
introduction. 

"A change of seed is desirable if sets from a 
sound crop can be obtained, because of the increase 
in the total crop of sound tubers which is likely to 
follow, but it must not be supposed that changing 
seed will enable the plant to withstand disease. 
On the contrary, it is often found that the luxuriant 
growth of haulm which may result from changing 
seed renders the crop more susceptible, and that 
the percentage, though not the actual weight, of 
sound tubers is reduced. 

"4. The rows of potatoes should be well 
* earthed' or 'banked' up, as the thicker the layer 
of soil the less chance is there of the spores of the 
fungus reaching the young tubers. 



THE rOTATO 183 

"5. Neither the planting of vigorous varieties 
nor cultivation can be trusted to ward off the 
disease in a wet season, but spraying with Bor- 
deaux mixture has been found effective and is now 
a part of the regular routine of cultivation in humid 
districts. Even in dry seasons when no disease is 
apparent the treatment is found to be beneficial, 
producing a longer period of growth and an in- 
creased yield. This is so generally recognized that 
spraying has become general in several potato- 
growing districts, whatever the season promises 
to be. As the disease does not as a rule make 
much headway before the end of Julj', spraying is 
seldom wanted for the first early sorts, the leaves 
of which will be dying down before any great harm 
is done. 

"Bordeaux mixture may be prepared as follows : 

Sulphate of copper or bluestone 12 lbs. 

Freshly burnt quicklime 8 lbs. 

Water 75 to 100 gals. 

"In order to obtain good results from Bordeaux 
mixture, careful attention must be given (1) to the 
materials employed, and (2) to the preparation. 

"1. Materials: Copper sulphate of 98 per 
cent, purity should be obtained, 'Agricultural' 
copper sulphate, which usually contains iron sul- 
phate, must be avoided. Iron sulphate or cop- 
peras is valueless for this purpose. 

"An easy test for the presence of iron in the 
copper sulphate is to dissolve a little in water and 
add ammonia with constant stirring until a deep, 
blue liquid forms; any quantity of brown fioeks 
floating about in this blue liquid indicates the 
presence of so much iron that the material should 
be subjected to a proper analysis previous to use. 



184 THE POTATO 

"The lime used should be white *fat' lime from 
the mountain limestone or chalk, the kind of lime 
which is used by plasterers. 'It must be freshly 
burnt/ If of good quality eight pounds will be 
required to neutralize twelve pounds of copper 
sulphate, but the weight of lime required depends 
upon the quality, and while as little as six to seven 
pounds might be suJSicient in one case, as much as 
ten to twelve pounds might be required in another. 

"2. Preparation: The copper sulphate and 
lime must always be diluted with a large quantity 
of water before being brought into contact, other- 
wise a very inferior mixture will result. When 
making a small quantity the best plan is to dissolve 
the copper sulphate in about one half of the water, 
mix the lime with the other half and then bring the 
two together; but when a large quantity of spray 
has to be prepared it is usually much more con- 
venient to make a somewhat concentrated mixture 
and to dilute immediately before application to the 
crop. Under no circumstances, however, should 
the first mixture be made too strong, and when 
twelve pounds of copper sulphate and eight pounds 
of lime are to be employed, the first mixture should 
fill a forty-gallon cask. To make the mixture, pro- 
ceed as follows: Run into cask about thirty gallons 
of water. Crush twelve pounds of copper sul- 
phate, tie up in a piece of sacking and suspend 
just below the surface of the water; or, if preferred, 
dissolve the bluestone in boiling water and pour 
into the cask. Next moisten and slake eight 
pounds of lime; the lime must be allowed to swell 
and crumble slowly; when it has been well slaked, 
work it down first into a thick cream and gradually 
dilute to four or five gallons. The milk of lime 
must next be strained through a fine sieve or piece 



THE POTATO 185 

of sacking to remove grit; it should then be further 
dikited with water to about ten gallons and poured 
slowly into the cask containing the solution of 
copper sulphate. As the two fluids mix they nmst 
be thoroughly stirred. If the lime has been slaked 
slowly and the whole process has been carried out 
as indicated, a gelatinous precipitate forms in the 
cask — that is, the water becomes filled with 
starch-like flecks; these remain in suspension for a 
long time. On the other hand, if too little water 
has been employed, or if the lime has not been 
properly prepared, or if stirring has been neglected, 
a comparatively coarse powder forms in the mix- 
ture and soon settles, so that after standing for an 
hour or two the fluid in the upper part of the cask 
is quite clear. The starch-like precipitate, when 
once it dries on foliage, adheres closely for months, 
whereas the coarser powder, which results from 
careless preparation, washes off readily, so that the 
leaves lose much of their protection after the first 
heavy rain, and spraying does little or nothing to 
check disease. 

"When Bordeaux mixture has been made it 
should be diluted if necessary and used without 
delay. One or two days' supply only should be 
made at a time, for although well-made Bordeaux 
mixture will keep fairly well for several days, it is 
best used within forty-eight hours. 

"For spraying potatoes under favorable con- 
ditions the mixtiu'e, if made in a concentrated 
form, should be diluted to 100 gallons, but when 
spraying must be done in damp weather it should 
be diluted to from seventy-five to ninety gallons. 
Before pouring into the sprayer it should be stirred 
thoroughly. If possible, a sprayer provided with 
a dasher or other contrivance for keeping the mix- 



186 THE POTATO 

ture agitated should be used. If no mechanical 
contrivance is available, stirring should take place 
frequently while the work is in progress. 

"The amount to be applied per acre varies with 
the quantity of haulm in the crop to be treated, but 
is usually from 100 to 150 gallons where the foH- 
age is fully developed. The plants must be 
sprayed from underneath as well as from above, 
so as to reach the fungus on the under side of the 
leaves. Machines can be obtained which spray 
the plants from below. 

"The cost of a single spraying need not exceed 
$2 per acre, and, with certain horse machines, 
thirty acres can easily be treated in a day. Bor- 
deaux mixture does not begin to work until several 
days after it has been applied, and it must, there- 
fore, be used some time before any symptoms of 
disease are to be expected, say, toward the end of 
June, or earlj^ in July, according to the locality and 
season. The crop should be sprayed twice at 
least. The first spraying should take place as 
soon as there is a good development of haulm, the 
treatment being repeated about three weeks later 
when the growth is complete. If only one spray 
ing is given it should take place about the middle 
of July." 

POTATO SCAB 

Oospora scabies is one of the most common 
potato diseases. 

In "Bulletin 71" of the Wyoming Experiment 
Station it is described as follows: 

" This fungous disease is too well known to need 
any description. All who use as well as all who 
grow potatoes know the familiar, irregular, sore- 



THE POTATO 1R7 

like blotches which sometimes are so numerous as 
nearly to cover the whole potato. Only the sur- 
face may be affected or the fungus may have pene- 
trated and broken down the tissues almost to the 
centre. AVhile probably not wholly preventable, 
yet it is the potato disease that is most readily held 
in check. With clean or properly disinfected seed, 
if one puts it into clean ground (free from the 
fungus) the crop should and will be essentially 
clean. It is well known that once the fungus gets 
into the soil it will live over winter and infect the 
next crop more completely than the former. Just 
how many years may be necessary to completely 
rid the soil of the fungus is not definitely known, but 
it is certain that another crop of potatoes should 
not follow scabby potatoes for two or three years 
and probably better not for four or five. Other 
crops on this land are not attacked, which points 
anew the safetv and dcsirabilitv of a scheme of 
crop rotation extending over several years. 

"Having decided upon the variety to be planted 
— and this choice must rest upon many characteris- 
tics, such as quality, shape, period of ripening, 
resistance to disease, marketableness, etc., — then 
select those that are the freest from scab of anv 
that you can find. It is well to remember that the 
absence of the characteristic surface markings is 
not conclusive evidence that the potatoes are free 
from the fungus. They may have been in contact 
in the bin with scabby specimens, as a result of 
which they are infected abundantly with the scab 
spores. Unless you are sure of the condition of 
the seed it will pay as a precautionary measure 
to treat (disinfect) the seed. 

"The old method is quite largely in use in I lie 
state and nmst still be regarded with nnieh favor. 



188 THE POTATO 

The new method, however, has some very practical 
advantages. Both are given below, so that if the 
ingredients for one are not at hand, the other may 
be used. 

" Corrosive Sublimate Treatment. — Dissolve two 
ounces of corrosive sublimate (bichloride of mer- 
cury) in two gallons of hot water. When the 
corrosive sublimate is dissolved, add cold water 
until you have fourteen gallons in all. Having 
put the potatoes in a gunny sack, place the sack in 
the solution and leave it there for one and one half 
hours. Then empty the potatoes out upon the 
floor to dry before cutting and planting. If they 
can be left thus exposed to the light and air for a 
few days they will grow all the better. 

^"Caution. — If taken internally corrosive sub- 
limate is a violent poison, hence all animals must 
be kept away from the solution and the treated 
seed. On account of its action on metals the 
solution must be prepared in wooden vessels, a 
barrel, for instance. See that the potatoes are 
clean. Put them into a coarse gunny sack and 
place it in the solution. The vessels and all ob- 
jects in contact with this poisonous solution must 
be destroyed or thoroughly cleaned. 

''Formalin Treatment. — Formalin (or formal- 
dehyde) may now be secured at moderate cost at 
any drug store, or can be secured from the larger 
drug firms (by express) at 50 cents (or less) per 
pound. Since this treatment is at least as effec- 
tive as the other, most people will prefer to use it 
for the following reasons: (1) It is easily prepared; 
(2) any kind of vessel may be used; (3) it is not 
poisonous to handle. 

'* Method, — Soak the seed potatoes for two hours 
in a solution of fifteen gallons of water and one 



THE POTATO 189 

half pint (half pound) of formalin. Smalh r or 
larger quantities in the same proportion. Dry tlie 
soaked seed, cut and plant as usual. 

"It is well to remember that disinfected seed 
will be reinfected if it is put back into the dirty 
sacks or boxes from which it was taken. If 
to be used again, disinfect the sacks and boxes 
also." 

It will be interesting to note how this subject is 
handled by the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries 
of Great Britain. Their "Leaflet 137" says: 

"At the present day Oospora scabies is one of 
the most widespread of diseases affecting the po- 
tato. The fungus usually attacks the tubers while 
young, forming scattered rough patches or scabs 
on the surface; these patches gradually increase 
in size and number, and not infrequently, when the 
tuber is full-grown, its surface is more or less com- 
pletely covered with scab. 

"The injury is confined to the surface of the 
tuber, the skin being broken up into fragments 
over the diseased patches. Although the market 
value is much depreciated when scab is present in 
quantity, the quality of the potato is not in the 
least impaired for eating. 

^^ Prevention and Remedies. — (1) If scabbed po- 
tatoes are used for 'seed' without having been ster- 
ilized, the resulting crop will almost cc^rtaiuly be 
diseased, and in addition the fungus will pass into 
the soil, where it is capal^le of living for several 
years. Scabbed potatoes may be used for 'seed' 
without the slightest danger of spreading the 
disease if they are immersed for two hours in a 
solution consisting of one pint of conunercial for- 



190 THE POTATO 

malin (formaldehyde 40 per cent.) mixed with 
thirty-six gallons of water. The potatoes should 
then be spread out to dry, when they may be cut 
and planted in the usual manner. Great care 
must be taken after potatoes have been treated as 
above that they are not placed in sacks or hampers 
that have contained scabbed potatoes. 

" (2) Land that has produced scabbed potatoes 
is certain to be infected with fimgus, and should 
not be planted with potatoes for several years after- 
ward; beets, Swedes, carrots, and cabbages are 
also attacked by the fungus. Cereals may be 
sown with safety on infected land. 

" (3) In the case of gardens and small allotments , 
where potatoes are of necessity grown every year, 
the trenches in which the potatoes are planted 
should be sprinkled with powdered sulphur. 

*' (4) Lime favors the development of the fungus 
in the soil; the same is true of stable manure, night- 
soil, etc. Acid manures only should be apphed to 
land that is infected. 

"(5) Peelings from infested potatoes, vmless 
they have been boiled, should not be given to pigs. 
Burning is the safest, and in the end the most 
economical method of dealing with them." 

TIP BURN, LEAF BURN OR SCALD 

''This disease of the leaves occurs in many parts 
of the country and is often confused with early 
blight," says B. T. Galloway in "Farmers' Bulletin 
No. 91." "The tips and edges of the leaves turn 
brown and these discolored areas soon become hard 
and brittle. 

"The burning or scalding may occur at any 
time and as a rule is the result of unfavorable con- 



THE POTATO 11)1 

ditions surrounding the plant. Long-continued, 
cloudy and damp weather followed by several hot 
and bright days is very apt to result in the burn- 
ing of the fohage. This is especially the case on 
soils carrying a comparatively small percentage of 
moisture. When the weather is cloudy and damp 
the tissues of the potato become gorged with water 
and this has a tendency to weaken them. If the 
sun appears bright and hot when the leaves are in 
this condition there is a rapid evaporation of the 
moisture stored up in their cells. The evaporation 
may be faster than the supply furnished by the 
roots, and if this continues for any length of time 
the weaker and more tender parts first collapse, 
then die, and finally turn brown and dry up. Tij) 
burn may also occur as a result of protracted dry 
weather. 

"Little of a specific nature can be said on the 
treatment of this trouble. Numerous factors are 
mvolved in the matter, so that only general state- 
ments are possible. Every effort should be made 
to keep the plants in good growing condition, for 
if they become checked through lack of proper food 
or cultivation, or both, thej' are more apt to burn. 
It is a fact that where the Bordeaux mixture is 
used for other diseases burn is less apt to occur, 
and this furnishes another instance of the remark- 
able properties of the fungicide. Brielly, therefore, 
the plants should be kept as vigorous as possible 
by good cultivation, plenty of available food, 
and the application of Bordeaux mixture as recom- 
mended for early blight. 

"In many sections where Paris green in water is 
applied to potatoes, injuries are produetMl which 
cannot be distinguished from early bliglil b\- an 
ordinary examination. U frequently happens. 



192 THE POTATO 

therefore, that farmers are led to believe that their 
potatoes are affected with early blight and other 
diseases when the trouble has been brought on by 
themselves through the improper use of Paris green. 
Injuries resulting from the use of this substance 
are very apt to occur where flea beetles have eaten 
the foliage. The arsenic attacks the tissues at such 
points, and as a result more or less circular brown 
spots are produced, having for their centres the 
holes eaten out by the flea beetles. By combining 
the Paris green with Bordeaux mixture, as already 
described, these injuries may be wholly avoided. 
"The cost of the work of spraying, as described 
here will depend to a considerable extent upon 
the kind of machinery used and the price paid for 
labor. With suitable apparatus, and labor at 
$1.50 per day, potatoes maybe sprayed six times 
for about $6 per acre. This estimate is based 
upon experiments extending over several years, 
and includes the cost of chemicals as well as labor. 
The cost of treating scab is mainly in the labor 
involved in dipping and drying the seed, and sel- 
dom exceeds 15 cents per acre. Much atten- 
tion has been given to the effects of Bordeaux 
mixture on the growth and yield of potatoes aside 
from its value in keeping parasitic foes in check. 
It has been shown conclusively that it pays to 
apply this preparation if for no other purpose than 
to induce a more vigorous growth. Three or four 
applications of the mixture have in many cases 
increased the yield of potatoes 50 per cent., so that 
no matter where the crop is grown, or whether 
diseases are present or not, the writer feels war- 
ranted in recommending the application of the 
mixture, on the ground that its use will yield a 
handsome return." 



THE POTATO v.)S 

DRY ROT 

Dry rot, due to Fusariumoxysponim, lias been 
known in the potato world for a good many years, 
but the real cause was not understood until re- 
cently. A great deal of research work has been 
done in Germany. 

This dry rot is a fungous disease that attacks the 
potato plant through the root system, which not 
only destroys the root hairs and secondary roots, 
but penetrates the main roots, the tubers, and 
later, when the plant is practically destroj-ed, the 
stem is wilted. It also causes dry rot in potatoes 
in storage. 

The disease is well distributed over the potato 
districts of practically all potato producing coun- 
tries. 

A vast amount of experimenting has been done 
with the idea of finding the best way of com- 
bating the pest. In "Bulletin 229" of the Ohio 
Agricultural Experiment Station Thos. F. Manns 
summarizes the results of their work. The things 
he says about Ohio apply to any similar conditions: 

"1. The dry-rot fungus (Fusarium oxysporum, 
Schlecht) of potato proves to be a field trouble 
common in Ohio, which causes a blight and wilt of 
the crop. 

"2. It produces a sick soil condition in puLato 
districts. 

*'3. The field symptoms are characterized by a 
cessation of growth, a yellowing of the foliage, with 
an upward and inward rolling of the uj)1)ct leaves, 
accompanied by wilt during the heat of the day. 

"4. The sick soil conditions may reduce the 
yield to 50 per cent, or more of an average crop. 



194 THE POTATO 

"5. The casual fungus is carried within the 
tubers. 

"6. The internal infection is characterized by 
brown or blackened areas usually in the vascular 
ring; occasionally it specks the flesh in other areas. 

*'7. Internally infected tubers are the chief 
means of distributing the disease. 

"8. The presence of the disease in the tubers 
may be made loiown by cutting knife sections from 
the stem end. 

"9. The infection may be removed from 
slightly infected seed by clipping away the stem 
end and following by external treatment with 
formaldehyde. 

" 10. No attempt should be made to use deeply 
infected seed, as the infection cannot be cut away. 

"11. Slightly infected seed will not materially 
reduce the vield the first season. It is a means, 
however, of infecting the soil, which may later 
result in sick fields. 

" 12. Spraying will not control the disease. 

"13. Proper storage prevents the progress of 
the disease as a dry rot. 

"14. Careful inspection of the seed should be 
made before placing it in storage. Cellar storage 
under dwellings should be avoided when seed is 
infected. Proper pit storage will give better re- 
sults. 

"15. A seed plot on non-infected soil planted 
with carefully selected healthy seed will offer a 
means of getting a sound seed supply. 

"16. Sick fields should not be planted in po- 
tatoes again for at least five or six years, and 
even longer time may be required to work the 
parasitic fungus from the soil. Grass and grain 
crops will undoubtedly eliminate the fungus from 




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Various stages in destruction of potato tubers bj^ Fusarium. 
From Bulletin 55, Bureau of Plant Industry, United States 
Department of Agriculture 



THE POTATO 105 

the soil quicker than will manuring and cultivated 
crops. 

"17. Longer than a three-year potato rotation 
should be practised. 

"18. Storage litter and sick seed should not be 
allowed to reach the manure pile, as this will be a 
sure method of distributing the disease and infect- 
ing the fields. 

"19. The disease demands further study. The 
Department of Botany invites cooperation with 
potato growlers. Examination of seed potatoes 
and plants will be made and the results reported. 

"This Department, in cooperation with the Bu- 
reau of Plant Industry of the U. S. Department of 
Agriculture, has the franking privilege on diseased 
plant material; the franks will be sent to those hav- 
ing diseased material to be forwarded." 

Prof. B. O. Longyear of the Department of Bot- 
any and Forestry of the Colorado Agricultural Col- 
lege says: 

"One of the most widespread and common 
diseases of the potato caused by fungi is that com- 
monly known as the Fusarium disease, or Fusarium 
blight. This trouble first manifests itself in the 
field by the wilting and yellowing of the lower 
leaves of plants that have reached the height of 
ten to twelve inches. In bad cases the entire 
foliage appears to suffer as though the plant were 
not getting sufficient moisture. Later on, the tips 
of the leaves turn brown and dry up, leading to 
the trouble commonly known as tip burn. The 
edges of the leaves commonly roll inward during 
the heat of the day, although they may partially 
revive during the night. 



196 THE POTATO 

*' Badly affected plants will be found to have the 
root hairs and rootlets rotted away and often the 
larger roots appear sickly. Cross sections of the 
main root often appear brownish in the region of 
the vascular bundles or woody part. Under the 
microscope thin sections of such roots and of the 
lower part of the stem will show the delicate fila- 
ments of the fungus which pass upward through the 
water-conducting tubes of the plant and eventually 
clog them to such an extent that the flow of sap is 
greatly obstructed. This is what causes the wilting 
and eventual drying of the foliage of the plant. 

*'The fungus also passes into the tuber-bearing 
stems under ground and frequentty enters the stem 
end of the tuber for some distance. In bad cases 
the stem end of the tuber may be rotted away and 
the presence of the fungus deeper in is indicated 
by the browning of the vascular ring shown in a 
cross section of the tuber. The fungus may also 
enter the tuber from the soil through any bruise, 
crack, or other break in the skin. Attacks of 
insect larvse upon the tubers are often followed by 
this disease through the wounds which the ' worms ' 
produce. 

"Under conditions of plenty of moisture and 
high temperature, this disease makes its most rapid 
progress and may reach its culmination at about 
the time when the tubers are ordinarily half to two 
thirds grown. When a plant once shows the infec- 
tion to any marked degree, all further growth 
ceases. The plants seem to stand still and event- 
ually wilt down entirely or else struggle along in a 
dwarfed and sickly condition for some time. 

*' A common source of infection in newly planted 
fields is through the use of tubers for seed that 
already contain the fungus. Another common 



THE POTATO 197 

source of the trouble is from planting the potato 
in fields that have previously shown the disease 
within two or three years. Such soils are said to 
be 'sick.' 

"A second period of destruction due to this 
disease comes during storage. Tubers infected in 
the field when stored under conditions of moderate 
temperature are apt to show a high percentage 
of dry rot. In such cases the fungus causes a 
blackening of the tuber, with a final outbreak of a 
whitish mold, and may serve to infect the wounds 
in other tubers. 

"In the control of this widespread and destruc- 
tive disease much emphasis should be placed upon 
the use of tubers free from the disease. ('Bulletin 
229,' Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station.) Ex- 
periments have been tried with diseased tubers 
which indicate that if the diseased portion is largely 
cut away and the tubers treated with formalde- 
hyde solution in water such seed will give 
nearly as good results as tubers from healthy 
plants. Potatoes should not be grown on the same 
soil immediately following a crop of the same kind 
which showed the disease. Experiments along this 
line indicate that even a three-year rotation is too 
short to make it safe. 

"Storage of the tubers is also an important mat- 
ter. It has been found that storing in outdoor 
pits is preferable to cellar storage, as a rule, and the 
lower temperature at which the tubers are kept 
under this method usually prevents, to some ex- 
tent, the spread of the dry rot. Being a soil fun- 
gus and capable of living for several seasons in the 
soil of an infested field, no spray which can be ap- 
plied to the part of the plants above ground is 
effective in controlling the disease. " 



198 THE POTATO 



RHIZOCTONIA 



This disease of the potato is sometimes known to 
growers as "Little Potatoes," "Stem Rot," and 
"Rosette." 

Considerable research work in regard to rhizoc- 
tonia was done by Prof. F. M. Rolfs when he was 
at the Colorado Agricultural College. Prof. A. 
Nelson also presents some interesting facts in "Bul- 
letin 71 " of the Wyoming Experiment Station. 
In the information which follows these two sources 
have been consulted freely. 

This rhizoctonia fungus attacks the underground 
portions of the plant. It is a true parasite, hving 
either in the internal tissues or upon the external 
parts. It attacks the stem at or just below the 
surface of the ground, destroying the bark in whole 
or in part. If the attack be a severe one it may 
result in the death of the plant, but if less severe 
it may induce a wet rot and thus result in the death 
of the plant, but if still less severe it may simply 
girdle the stem, the plant continumg to live and 
often producing as a result of the girdling an en- 
larged and apparently vigorous top. Owing to the 
fact that the girdling will prevent the return of the 
elaborated sap on the underground portions, there 
can be no tubers formed, or if formed they will be 
few and small. In many instances when the plant 
is thus prevented from forming the underground 
tubers it will throw out from the stem at points 
above the injury many short tuber-forming 
stems. These tubers are small and green, and of 
no value. 

The tubers are also attacked by the fungus, and 
on the surface of these small, hard knots of myce- 
lium, known as sclerotia, are produced. These 




Rhizoctonia. Showing devclopuuMil of "Iittl(^ potatoes" 
on tlic l)r;iii(li liccausc of llic effort of the j)lant to form 
tubers al)ove the i)oiiil of injury. From HnlK-t in 70. ( "olo- 
rado Experiment Slalio;i 




\ 




■it 









\ ^ '. 



\ 



*'%i:"-'v*'*; 



\ 



l^^i- 





■'"■^'-I'-^WJI 



Rhizoctonia. The illustration, from Bulletin 70 of the Colorado 
Agricultural Ex])erinuMit Station, shows stems of a you.ng potato 
])lant that has been affected from the seed. 



THE POTATO 199 

appear as dark brown bodies, irregular in outline 
and varying from a mere speek to tlie size of a grain 
of wheat. These spots resemble dirt, but do not 
wash off readily. 

Prof. F. jNI. Rolfs found three distinct stages in 
the development of the disease in Colorado, as 
follows: 

1. Rhizoctonia stage — the first or growing 
(vegetative) stage. Tw o kinds of liyphse occur — 
the light colored ones in the inner tissue of the host, 
which, if abundant, produce wet rot; dark colored 
ones in the outer tissues forming a close web of 
felted covering, which constitutes merely a girdle or 
band. If the last only is present, the plant is not 
killed, but may seem unusually healthy. 

2. The Corticium stage. It had been sup- 
posed that the fungus produced no spores, but was 
perpetuated solely by the sclerotia, which are the 
closely compacted masses of the mycelium forming 
the dark scale-like or grain-like bodies on the tu- 
bers and stems of the host plants. At one stage in 
its development, however, spores are formed on 
short lateral branches arising from the hyphse of 
the rhizoctonia stage. These are so readily dis- 
lodged that their presence is easily overlooked 
when a microscopic examination is made. It is 
probable that the spores serve merely for the rapid 
dissemination of the disease during its vegetative 
period. 

3. The Sclerotium stage. This is the period 
when provision is made for the perpetuation of the 
fungus. The sclerotia on the tubers of an infected 
crop, on the stems of the potato and weeds, carry 
the disease over from year to year. 

To stamp out the disease the sclerotia must be 
killed, and this is done by the use of clean seed. 



200 THE POTATO 

rotation of crops, and treatment of infected seed 
the same as for scab. 

Following is a description of some of the insect 
enemies : 

THE COLORADO POTATO BEETLE 

The following is by S. Arthur Johnson, in *' Bul- 
letin 175" of the Colorado Agricultural Experi- 
ment Station: 

"This insect (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) is a 
native of a strip of country which lies just east of 
the Rocky Mountain range and includes eastern 
Colorado. In its native state the beetle lives upon 
the wild weeds of the potato family. The chief of 
these is the buffalo bur, but the beetle is quite a 
general feeder on plants of this group, including not 
only potatoes, but tomatoes, eggplant, tobacco, and 
pepper. 

"The adult beetle is oval in shape, about three 
eighths of an inch in length and a trifle narrower 
than long. The ground color is yellow and the 
wings are marked by ten black lines running 
lengthwise. There are also black markings on the 
thorax. The eggs are bright yellow when fresh 
and are generally laid on the under surface of the 
leaves in patches containing from ten to fifty each. 
The young are dark red or brown grubs with black 
heads. The color becomes lighter as the grubs 
mature. 

"The adult beetles live over winter usually in 
the ground at a depth of from four to six inches. 
Where the ground is loose they frequently go much 
deeper. When the ground becomes warmed by the 
spring sun the beetles emerge and seek food plants 



THE POTATO 201 

on which they may feed and lay eggs. They are 
more or less abundant every year and do consid- 
erable damage to early potatoes. The late crops 
in Colorado generally escape because most of the 
adult beetles die off before the potatoes appear 
above ground. 

"The eggs hatch in from four to eight days, 
depending on the temperature. The larvse feed 
at first on the surface of the leaf where they 
hatch, but soon migrate to the top of the plant 
and eat the tender young leaves which are just 
unfolding. The young reach full growth about 
three weeks later. Soon eggs are laid again and 
the second generation hatches. Ordinarily, two 
broods are all that we may expect. 

"The best and most practical remedy is spray- 
ing with some arsenical poison. In commercial 
fields the best machine is a power sprayer drawn 
by horses. In garden patches a hand sprayer does 
very good work. Arsenate of lead, altogether the 
best poison, is a white paste which must be care- 
fully mixed in a little water before it is poured into 
the spray machine. It should be strained through 
a fine screen in order to remove all lumps which 
might clog the nozzles. Apply the poison at the 
rate of six or eight pounds to a hundred gallons 
of water. The proper time to spray is when the 
grubs begin to appear at the tops of the stems. 
Arsenate of lead does not kill as quickly as Paris 
green, but it sticks to the leaves much longer and 
the benefits can be seen for weeks, even after rains. 
Paris green is the old standby, is cheaper for a 
single application, and is still the most used. This 
poison is mixed with water at the rate of a pound 
to seventy -five or one hundred gallons. There 
is danger that this substance will burn the foliage 



202 THE POTATO 

of the potato, and to avoid this it is well to add 
the milk from two pounds of slaked lime to each 
hundred gallons of water used. While spraying 
either of these poisons the contents of the spraying 
machme should be kept well agitated. Sometimes 
the pest is confined to small areas. In such cases 
the insects are often controlled by the use of dust 
sprayers, which either blow the Paris green out in 
fine clouds, or dust out the same poison when it has 
been mixed with flour or carefully screened air- 
slaked hme. " 

THE POTATO FLEA BEETLE 

The facts about this insect (Epitrix cucumeris) 
which follow were written by S. Arthur Johnson 
for Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station, 
"Bulletin No. 175": 

"When tomatoes are first set out or potatoes 
first come up there may often be found on them 
tiny black beetles which jump when alarmed. 
Thev are called the flea beetles because of this 
habit, though they are not closely related to the 
flea. 

"The adult insects live over winter and appear 
during the latter part of May and first of June. 
They get their living by eating tiny holes in the 
surface of the leaves of plants of the potato family, 
and often attack cucumbers and beans. The in- 
sects often congregate in such numbers that the 
leaves of the plants appear almost black with them. 
Newly set tomato plants and young potatoes fre- 
quently have their leaves so badly eaten that they 
shrivel and the tomatoes may die. Ordinarily, the 
stand of the potato crop is not seriously injured in 



THE POTATO 203 

this way. Their greatest damage to potatoes in 
Colorado is doue by the larvae, which live under 
ground. These larvae are tiny white giiibs which 
attain a length of about a quarter of an inch. The 
first brood is to be found during June or early July. 
They frequently cut into and destroy the young 
tuber stems of the potatoes, thus preventing a reg- 
ular setting of the crop. The second brood of 
larv^se appear during August and September. This 
brood bores into the flesh and under the skin of the 
potatoes, causing a pimply or scabby development, 
which may cau!?e great waste in preparing the tu- 
bers for the table and seriously depreciate their 
market value. 

*'No satisfactory remedy for this pest is known. 
The leaf injuries to young potatoes and tomatoes 
may be largely avoided by spraying the leaves 
thoroughly with Bordeaux mixture to wdiich Paris 
green is often added. The insects appear to avoid 
the parts of the plant covered with these disagree- 
able substances and to seek fresh tissues upon 
which to feed. It is not certain where the insects 
hibernate, but they are found often in the fall in 
large numbers feeding on stray potato plants or 
pieces of tubers which have been left in the fields. 
It is well to clear up the fields immediately after 
the crop is gathered. These insects are seldom, if 
ever, found on new ground, and are much worse 
where potatoes are planted in succession." 

GRASSHOPPERS 

Grasshoppers are not often counted as an insect 
enemy of the potato, but their ravages in eastern 
Colorado have been such that growers have lost 
heavily. S. Arthur Johnson in "Bulletin 175" of 



204 THE POTATO 

the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station de- 
scribes the insect as follows: 

"There are many kinds of grasshoppers, but the 
species that become injurious have life histories 
which are very much alike . The eggs are laid in 
the fall in packets in the ground, containing from 
thirty to a hundred eggs. Their position is about 
an inch below the surface of the soil. The insects 
appear to select places which are comparatively 
dry in which to deposit the eggs, and we have found 
most of them this year in patches of weeds and 
grass under fences, and along ditch banks and road- 
sides. The young hatch rather late in the spring 
and do not become full-grown until midsummer or 
later. 

"Grasshoppers frequently injure potato fields 
by invading them from the borders, but this is not 
one of their favorite food plants. The most serious 
relation of grasshoppers to the potatoes is indirect 
rather than immediate. Potato growers depend 
on alfalfa to renew and enrich the soil. The pres- 
ence of grasshoppers in the fields newly sown to 
alfalfa is disastrous, for they quickly destroy the 
little plants and it is impossible to obtain a stand. 
This prevents a proper rotation of crops. 

"The best remedy to employ during fall and 
spring is the destruction of the eggs. The first step 
in this work is to locate the eggs. Inspection 
should be made everywhere in the surface of the 
soil for the pods of eggs. When the infested areas 
have been located they should be plowed deeply 
to bury the eggs, or disked or harrowed very 
thoroughly to break up the pods so that they will 
be exposed to the ravages of birds and animals or 
dried out before they have time to develop. 



THE POTATO 205 

The earlier in the fall that this remedy can be ap- 
plied the more satisfactory will be the results. It 
is better not to trust to one treatment, but to work 
over these places several times at short intervals. 
When young, or even when full-grown, grasshop- 
pers may be caught successfully in a hopper pan. 
If this is set on wheels a few inches above the sur- 
face of the ground and driven over the alfalfa when 
that is a few inches high, great numbers may be 
caught. The best time to do this is in the early 
morning when the hoppers are on the tops of the 
stems and somewhat numbed with the cold. A 
third remedy is arsenic-bran mash. This sub- 
stance is made by mixing white arsenic with bran 
at the rate of one pound of arsenic to twenty of 
bran. After the substances are thoroughly mixed 
add sujSicient water to make a sticky but not too 
sloppy material. Some add a little anise or syrup. 
The mixture should be scattered late in the after- 
noon or early in the morning so that the hoppers 
will get it before the hot sun has dried it up. 

"In the Greeley experiments of 1910 the pota- 
toes were sprayed with Bordeaux mixture to test 
the value of this substance as a repellent to grass- 
hoppers. The results appeared to be favorable as 
to keeping off grasshoppers, but indecisive as to the 
prevention of flea beetle injuries to potato tubers. " 

THE POTATO EELWORM 

The Potato Eelworm (a thread worm, Hetero- 
dera Radicola) is about one twenty-fifth of an inch 
long, and works in the mature tuber. It has been 
found in Nevada potatoes shipped to California. 
The following is from Nevada Experiment Station 
"Bulletin 76"- 



206 THE POTATO 

"The accompanying photograph shows the ex- 
ternal appearance of badly diseased potatoes. 
The surface of the potato is more or less wrinkled, 
and dotted with circular or oval pimples somewhat 
smaller than a pinhead, or with more irregular and 
larger nodules. The nodules are of grayish or 
brownish color, more or less depressed in the centre 
and sometimes surrounded by a slight furrow. In 
early stages the potato may be full and firm and 
the pimples so inconspicuous that they may easily 
be overlooked. When the disease is more advanced 
the nodules are more prominent, the specimen more 
or less shriveled and of softer consistency than 
normal. The easiest way to determine whether a 
suspected tuber is diseased or not is to cut off 
slices. If diseased, the cut surface will show sev- 
eral dry, brownish spots somewhat smaller than 
the head of a pin and extending from a sixteenth 
to a quarter of an inch into the flesh. They are 
usually circular or oblong in shape and consist of a 
brownish ring enclosing a central, whitish, pulpy 
core. Beneath the pimples there is a similar brown 
dry rot-like area which may or may not connect 
with the interior spots or worm burrows. Some- 
times the burrows are so numerous and close to- 
gether as to form an irregular continuous mass like 
a number of small shot close pressed together. 
More rarely the burrows may extend deeper into 
the flesh. 

*' Badly diseased potatoes may shrivel up to one 
half the natural size, are softer and less nutritious 
than normal and of course are not desirable for 
human food. The burrov/s afiford entrance for the 
bacteria of decay, so that infested potatoes will not 
keep as well as healthy ones. 

"If a portion of the pulpy centre of one of the 






The Potato Mclwonn. sliowiiii: t\y,iis. ^\o^Ills. and iiitVctcd 
potato. — From liulldin 7(! of the Aiiricultural Exi)orimeiit 
Station of I lie riii\cr>il\- of \c\a(la 




n 



THE POTATO 207 

burrows is scraped out and examined with the 
microscope, it will be found to contain numerous 
eggs, larva?, 3'oung and adult worms like those 
figured in the illustration. The potato cells have 
broken walls and the starch grains are fewer in 
number than in healthy tissue and those present 
are of smaller size. 

**The disease is spread by planting infested seed 
potatoes. We do not know to what extent the 
worms may hve and multiply in the soil itself or 
how long a soil may remain infected. This impor- 
tant point can be settled only by careful obser- 
vation and experiment. 

"How to free infected soil from the parasite is a 
question which the knowledge at present at our 
command will not permit us to answer satisfac- 
torily. Sterilization or disinfection on so large a 
scale is not practicable. Possibly deep plowing, 
letting the ground lie fallow for a year, or, where 
feasible, covering the fields with water during the 
winter months, may prove to be effective. The 
best advice for the present, it seems to us, is to 
plant infected fields with some other kind of crop, 
preferably grain or alfalfa rather than a root crop, 
such as sugar-beets, which might be attacked by 
the same pest. " 



CHAPTER XVI 

DINING CARS, HOTELS, AND RESTAURANTS 

THERE are no keener students of the food 
problem than the best hotel, restaurant, 
and dining-car men. 

Two vitally essential things appeal to them — 
quality and economy. 

Such men as J. F. Smart of the dining-car service 
on the New York Central Lines; Sam Dutton of the 
Albany Hotel, and Col. Morse of the Brown 
Palace Hotel, Denver; Ford Harvey and A. T. 
Hilliard of the Fred Harvey Eating Houses and 
dining cars on the Santa Fe, and K. L. Eagan, 
formerly of the North Side Inn, Jerome, Idaho, 
know more about potatoes than 95 per cent, of 
the growers. 

It would be a splendid thing if growers could 
meet occasionally with these large critical buyers 
and users. The caterer to great numbers of 
critical people is willing and anxious to pay for 
superior quality in a product, for in the case of 
potatoes the best and highest priced will often be 
the cheapest. He would tell the grower that the 
smooth, even, medium-sized potato, could he 
get quantities of them for the entire annual supply 
and be sure that entire sacks and shipments would 
be all alike, would be worth 25 to 50 per cent, more 
than the product now purchased. 

The hotel man wants a potato of good cjuality — 
a tuber that has been evenly and uniformly grown 
to maturity with no check at any time, then well 

208 



THE POTATO 209 

ripened and stored. When the potato plant ex- 
periences drought, the development of the tuber is 
stopped. Moisture following this starts a second 
growth, generally watery and waxy — and to the 
detriment of the part developed before the dry time. 
A good potato is firm and crisp, with tissues sound 
and plump and cells well filled with starch. This 
cooks evenly and is both nutritious and delicious. 

Flavor in potatoes is receiving more attention 
than ever before. The flavor of the tuber is sup- 
posed to depend on the mineral matter, citric acid 
and other substances dissolved in the juice. 
Flavor is influenced both by variety and the con- 
ditions under which the plant is grown. 

There is as much difference in the flat and taste- 
less or bitter and biting flavor of the potato of low 
quality and the rich, nutty flavor of the better 
sorts as there i« between rancid and good butter. 
. Potatoes sell in hotels and dining cars at from 
5 to 15 cents an order, and a tuber of one pound 
weight or a little less is an ideal order. There 
should never be any trouble in selling potatoes 
at approximately this size for one cent each. This 
would be 60 cents a bushel, or $1 a hundred, a 
good price if it could be assured. 

In every local territory some grower or set of 
growers should be able to work up a good trade 
with hotels and restaurants. If a superior prod.- 
uct can be furnished regularly, the caterer will 
be glad to give prominence to the name of the 
farm on which the potato is produced, or to the 
variety and locality, thereby helping the individual 
grower and localitv and the whole industrv. 

Buyers for dining-car service on American rail- 
roads were among the first to make cooking tests 
of the crop before purchasing. 



CHAPTER XVII 

FERTILIZERS 

THE object of fertilizing is to have available 
in the soil a sufficient quantity of all the 
elements the plant needs for making a max- 
imum crop. 

It is also necessary that the soil be in such per- 
fect mechanical condition that plant food may be 
made available, and that the roots and rootlets 
of the plant may be able to easily and readily take 
up this available plant food. 

Theoretically, in order to determine the amount 
of fertilizer a crop should require, it would only be 
necessary to have a chemical analysis and know the 
tonnage of the crop, and have an analysis to show 
the amount of fertility in the soil. Practically, 
these analyses constitute only one of a combination 
of factors that should be used in estimating what 
fertilization is necessary. 

The crop indicates whether or not the fertili- 
zation is right for immediate returns, but the 
analyses should be a guide to the grower in esti- 
mating what should be done to maintain large 
crops continuously. 

A great many formulas for fertilizing have been 
w^orked out by growers and experiment stations 
both in America and Europe. A number of these 
will be given — not that they should be used 
simply because they have been successful under 

210 



THE POTATO 211 

other conditions, but that they may be used as a 
guide for experimenting. 

There is removed in a (iOO-bushel crop of pota- 
toes approximately: 

160 pounds of nitrogen 
60 " " phosphoric acid 
160 " " potash 

An acre of soil eight inches deep weighs about 
2,375,000 pounds. (This varies somewhat and 
this estimate is for soil on the Twin Falls North 
Side Irrigation Project, Jerome, Idaho.) The ele- 
iiK^nts of fertility vary, but, as an example, the soil 
at Jerome, Idaho, contains: 

.47 per cent, of potash 

.11 per cent, of phosphoric acid 

.06 per cent, of nitrogen 

This would be a total of 

Nitrogen 1,425 pounds 

Phosphoric acid . . 2,612.5 pounds 
Potash 17,692.5 pounds 

Even though it is not possible for plants to use 
all of this, if proper cultivation methods are used 
there is food enough to last for a great many years. 

The three elements of fertility that are called 
the *' essential elements" are nitrogen, phosphoric 
acid and potash. At least ten other elements 
enter into the plant and are important and neces- 
sary for the production of plants. All but these 
three are used in small quantities and it is generally 
considered by students of the soil that the seven — 
magnesium, sodium, chlorin, sulphur, iron, sili- 
con and calcium — are present in most soils in 
sufficient quantities to supply the needs of crops 



212 THE POTATO 

almost indefinitely. The one exception to this is 
Hme, and its use is generally considered to be more 
to make conditions right for the making available 
of other elements than as an element of plant food 
itself. 

The potato plant — leaf, vine, stem, root, and 
tuber — is composed of elements taken from the soil 
and air. The plant is started from stored-up nutri- 
ment in the tuber or part thereof that is planted. 
After the start, the rootlets take water (hydrogen 
and oxygen), nitrogen, the phosphates, potash and 
the other mineral elements from the soil. These 
are taken up by the movement of sap to the leaves. 
The leaves take carbon and oxygen from the air 
through the stomata or breathing pores on their 
under surface; the various elements are trans- 
formed by the sunshine, heat, protoplasm and 
chlorophyl, and water (hydrogen and oxygen) and 
carbonic acid gas are given off by the leaves. The 
food which is manufactured or transformed is 
deposited throughout the plant. A large part of it 
goes to the storehouse of the enlarged underground 
stem or tuber. 

An average plant is made up somewhat as fol- 
lows : 

Phosphate, potash and other minerals (from 

the soil) 5.0 per cent. 

Nitrogen (from the soil and air) . . . 1.5 per cent. 

Hydrogen (from vrater) 6.5 per cent. 

Oxygen (from water and air) . . . 4'2 . per cent. 

Carbon (from air) 45 . per cent. 

From this it appears that Nature is lavish in its 
supplies, and that the soil, the condition of which is 
more or less under the control of man, contributes 
a comparatively small share in the plant's economy. 



THE POTATO 213 

This part is very important, however, so much so 
that in many instances success or failure depends 
on how it is looked after. 

In stating the part the elements have in the 
growth of the plant it must be considered that the 
statements are relative and not absolute. 

Nitrogen is largely instrumental in providing 
growth in plants, heavy, luxuriant stems and 
leaves being credited to a liberal supply of this 
element in available form. A deficiency is shown 
by weak, yellow growth. The elements of plant 
food in the soil are transformed or manufactured 
in the leaves in combination with sunlight and the 
gases of the air into the substances that form the 
edible tubers. In order that these processes be 
carried on with the best results there must be a 
strong, healthy manufacturing establishment — the 
])lant. 

Phosphoric acid hastens the maturity of crops 
and influences the production of seeds in fruits. 
In the potato it is supposed to influence the pro- 
duction of starch. 

Potash is supposed to influence yield, and be a 
factor in the formation of starch. 

Like many other things concerned with the pro- 
duction of crops and the working of the various 
elements in nature's laboratorv, the exact offices of 
potash and phosphoric acid are not known, but 
can only be judged and estimated by experiments 
and results. In general, it is known that nitrogen 
is mostly concerned with growth of plants, and 
phosphoric acid and potash with the fruit or 
crop. 

Nitrogen is obtained from the following sources: 

(1) Organic — Natural products in which ni- 
trogen is combined with other elements such as 



214 



THE POTATO 



carbon hydrogen and oxygen, decaying or de- 
cayed vegetable matter, dried blood, dried meat, 
tankage, fish, garbage, tannery waste, cottonseed 
and linseed meal, guano, animal manures. 

(2) Inorganic (chemical forms) — Ammonia in 
combination with other elements, nitrate of soda, 
and nitrate of lime or nitrolin (a new Swedish 
product) . 

Phosphoric acid is supplied in the form of phos- 
phates of lime, iron, and alumina. Some of the 
materials used are bone phosphate (phosphate of 
lime), raw bone, bone meal, steamed bone, bone 
black or animal charcoal, bone ash. South Caro- 
lina, Florida, Canada and Tennessee rock phos- 
phates, iron phosphate, a by-product of the manu- 
facture of iron phosphatic iron ores, and super- 
phosphates (a product made by treating some of 
the foregoing elements with acid to make readily 
available or soluble phosphoric acid). 

Fertilizers should be purchased on a per pound 
basis for the amounts of the elements actually 
contained. The fertilizer that costs the most per 
ton may be the cheapest. The following table 
shows the relative amounts of the elements in 
various combinations and is used in checking up 
guarantees : 



To convert the guarantee of 



Ammonia 
Nitrogen 
Nitrate of soda 
Bone phosphate 
Phosphoric acid 
Muriate of potash 
Actual potash 
Sulphate of potash 
Actual potash 



mto 

an 
equiv- 
alent 

of 



'' Nitrogen 
Ammonia 
Nitrogen 
Phosphoric acid 
Bone phosphate 
Actual potash 
Muriate of potash 
Actual potash 

, Sulphate of potash 



Multiply 
by 

0.8235 

1.214 

0.1647 

0.458 

2.183 

0.632 

1.583 

0.54 

1.85 



THE rOTATO 215 

It is often best to buy the elements singly, and 
with a guarantee as to the contents of availal)le 
plant food. There are ways of manipulating 
mixtures so as to puzzle the buyer, and at the 
same time permit the seller to keep within the law. 
In buying combined fertilizers the cost of mixing, 
handling, and advertising must always be added 
and paid for by the buyer. 

In order to maintain and build up virgin fertility 
and soil condition a grower should be continually 
adding stores of vegetable matter and such mineral 
or organic elements as will probably be depleted 
first. The latter can be applied in forms that are 
available at once or in less soluble forms where the 
usable fertility becomes available gradually. 

In the countries of Europe where the best results 
are obtained, and in this country where growers 
have given the most careful attention to the busi- 
ness, the highest importance is placed on the use 
of the decaying root systems of strong growing 
plants for fertilizing material and for keeping the 
soil in good condition. Sir John Lawes, the 
eminent British farmer and experimenter, said: 
"It is the physical condition of the soil, its per- 
meability to roots, its power of absorbing and 
radiating heat that is of more importance than its, 
strictly speaking, chemical composition." 

An interesting article on the value of green 
manures is given by R. W. Thatcher in "Bulletin 
32" of the Washington Agricultural Experiment 
Station. It follows: 

"Soil is a mixture of inorganic material — i. e., 
rocks or mineral substance broken down into more 
or less fine particles — with organic matter — i. e., 
decayed or decaying material which has once been 



216 THE POTATO 

living vegetable or animal tissue. The inorganic 
particles usually compose the greater portion of the 
soil (95 per cent, to 98 per cent, of sandy or gravelly 
soils, 80 to 95 per cent, of loams and clayey soils, 
less than 80 per cent, of muck or peaty soils) and 
supply the necessary mineral elements of plant 
food. The organic portion of the soil furnishes 
the supply of nitrogen, a very necessary element 
of plant food, without which no crop can make 
any growth ; supplies also the other elements which 
were taken up in the growth of the plant or animal 
and which bv their decav are returned to the soil 
in a form readily available for plants; helps to 
render the mineral elements of the soil avail-able 
by the action upon the inorganic matter of the 
acids produced in the decay of organic matter; 
affects very beneficially the physical properties of 
the soil, increasing its ease of tilth, moisture hold- 
ing capacity, capacity to absorb heat, and decreas- 
ing the tendency to 'puddle' when wet or 'bake' 
when dry. Too much organic matter usually 
results in a soil which dries out very rapidly and 
w^hich is likely to be 'sour' from the excess of or- 
ganic acids which it contains. Very few% if any, 
well-drained lands contain an excess of organic 
matter, however. 

"It is apparent, therefore, that the maintenance 
of a proper balance between the organic and the 
inorganic or mineral portions of the soil is one of 
the first essentials to fertility and to proper physi- 
cal condition of the soil. Many of the so-called 
'wornout' soils have only had their store of 
organic matter depleted by improper methods of 
cropping and can be restored to fertile condition 
by the plowing under of some additional supply of 
vegetation to decay. 



THE POTATO 217 

*' Any farm crop whicli is grown for the sole pur- 
pose of plowing it under to increase the supply of 
organic matter in the soil is known as a 'green 
manure.' Green manures affect the soil benefi- 
cially in many ways. Some of the possible benefits 
are: (1) The addition of vegetable matter or 
'humus,' with its attendant beneficial effect upon 
the physical and chemical properties of the soil. 
(2) Increasing the nitrogen content of the soil by 
fixation of nitrogen of the air, when leguminous 
crops are used as the green manure. (3) Using 
surplus available plant food which might other- 
wise be lost. (4) Plant food from lower depths 
may be brought nearer to the surface and made 
available for subsequent crops. 

"The kind of crop which may best be used as a 
green manure depends upon w hich one or more of 
these beneficial effects is most desired. If the 
addition of humus, or an increased supply of decay- 
ing vegetation, is the only necessity, then any rank- 
growing farm crop may be used. The more suc- 
culent or juicy plants are best, as they decay much 
more quickly and are more easily incorporated in 
the soil. If, however, the supply of nitrogen in the 
soil IS small and its increase is either the chief 
necessitj^ or a desirable addition to the increased 
humus content, then some leguminous crop must 
be used, as no other farm crop has the power of 
utilizing atmospheric nitrogen or of returning to 
the soil any essential element of fertility which it 
did not draw from it. If it is desired to bring up 
from below some of the mineral plant food which 
is present in deeper layers of soil, then a deep- 
rooting crop should be used. 

"The legumes, or leguminous crops, are a group 
of plants which are characterized by growing their 



218 THE POTATO 

seed in pods and by having peculiar knots or 
nodules on their roots. These nodules are formed 
by the action of a certain group of bacteria, 
immense numbers of which are found in each 
nodule, which have the peculiar property of being 
able to use the gaseous nitrogen of the air for their 
own growth, and supplying this element as they 
die and decay to the host plant on whose roots 
they are located. Included in this group are al- 
falfa, all the clovers, vetches, peas, beans, etc. 
No other group of plants or animals, so far as is 
now known, is thus able to make use of atmospheric 
nitrogen. Legumes may grow in soils which are 
rich in available nitrogen without the presence of 
the nodule-producing bacteria, deriving their ni- 
trogen supply directly from the soil as do other 
crops, but have the distinctive power of being able 
to flourish in soils poor in nitrogen if the proper 
bacteria are present to grow upon their roots and 
supply them with nitrogen from the air, and when 
so grown to increase the supply of soil nitrogen 
when plowed under as green manures." 

The potato growers of the Jersey Islands use the 
following mixture at the rate of one ton per acre 
in addition to animal manures, etc. : 

1000 pounds super-phosphate 

600 " sulphate of ammonia 

300 " sulphate of potash 

100 " lime dust or sulphate of lime 



2000 pounds 



William D. Hurd states that in Maine "the 
most common and popular commercial fertilizer 
used for potatoes has been the one analyzing 4 



THE POTATO 219 

per cent, ammonia, 6 per cent, available phos- 
phoric acid, 10 per cent, potash, and costing $37 to 
$39 a ton. The following materials for a home 
mixture would duplicate the above formula: 

150 pounds nitrate soda (15 per cent, nitrogen). 
800 " tankage (7 per cent, ammonia, 15 per cent, 
total, 10 per cent, available phosphoric acid). 
300 ' acid phosphate (15 per cent, phosphoric iicidj. 

400 " sulphate potash. 

1650 pounds (equivalent of a ton). 

"The above material can be purchased f.o.b. 
Boston at the following prices: Nitrate of soda 
$50 per ton, tankage $27 per ton, acid phosphate 
$16 per ton, sulphate potash $48 per ton. 

"The cost of this mixture w^ould be as follows: 

150 pounds nitrate soda at $50 $ 3 . 75 

800 " tankage at $^27 . . . .' . . . 10.80 

300 " acid phosphate at $16 2.40 

400 " sulphate potash at $48 9.60 

Cost of material f.o.b $26.55 

Labor of mixing, waste, sacking, etc 75 

Total $27.50 



(( I 



To this must be added the cost of freight. xVt 
most Maine points this would not be over $2 
to $2.50 for the above quantity. A saving then 
of about 25 per cent, can be made by home mix- 
ing. 

"Many Aroostook County growers have aban- 
doned the 4-G-lO fertilizer and are now^ using one 
analyzing 5 per cent, ammonia, 8 per cent, available 
phosphoric acid, and 7 per cent, potash. 

"This sells at $41 to $42 a ton in Aroostook 



220 THE POTATO 

County. Such a mixture can be made from the 
following materials, using tlie same grade as in the 
4-6-10 mixture given above: 

200 poimus nitrate soda, 

980 *' tanlvage, 

400 " acid phosphate. 

280 " sulphate potash. 



18G0 pounds (equivalent to a ton). 

Cost f.o.b. Boston, $28.15. Cost of mixing, same 
as before. Freight extra. " 



CHAPTER XVIII 

THE FARM ROTATION 

THE rotation of crops is a fundamental 
practice in good farming operations. The 
potato is one of the most useful crops in a 
general rotation, because the clean and thorough 
cultivation required, as well as the preliminary deep 
plowing and the digging, puts the soil in excellent 
mechanical condition. 

The object of rotating crops is to grow a uniform 
maximum product. All crops benefit by a change. 
The fertility requirements of no two are exactly 
the same. A soil is benefited both mechanically 
and in its store of fertility by the changing of crops. 
For instance, a soil may have plenty of the essen- 
tial mineral elements of fertility to last for gener- 
ations, but the amount of those elements available 
for the use of a certain pLait might be exhausted 
by a few years' continuous cropping. x\nother crop 
would require different elements or different 
amounts or forms of the same elements. By the 
time the first crop considered would be grown 
again on this land, the fertility that was exhausted 
would either be replaced or made available by dif- 
ferent methods and conditions. On farms where 
rotation is practised diseases are avoided, checked, 
or controlled. 

The maintenance and replacing of nitrogen is 
one of the most important soil cultural conditions. 
Humus or decayed vegetable matter is a source of 



222 THE POTATO 

nitrogen. Alfalfa, clovers, peas, and other legumes 
grow so luxuriantly in many localities, and place 
and leave such large amounts of fertility in the soil, 
that the nitrogen problem consists simply of grow- 
ing legumes in the rotation. The keeping of live- 
stock and the return of manure to the land replace 
some of all of the elements to the soil in a good 
combination. 

A rotation of crops, and their arrangement as 
far as location on the farm is concerned, is a matter 
that must be worked out for the requirements of 
the individual holding. 

The farmer is a manufacturer. He directs the 
growing of meat and dairy products, the fruit, 
grain, and vegetable crops from the soil and other 
elements. To get all the returns from the business, 
he must have no waste, and the by-products must 
be manufactured into some marketable form. 
His unmarketable potatoes must be utilized for 
feed and his unmarketable fruits must be made 
into cider, vinegar, or jelly. The farmer who 
makes the greatest success is the one that produces 
a pound of beef, a pound of pork, or a pound of 
butter the cheapest. To do this he must know the 
value of the grain and the hay he uses in producing 
them. He must know on how much less food a 
year-old animal makes a pound of gain than a two- 
year-old animal. He must know how much food it 
takes for a pound of gain for a steer and how much 
for a hog. He must know how to market to the 
best advantage the products that he raises on his 
farm, whether directly from the fields or as meat, 
dairy products or poultry, or as draft horses, 
pure cattle, hogs or sheep. 

There is no *'best" breed of horses, no "best" 
breed of cattle, and hkewise no "best" kind of 



THE POTATO 223 

farming. Successes have been made in every line 
and successes will continue to be made in every 
line repeatedly. No farmer cares to pursue exactly 
the line followed by his neighbors nor is it neces- 
sary. Individuality is just as marked here as 
elsewhere. To have and to pursue one ideal is the 
essential thing, and to know all there is to be known 
about it is a large part of the equipment. Success 
follows knowledge and application. 

The diversified farm is a farm that, having a rul- 
ing central idea, grows a rotation of crops to main- 
tain fertility, supports enough and the proper 
kind of livestock to best utilize those crops, and 
furnishes as much as is profitable of the products 
necessary for maintenance of everything on that 
farm. Any one of the component parts that make 
up a diversified farm is capable of being a specialty, 
but the combination and the utilization of the 
waste ends make diversity. 



CHAPTER XIX 

EARLY POTATOES SPECIALTIES 

THE early potato, like all other early vege- 
tables and fruit, is an "out of season" or 
*' semi-out of season" product, and con- 
sequently brings a fancy price. 

Extraordinary conditions, either natural or arti- 
ficial, are required for its production. 

The early potato is a specialty suited to the 
colder part of the season in semitropical countries, 
such as California, Mexico, Florida, and Texas. 

With artificial conditions of sprouting and 
starting the crop, a large industry has been de- 
veloped in Great Britain and the Channel Islands 
during the past ten years. 

Protection from early frosts is a prime con- 
sideration in sections where the climate is other 
than strictly semitropical. There are great pos- 
sibilities for the industry in the Sacramento Valley 
and other sections of California. 

One great advantage of an early crop is that it 
is matured and harvested before the time (August 
and September) when the blights and other diseases 
may ruin the late crops. 

Some work has been done by American experi- 
ment stations in investigating the business. In 
"Farmers' Bulletin 114" of the United States 
Department of Agriculture is the following: "A 
difference of two or three days or a week in the 
placing of a crop on the market often makes a dif- 

224 



THE POTATO 225 

ference between profit and loss, and tlie prices 
obtained for extra-early crops have stimulated 
cultural experiments with every kind of fruit and 
vegetables. Some interesting results along this 
line with potatoes have recently been reported 
by the Kansas and Rhode Island stations. 

"At the Kansas station seed tubers of four dif- 
ferent varieties of medium-sized potatoes were 
placed in shallow boxes with the seed ends up in 
February. Tlicy were packed in sand, leaving 
the upper fourth of the tubers exposed, and, the 
boxes were placed in a room with rather subdued 
light, having a temperature of 50 degrees to GO de- 
grees F. Vigorous sprouts soon pushed from the 
exposed eyes. The v/liole potatoes were planted 
in furrow^s in March in the same position they oc- 
cupied in the boxes. The same varieties of po- 
tatoes taken from a storage cellar were planted 
in parallel rows. The sand-sprouted potatoes took 
the lead from the start in vigor and strength of 
top and produced potatoes the first of June, a 
W'Cek earlier than the storage-cellar potatoes. At 
the final digging they showed better potatoes and 
gave a 10 per cent, larger total yield. 

''In another experiment part of the potatoes 
was treated the same as in the first test, except 
that the sand was kept moistened and the other 
part was placed in open boxes and kept in a light 
room having a temperature of 50 degrees F. The 
tubers placed in sand developed strong sprouts 
and nearly all rooted. When planted in the field 
they outstripped both the tubers sprouted in open 
boxes and the storage-cellar tul)ers in vigor of 
growth. The tubers started in the open boxes 
gave earlier yields than were obtained from the 
storage-cellar tubers, but not as early as the 



^26 THE POTATO 

tubers sprouted in moist sand. The tubers 
sprouted in moist sand produced table potatoes 
from seven to ten days earlier than the storage- 
cellar seed. 

*'At the Rhode Island station medium-sized 
whole potatoes sprouted on racks, in a fairly warm 
and light room, gave a 27 per cent, better yield 
at the first digging than potatoes kept in a cold 
cellar until planting time, and this was increased 
to 40 per cent, at the final digging. The percent- 
age of large tubers was also greater at each dig- 
ging with the sprouted tubers. 

"The results of these experiments are sugges- 
tive. The handling of seed potatoes in such man- 
ner as to secure strong, stocky sprouts before 
the tubers are planted out is shown to be an im- 
portant factor in increasing both the earliness and 
the total yield of the crop. By planting only 
well-sprouted seed a full stand is assured. 

*'One of the objections to this method of grow- 
ing potatoes is the large amount of space required 
for exposing the tubers to the light for sprouting. 
This objection has been overcome in part by the 
use of trays and racks. At the Rhode Island 
station the rack used held nine trays. Each tray 
was three and three fourths feet long and one and 
one half feet wide, and would hold about one 
bushel of potatoes when spread out in a single 
layer for sprouting. The bottoms of the trays 
were made of pieces of lath placed about one inch 
apart. Nine trays were placed in a rack over 
each other, leaving about nine inches of space be- 
tween each tray. This method of arrangement 
has the advantage of securing a very uniform dis- 
tribution of light, heat, and air for all the traj^s. 
It greatly facilitates the handling of the potatoes 




K. L. Clcvflaiiil, lloulloii. Maine 




1% 




THE POTATO 227 

and lessens the danger of breaking oflp the sprouts 
when transferring to the field for planting." 

Where it is desired to grow potatoes on heavy- 
lands or without cultivation tliey are sometimes 
planted under straw. 

In a Nebraska Experiment Station publica- 
tion R. A. Emerson says: 

*' Potatoes are a cool weather crop. It is because 
of this that they succeed so well in the far north. 
Moreover, potatoes require for their best develop- 
ment fairly uniform conditions, especially as re- 
gards soil moisture and soil temperature. This 
being the case, wh}^ should not potatoes grown 
under a litter mulch be especially well developed 
and therefore make strong seed? The soil be- 
neath a mulch not only has a moderately low 
temperature during sunnner, but its temperature 
is also exceptionally uniform, varying not more 
than a degree or two between day and night and 
only a few degrees from day to day. The soil 
moisture beneath a good nuilch is also more 
abundant and much more nearly uniform in 
amount than in case of bare ground, even though 
the latter is given good tillage. 

*'The value for seed purposes of tubers grown 
under a little mulch has been tested during two 
seasons at the experiment (Nebraska) station. 
In 1904 a plat of potatoes was mulched with straw 
and an adjoining plat was given careful culti- 
vation. The soil of the two plats was practically 
uniform and the seed planted on the two plats was 
taken from the same lot of tuljers. Seed was 
saved from the mulched and cultivated j)lats sep- 
arately, kept under the same conditions during 



228 THE POTATO 

winter, planted on adjoining plats in the spring of 

1905, and given identical cultivation during the 
summer. In 1908 the experiment was repeated 
with seed grown in mulched and in cultivated 
ground the year before. The same precautions 
were observed as in the first test. Uniform seed 
was used to start vv^ith in 1905. The seed saved 
from the mulched and from the cultivated plats 
was taken as it came, without selection, and was 
kept over winter under the same conditions. 
Both kinds of seed were cut in the same way, 
planted in the same way, on adjoining plats, and 
treated alike as regards tillage, spraying, etc. 
Under these conditions anv constant differences 
in yield between the two plats must be ascribed 
to the effect of the methods of culture employed 
the previous season. The yields obtained from 
the mulched and from the cultivated seed were as 
follows: Cultivated seed, 384 pounds in 1905; 
mulched seed, 563 pounds in 1905; cultivated seed, 
123 pounds in 190G; mulched seed, 174 pounds in 
1906. 

"The use of seed that has been grown under a 
mulch the preceding year increased the yield of 
potatoes 47 per cent, in 1905 and 41 per cent, in 

1906. If further tests confirm the results re- 
ported here it would seem that mulching might 
be used for the production of high-grade seed 
potatoes at home. Moreover, mulching usually 
results in increased yields if properly handled. 
Mulching potatoes on a large scale is, of course, 
impracticable, but most farmers could easily 
mulch enough of their potato field to produce the 
seed that they would require the following year, 
and in doing so they would not necessarily in- 
crease the cost of production per bushel." 



THE POTATO 229 



((I 



The growini? of Irish potatoes as a truck crop 
at the South has assumed large proportions," says 
L. C. Corbett, horticulturist in charge of Arling- 
ton Experimental Farm and Horticultural In- 
vestigations of the Bureau of Plant Industry, U. S. 
Department of Agriculture, in "Farmers' Bulletin 
407." "Thousands of acres are annually planted 
to early varieties of potatoes which are harvested 
as soon as they have reached suitable size, re- 
gardless of their maturity, and immediately trans- 
ported to Northern cities for distribution and con- 
sumption. This industry extends along the At- 
lantic seaboard from the southernmost terminals 
of railway transportation to the vicinity of the 
great centres of consumption, Florida producing 
a large annual crop of early potatoes, followed by 
Georgia, South Carolina, North Carohna, Vir- 
ginia, Maryland, and New Jersey in turn. The 
great early -potato-producing sections of Florida 
are centred around Hastings; in Georgia the sec- 
tions are largelv confined to the vicinitv of Savan- 
nah; in South Carolina a large acreage is cul- 
tivated in the trucking region about Charleston; 
in North Carolina a very extensive crop is planted 
in the vicinity of Wilmington; while Norfolk, Va., 
probably outclasses all other regions along the* 
Atlantic coast so far as acreage and yield are con- 
cerned. This vicinity is one of the oldest and 
largest early-potato-producing sections of North 
America. Besides this belt of country devoted to 
this industry there are isolated regions along the 
Gulf coast and in northern Texas, Kentuckv, and 
Missouri where potato growing has been es- 
tablished and has proved quite i)rofitable. 

*'It is impossible to give accurate statistics in 
regard to this crop, for it changes annually with 



230 THE POTATO 

the markets of the preceding year, those who en- 
gage in the industry, particularly in the West, 
being influenced very decidedly by the previous 
year's return. This is an exceedingly unfortunate 
condition, as the growers should determine their 
planting, not by their previous year's experience, 
but by the condition of the crop at the North. 
The crop of so-called winter potatoes produced 
at the North has more influence upon the price 
which will be received for the early crop than any 
other single factor. The truck farmer should 
therefore keep a very careful record of the crop at 
the North preceding the year his planting is to 
be done. The cpantity, quality, and price of the 
held-over Northern crop are factors which de- 
cidedly influence the price of the new crop when 
it reaches the market. A market w^hich is well 
stocked with old potatoes which have been kept 
in fairly good condition means a very low price 
for the early crop when it comes in competition 
with such stock. As this new crop cannot be 
retained long in the soil at the extreme South with- 
out rapid deterioration, neglect on the part of the 
owner to determine the quantity of old potatoes 
in sight at planting season, as compared with the 
normal supply, may mean a very meagre profit, 
if any, or a very heav;^^ loss if the crop cannot be 
moved at the proper season at a very satisfactory 
price. 

*'In growing early potatoes, perhaps more than 
any other single crop, the sources from which the 
seed is obtained influence the resulting crop. The 
practice which is almost universally followed is to 
plant tubers of early varieties which have been 
grown for several seasons at the North. The de- 
mand by truck farmers for Northern -grown seed 



THE POTATO 231 

has developed a very considerable industry in 
some of the potato-producing regions, notably 
Maine, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Early varieties 
which are especially adapted to truck work at 
the South are in these Northern regions planted 
extensively for the purpose of producing seed to 
be used in the South. The crop is harvested and 
placed in storage houses either at the North or at 
the South, where it can be made available to the 
growers at the South early in the spring to meet 
the demand for seed for early planting. 

"Within recent years there has been a marked 
increase in the use of second-crop potatoes for 
seed throughout the Southern potato-growing 
sections. This crop is frequently grown on the 
same land from which the first crop of potatoes 
was harvested. In most instances, however, it 
follows beans or cucumbers, as the seed for this 
second potato crop is not usually planted until 
July or August. The seed for this crop is, as a 
rule, saved from the early crop, the small tubers 
being stored in a well-ventilated shed, where they 
are protected from the direct action of the sun 
and from storms until about ten days or two 
weeks before the time of planting, when they are 
spread thinly upon the ground and lightly covered 
with straw or litter to partially protect them from 
the sun. Under these conditions the tubers 
quickly 'green' and all those suitable for seed 
will develop sprouts. As soon as the sprouts are 
visible, and before they are large enough to be 
rubbed off in handling, the potatoes are ready to 
plant. The product of this planting gives a crop 
of partially matured tubers which are held over 
winter for spring planting. This practice gives 
excellent results in many localities and is found to 



232 THE POTATO 

be more economical than the purchase of Northern- 
grown seed. To what extent it is safe to follow 
this practice without renewing the seed from the 
North by the use of fully matured tubers has not 
been determined. 

"A novel practice for securing quick growth 
from second-crop seed has been developed by a 
successful potato grower in Texas. Mr. Morrell 
has developed an idea which is closely akin to the 
practices of the potato growers of the Channel 
Islands. The method consists in storing the 
tubers of the second crop in a tight building, which 
by the use of artificial heat can be kept frostproof. 
At harvest time the tubers are placed in slatted 
crates and the temperature of the storage house 
held as low as practicable without freezing until 
four to six weeks before planting time, when the 
temperature is raised to 68 degrees or 70 degrees 
F. This temperature is maintained until the eyes 
of the potatoes show activity. The sprouts 
should not be allowed to develop to any con- 
siderable length before planting the tubers, on 
account of the danger of breaking them in the 
necessary handling at planting time. If the 
sprouts are one eighth of an inch or less in length 
there should be little loss from handling. If the 
house can be well lighted at the time the tempera- 
ture is raised the sprouts which develop will be 
much stouter than those developed in the dark. 
This plan provides a congenial temperature for 
the germination of the tubers and makes it pos- 
sible to delay planting until outside conditions 
are generally favorable for the rapid growth of the 
plants, and to use for seed only those tubers which 
are actually viable. With good preparation and 
cultivation this method should give a perfect 



THE POTATO 233 

stand and a decidedly increased yield, together 
^vith the e.'irly maturity of the crop. 

"This plan has been used for Northern-grown 
seed, but it is found that the mature Northern- 
grown seed responds more quickly to a given heat 
stinuilus and consequently does not require to be 
placed in a warm room more than ten days to two 
weeks before planting. 

"The practice on the Channel Islands accom- 
plishes the same results in a slightly different 
manner. The tubers are placed one layer deep 
on germinating trays which are arranged on racks 
or are provided with comer posts a few inches 
long so as to admit air and light. The tubers are 
induced to germinate in the traj^s, and at planting 
time only those with well-developed sprouts are 
used for planting. As the work is all done by 
hand there is little danger of damage to the seed 
from breaking off the sprouts. In all sections of 
the South where hand planting is practised this 
method of procedure is perfectly practicable, and 
would entirely obviate losses from poor stands 
resulting from uncongenial conditions due to cold, 
damp spring weather, and inferior seed. Planting 
could be delayed until conditions were favorable 
and poor seed would be detected before it was 
planted. 

"Early potatoes grown as market-garden or 
truck crops and intended for immediate con- 
sumption are, as a rule, harvested as soon as they 
have reached marketable size, regardless of the 
maturity of the crop. Because of the immature 
condition of the tubers it is essential that the crop 
be handled carefullv and quicklv. The tender 
tubers are easily bruised and diimngod in ap- 
pearance; consequently care should he exercised 



234 THE POTATO 

in the conduct of all operations connected with 
the harvesting of this crop. As a further safe- 
guard to loss from bruising at harvest time or 
during transit the growers and the trade have 
determined upon the red-skinned varieties as 
best adapted to withstand these misfortunes. 
Scars and bruises show less on red-skinned than 
on white-skinned sorts. 

"The varieties in most common use among 
truckers are known as Irish Cobbler, having a 
white skin, and Bliss Triumph, a red-skinned sort. 

"Notwithstanding the fact that red-skinned 
sorts handle better, the smaller yield usuall}^ ob- 
tained from such varieties has led all growers ex- 
cept those located at extreme distances from the 
market to use white-skinned sorts. Red varieties 
are not employed extensively along the Atlantic 
coast, although they make up the bulk of the crop 
grown in the Gulf Coast States. 

"While the harvesting of early Irish potatoes 
grown for home consumption is largely carried on 
by hand, in some localities improved implements, 
such as potato diggers and potato sorters, are 
brought into service. The truck farmers along 
the Atlantic coast, however, adhere largely to the 
simpler methods of handling the crop, as sug- 
gested in figures 9 and 10. This is undoubtedly 
accounted for bv the fact tliat labor is more abun- 
dant and not so w^ell trained in the use of improved 
machinery as in the more northern and western 
districts. In digging early potatoes in the Atlantic 
coast district ordinary one-horse turning plows are 
used. Laborers follow the plows and gather the 
potatoes from the soil and throw them, four or six 
rows together, in piles, after which they are sorted 
and put into barrels for shipment. In the potato 



THE POTATO 235 

regions of Louisiana and Texas, where early pota- 
toes form a crop of considerable importance, im- 
proved machinery is largely depended upon for 
harvesting. 

"The packages for early potatoes are determined 
partly by custom and the demands of the market, 
but largely by the local timber supply. In regions 
where timber is plentiful and barrels and crates 
figure largely in the shipment of other truck crops, 
potatoes are chiefly shipped in barrels. In other 
localities burlap sacks are chiefly employed, as is 
the case in most regions growing late potatoes. 

"Up to the present time no standard measure, 
barrel, or bag for the handling of potatoes has been 
adopted. Recently certain states have passed 
laws requiring that these packages should come up 
to a given standard, usually 170 pounds net for a 
barrel, and that all short-measure packages enter- 
ing their markets should be so marked. The 
barrel used by the trucker of the Atlantic coast 
region during past years holds about 11 pecks and 
weighs from 155 to 1G5 pounds net. These barrels 
cost the grower about 22 cents each, including the 
burlap cover. The bags used for the handling of 
the crop grown in the southwestern region cost the 
grower about 5 cents each in lots of 1,000 or more. 
These packages are used but once and are not 
returned to the grower. 

"The grading of early potatoes is quite as im- 
portant as the grading of fruits. I^arge and small 
tubers should not be mixed in the same barrel. 
The pickers should be taught to gather the large 
and merchantable tubers in one basket and the 
small or seed potatoes in another, and these if 
placed upon the market should go in separate 
receptacles and be clearly marked so as to repi'i^- 



236 THE POTATO 

sent the grade. If a mechanical sorter is used this 
work will be more effectively accomplished than if 
left to the pickers. 

"The type of grade usually used is similar to 
that employed in some sections for grading apples 
and peaches, although the common type of potato 
grader is a rotary screen which separates the earth 
from the tubers and allows the small tubers to fall 
through the large meshes of the screen before 
reaching the general outlet which carries away 
those of merchantable size. The objection to a 
mechanical grader of this type is that it bruises 
the immature tubers and renders them somewhat 
less attractive than when not so handled and prob- 
ably also shortens the length of time they can be 
safely held on the market." 



CHAPTER XX 

THE BURBANK POTATO 

FOR several years the authors of this book 
have looked upon their occasional visits 
to Luther Burbank at Santa Rosa, Cal. 
as bright spots in their year's work. Each 
visit brings a greater love for the genial, kindly, 
wonderful man and a greater admiration for his 
marvelous work in plant breeding — the like of 
which the world has never before known. He is 
both a genius and a philanthropist, and the value 
of his life work to the world will probably never be 
given a correct rating. 

The Burbank potato is in a class by itself on the 
Pacific coast. In discussing the potato situation 
in California, Mr. Burbank said: 

"I suppose the Russians, who had a trading post 
on the coast of what is now Sonoma County, may 
have grown potatoes, but the first potatoes in 
the state of which we have any record were those 
brought by sailors from Chile, South America. 
That it was possible for them to be used on the 
slow-sailing vessels of seventy -five years ago shows 
that they were good keepers. 

""This Chilean potato was grown on the shores 
of Bodega Bay in Sonoma County and came to be 
known as the ' Bodega Red. ' It was a red potato, 
with heav>^ eyebrows and deep eyes, and wlien piled 
in the field and ccnered with vines would keep for 

237 



238 THE POTATO 

two years. It was very subject to blight, however, 
and a field of growing potatoes might be wiped out 
by the disease in a few days. At that time it was 
thought that potatoes could not be grown in the 
interior valley of California." 

It was not until the introduction of the Burbank 
that large acreages of potatoes were grown in 
California. 

On one of our visits to Mr. Burbank he told us 
the story of the Burbank potato, and although 
busy with the thousands and thousands of plants 
involved in the bringing out of new and improved 
varieties, and with the writing of the history of 
his life's work, he has written the following for 
this book: 

"In the summer of 1871, after I had had several 
years of amateur experience in raising seedling 
potatoes, I was on the lookout for some potato 
which did not reproduce itself almost exactly from 
the seed in form, size, color, and all other particu- 
lars, as did most of the potatoes then known. 
While searching for such a variety, I happened, 
that autumn, to find on my place a single seed-ball 
on an Early Rose potato vine, and was immediately 
impressed with what later proved to be the fact, 
that this must be something valuable, as the Early 
Rose very seldom bears seed-balls. It was watched 
with the utmost care until nearly ripe, my atten- 
tion being upon it daily. When it was about 
mature and ready to pick, the patch was visited 
that morning with that intention, but to my great 
consternation the coveted fruit had disappeared, 
and the pain and disappointment were intense 
when, after a careful search, I was unable to find 



THE POTATO 239 

any trace of it. However, believing tliat it might 
be somewhere in the vicinity, day after day the 
place was visited, and the most diligent search 
made, moving the vines about and leaving nothing 
undone that might disclose it. At Lxst it was 
found a number of feet away from the original 
vine, no doubt removed either by a bird or some 
animal passing rapidly through the field. 

"From this single seed-ball twenty-six distinct 
new varieties were obtained. The seed was 
planted out of doors, as one would plant beets or 
cabbages, and not grown in boxes under glass and 
transplanted as seedlings of potato and tomato 
plants usually are. The ground had been pre- 
pared with as much care as could be bestowed upon 
it, and each seed was placed about a foot from its 
next neighbor in the rows. To-day I would not 
think of planting valuable potato-seeds in this 
way because the risks would be too great; but it 
turned out, perhaps from the unusual care given 
them, that they all grew well, and from that lot of 
seedlings varieties were obtained entirely distinct 
from any which had before been seen. There were 
two sorts with long, white, beautiful tubers, the 
most shapely, most uniform in size, of any that 
had yet been developed. One of these was after- 
ward named and introduced as the 'Burbank' by 
that pioneer seedsman, Mr. J. H. Gregor^^ of 
Marblehead, Mass. The other white one was 
almost as good, but by careful test proved to 
be somewhat less prolific. This, and all the others 
except the ' Burbank, 'are now lost to cultivation, 
and let us hope without loss to the cultivator. 

"Besides the two seedlings above mentioned, 
one variety was bright red, not very productive, 
and most of the tubers decayed shortly after they 



240 THE POTATO 

were dug. Another was a round, white potato: 
still another was pink ; a second pink variety was 
characterized by its white eyes; another pinkish 
variety had eyes so prominent that the long, slen- 
der tubers seemed to be all eyebrows, the eyes 
reaching quite to the centre of the potato. Prob- 
ably seedlings raised from some of these might 
have produced varieties of great importance, but 
soon after, in moving to California, the seed was 
lost. I have raised more than ten thousand seed- 
lings from the 'Burbank' potato since coming to 
California, but have never obtained one that was 
equal in all respects to the original. 

"Over eight million bushels of the Burbank 
potato were produced on the Pacific coast alone 
during 1906, and probably nearly as many each 
year for fifteen or twenty years past. It is the 
standard tuber on this coast to-day from Alaska to 
Mexico, and almost invariably brings the highest 
price of all potatoes. It thrives as well here to-day 
as it did in Massachusetts thirty-five years ago. 
This is one of the proofs that varieties do not run 
out if grown under suitable environments. " 



CHAPTER XXI 

THE SWEET POTATO 

THE article which follows consists of extracts 
from "Farmers' Bulletin 324" of the 
United States Department of Agriculture, 
and is by W. R. Beattie of the Bureau of Plant 
Industry : 

"With the passing of each year the sweet potato 
is becoming of greater importance as a commercial 
truck crop in the United States. During a long 
period it has formed one of the principal sources of 
food for the people of the Southern States and of 
tropical America. As a commercial truck crop the 
sweet potato would be included among the five of 
greatest importance, ranking perhaps about third 
in the list. As a food for the great mass of the 
people living in the warmer portions of our country 
the use of this crop is exceeded by hominy and rice 
only. In many of the islands of the Pacific, espe- 
cially in the Philipj)ines, the sweet potato is the 
principal vegetable food for large numbers of the 
lower classes, at certain seasons being almost the 
only food available. 

"The sweet potato industiy in this country is 
readily divided into two classes of production: (1) 
For home use and (2) for market. A quantity 
sufficient for home use can be grown under a wide 
range of conditions, wliiW production on a com- 
mercial scale is somewhat restricted by climate and 

241 



242 THE POTATO 

soil and also by market and transportation facil- 
ities. The larger Eastern markets are now well 
supplied, but there are sections where the people 
have not as yet become accustomed to the use of 
sweet potatoes in large quantities. The field for 
the production and use of sweet potatoes is very 
broad, and this crop promises to become of more 
general farm importance. 

*'In view of the constantly increasing interest in 
sweet potatoes it is the purpose of this bulletin to 
give simple cultural directions covering their pro- 
duction both for home use and for market, includ- 
ing the soil and its preparation, the propagation 
of the plants, planting, harvesting, storing, and 
marketing, together with the uses of sweet potatoes 
for stock feeding and for similar purposes. 

"The sweet potato is of a tropical nature, its 
original home probably being the West Indies and 
Central America. The true sweet potato, as we 
have it growing in the United States, belongs to the 
morning-glory family, its botanical name being 
Ipomoea botatas. Throughout the Southern 
States the sweet potatoes having moist flesh are 
commonly known as 'y^^^s' and those having 
dry flesh as sweet potatoes. The name 'yam' is 
misleading and properly belongs to a distinct class 
of plants that are confined almost entirely to the 
tropics. 

"Owing to the tropical nature of the sweet 
potato it naturally thrives best in the South Atlan- 
tic and Gulf Coast States, but it may be grown for 
home use as far north as southern New York and 
westward along that latitude to the Rocky Moun- 
tains. The areas suited to commercial production 
extend from New Jersey southward and westward 
to Texas, and are found again in the central valleys 



THE POTATO 243 

of California. In the Mississippi Valley the com- 
mercial area extends as far north as the southern 
part of Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana. The region 
around Louisville, Ky., is noted for excellent crops 
of sweet potatoes. 

"Sweet potatoes thrive on a moderately fertile 
sandy loam which does not contain an excess of 
organic matter. They are frequently grown upon 
almost pure sand, especially where the subsoil is a 
yellow clay. Soils containing considerable cal- 
cium or underlain with limestone are well adapted 
to the growing of the crop. The sweet potato is 
exceptional in that a fairly good crop can be grown 
upon soils that are too poor for the production of 
the majority of farm crops. Sweet potatoes yield 
a fair crop on the 'wornout' tobacco and cotton 
lands of the South, especially when used in a rota- 
tion including some leguminous crop for increasing 
the humus in the soil. 

"The more common varieties of the sweet potato 
have for a gi^eat many years been propagated by 
cuttings, or sets, taken either from the potatoes 
themselves or from growing vines, and as a result 
the plants have ceased to flower and produce seed. 
The greater portion of the commercial crop is 
grown from sets, or 'draws,' produced by sprout- 
ing medium-sized potatoes in a warm bed of soil. 
In the Southern States the seed potatoes are fre- 
quently cut into pieces in the same manner as Irish 
potatoes and planted in the row where they are to 
mature. Where several plants appear in one hill 
they are thinned, and those removed are used for 
planting other land. In the South Atlantic and 
Gulf Coast States the sweet potato is frequently 
propagated by making vine cuttings. A compar- 
atively small bed of seed potatoes is planted quite 



244 THE POTATO 

early and the sets so produced are used to plant a 
small patch from which vine cuttings are taken 
later by the cartload for planting large fields. In 
the southern parts of Florida and Texas and on the 
South Sea Islands the potatoes may remain in the 
soil from year to year, being dug only as required 
for use, those remaining over producing the sets 
for the following season's planting. 

^"In the warmer portions of the sweet-potato- 
growing district the seed should be bedded when 
danger of frost has passed. In the northern por- 
tion of the area the seed should be placed in the 
hotbed from the 20th of March to the 10th of 
April, after the temperature of the bed has fallen 
to 80 degrees or 85 degrees F. and become regular. 
"As a general rule sweet-potato plants are set in 
the field shortly after a rain. In order to avoid 
delay in planting, the hands should begin to get 
out the sets as soon as the rain ceases falling and 
place them in crates or baskets ready for transpor- 
tation to the field. The sets are not all produced 
at once, and only those that have formed good 
roots are ' drawn, ' the others being left until later. 
In ' drawing ' the sets the seed potato is held down 
with one hand while the plants are removed with 
the thumb and finger of the other hand. It often 
happens that five or six plants will cling together 
at the base, and these should be separated in order 
to avoid loss of time in the field. Where plants 
are to be set with a transplanting machine it is 
essential that they should be in the best possible 
shape in order that they may be handled rapidly 
by the boys who feed the plants into the machine. 
The roots should all be kept in one direction, and 
if the tops are long or irregular they may be 
trimmed off even by means of a knife. 



THE POTATO 245 

*'T\TiiIe * drawing' the sets it is a good plan to 
have at hand a large pail or a tub containing water 
to which there has been added a quantity of clay 
and cow manure which has been stirred until it 
forms a thin slime. As the plants are pulled from 
the bed they are taken in small bunches and their 
roots dipped into this mixture. This process, 
termed 'puddling,' covers the roots with a coating 
which not only prevents their becoming dry in 
handling but insures a direct contact with the soil 
when they are planted in the field or garden. 

"The success of the crop depends largely upon 
the way in which the plants start after being 
removed from the bed and set in the field or garden. 
Practical growers always plan to set the plants 
during a ' season ' or period w hen the conditions are 
suitable to a quick start into growth, either just 
before a rain or as soon afterward as the soil can be 
worked. The method of setting will depend en- 
tirely upon local conditions and the acreage to be 
grown, the essential features, however, being to 
get the roots in contact with moist earth and the 
soil firmly pressed about the plants. 

"The use of water around the roots of the plants 
is desirable under most circumstances, as it not 
only moistens the soil but assists in settling it about 
the roots. A large quantity of water is not neces- 
sary, one half pint to each plant being generally 
considered sufficient. 

"Where level culture is practised, the plants are 
set from 24 to 30 inches apart in each direction. 
On the eastern shore of Virginia the greater portion 
of the crop is planted '24 inches apart each way, 
requiring about 11,000 plants to an acre. By 
planting 30 inches apart each way, only about 
7,000 plants are required to set one acre. Where 



246 THE POTATO 

the crop is grown on ridges it is customary to have 
the ridges from 36 to 42 inches apart from centre 
to centre and to place the plants 14 to 18 inches 
apart in the row. By this method an acre will 
require from 8,000 to 12,500 plants. An acre of 
good sweet potato land will readily support 9,000 
to 11,000 plants, and the number most commonly 
planted by the several methods will fall within 
these figures. 

"The machine transplanters are provided with a 
spacing device which indicates the distance be- 
tween plants; also with a row marker to show the 
location of the next row. 

*' Where a few hundred plants are to be grown 
for home use, or if only an acre or two are to be 
planted, the hand method of planting will answer 
every requirement. A trowel or a dibble is used 
for opening the soil to receive the plant, and the 
earth is closed about the roots by a second thrust 
with the implement, or the heel of the shoe is used 
to press the earth about the plant. For hand 
planting, the plants are dropped ahead of the 
'dibblers' by boys and girls. Seven thousand to 
ten thousand plants, or an acre, is an excellent 
day's work for a planter when everything is in good 
condition. Where a few hundred plants are set 
in the garden it is always desirable to water them 
before closing the earth about the plant. 

"Under reasonably favorable conditions a ma- 
chine will plant from three to four acres a day. In 
addition to being labor savers, these machines do 
the work better and more uniformly than it is or- 
dinarily done by hand. The plants can be set 
without the use of water, but the results are more 
satisfactory where the water is used. 

"The methods of handUng a crop of sweet pota- 



THE POTATO 247 

toes do not differ materially from those employed 
with ordinary farm and garden crops. 

"Aside from planting and harvesting, the work 
of caring for a crop of sweet potatoes can be done 
almost entirely by the use of ordinary farm and 
garden tools. 

"The sweet potato is subject to injury from a 
number of diseases. Those diseases causing rot 
and decay are most prevalent and result in the 
greatest loss during the period that the crop is held 
in storage, Occasionally, however, the crop may 
be lost before harvesting, and one form of rot, 
known as black-rot, destroys the young plants, 
attacks the potatoes while they are in the ground, 
and causes them to decay while in storage. The 
spores that are responsible for the several forms of 
rot affecting sweet potatoes may remain in the soil 
from year to year, or they may be carried over 
winter upon the seed. Diseases are generally 
introduced with affected seed or plants, and when 
once established in the soil, the storehouse, or the 
propagating bed it is doubtful whether they can 
be eradicated except by the adoption of the most 
thorough methods. 

"A disease known as stem-rot causes the stem 
of the plant to begin to die at the surface of the 
ground. This decay gradually extends downward 
to the potatoes and frequently kills the entire 
plant. 

"The diseases kno\\Ti as soft-rot, dry-rot, and 
white-rot are all similar in their method of attack 
to the black-rot. One form, known as soil-rot, 
causes the loss of the crop while it is in the field. 
Each of these diseases is caused by a particular 
fungus, but has received the common name sug- 
gested by its general appearance or some marked 



248 THE POTATO 

characteristic. Any one of the diseases of the 
sweet potato may be present without causing se- 
vere loss provided conditions are unfavorable to its 
development, and growers should be constantly 
on their guard to prevent the spread and develop- 
ment of diseases. 

"A system of crop rotation by which the land 
will not be planted to sweet potatoes oftener than 
every four or five years is the first step toward 
disease control. Care in the selection and keeping 
of potatoes intended for propagation is of impor- 
tance, while clean cultivation and proper handling 
at the time of harvesting are essential. Diseases 
will generally make their first appearance upon cut, 
broken, or bruised potatoes, and all that are in any 
respect injured should be stored separately from 
the seed and perfect stock. The storage house 
should be cleaned and fumigated with sulphur or 
formalin before storing begins, and all crates or 
baskets used for handling the crop should be in the 
house during the fumigation. 
, *' It is very apparent that some varieties are more 
subject to the attacks of diseases than others. 
The Big-Stem Jersey and the Jersey group gen- 
erally are especially subject to disease, while va- 
rieties of the Hayman group, such as Southern 
Queen, are seldom aifected. 

*'The sweet potato is reasonably free from the 
ravages of insects. Cutworms frequently destroy 
the young plants after they are set in the field, 
especially when the land has been in grass the 
previous season. The sw^eet-potato borer, which 
works in the roots, is widely distributed and causes 
considerable injury in the Gulf Coast States. A 
small insect known as thrips works on the under 
side of the leaves during the hot and dry weather of 



THE POTATO 240 

midsummer, but as a rule the real damage caused 
by this insect is slight. 

"The harvesting and marketing of sweet pota- 
toes direct from the field begin about the middle 
of August and continue until the crop is all dis- 
posed of or placed in storage for winter marketing. 
During the early part of the harvesting season the 
yield is light, but as a rule the prices paid are good. 
The supply for home use and those potatoes that 
are to be kept in storage should not be dug until 
just before frost. In the localities where frosts do 
not occur until quite late in the season the sweet 
potatoes ripen and the vines show a slight tinge of 
yellow when ready for handling. 

"The foliage of the sweet potato is very tender 
and is easily injured by frost. A light frosting of 
the leaves will do no harm, but should the vines 
become frozen before digging they should be cut 
away to prevent the frozen sap passing down to 
the roots and injuring them. 

"In sorting sweet potatoes preparatory to pack- 
ing, about four grades are recognized — i. e., fancy, 
primes, seconds, and culls. Those packed as fancy 
include only the most select, both in size and shape. 
The primes include all those adapted to general 
first-class trade, while the seconds include the 
smaller and more irregular stock which goes to a 
lower-priced trade. The culls are not marketed 
unless good stock is exceedingly scarce, and as a 
rule are used for feeding to hogs. 

"Sweet potatoes are usually shipped in barrels 
holding eleven pecks each. Some markets require 
that the barrels be faced and headed, while for 
others the tops are slighth^ rounded and covered 
with burlap. Small lots of extra -fancy sweet po- 
tatoes are sometimes shipped in one-bushel crates 



250 THE POTATO 

having raised tops; also in patent folding crates. 
Throughout the process of handling care must be 
exercised to see that the sweet potatoes do not 
become bruised, for upon this their shipping and 
keeping qualities greatly depend. 

"Unlike most perishable products, the sweet 
potato requires warmth and a dry atmosphere 
w^hile in storage. The method of storing will 
depend both upon the locality and the quantity of 
potatoes to be cared for. The temperature and 
conditions of a rather cool living room are admira- 
bly adapted for keeping sweet potatoes intended 
for home use in the North, while in the South they 
may be placed in j^its or stored in outdoor cellars. 
The home supply may be placed in crates and 
stored in a loft over the kitchen part of the dwell- 
ing. Sweet potatoes should not be stored in bags 
or in barrels without ventilation. 

"Where large quantities of sweet potatoes are 
stored for winter marketing, the method employed 
in the Southern States is to place them in outdoor 
pits and cellars, while at the North some form of 
heated storage house will be required. Whether 
the storage be in pit, cellar, or house, a dry, warm 
atmosphere with ventilation is essential to good 
keeping. 

"Of the large number of varieties of the sweet 
potato there are not more than ten that are now of 
great commercial importance in the United States. 
For the markets that require a dry, mealy-fleshed 
potato those varieties belonging to the Jersey 
group are suitable. For the Southern trade and 
where a moist-fleshed potato is desired those com- 
monly designated as yams are in demand. Among 
the Jerseys that are extensively grown are the Big- 
Stem Jersey, the Yellow Jersey, and the Red Jer- 



THE POTATO 251 

sey. The principal varieties of the yam group are 
the Southern Queen, the Pumpkin Yam, the Geor- 
gia, the Florida, and the Ked Bermuda. Of the 
varieties mentioned there are a large number of 
special strains known under many local names. 

"In the selection of varieties for home use one 
must be governed largely by locality. As a rule 
those of the Jersey group will thrive farther north 
than those of the so-called yam types. For market 
purposes the particular variety or strain grown in 
the vicinity should first be selected, and afterward 
other varieties may be experimented with in a 
small way. 

"The following brief descriptions of a few^ of the 
leading varieties may be of assistance in selecting 
those best adapted to various conditions of soil 
and climate: 

''Big-Stem Jersey. — This variety is the most 
popular among growers who are supplying the 
Northern and Eastern markets. It is a form of the 
Yellow Jersey, having been selected for its pro- 
ductiveness and dry, yellow flesh. The vines are 
slender and long; the potatoes are of spindle shape 
and inclined to grow rather large; color of potatoes 
yellow; color of flesh light yellow or deep cream. 
While this variety yields heavily, it is unfortu- 
nately a rather poor keeper, and its flesh is inclined 
to become dry and 'punky' toward spring. It 
will thrive well toward the north, but is better 
adapted for use as a commercial variety than for 
home consumption. 

''Southern Queen, or Hayman. — The vines of 
this variety are strong and vigorous; the potatoes 
are large, thick, and blunt at ends or of short 
spindle shape; the color is white or light cream, 
while the flesh is of cream color, becoming darker 



252 THE POTATO 

in cooking, moist, and very sweet. This variety 
is most extensively grown for market purposes 
where a sweet, moist-fleshed potato is demanded. 
The Southern Queen yields well, is an excellent 
keeper, and is adapted for both marketing and 
stock feeding and for home use in the South Atlan- 
tic and Gulf Coast States, but it does not mature 
when grown in the extreme North. 

*' Red Bermuda. — The Red Bermuda vines. are 
large and vigorous. The potatoes are usually 
large and overgrown with heavy ridges and veins. 
The color of the potatoes is rose red; flesh, creamj^; 
quality fair but not so sweet as Southern Queen. 
This variety is a heavy cropper and suitable for 
feeding to stock. It is one of the few so-called 
yams which thrive in the northern portion of the 
sweet potato area. 

''Black Spanish, or 'Nigger Choker.* — The 
Black Spanish vines are very long, vigorous, and 
dark purple in color. The potatoes are long, 
cylindrical, crooked, or bent; dark purple in color, 
with snowy white flesh and poor quality. This 
variety is grown mostly for stock feeding. 

*' Shanghai. — The vines of the Shanghai variety 
are large and vigorous; the potatoes long, cylindri- 
cal; the outside color almost white. The flesh is 
creamy white, becoming darker in cooking. When 
baked the flesh is somewhat dry and mealy and the 
flavor rather poor. This variety yields fairly well 
and is adapted for use as stock food in the Gulf 
Coast States. 

"The cost of growing an acre of sweet potatoes 
will vary with the cropping plan and the extent to 
which the crop is grown. On an average the cost 
of growing an acre of sweet potatoes in the regular 
commercial district is about as follows: Rental of 



THE POTATO 253 

land, $8; plowing and fitting, $5; fertilizers, $20; 
10,000 plants, $10; planting, $5; cultivating, $5; 
digging and marketing, $25; total, $78. An aver- 
age yield of sweet potatoes is at the rate of one 
barrel to 100 hills, or 100 barrels to an acre. The 
price per barrel paid the grower is seldom less than 
$1.25, and $2.50 or $3 is not uncommon. During 
good seasons the net profit from one acre of sweet 
potatoes is about $75. While occasionally the 
net returns are from $100 to $150 an acre for a 
single season, there are seasons of crop failure or 
overproduction when very Httle, if any, profit is 
realized. 

"The sweet-potato growers on the eastern shore 
of Virginia as a rule plant about ten acres in sweet 
potatoes, and this constitutes their money crop. 
The remainder of the cleared portion of their small 
farms is devoted to corn, pasture, and hay, all for 
home use. Here the sweet-potato crop is grown 
almost entirely without the aid of hired help, and 
the cost of production does not exceed $40 an acre. 
Where the crop is stored the gross returns are 
greater, but the cost of production is increased 
proportionately. " 



CHAPTER XXII 

LEGISLATION 

THE control and eradication of all disease 
— human, animal, and vegetable — is a 
problem in which all of the people in a 
country or a state are vitally interested. Con- 
sequently, laws designed to accomplish this must 
be made by the highest legislative bodies. No 
matter how well the individual grower may do 
his part, unless there is concerted action, enforced 
by the law, little headway can be made in pre- 
venting or combating contagious diseases. 

As an industry gains prominence either by its 
growth or the ability and public-spiritedness of 
the men interested in it, it is better able to secure 
such laws as are necessary for its protection. 

An example of this is the result of the work of 
the Commissioner of Horticulture in California. 
The men interested in the fruit industry in this 
state demand protection from foreign insect and 
fungous pests that may be introduced to be a 
menace to the fruit interests of the state, and in- 
spectors are stationed at every port of entry to 
inspect importations. 

The potato industry in various sections needs 
similar protection. The Colorado beetle has not 
yet been introduced west of the Rocky Mountains. 
The states or parts of states that are now free 
from this pest should take steps to prevent its 
introduction. 

254 



THE POTATO 255 

A very bad pest is now prevalent in Europe — 
the wart disease (black scab). There should be 
a law to prevent this from getting a foothold in 
iVmerica. The following letter was written by 
the senior author to Secretary of Agriculture James 
Wilson from London, England, May 28, 1910: 

*'I am getting along very well, and am securing 
information invaluable to the American potato 
grower about the various stages of potato pro- 
duction. 

"There is little or no manufacture of farina 
from potatoes in Great Britain; all waste and low 
priced potatoes are cooked and fed to meat making 
livestock, but I have information that Germany 
is making flour from potatoes, and later I shall visit 
there. 

"I am in very close touch with the Department 
of Agriculture here, the seed potato breeders and 
growers, the commercial growers, and the market 
men. 

*'I am sending you a leaflet from the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture of Great Britain on the black 
scab disease of potatoes. Some of the office men 
tell me that it is inconsequential, that the disease 
has been prevalent for fifteen or twenty years, 
and it has affected potato growing to but very 
little extent. Some of the field men tell me that it 
has been developing very rapidly in the last two 
years, but especially so the last year. They regard 
it as a very dangerous, if not the very worst, menace 
that the potato industry has ever had. 

"We spent a day with the potato work at Sut- 
ton & Sons, Reading, England, with Mr. Lasham, 
a Scotchman. He has been their expert and po- 
tato specialist for thirty years. They are doing 



^5Q THE POTATO 

more in the way of breeding new types and growing 
more seed potatoes, and selling and exporting more, 
than any other firm in the world. 

"Mr. Lasham showed us samples of potatoes in 
the various stages of black scab disease. When I 
looked at the potato and then when they were cut 
open it made me shudder with horror. Mr. Las- 
ham considers it more damaging and far reach- 
ing in its results to the potato industry than any- 
thing of its kind that has ever appeared. He 
says it takes eight years of grass crops to eradicate 
it from the soils when the fungus once invades it. 

"Mr. Rogers of the Department of Agriculture 
in London says they do not regard it as very seri- 
ous, as it is not breeding very rapidly, but calls 
the attention of the potato growers in the bulle- 
tins of the Department of Agriculture of Great 
Britain to the hea\^ penalties for not reporting it 
to the Department. There are penalties for ship- 
ping any such diseased potatoes, however. Mr. 
Rogers admits that they have it in Newfoundland, 
and that it is developing quite rapidly the last 
year or two in Germany, Belgium, Roumania, 
Hungary, and other potato districts of Europe. 
A few instances are known in Scotland, but it is 
the worst in Wales. 

"Mr. Rogers very kindly invited me to go with 
their experts throughout the infected districts 
during the month of August, when the disease 
makes its greatest development. 

"In my judgment it has not been given very 
wide publicity in Europe, as it would endanger the 
export trade. I believe the disease is much more 
malignant than we have a knowledge of, and that 
it will be a greater menace to the American farmer if 
once estabhshed in the United States or on the 



THE POTATO 257 

farms of our country than any of the infectious 
or contagious diseases of the Hvestock industry. 
Steps should be taken before this year's 
crop is harvested to prohibit the importation 
of potatoes to America from any of the infected 
districts of Europe. All of the vessels plying 
between Europe and the United States use foreign 
grown potatoes, and it would be very easy for 
those potatoes to get ashore, and it is also easy 
for emigrants to take seed stocks with them. 

*'I feel that I am your personal representative 
over here in the potato industry^ and I am sure 
that with this full information you wull do all in 
your power to protect the American potato grower 
from the chances of the introduction of this 
disease, just as you have protected the livestock 
grower from the animal diseases of the countries 
of Europe." 

Following up this important work the senior 
author brought the matter to the attention of 
Senator Guggenheim of Colorado, who, on April 
6, 1911, introduced the following bill in the 
Senate of the United States: 

"To enable the Secretary of Agriculture to more 
effectually suppress and prevent the spread of 
diseases of potatoes known as black scab and 
wart disease, and for other purposes. 

^^ Be it enacted by the Senate and House of 
Representatives of the United States of America 
in Congress assembled. That in order to enable 
the Secretary of Agriculture to effectually sup- 
press and extirpate diseases of potatoes known 
as black scab and wart disease, and to prevent 
the spread of such diseases, the Secretary of 



258 THE POTATO 

Agriculture is hereby authorized and directed, 
from time to time, to estabhsh such rules and 
regulations concerning the importation from 
foreign countries to the United States and trans- 
portation into and through any state or ter- 
ritory of the United States, including the 
District of Columbia, as he may deem neces- 
sary, and all such rules and regulations shall 
have the force of law. Whenever it shall 
appear to the Secretary of Agriculture that any 
potatoes grown in an infested country, district, 
department, or locality, outside of the United 
States, are being or are about to be imported into 
the United States, or the District of Columbia, 
and such potatoes are infested by wart disease 
or black scab, he shall have authority to quaran- 
tine against such importations from said coun- 
try, district, department, or locality, and prevent 
the same until such time as it may appear to 
him that any such wart disease or black scab 
has been exterminated, when he may withdraw 
the quarantine. 

"Sec. 2. That when any shipment of potatoes 
imported or brought into the United States is 
found to be infested with wart disease or black 
scab the entire shipment shall be destroyed in 
such manner as the Secretary of Agriculture 
may direct. 

"Sec. 3. That upon complaint or reasonable 
ground on the part of the Secretary of Agri- 
culture to believe that any potatoes grown with- 
in the United States and likely to become sub- 
ject to interstate commerce are infected with 
wart disease or black scab, the Secretary of 
Agriculture shall cause the same to be inspected 
by a qualified expert, and, if need be, placed 



THE POTATO 259 

under quarantine until such infection is re- 
moved. 

"Sec. 4. That the Secretary of Agriculture 
shall have authority to make such regulations 
and take such measures as he may deem proper 
to prevent the introduction or dissemination of 
black scab and wart disease in potatoes from a 
foreign country into the United States or from 
one state or territorv of the United States or 
District of Columbia to another, and to seize, 
quarantine, and dispose of any potatoes so in- 
fected coming from an infectd foreign country, 
district, department, or locality to the United 
States, or from one state or territory or the 
District of Columbia in transit to another state 
or territory or the District of Columbia when- 
ever in his judgment such action is advisable 
in order to guard against the introduction or 
spread of such diseases. 

"Sec. 5. That any person, company, or cor- 
poration knowingly violating the provisions of 
this Act, or the orders or regulations made in pur- 
suance thereof, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, 
and on conviction shall be punished by a fine 
of not less than one hundred dollars nor more 
than one thousand dollars, or by imprisonment 
of not more than one year, or by both such fine 
and imprisonment. 

"Sec. 6. That the sum of twenty -five thousand 
dollars, to be immediately available, or so much 
thereof as may be necessary, is hereby appro- 
priated, out of any moneys in the Treasury not 
otherwise appropriated, to carry into effect the 
provisions of this Act." 

It is a sad commentaiy on American legislative 



260 THE POTATO 

affairs that this bill was not made a law. The 
part which applies to potatoes was attached to an 
omnibus bill covering all parts of nursery stock. 

The bill was opposed by importers of nursery 
stock, who do not want to be bothered with an 
inspection that will protect the American grower 
from foreign pests. 

x\s drawn up by the attorney for the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture, a trifling mistake occurred 
— so that when it was read Congressman Mann 
of Illinois made a funny speech calling attention to 
this error. The bill was then held up, and the 
American potato grower is without protection. 

The legislative end of farm affairs has been 
badly neglected in the past, but with increasing 
interest in agriculture this should be remedied 
in the immediate future. 

Following up this matter during the winter of 
1911-1912, further consideration was secured in 
Congress, and a bill prohibiting the importation 
of all kinds of diseased farm produce and nursery 
stock has been introduced. 

During this past winter, however, many mil- 
lions of bushels of potatoes from Europe have 
been imported, and a bulletin has been sent out 
warning against the use of these foreign potatoes 
for seed. 



CHAPTER XXIII 

COOKING THE POTATO 

IN CHAPTER II the potato as food is dis- 
cussed by Dr. J. H. Kellogg. 
In this chapter the food value of the potato 
and special recipes are given by Mrs. E. H. Grubb, 
and valuable recipes are also given by Miss Lenna 
F. Cooper and Mr. Emil Tenthorey. 
The following is by Mrs. E. H. Grubb: 

"There are many varieties of potatoes, and 
tastes differ as to a choice. In America and Great 
Britain the white fleshed, mealy varieties are pre- 
ferred. In Continental European countries many 
yellow fleshed varieties are in great favor, such 
potatoes being especially valuable for soups, 
ragouts, salads, and hash, as they are of a waxy 
texture and retain their shape better when cooked 
than those of a mealv texture. The vellow fleshed 
potato is said to contain more protein in propor- 
tion to the starch content than the white fleshed 
and is therefore richer in flavor. 

"The potato is a food rich in starch, which sup- 
plies the body with fuel for keeping up warmth and 
provides it with energy necessary for muscular 
activity. 

"The food value and composition of rice and 
potatoes are very nearly the same, the dift'erence 
being that potatoes contain a larger percentage of 
juice, while the rice is dry and concentrated. 



262 THE POTATO 

Potatoes are so easily and quickly prepared and 
may be served in such a variety of ways that they 
add variety to the daily meal. Their mineral 
matter is valuable in the processes of digestion. 
They are easily grown and yield abundantly, and 
their keeping qualities are excellent. These ad- 
vantages place them at a price within the reach 
of all in the localities where they can be grown. 
Often, when old potatoes are out of the market, 
new ones are so high in price as practically to be 
out of reach of those of ordinary means. It is 
well known that so much of a necessity is the po- 
tato considered that many families sacrifice to 
obtain them at the exorbitant prices new potatoes 
bring in Northern markets; also in the South the 
same condition occurs later in the season when po- 
tatoes are scarce and high priced. These facts 
go to prove the popularity of potatoes in the diet. 
"As dried or evaporated potatoes become bet- 
ter known they will supply the poorer people with 
this much-prized vegetable at a cost within their 
reach. The composition of such evaporated po- 
tatoes is much the same as the original. While 
the flavor and in some cases the appearance does 
not equal that of fresh potatoes, they may be pre- 
pared in all the appetizing ways of the fresh ones, 
and are most acceptable when the fresh potatoes 
are too high in price to be easily obtained. Evap- 
orated or dried potatoes should be as common in 
our markets as the dried fruits that are such a 
welcome addition to our supply of food when the 
fresh ones are high priced or out of the market. 
Even in some of our largest potato-grov\'ing states, 
especially in the Mississippi Valley, potatoes often 
have very poor keeping qualities, and the average 
farmer finds himself short or entirely without this 



THE POTATO 263 

vegetable, and the city people of moderate means 
must inconveniently economize in the use of po- 
tatoes or do without this article of diet. At such 
times a heavy demand would be made for desic- 
cated or evaporated potatoes were they common 
in our markets. 

"Potatoes for storing for future use should be 
firm and crisp wdien cut open with the knife. 
The quality can only be definitely tested by cook- 
ing. This test is best made by boiling in the skins 
or baking. After removing from the fire hold in 
a napkin and squeeze lightly, then break open, 
and if the starch is abundant^ you have a white, 
flaky, uniform mass somewhat sliiny and crystal- 
line in appearance. If the starch is sciinty it will 
be soggy and may have a watery core. This 
condition may be discovered in the i*aw potato by 
cutting a thin slice transversely from the middle 
of the tuber. Hold it up to the light, and if the 
core is large and many large arms bninch out into 
the outer section, and the outer ring, known as 
the cortical layer, is thin, sucli a potato is not 
Hkely to be light and flaky when cooked. There 
is another quality of the potato which is neither 
soggy nor mealy, and which is very agreeable to 
most tastes, and is commonly described as waxi- 
ness. This quality is found in the immature tu- 
bers or early spring potatoes. In point of flavor 
there is as much difference as in texture. The 
immature potatoes contain a larger proportion of 
albumenoids that gelatmize in cooldng, giving 
this moist consistency, and the larger proportion 
of acids and mineral matter gives the richness of 
flavor. In selecting potatoes for the table it is 
a very difficult matter to judge the quality b\' 
the outside appearance. A good, firm potato of 



^64 THE POTATO 

fine, smooth skin might not be superior in quahty 
to one of rough and uneven character. It is un- 
usual for the purchaser to be fastidious in regard 
to flavor and quahty, and yet these are elements 
worthy of more attention than color, size, or form. 
Very large potatoes have a large watery core, or, 
as is said in the kitchen, a bone, in the centre. 
They are apt to be coarse grained and lacking in 
flavor. 

"Excepting in cases of necessity no one lives 
upon potatoes alone. They are under ordinary 
circumstances eaten with meat, fish, eggs, butter, 
milk, and cheese, and digestive experiments prove 
that in these combinations their nutritives are 
very completely utilized in the body. Their 
abundant mineral matters are valuable aids in the 
process of digestion, and are supposed tx) be a pre- 
ventive of scurvy. So well recognized was this 
property dm*ing the Civil War, and before the 
nutritive value of foods had been scientifically 
learned, tliat potatoes sliced and pickled in salt 
vinegar were sent by orders of physicians to supple- 
ment the soldier's diet of white flour, fat meat, 
beef, and beans. The same conditions were noted 
in the early Klondike days. Potatoes were re- 
garded as necessities and were used regardless of 
their excessively high cost. 

"The early Spanish explorers found the Peru- 
vian natives stocking their boats for long voyages 
with a plentiful supply of this wholesome tuber. 

"Potatoes are easy to cook, not requiring the 
expensive process in labor and fuel that bread 
making does. They may be prepared in such a 
variety of ways that they make many agreeable 
changes in the food supply during the winter 
months. They are easily' grown, yield abundantly, 



THE POTATO 265 

and supply a starchy food at a price within the 
reach of all. They are especially rich in starch 
or energy supplying food, are preeminently the 
food of those who work at physical labor, and it is 
said that those who work never tire of potatoes. 
When we consider all these advantages, it is sur- 
prising that more potatoes are not used in the 
United States. 

NOTES ON COOKING POTATOES 

"The potato is in such universal use, and is so 
highly nutritious, that above all other vegetables 
it would seem that it should be cooked in perfec- 
tion. However, it may be in reality that no other 
vegetable is so carelessly cooked. The proper 
cooking of the potato has much to do with its 
nutritive value. It is a starchy food; the mi- 
croscopic starch grains are intermingled with the 
waterj' juice, which contains the albumen, gelatine, 
minerals, sugar, and acids. All of these elements 
are highly valuable as food or stimulants, but by 
careless and unscientific methods in preparing 
and cooking they may be partially lost and wasted. 
How often do we hear epicures criticising our best 
hotel cooking, remarking the impossibility of being 
served with mashed potatoes of a good quality.'^ 
Where food must be prepared in such large quan- 
tities the potatoes are pared and soaked in water 
for from twelve to eighteen hours before being 
boiled, thus losing a high percentage of the agree- 
able flavors, the nutritious starch and albumen 
and valuable mineral matter. 

"In preparing potatoes for cooking, by clumsy, 
awkward paring large quantities of the edible i)or- 
tion are wasted, one fifth on the average and as 



t>QQ THE POTATO 

high as one fourth, when by careful measure- 
ment the crude fibre or true skm off the potato is 
less than one half of 1 per cent, of the whole. 
When potatoes are pared and soaked in water and 
then boiled the loss has been found to be as high as 
7 per cent, of the food value, the albumen and 
mineral matter being the elements most largely lost. 
"The different methods of cooking potatoes are 
baking, boiling, steaming, and frying. Each of 
these methods may be so conducted as to retain 
practically all of the food material. When po- 
tatoes are cooked in the skins they lose nothing of 
the food value, but a slight loss of water is noted. 
When fried there is no loss of nutrients and the 
toasted or browned starch flavor is relished by 
many. Baked potatoes have been found by 
scientific experiment to be more quickly digested 
than those cooked in other ways, but it seems that 
in healthy individuals the time of digestion of food 
is not material so it is normally digested. A 
potato cooked in the skin, either baked, boiled or 
steamed, then peeled and mashed and seasoned with 
plain milk, has a richness of flavor, from the con- 
serving of the elements of flavor, that no amount 
of high-priced artificial seasoning such as butter 
and cream can give. This does not argue against 
the use of cream and butter, but only calls at- 
tention to the fine, smooth consistency and good 
flavor that can be secured by conserving the cor- 
tical layer instead of panng it away. Chemical 
analysis has shown that as much albumen, the 
flesh-forming food, is thrown away or needlessly 
wasted in paring fifty pounds of potatoes as is con- 
tained in a pound of sirloin steak; besides this loss 
of nitrogenous food, that of the carbohydrates or 
starch is still more. 



THE POTATO 267 

"It is evident from all tests that if it is desired 
to cook potatoes with as little loss of flavor and 
food material as possible, they must be cooked 
with the skins on." 

The following formulas for cooking potatoes are 
given as cwamples of met hods by which all of the 
nutrients are conserved: 

Boiled Potatoes 

Place in deep kettle with perforated pan in bottom of 
kettle, and cover with sufficient water to cook them, but 
not to immerse the potatoes in the boihng water, as the skins 
are Hable to burst, and thus the food be wasted in the boil- 
ing water. Cover very closely. When very well done 
take in towel and squeeze each one lightly and break the 
skin; this allows some of the moisture to escape and leaves 
the flesh in a light, fine, mealy condition. If the potatoes 
are not in this condition it is because of immaturity or 
watery ciuality which is characteristic of tubers grown in 
soils and climate not well adapted to potato culture. 

Baked Potatoes 

Place in moderate oven for thirty minutes or more, then 
increase to quick heat to finish. When done take in a towel 
and stjueeze lightly, enough to crack the skin, which should 
not l)e baked until a thick crust is formed, as by so doing 
the cortical layer, which adds so much to flavor and nutri- 
tion, is lost. Potatoes thus treated may be served imme- 
diately or will keep well for a short time if placed in a warm- 
ing oven. 

Mashed Potatoes 

Boil or steam potatoes in their skins until very thor- 
oughly done. Peel and mash in a hot kettle, seasoning 
with hot milk, adding butter and cream according to taste. 
Many like the added flavor of a little grated onion or finely 
minced chives. 

The secret of having these in perfection is in mashing and 
beating thoroughly with a wire beater until they are light 
and creamy. 



268 THE POTATO 

Special Baked Potatoes 

Bake as for ordinary baked potatoes. When cooled 
sufficiently to be handled without burning the hands, cut 
skin from one side, scoop out contents into a hot kettle, 
mash and beat very thoroughly, seasoning carefully as for 
mashed potatoes. Fill shells, place a small piece of butter 
in top of each, and brown in quick oven. Grated cheese 
over the tops while baking is a welcome addition for many 

tastes. 

Harvest Home Potatoes 

Take smooth medium-sized potatoes, cut a thin slice 
from one side, scoop out contents. Mince finely, seasoning 
with salt and pepper and minced parsley. Place in shells 
and cover with very thin slices of bacon so arranged that, in 
cooking, the fat from the bacon may run down into the 
minced filHng. Finely chopped celery may be added to the 
mixture. 

Buttered bread crumbs may garnish the tops, if liked, 
instead of bacon. 

Cracker crumbs and milk may be added to the filling. In 
fact ahnost any number of variations may be invented. 

Place in hot oven and bake until thoroughly done. Set 
in warm oven for fifteen minutes or more before serving; 
this gelatinizes the filling, giving it a rich, creamy texture. 

Potato Soup 

Boil, steam, or bake potatoes until thoroughly done, 
then peel and mash very finely, adding while mashing a 
spoonful of flour for each good-sized potato. 

Season with salt, pepper, minced celery, chives or grated 
onion as liked. Add milk to make desired consistency. 

This is one of the most highly nutritious soups. 

COOKING RECIPES BY A FAMOUS CHEF 

The following recipes were compiled for this 
book by Emil Tenthorey, chef at Hotel Colorado, 
Glenwood Springs, Col. In polite society potatoes 
are only admitted "en robe de chambre," — that 
is to say, in their jackets — to the midday meal and 



THE POTATO 2G9 

then not on formal occasions. At such times the 
following are used: 

Potato Georgette 

Special recipe of M. Josopli, chef of the Cafe Paillard: 
Take a potato and hollow it out, filling the hollow with a 
salpicon of shrimp tails drenched in a bisque sauce made 
from the heads and pounded bodies of the shrimps. Cover 
the potato with some of the mashed insides and bake very 
well done and serve hot. 

Pommes de Terre aux oeufs 

From the recipe of a famous French chef: Put a good 
sized lump of butter into the pan, as soon as it is hot, and 
brown some onions in it. Cut some cold potatoes, which 
have been boiled in their skins and afterward peeled, into 
slices. Throw these into the pan, spread over them the 
well-whipped yellow of two eggs. Salt, pepper and serve 
when the potatoes have taken a nice brown color on each 
side. 

Potatoes Hangraise 

Slices of cold boiled potatoes and onions fried together, 
then baked in the oven with a little grated cheese thrown over 
it and garnished with finely chopped parsley. 

Potatoes a la Maires 

Potatoes cut in rounds, boiled until barely done in salted 
water, drained and put in cream which has been reduced 
to a state of condensed richness by evaporation in a steam 
vessel. The reduction of the cream to one half its volume 
is the special and essential feature of this recipe. 

Potatoes Hashed in Cream 

Cut three warm boiled potatoes into small even pieces, 
add them to half a pint of boiled cream and a salt spoonful 
of salt. 

Potatoes Anna 

Specialty of Delmonico's, New York: Cut very thin 
slices from across the largest potatoes, lay the slices in flat 
layers on a small plate; spread fresh butter freely over the 
potatoes, then add another layer, and so on until the po- 



270 THE POTATO 

tatoes are about four inches higli. Bake unlil the potatoes 
are tender (about one half hour) in a quick oven. 

Potatoes a la Bonne Bouche 

Shce some boiled potatoes, chop a blade of shallot, also a 
little parsley very fine. Place in a stewpan with a small 
piece of butter and a pinch of mixed sweet herbs. Let 
simmer slowly for five minutes, then put in the potatoes, 
sprinkle some seasoning over them and let simmer slowly 
for ten minutes, occasionally stirring to prevent burning. 
Just before serving squeeze the juice, of a lemon over the 
potatoes. 

Potato Croquettes 

Dry boiled or steamed potatoes with butter, salt and 
egg yolks, all mashed together, rolled into cone shape, 
breaded, or rolled in cracker dust, and fry in hot lard. 

Potatoes Duchesse 

Large slices of raw potatoes cut in fancy shapes, sprinkled 
with salt, dipped in eggs and baked. 

Potatoes Victoria 

Same as croquettes, dipped in egg and baked to a light 
brown color. 

Potatoes Gastronome 

Potatoes raw, cut in shape of bottle corks with tube 
cutter, boiled barely done in salt water, drained, and finished 
in hot lard, dust with salt and chopped parsley. 

Potatoes Monico 

Raw potatoes cut size and shape of a lialf dollar, cooked 
barely done in salt water, drained and finished in hot lard. 
Dust with chopped parsley and paprika. 

Potatoes Julienne (Shoestring Potatoes) 

Cut raw into very fine shreds like straws, cook quickly 
in hot lard, dust with fine salt. 

Between the Acts Potatoes 
Same as Juliemie, only cut about twice as large. 



THE' POTATO 271 

Potatoes a VAnglatse 

Boiled potatoes in skins, peeled, cut in quarters, shaken 
up with soft butter, salt and chopped parsley. 

Potatoes au Graiin 

Boiled potatoes sliced in cream sauce with Parmesan 
cheese and cracker dust on top. Bake to a golden brown 
in oven. 

Potatoes au Lard 

Stewed potatoes with finely minced bacon in the sauce. 

Potatoes SautS 

Boiled potatoes cut in slices, fried in pan in hot lard or 
butter. 

Poinmes Nouvelles a la C rente 

New potatoes peeled and stewed in cream. 

Potato Queuelles 

Potatoes boiled or steamed, then mashed with salt, butter 
and egg yolk, rolled in balls, well breaded and fried in very 
l-.ot lard. 

Potato en Surprise 

Bake large potatoes in the skins until three quarters done. 
Make a tubular opening in the end and hollow out the end. 
Tightly roll a thin strip of bacon, insert in the opening, close 
the end and bake until done. 

Potatoes Bretonne 

Cold boiled potatoes cut in cubes. Fry with onions and 
brown sauce. 

Potato Colbut 

Same as Bretonne. Add chopped parsley. 

Potatoes Naiarroise 

Potatoes cut in cubes, parboiled and fried to a light color 
in oil. 

Potatoes Regente 

Same as potato croquettes — hollow out and fill with 
pattie mixture of lobster. Replace end and stand upright. 



272 THEr POTATO 

Saratoga Potatoes 

Cut into very thin slices, wash and steep in water for the 
starch to settle. Fry in hot lard. Dust with salt and 
pepper. 

HOTEL POTATOES 

The following list is from the breakfast bill of 
the Brown Palace Hotel, Denver, Col. : 

Potatoes, French Fried. ... 15 Potatoes, Baked 15 

Potatoes, Saratoga Chips. . 20 Potatoes, Julienne 25 

Potatoes, O'Brien 30 Potatoes, Saute 15 

Potatoes, Hashed Brown . . 20 Potatoes, Parisienne 25 

Potatoes, Sweet 25 Potatoes, Lyonnaise 20 

Potatoes au Gratin 25 Potatoes Stewed in Cream. 25 

Potatoes, German Fried. . . 20 

BATTLE CREEK RECIPES 

The following recipes, which are in daily use 
at the Battle Creek Sanitarium, have been fur- 
nished by Miss Lenna F. Cooper, director of the 
Battle Creek Sanitarium School of Health and 
Household Economics: 

Peanut Potato Soup 

11 cups potatoes 

1 cup cream 

1 pint milk 

Cook two medium sized potatoes and put through a 
colander. Add water, if necessary, to make 1^ cups; heat 
and add hot milk and cream; salt and serve. Thi;i makes 
one quart. 

Potato Chowder 

1 cup milk 

1 cup cream 

^ small sliced onion 

f pint sliced potatoes 

1 pint boiling water 

I teaspoonful salt 



THE POTATO 273 

Put two thirds of the potatoes to cook in the boiling water; 
when tender, put Lheni through a cohindcr and add the re- 
maining sliced potatoes, the onion and salt. Cook till all 
are tender; heat the milk and cream in a double boiler and 
add to the cooked potatoes. Add water to make one quart. 

Potato Soup 

1 cup raw sliced potatoes 

1^ teaspoonfuls butter 

1 teaspoonful celery salt 

2 cups water 

Steam the potatoes and put through a colander. Add 
water to make two cups; season and serve. 

Potato Cakes 

2 cups hot riced potatoes 
2 tablespoonfuls butter 
2 teaspoonful salt 
§ teaspoonful celery salt 
5 teaspoonful onion juice 
Yolk of 1 egg 
Mix the ingredients, shape and bake m cakes; when almost 
done, brush the cakes with cream to glaze them. 

Neiv Potatoes in Cream 

1 pint cooked potatoes 
^ cup cream sauce 

J cup cream 

Lentil and Potato Loaf 

1^ cups lentil puree 

2 tablespoonfuls butter 
J cup cream 

1 teasj)oonful salt 
^ teaspoonful sage 

2 cups riced potatoes 
J cup cream 

^ teaspoonful butter 
I teaspoonful butter for brushing 
Mix the first five iugredionls and place in the bottom of 
an oiled baking dish. Whip together the hot potatoes and 



274 THE POTATO 

the remaining ingredients. Place this mixture on top; 
bake in a quick oven; serve with tomato sauce. 

Creamed Baked Potatoes 

12 medium -sized potatoes 
I cup cream 
1 cup milk 
f teaspoonful salt 
Fare the potatoes and place in the bottom of a pan? cover 
with the milk and cream; add the salt; cover tlie pan and 
place in the oven; keep covered until the potatoes are almost 
done; then remove the cover and allow the milk and cream 
to cook down until they are somewhat thick. 



Creamed Potatoes and Peas 

3 pints steamed or boiled potatoes 
1 can peas 
1 cup cream 

1 cup milk 

2 tablespoonfuls flour 
1 tablespoonful butter 

Thicken the milk and cream with flour, braided vnih a 
little milk saved out for the purpose; add the butter; cook 
fifteen minutes; put the peas in and pour over the steamed 
potatoes. 

Potato and Onion Hash 

1 cup boiled onion chopped 

2 cups cold boiled or steamed potatoes 
2 tablespoonfuls butter 

1 teaspoonful salt 
Chop Ihe potatoes and onions together; add salt and butter, 
and heat in the oven. 

Potato Loaf 

1 pint freshly mashed potatoes 
^ cup cream 
1 egg 

1 teaspoonful salt 
Mix, and place in oiled baking dish ; brown in the oven. 



THE POTATO 275 

Savory Potato Meal Gruel 

1 cup water, in which is steeped two stalks of cel- 
ery 
^ cup water 
§ cup strained tomato 
2| tablespoonfuls baked potato meal 
J cup cream 
f tcaspoonful salt 
Mix ingredients and heat. 

Baked Potato Cream Gruel 

1 baked potato 
5 cup cream 
^ cup water 
\ teaspoonful salt 
Mash the potato and add the other ingredients, and reheat. 

Baked Potato Gruel 

1 small baked potato 
\ teaspoonful butter 
1 cup water 
\ teaspoonful salt 
Mash the potato, add the butter, salt and water; heat to 
boiling. 

Potato Meal Gruel 

\\ quarts water 
1 cup potato meal 
Mix, heat and serve. 

Lyonnaise Potatoes 

3 quarts diced steamed potatoes 
1 medium-sized raw onion cliopped 
\ cup chopped parsley 
f cup butter 
Mix and heat in a double boiler. 

Mashed Potatoes 

1 quart mashed potatoes 
I cup cream or milk 
\ tablespoonful butter 



276 THE POTATO 



Minced Potatoes 



1 qwart minced potatoes 
^ cup cream or milk 
f teaspoonful salt 
Heat in oven. 

Parisian Potatoes 

1 quart steamed potatoes 
1 pint brown sauce 
Place potatoes in a pan, cover with, brown sauce, and 
bake fifteen to twenty minutes. 

Brown Sauce 



J cup flour 
I cup butter 
1| cups water 
^ cup cereal coflPee (liquid) broth 
^ cup strained tomato 
1 teaspoonful salt 

Stvjfed Potato 

1 medium-sized baked potato 

1 teaspoonful cream 

1 teaspoonful butter 
Remove the inside of the potato with a spoon, mash and 
mix with the cream and butter. Fill the potato shell with 
the mixture and put in the oven for a few minutes. 

Potato Salad 

1 quart diced potatoes 

2 hard cooked egg yolks 
Grated onion or celery 

Salt for seasoning two cups of mayonnaise dressing; dice 
cold boiled potatoes; cut yolks in small pieces, season, mix 
with mayonnaise and let stand one hour before serving. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

MANUFACTURES 

THE potato consists largely of starch and 
water. Its use in manufacturing comes 
from the high content of the carbohy- 
drate starch. 

In the manufacturing world the potato is made 
use of for starch, potato flour, glucose, alcohol, 
and desiccated potatoes. 

STARCH 

The starch content in potatoes in Wisconsin is 
discussed in "Farmers' Bulletin 05" of the United 
States Department of Agriculture: 

*'The value of a potato crop to the grower de- 
pends mainly upon the yield and the size, form, and 
healthy condition of the tubers. Perfect tubers 
find ready sale at the best prices, while the yield 
in itself has no effect on the transaction, and the 
chemical composition of the potatoes is, as a rule, 
disregarded by the buyer, unless they are to be 
used in starch making. In every 100 pounds of 
average potatoes there is seventy-five pounds of 
water. Of the remaining twenty-five pounds 
about twenty pounds is carbohydrates (starch and 
sugar, etc.) and two pounds protein. The chief 
value of the potato for food as well as for starch 
making lies in the stiirch which the tubers contain. 

277 



278 THE POTATO 

The protein content is low and tiie carbohydrates 
high, and, therefore, potatoes are especially valu- 
able for use in connection with foods rich in pro- 
tein, such as lean meat, eggs, etc., to furnish a 
well-balanced diet. The subject of the starch 
content of potatoes is thus seen to be one of great 
importance, and during recent years it has at- 
tracted increased attention from American and 
European investigators. 

"An interesting study of the conditions affect- 
ing the starch content of potatoes, begun in 1889, 
is reported in the Annual Report of the Wisconsin 
Experiment Station for 1895. In these investi- 
gations the starch content was approximately 
determined by means of the specific gravity of the 
tubers. Since by far the greater part of the po- 
tato tuber is starch and water, and since starch is 
heavier than water, it is evident that the variation 
in starch content will affect the specific gravity 
of the tuber. 

"Among the forty-six varieties of the crop of 
1889 the variety Zenith showed the highest starch 
content, 22.9 per cent., and Rural Blush the least, 
13.1, the average for all varieties being 16.2 per 
cent. In 1890 thirty-one varieties, mostly dif- 
ferent from those tested the year previous, had an 
average starch content of 14.3 per cent., Burbank 
showing the highest, 17.7, and the Kidney, a po- 
tato from Germany, the least, 11.4 per cent. All 
these varieties of potatoes were grown on the 
same kind of soil and under practically the same 
cultural conditions. Still, the variation in starch 
content was as much as 9.8 per cent. 

"The starch content was found to vary with 
the season with different tubers of the same va- 
riety. Pronged and regular tubers of four varieties 



THE POTATO 279 

were tested separately, and in each case it was 
found that the percentage of starch in the pronged 
tubers was smaller than in the regular tubers. 
This seems to be one of the causes of the variation 
in the starch content above referred to 

*'A test of different-sized tubers of the same 
variety proved that there was practically no differ- 
ence in the starch content of large and small tubers. 

*'In studying the influence of the depth at 
which tubers grow in the soil upon the starch con- 
tent, it was found the first year that in every case 
the percentage of starch was largest in the deeper- 
growing tubers and smallest in those growing 
nearest the surface. When we consider the slight 
variation in depth at which the tubers grow in the 
soil these facts are significant. The next year the 
experiment was repeated with a trial of level and 
hill culture. The level culture gave higher starch 
content than hill culture, and the variations with 
the depth were greater in the hill culture than in 
the level culture. These facts suggest a possible 
explanation of the depth influence — viz., that it 
acts through the temperature of the soil. The 
deeper tubers are in a cooler medium than the 
shallow ones, and soil that is hilled is warmer in 
w^arm, dry weather than that which is not hilled. 
The variation of temperature in the deeper and 
shallower layers would naturally be greater in the 
hilled soil. 

"In experiments in planting at different dis- 
tances the starch content increased as the distance 
between the plants decreased. This seems to ac- 
cord with the results of the tests of depth of plant- 
ing, since close planting promotes shading of the 
ground and thus tends to reduce the soil tempera- 
ture. 



280 THE POTATO 

"A test of scabby and healthy tubers of the 
Delaware variety showed a higher starch content 
in the scabby tubers than in the healthy ones, thus 
showing that scabby potatoes are not necessarily 
poorer in starch than those free from scab." 

The manufacture of starch from sweet potatoes 
is discussed in "Farmers' Bulletin 334" of the 
United States Department of Agriculture as fol- 
lows: 

"With a view to the more complete and profit- 
able utilization of the sweet-potato crop the 
South Carolina station several years ago began 
investigations to determine the starch content of 
different varieties of sweet potatoes and those 
most promising for starch making, how much 
starch can be recovered commerically from the 
potatoes, and the quality of the starch for com- 
mercial purposes. 

"As it is usually managed at the present time, 
only a fraction of the crop is disposed of, all un- 
marketable potatoes being usually a dead loss, and 
frequently, through inability to market the crop 
promptly, great loss is suffered through damage 
by rotting, etc. Where the crop could be dis- 
posed of to starch factories the grower would have 
the following advantages: (1) All potatoes 
could be sold, regardless of their size. (2) No 
barrels or containers would be required in market- 
ing the crop. They could be loaded into a wagon 
in the field and hauled directly to the factory, or 
to the nearest railroad and loaded into cars for 
shipment. (3) Grown on such a large scale, 
modern machinery could be employed in plant- 
ing, cultivating, and harvesting the crop, thus 



THE POTATO 281 

reducing the cost of growing. (4) Heavier yield- 
ing varieties could be grown, which are the ones 
most valuable for starch production. 

*'Up to the time when the study of the question 
of producing starch from sweet potatoes was be- 
gun at this station, it was a subject that had re- 
ceived practically no attention in this country. 
It is true, starch was made from this plant on a 
small scale in the Southern States during the war, 
but the starch obtained in this way was a com- 
paratively impure product and intended^ only 
for home consumption. 

"It would seem that the sweet potato could be 
profitably used for this purpose, as it contains a 
larger percentage of starch than the Irish potato, 
yields a heavier crop, and can be grown more 
cheaply. Another advantage it has over the Irish 
potato is the fact that the vines of the former 
make a good food for stock — some varieties being 
very palatable, making good hay and excellent 
silage. In composition they compare favorably 
with other forage crops. 

"The development of cotton manufacturing in 
the South has created a demand, which is con- 
tinually increasing, for starch used in 'sizing' yarn 
and 'filling' cloth. At present every pound of this 
starch is brought from other states, principally 
from the cornstarch factories of New York and 
Illinois. The experiments which we have had 
carried out show that for use on cotton goods the 
starch produced from sweet potatoes is better than 
cornstarch, and fully equal to the best grades of 
Irish potato starch. The annual })roduction of 
sweet potatoes in the South Atlantic and Gulf 
States is about 60,000,000 bushels, but this might 
be easily increased tenfold. The theoretical 



282 THE POTATO 

amount of starch produced per acre from a good 
crop of sweet potatoes is from one and one half 
to four times as much as from corn, wheat, or Irish 
potatoes per acre. 

"The variety most in demand for a table po- 
tato is not necessarily the one best suited for the 
manufacture of starch. In fact, we can say al- 
most conclusively that it is not, as the variety con- 
taining the largest percentage of starch is apt to be 
dry and insipid. Then, too, for starch production 
we want a prolific potato, and as a rule the heaviest 
vields are not of the best qualitv for the table. 
These are the most essential requirements: (1) 
High starch content; (2) prolificness; (3) fiesh 
light, or white in color. The following come nearer 
possessing these requirements than any ve have 
thus far examined: Providence, Southern Queen, 
and Triumph. Further work may show that 
there are other varieties better suited for this 
work than anj^ of those mentioned. 

"The machinery used in the station experiments 
was similar to that used in making starch from 
Irish potatoes. 

"Four varieties of potatoes were used — 
Southern Queen, Providence, Triumph, and Red 
Nansemond. The first three were chosen for their 
high starch content and light color, and one test 
was made of Red Nansemond to see if the color 
would interfere with successful starch making. 

"The results of experiments carried out for 
two years in succession show the entire practi- 
cability of the manufacture of starch from sweet 
potatoes, but 'the data accumulated is yet insuf- 
ficient to make any positive statement as to 
whether engaging in this enterprise will prove a 
paying investment.' 



THE POTATO 283 

"At the price at which sweet potatoes are sold 
at the present time their nianufaclure into stiircli 
alone would not be profitable. It must be re- 
membered, however, that, grown on the scale 
which would be necessary to run one or more starch 
factories, there are a number of expenses which 
could be eliminated. 

"In the conducting of a factory the following 
plan suggests itself as a feasible one : The factory 
to take over all potatoes from the farmer, select 
the best and even-size ones to be shipjjed to market 
for table use, and make starch from the small, 
over-size, and ill-shaped ones. All operations 
being controlled in this way by the factory on a 
large scale, the product could be utilized and mar- 
keted to the best advantage. In case of dull 
market conditions, instead of shipping the potatoes 
they could be canned, for which there is a great 
and increasing demand at the present time. 

"A successful method has also been devised 
for evaporating sweet potatoes. In this con- 
dition they will keep indefinitely, and, owing to 
their concentrated form, can be shipped long dis- 
tances at comparatively small cost. They would, 
no doubt, be quite popular if better known. 

"As is the case in all paying enterprises, it 
would be necessary to watch carefully the by- 
products and utilize them to the best advantage. 
A method could undoubtedlv be devised for col- 
lecting the water with which the potatoes are 
treated in the grinding operation. This would 
contain the greater portion of the sugars and 
could be added to the pulp — from which starch 
has been extracted — and all sugars, starch, and 
fermentable matter remaining could be converted 
into alcohol. It has been sliown that, theoreti- 



284 THE POTATO 

cally, fifty gallons of 95 per cent, alcohol could be 
produced from the residues from 100 bushels of 
potatoes. 

"It is practically settled that the starch pro- 
duced from sweet potatoes is of a high grade and 
suitable for use in many operations where a high 
grade starch is required. In all of the tests we 
have had made not a single adverse report has 
been received. 

"In practical tests for laundry purposes, for 
sizing yarn, filling cloth, thickening colors, etc., 
the starch gave highly satisfactory results." 

AI.COHOL 

The potato is one source of industrial alcohol. 
In "Farmers' Bulletin 2G9" of the United States 
Department of Agriculture H. W. Wiley says: 

"The most important of the uses of industrial 
alcohol as far as the farmer is directly concerned 
are those included in heating and illumination. 

"It is quite certain that the use of alcohol 
motors on the farm will become quite common as 
soon as the technique of construction is practically 
complete and the price of alcohol is sufficiently 
low. Alcohol can be used for all purposes for 
which gasoline is employed — namely, the driving 
of wagons, carriages, stationary motors, water 
pumps, mowing machines, plows, etc. Very little 
change need be made in the engine of a motor car 
designed to use gasoline to fit it for the use of 
alcohol. 

"Alcohol is used very extensively in the manu- 
facture of dj^es and other by-products from coal 
tar. The manufacture of smokeless powder is one 



THE POTATO 285 

of the industries in which tax-free alcohol is of the 
highest importance. 

"One of the most important technical uses of 
alcohol is in the manufacture of varnishes and lac- 
quers, where the gums which are employed are 
necessarily dissolved in alcohol. The use of alco- 
hoi is extremely important and affects a great many 
industries. 

"The ether of commerce, sometimes called sul- 
phuric ether, is manufactured exclusively from al- 
cohol by the action of sulphuric acid and heat. 

"Alcohol is used very extensively in the prepa- 
ration of medicines. That great body of reme- 
dies known as tinctures is made by using alcohol 
as a solvent for the active principle of the herbs 
and plants from which the tinctures are made. 
The law, however, docs not permit the use of de- 
natured alcohol for * liquid medicinal purposes.' 

"The substance which is known as imitation silk 
is really a production from cotton or other cel- 
lulose material which, in its finished state, re- 
sembles silk somewhat in lustre. It is not silk 
and hence not even artificial silk. It is a textile 
product which has the promise of a successful 
future and is therefore of interest not only to the 
manufacturer and the consumer but to the farmer 
who produces the cellulose. Imitation silk is in 
a measure the same substance as smokeless powder, 
except that after it is made the nitrogenous con- 
stituents are removed, so as to restore the finished 
product again to the condition of ordinary cotton, 
devoid of explosive proj)erties. In the making of 
imitation silk a partial nitrification of the cotton is 
accomplished in much the same manner as in mak- 
ing smokeless powder. The partially nitrated 
cotton is then reduced to a paste by solution in 



286 THE POTATO 

alcohol, ether, or other solvent, and in this con- 
dition is forced through small orifices, producing 
fine fibres of a silky lustre. 

"Dilute alcohol, commonly known as low wines, 
can be utilized for the manufacture of vinegar. 
For this purpose the dilute alcohol is made to pass 
over the fresh shavings of beech wood. 

"The flavoring extracts of commerce are made 
largely with alcohol as a solvent." 

In "Farmers' Bulletin 268" is the following by 
the same author: 

"The term ' industrial alcohol' is used for brevitA% 
and also because it differentiates sharply between 
alcohol used for beverages or for medicine and 
alcohol used for technical purposes in the arts. 

"The process of rendering alcohol unsuitable 
for drinking is called 'denaturing,' and consists, 
essentially, in adding to the alcohol a substance 
soluble therein of a bad taste or odor, or both, of 
an intensity which would render it impossible or 
impracticable to use the mixture as a drink. 

"The substance should also be of such a char- 
acter that it is difficult to remove it entirely from 
the alcohol by any usual process of distillation. 

"Industrial alcohol, therefore, is a product 
which is the joint work of the farmer and the 
manufacturer. The function of the farmer con- 
sists in the production of the raw materials from 
which the alcohol is to be made. The manufac- 
turer takes these raw materials and converts them 
into alcohol. This is done under the supervision 
and control of the Bureau of Internal Revenue of 
the Treasury Department. 

"The number of substances which have been 



THE POTATO 287 

mixed with alcohol to dcnaiiirc it is extremely 
large, and that particular denaturing agent should 
be selected which is best adapted to the special 
use to which the denatured alcohol is to be put. 
Among the substances which have been proposed 
are the following: 

"Gum shellac (with or without the addition of 
camphor, turpentine, wood spirit, etc.), colophon- 
ium, copal resin, Manila gum, camphor, turpen- 
tine, acetic acid, acetic ether, ethylic ether, methyl 
alcohol (wood alcohol), pyridin, acetone, methyl 
acetate, methyl violet, methylene blue, anihn blue, 
eosin, fluorescein, naphthalene, castor oil, benzin, 
carbolic acid, caustic soda, musk, animal oils, etc. 

"The materials and the quantities which are 
employed depend upon the purposes for which 
the denatured alcohol is to be used. There are 
many technical uses of alcohol, however, in which 
the pure alcohol only can be employed, and it is 
a question to be decided by the Bureau of Inter- 
nal Revenue whether such use of pure alcohol can 
be permitted under the existing law. 

*'The raw materials from wdiich alcohol is made 
consist of those crops grown upon the farm which 
contain sugar, starch, gum, and cellulose (w^oody 
fibre) capable of being easily converted mto a 
fermentable sugar. Alcohol as such is not used 
as a beverage. The alcohol occurring in distilled 
beverages is principally derived from Indian corn, 
rye, barley, and molasses. Alcohol is also produced 
for drinking purposes from fermented fruit juices, 
such as the juice of grapes, apples, peaches, etc. 

"The term ' alcohol ' as used herein and as gener- 
ally used means that particidar product which is 
obtained by the fermentation of a sugar, or a 
starch converted into sugar, and which, from a 



288 THE POTATO 

chemical point of view, is a compound of the hy- 
pothetical substance ethyl with water, or with that 
part of water remaining after the separation of one 
of the atoms of hydrogen. This is a rather tech- 
nical expression, but it is very difficult, without 
using technical language, to give a definition of 
alcohol from the chemical point of view. There 
are three elementary substances represented in 
alcohol: Carbon, the chemical symbol of which is 
C; hydrogen, symbol H; and oxygen, symbol O. 
These atoms are put together to form common 
alcohol, or, as it is called, ethyl alcohol, in which 
preparation two atoms of carbon and five atoms of 
hydrogen form the hypothetical substance ethyl 
and one atom of oxygen and one atom of hj^drogen 
form the hydroxl derived from water. The chemical 
symbol of alcohol therefore is C^ H5 OH. Ab- 
solutely pure ethyl alcohol is made only with 
great difficulty, and the purest commercial forms 
still have associated with them traces of other 
volatile products formed at the time of the dis- 
tillation, chief among which is that group of al- 
cohols to which the name fusel oil is applied. 

"Starch is a compound which, from the chemical 
point of view, belongs to the class known as car- 
bohydrates — that is, compounds in which the ele- 
ment carbon is associated by a chemical union 
with water. Starch is therefore a compound made 
of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, existing in the 
proportion of two atoms of hydrogen to one atom 
of oxygen. Each molecule of starch contains at 
least six atoms of carbon, ten atoms of hydrogen, 
and five atoms of oxygen. The simplest expres- 
sion for starch is therefore Ce H5 O5. 

''The principal starch producing plants are the 
cereals, the potato, and cassava. With the po- 



THE POTATO 289 

tato may be classed, though not botanlcally re- 
lated thereto, the sweet potato and the yam. 
Among cereals rice has the largest percentage of 
starch and oats the smallest. The potato, as 
grown for the table, has an average content of 
about 15 per cent, of sUirch. When a potato is 
grown specifically for the production of alcohol it 
contains a larger quantity, or nearly 20 per cent. 
Cassava contains a larger percentage of starch 
than the potato, varying from 20 to 30 per cent. 

*' Under the microscope the granules of potato 
starch have a distinctive appearance. They ap- 
pear as egg-shaped bodies on which, especially the 
larger ones, various ring-like lines are seen. With 
a modified light under certain conditions of ob- 
servation a black cross is developed upon the gran- 
ule. It is not difficult for an expert microscopist 
to distinguish potato from other forms of starch 
by this appearance. 

"The mineral matters which the potato ex- 
tracts from the soil or from the fertilizers which 
are added thereto consist chiefly of phosphate and 
potash. The mean average composition of the 
ash of the potato is shown in the following table : 

Potash (K,0) .... 60.3 

Soda (XaO) 2.62 

Lime (CaO) 2.57 

Magnesia (MfiO) 4.69 

Iron oxid. (Fe.O,) 1.18 

Pho-sphoric acid (P.O5) 17 . 33 

Sulphuric acid (S63) 6.49 

Chlorin 3.11 

SiHcic acid (SiO,) 2.13 

"This analysis was made upon the so-called 
pure ash, deprived of its unburned carbon, and 
freed of sand and carbon dioxid. 



290 THE POTATO 

*'0f all the common root crops, the potatoes, 
including the yam and the sweet potato, are the 
most valuable for the production of alcohol, mean- 
ing by this term that they contain more ferment- 
able matter for 100 pounds than other root crops. 
This is shown by the following comparative 
statement: 

White turnips . . ... . . 6 to 8 per cent. 

Rutabagas ' . 8 " 13 

Mangel-WTirzels ". 8 " 15 

Carrots 8 " 16 

Parsnips 8 " 17 

Sugar-beets 10 " 22 

Potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams . 14 " 26 

"Under the most favorable circumstances and 
with potatoes which have been bred especially for 
the purpose an average content of fermentable 
matter of about 20 per cent, may be reasonably 
expected. It is thus seen that approximately 
ten pounds of industrial alcohol can be made 
from one hundred pounds of potatoes. If sixty 
pounds be taken as the average weight of a bushel 
of potatoes, there are found therein twelve pounds 
of fermentable matter, from which six pounds of 
industrial alcohol can be produced, or six sevenths 
of a gallon. It has also been shown that at the 
prices quoted in 1905 the amount of Indian com 
necessary for the production of a gallon of indus- 
trial alcohol costs not less than 15 cents. From 
this it is evident that the potatoes for alcohol mak- 
ing will have to be produced at a cost not to exceed 
15 cents per bushel before they can compete with 
Indian corn for the manufacture of industrial 
alcohol. 

"The three principal steps in the manufacture of 



THE POTATO 291 

alcohol are (1) the preparation of the mash or wort, 
(2) the fermentation of the mash or wort drawn off 
from the mash tun, and (3) the distillation of the 
dilute alcohol formed in the beer or wash from the 
fermentation tanks. The preparation of mash in- 
cludes (1) the treatment of the material used with 
hot water to form a paste of the starch or the sugar, 
and (2) the action of the malt or ferment on the 
paste to convert the starch into fermentable sugar. 

*'The object of the mash tun is to reduce the 
starch in the ground grain to a pasty, gummy mass, 
in order that the ferment of the malt may act upon 
it vigorously and convert it into sugar. If the 
mashing be done before the addition of the malt 
the temperature may be raised to that of boiling 
water. If, however, the malt be added before 
the mashing begins, the temperature should not 
rise much, if any, above 140 degrees F., since the 
fermenting power is retarded and disturbed at 
higher temperature. The mashing is simply a 
mechanical process by means of which the starch 
is reduced to a form of paste and the temperature 
maintained at that point which is best suited to 
the conversion of starch into sugar. 

"The mash, after the starch has all been con- 
verted into sugar, goes into fermenting tanks, 
which in Scotland are called * wash backs' when the 
yeast is added. They often have a stirring ap- 
paratus whereby the contents can be thoroughly 
mixed with the yeast and kept in motion. This 
is not necessary after the fermentation is once 
well established, but it is advisable, especially in 
the early stages, to keep the yeast well distributed 
throughout the mass. In these tanks the fer- 
mentations are conducted, the temperature being 
varied according to the nature of the product to 



292 THE POTATO 

be made. For industrial alcohol the sole purpose 
should be to secure the largest possible percentage 
of alcohol without reference to its palatable prop- 
erties." 

Consul John H. Grout, Odessa, Russia, says: 

"In the alcohol-distilling industry of Russia 
potatoes are annually increasing in importance, 
the alcohol produced therefrom exceeding that pro- 
duced from all other sources. 

"Aside from the large quantities of potatoes 
purchased every year by the factories from peas- 
ant producers and estate owners whenever these 
may have a surplus which they cannot more prof- 
itably dispose of, there are large plantations 
devoted solely to the production of potatoes for 
distilling purposes, there being also a tendency 
to increase these plantations. 

"The potato crop of 1910 for European Russia 
was greatly in excess of that of the previous year, 
which was also a good one, and the quality of the 
tubers was in most districts better than in 1909. 
It is generally supposed that the climate of Russia 
is favorable for the production of potatoes in vast 
quantities, and that, with the aid of fertilizers, 
their production can be increased to meet all 
demands of distillation, the production of dena- 
turized sprits for industrial and illuminating 
purposes now being only in its infancy." 

DRIED OR DESICCATED POTATOES 

It is the opinion of Secretary of Agriculture 
James Wilson and other close students of the food 
supply of the world that there should be some way 



THE POTATO 293 

of preparing and preserving potatoes that stocks 
may be carried over from tlic "fat" (large jm'o- 
ducing) to the "lean" (small producing) years. 
This would balance or equalize supplies to guard 
against possibility of famine or an approach to it 
because of crop shortage in densely populated 
countries. 

In the Daily Consular and Trade Reports of the 
Bureau of Manufactures of the Department of 
Commerce and Labor, February 19, 1910, Consul 
Thomas H, Norton, of Chemnitz, describes a proc- 
ess recently introduced by a Prussian firm by 
which potatoes may be converted into a dry con- 
centrated meal. He writes as follows: 

"The potato occupies a relatively more impor- 
tant position in Germany than in other European 
countries. It is not only employed largely for 
food for both man and beast, but also for conver- 
sion into starch and alcohol. The 1908 crop was 
estimated at 40,500,000 metric tons (51,i25G,950 
short tons), 13,000,000 tons being used for hiunan 
food and 19,000,000 tons for feeding domestic 
animals. Starch factories utilized 1,500,000 tons, 
distilleries 2,500,000 tons, while 5,500,000 tons 
were required for seed. There remained 5,000,000 
tons, lost by decay, freezing, etc. German econo- 
mists have recognized the extent of this national 
loss, of about $28,500,000 in value, especially be- 
cause the empire now imports annuallv about 
$72,000,000 worth of cattle fodder. Nearly 40 
per cent, of this sum, paid to foreign agriculture, 
could be saved if the loss by subseciuent decay in 
the harvest potato crop could be prevented. 

"Numerous processes have been sul)mitted in 
response to an offering of prizes amounting to 



294 THE POTATO 

$6,000. These are based upon two distinct 
methods of treatment. In the first, sUced po- 
tatoes are exposed to the current of hot gases from 
a furnace; in the second, the flake process, potatoes 
are more finely divided, and dried at a lower tem- 
perature with the aid of steam coils. This last 
method is costly. The product of the first method, 
while available for industrial purposes, is not fully 
satisfactory for use as a fodder. 

"A process recently patented and introduced 
by a Prussian firm seems to have successfully over- 
come the disadvantages of the earlier systems. 
The essential features consist in the use of pressure 
combined w ith a vacuum for withdrawing the bulk 
of the water in potatoes, the further drying of the 
residue by artificial heat, and the isolation of 
albumen found in the press liquor. This process 
has been tried with excellent results on an indus- 
trial scale. 

"The plant employed is comparatively simple. 
The potatoes are first thoroughly washed in a large 
vat provided with a stirring apparatus. Thence 
they pass into a mashing machine, and the pulpy 
mass is pumped into a reservoir, and from this is 
fed through a large funnel into the suction machine. 
The latter is the central feature of the plant and 
presents a somewhat novel form of utilizing the 
vacuum principle. It consists of two hollow cyl- 
inders, one immediately above the other. The 
exterior is made of perforated plate similar to that 
employed in centrifugal machines and filter pumps, 
and is covered with linen filtering cloth. A pipe 
connects the interior of each cylinder with an air 
exhaust. The interior spaces are, however, 
divided into segments, and the construction is 
such that the lessened pressure in each segment is 



THE POTATO 295 

felt when it is in immediate contact with the com- 
panion cyHnder. As the potato pulp passes be- 
tween the two cylinders, not only their pressure, 
but also atmospheric pressure, removes nearly all 
liquid. The residual mass falls into a trough and 
is conducted by a helical conveyor to small cars. 
These pass into a hydraulic press, where the mass 
is finally deprived of all water capable of removal 
by pressure. 

"From the press the potato mass is transferred 
to the drier. This consists of a cylindrical cham- 
ber, within which there is a revolving drum, 
divided horizontally into ten sections. The upper 
seven sections are heated by connection with a 
series of steam pipes; the lower three are cooled by 
means of a similar series, through which water 
circulates. The pressed potato cake is continu- 
ously fed into the top section. From this it grad- 
ually descends through openings into the lower 
sections, one after another, until it finally issues 
from the bottom compartment and is conveyed to 
storage rooms. The construction of this revolv- 
ing drum is such that prongs attached to its axis 
continually stir up and crumble the nearly dried 
potato cake, so that it is in coarse grains when it 
leaves the apparatus. At the same time, by means 
of properly directed air currents and the aid of 
the elevated temperature in the upper seven sec- 
tions, nearly all moisture remaining after the treat- 
ment in the press is effectively removed. 

"The resultant coarse potato meal has one 
quarter of the original weight of the tubers em- 
ployed, and occupies one eighth of the space. It 
has an odor and taste similar to that of freshly 
made bread. It may be used or kept in this con- 
dition, or can be pressed into compact cakes for 



296 THE POTATO 

convenience in transportation. The chemical analy- 
sis of potato meal, dried as above described, gives 
the following percentages: Water, 11.50; fat, 0.31; 
protein, 3.73; ash, 2.06; fibre, 1.71; carbohydrates, 
80.69. 

"Pressed potato cake is easily broken up by 
hand, and can be fed to animals, alone or mixed 
with other forms of fodder, preferably after mois- 
tening with a little water, when it is at once 
softened. 

*'By the combined processes of pressure and 
suction nearly three quarters of the weight of raw 
potatoes are removed in the form of a cloudy 
liquor. This portion is allowed to stand in res- 
ervoirs until all traces of starch have settled to 
the bottom. The clear liquor is then boiled and 
filtered with the aid of a vacuum apparatus. 
A precipitate is obtained of crude protein 
amounting to about 2 per cent, of the original 
weight of the tubers. By proper treatment this 
yields about 80 per cent, of technically pure 
albumen, which is constantly in demand in Ger- 
man markets. 

"The residual liquors from the protein precipi- 
tate contain small amounts of sugar, salts, and 
nitrogenous matter. They can be advantage- 
ously used for irrigation purposes on agricultural 
lands. 

"The plant requisite for the treatment of 
10,000 tons of potatoes during a season of about 
eight months costs $18,000 to $19,000. The 
machinery alone, without a press for transforming 
the meal into cakes, costs $12,000. For a building, 
$3,000 suffices, and the remainder is needed for 
pumps, motive power, washing vats, etc. 

"The force needed to operate the plant con- 



THE POTATO 297 

sists of seven men, and includes one engineer, a 
stoker, one helper, one workman in the potato 
cellar, two to attend to the machines, and one to 
handle the residual liquors. If the fintd product 
is to be pressed into cakes, the additional cost of 
the plant is about $4,000, and two more operatives 
are required. Such an installation can naturally 
be operated with great economy in connection 
with a distillery or starch factory. 

"In practice it is found that the total cost of 
preparing unpressed potato meal by the above 
method (including interest, depreciation, etc.) is 
$0.56 per long ton of tubers. The additional cost 
for pressing into cakes is $0.12 per ton of potatoes. 
In estimating the cost of the fodder thus produced 
it is, of course, necessary to deduct a certain sum 
for the albumen extracted from the residual liquor, 
as mentioned above. AVhen potatoes are to be 
raised for supplying regions more or less remote 
with cattle fodder the advantage of having the 
nutritive constituents of the tuber in a concen- 
trated form is obvious. Thus, in practice, 3.8 
tons of raw potatoes yield one ton of the (l(\sic- 
cated product. The freight charges in Germany 
for transporting (in carloads) the 3.8 tons a dis- 
tance of 100 kilometers (62 miles) are $3.07. The 
freight charge, under similar conditions, for the 
one ton of meal would be $0.81. Addhig to this 
the cost, 50 cents per ton, of treating the 3.8 tons 
of raw potatoes, or $2.13, the total expense of 
delivering the fodder would be $2.94. At the 
comparatively short distance of twenty-six miles 
there is then a distinct economy in shij)ping the 
meal instead of tubers. With every increase in 
distance there would be a proportionate increase 
in the saving. 



298 THE POTATO 

"In these days of rising values for all meat prod- 
ucts there is a prospect that the newly introduced 
process will aid materially in decreasing the cost 
of cattle raising in various sections of the empire, 
where stock raisers are largely dependent upon 
fodder transported from a distance.'* 

The manufacture of desiccated potatoes has 
been started in the United States. 

C. F. Langworthy, in "Farmers' Bulletin 295," 
says: 

"Potatoes are so valuable in the diet that 
many attempts have been made to put them into 
a compact form in which they can be kept for a 
long time. This is usually accomphshed by drying 
them, which both preserves them from decay and 
reduces their bulk. One of the oldest of such prep- 
arations is one long used in Peru and known as 
chunno. To make it, part of the juice is pressed 
out of the potatoes, w^hich are then dried in the air 
imtil they are reduced to about one fourth of their 
original weight. There is a variety of similar prep- 
arations in American and European markets, and 
although the mode of procedure differs consider- 
ably in the various brands the main principle is 
the same — namely, to check bacterial action. The 
changes which w^e call decay are caused mainly by 
the development of bacteria. These can repro- 
duce only where there is moisture and warmth 
present. Therefore, if the moisture is removed, 
their growth is retarded. The fact that the bulk 
of the potatoes is reduced at the same time is 
especially advantageous because such dried prep- 
arations are used mainly for camping expeditions, 
long sea voyages, and under other conditions where 



THE POTATO 299 

storage space is at a premium. The composi- 
tion of such desiccated or evaporated potatoes is 
practically that of the original tubers minus more 
or less of the water. Of course, if extreme heat 
is used in the preparation, part of the starch may 
be changed to dextrin and there may be other 
minor changes in the chemical composition. 
There is no reason to believe that these decrease 
the nutritive value. Various kinds of desiccated 
potatoes have been studied at the California 
Agricultural Experiment Station. Their water 
content ranged from 4.8 to 7.9 per cent, and their 
total carbohydrates from 77.9 to 80.6 per cent. 
In fact, their general composition was not unlike 
that of good white flour. They contained slightly 
less water, protein and fat, slightly more car- 
bohydrates, and noticeably more mineral matters. 
Of course desiccated potatoes are supposed to be 
soaked in water before using and in this way re- 
gain somewhat their original characteristics. 
While their flavor and appearance cannot equal 
these of good fresh potatoes, they are considered 
very appetizing and acceptable where fresh ones 
are unobtainable. 

"Chemical substances are sometimes used for 
improving the color (i. e., 'bleaching') of desiccated 
potatoes. While a small quantity of these may be 
harmless, their continued presence in the diet 
might be very dangerous, and their use is not to be 
recommended. 

"Canned potatoes are on the market and arc 
prepared for use in camps or wherever it is not 
convenient to cook food. They also may be kept 
in good condition for a long time. In composi- 
tion such goods do not dift'er from similar freshly 
cooked potatoes." 



300 THE POTATO 

MANUFACTURING AT KYRITZ, GERMANY 

During the season of 1910 the senior author 
made a study of manufacturing potato products 
in Germany, and his notes follow: 

"The manufacture of starch, potato, flour and 
glucose at this place was started in 1872. It is 
now one of the largest and most successful manu- 
facturing centres. The factory there claims to 
produce the best product in Germany. There 
are from twenty to thirty factories in the countiy. 

*'The factory is an immense affair, as large as 
a million dollar beet-sugar factory in the United 
States and equipped with the finest macliineiy. 
Everything in the factory is kept pohshed and 
clean. Germans are noted for this in all tlieir 
manufacturing plants. 

"Potatoes come to the factoiy in cars in buBv. 
The factory starts about September 1st, or as soon 
as starch is developed in the potatoes. 

"The company which owns and operates the 
factory is owned jointly by the growers and busi- 
ness men of Kyritz. It must be operated at a 
profit. As manager, Mr. Bergmann wa^ anxious 
to know if there were opportmiities for factories 
in America. 

"In the factory every economy that German 
science and mechanics can invent is employed for 
the cheap handling of the product, for saving 
greatest per cent, of high-class products and con- 
serving the by-products. 

"One of the most interesting features was a 
pipe line for carrying the water that had been 
used in extracting the starch from the sliced or 
pulped potato to a waste piece of sand land grown 



THE POTATO 301 

up to hcallier, two miles distant. This was re- 
claiming and building uj) the fertility of this land. 
It was seeded to pasture grasses and 200 acres 
furnished grazing for 300 head of stock. 

"The pulp or waste is used for stock feeding, the 
same as beet pulp from sugar-beet factories, but 
the Germans prolong its use more than we do by 
dr^^ing it so that it retains its feeding value for a 
year. It is mostly used for cow and pig feed. 

"Farmers who live long distances from the 
factory manufacture coarse or crude starch on their 
farms and ship the gross product to the factory for 
refining and manufacturing, saving the transpor- 
tation on raw potatoes and keeping the pulp for 
their stock. 

"Potato flour is usuallj^ called rough starch. 
The process of manufacturing has recently been 
very greatly improved and still greater improve- 
ments are now contemplated. 

"The price of starch and flour is the same. It 
is ruled by the price of wheat and sells at about 
the same price per hundred. 

"Rye flour is improved for baking by its ad- 
dition. Cake makers and confectioners use it 
mixed with wheat flour. It makes dehcious and 
nutritious puddings and cakes. The usual price 
is $5 per barrel of 200 pounds. 

"When the manager was asked wdiy they had 
so many casks racked up at a starch factory, he 
replied; 'I had hoped you would not see them or 
ask me about them. They are casks in which we 
ship glucose in to the confectioners of London, 
Paris, Berlin, and other large cities.' 

"This glucose is one of the by-])roducts of the 
factory. It is of the highest (jualiiy and brings 
more money than glucose manufactured from 



302 THE POTATO 

cereals. It sells for 75 cents more per 200 pounds 
than flour. 

*'This factory uses 250,000 tons of potatoes 
annually. The price paid for potatoes of 18 to 
24 per cent, starch content is 20 to 35 cents per 
hundred, or 12 to 21 cents per bushel. One of the 
by-products is 3,500 tons of glucose. 

"The farmers in irrigated districts of the West 
can make splendid incomes for growing potatoes for 
starch. It can also be done by the farmers of 
the potato-growing states of the East when they 
bring their lands up to the productiveness they 
are capable of. 

"The manufacturing of small and waste and 
rough potatoes every year, feeding the pulp, and 
making desiccated potatoes in seasons of over- 
production, will make the potato industry more 
stable and make the prices more even. 

"With our cheap electric power and coal, as 
compared with Germany, this manufacturing of 
potatoes should be more profitable here. 

"The manufacture of alcohol from potatoes 
keeps the price of gasoline comparatively low in 
Europe." 



CHAPTER XXV 

POTATOES AND POTATO PRODUCTS AS STOCK FEED 

ON A basis of strict economy as regards the 
use of the world's supply of foodstuffs, it 
would probably never be right to feed po- 
tatoes fit for human food to livestock. 

Granting this, the potato has yet a place of some 
importance as a stock food. There are thousands 
of tons of small, cut, bruised and diseased potatoes 
produced annually in potato districts that should 
be converted into high-class animal products. In 
addition to this, there are the by-products of the 
various manufacturing processes in which the po- 
tato is used 

The feeding of potatoes and potato products has 
been practised more in Europe than in America, 
because the American farmer has had, since the 
beginning of agriculture in this country, an abund- 
ance of cheap grains for stock feeding. 

We have undoubtedly seen the last of ex- 
tremely low-priced grains — so that the heavy 
cropping, succulent potato, should have a place 
of increasing importance as one part of stock feed 
rations. 

In "Farmers' Bulletin 79 " of the United States 
Department of Agriculture is the following in- 
teresting information: 

"A number of French agriculturists have re- 
cently studied the desirability of ensiling potatoes. 

303 



304 THE POTATO 

A considerable amount of heat is generated by the 
fermentation of the green material in silos, and it 
was thought this could be utilized and the pota- 
toes could be cooked as well as preserved. 

"In one test the potatoes were buried in a silo 
filled with crimson clover. They acquired the 
characteristic color of the plant and the odor 
developed in fermentation. The tubers were 
flattened by the heavy pressure to which they had 
been subjected. When removed from the silo 
they were comparatively soft. They were exam- 
ined microscopically and chemically, and it was 
found that they had been cooked by the heat of 
fermentation, and that they were rendered more 
digestible by the process; that is, the percentage of 
soluble material was increased... 

"Another silo was filled by siurrounding about a 
ton of potatoes with corn (whole plant). Upon 
opening, the corn and potatoes were both found in 
good condition. The tubers were found somewhat 
flattened, as in the previous experiment, but were 
more cohesive. The potatoes were not as thor- 
oughly cooked, since the temperature and pres- 
sure were less than in the previous case. 

"As shown by analysis, the potatoes ensiled 
with crimson clover had lost less water than those 
ensiled with corn. The most striking difference, 
however, was the high percentage of cooked starch ; 
or in other words the increased assimilability of 
the potatoes ensiled with clover. The crushed 
potatoes when removed from the silo lost weight 
very rapidly on exposure to the air, and formed a 
hard mnss, containing only 15 to 20 per cent, of 
water. In this condition they could be kept for a 
long time. When required for feeding purposes 
they were soaked in water, which they readily 



THE rOTATO 30.> 

cibsorbcd and llius regained their softness and di- 
gestibility. 

"Another investigator ensiled chopped raw 
})otatoes with two pounds of salt per 1,000 pounds 
of potatoes, under pressure of 2,500 pounds per 
square yard. The total cost of hashing, chopping, 
putting in the silo, and weighing fifty tons of pota- 
toes was about $15. The potatoes were put in 
the silo in the latter part of November. When 
the silo was filled the material was five and a half 
feet deep. Sixty-two days later the silo was 
opened, and the mass had sunk to a little over 
three feet. The temperature of the silo when 
filled was 39 degrees F., and when opened it was 
50 degrees. The ensiled potato pulp was white, 
but became blackened on exposure to the air. 
Cattle ate this pulp greedily, alone or mixed with 
cottonseed cake. 

"Experiments made at the Minnesota station 
have shown that while the digestibility of cooked 
and raw potatoes by pigs was about the same, 
pigs could be induced to eat larger quantities of 
cooked potatoes. It was calculated that a ration 
of fifteen pounds of potatoes and four pounds 
of shorts would furnish an amount of protein 
sufficient for maintenance, leaving a margin for 
growth. 

"On the basis of cost, comparisons were 
made of the value of potatoes and other feeding 
stuffs. In the investigator's opinion, with foods 
at the present prices, it is doubtful whether it 
would be profitable to feed large amounts of 
potatoes to dairy stock, because cows require 
more protein than would be supplied by a fatten- 
ing ration similar in character to that mentioned 
above. 



306 THE POTATO 

*' Potatoes cannot be fed to young animals as 
safely as to more mature ones, since if fed in too 
large quantities they have a tendency to pre- 
maturely fatten the animal. With mature animals 
when the object is principally the addition of fat 
to the body, potatoes may be fed to good advan- 
tage. 

"When the crop of potatoes is large and prices 
low, a method of storing and feeding potatoes to 
advantage is desirable. 

"A method of preserving potatoes which at the 
same time cooks them would seem worthy of trial, 
but it would doubtless be wise to experiment on 
a small scale first." 

John M. Scott, in Florida Agricultural Experi- 
ment Station *' Press Bulletin 71," says: 

"In all feeding experiments it has been found 
that rations containing a high percentage of carbo- 
hydrates (fat and heat producing material) do not 
give good returns in producing meat; but if suf- 
ficient protein (muscle and bone producing ma- 
terial) is added, so as to give the animal a balanced 
ration (or one nearly balanced) the results arc 
generally satisfactory. It makes little difference 
in what feeds the carbohydrates are furnished so 
long as the material is digestible. Since sweet 
potatoes are a crop easily grown, give good yields, 
are well adapted to the soils and climate of Florida, 
and contain a large percentage of carbohydrates, 
some notice should be taken of them, and they 
deserve to be studied in order to find out their 
value as a feed for pork production. 

"It has been pretty clearly demonstrated that 
sweet potatoes when fed alone are a poor feed for 



THE POTATO 307 

pork production. This is due to the fact that 
sweet potatoes contain such a hirgc amount of 
carbohydrates and such a small percentage of 
protein. The results of these experiments may be 
summarized as follows: 

"In a feeding test lasting forty -two days, four 
pigs were fed on sweet potatoes only, during which 
time the pigs lost in weight instead of making a 
gain. The pigs in this test were rather small, 
averaging only twenty-two pounds. In another 
experiment with older pigs, averaging about one 
hundred pounds, the results were a httle more 
favorable; yet the gains in w^eight were not large 
enough to make it a paying investment to feed 
sweet potatoes alone. When some other feed was 
used in combination wath sweet potatoes, the 
results were quite different. In one test lasting 
for a period of twenty-eight days pigs averaging 
150 pounds were fed sweet potatoes and shorts in 
the proportion of one part shorts to six parts sweet 
potatoes by w^eight. The pigs made good daily 
gains, giving the sweet potatoes a value of about 
50 cents per hundred (when pork was worth 5 cents 
per pound) for pork production. 

"This may perhaps seem a very small price for 
the farmer to receive for his sweet potatoes, but 
it certainly gives him an idea as to the feeding 
value of his potato crop. If the market price of 
potatoes should fall as low as 65 cents or 70 cents 
per hundred, it would be a question whether or 
not the farmer could best afford to put his crop on 
the market or feed it to his hogs." 

In "Farmers' Bulletin 410," the analysis of pota- 
toes, potato skins, and potato slop is given as 
follows : 



308 



THE POTATO 



Material 


Ash 


Protein 

(Nx 6.25) 


Ether 

extract 

(fat) 


Sugar as 
dextrose 


SUrch 


Crude 
fibre 


Nitro- 
gen free 
extract 




Per 

cent. 


Per 
cent. 


Per 
cent. 


Per 
cent. 


Per 
cent. 


Per 

cent. 


Per 

cent. 


Potato 
Potato 
skins 
Slop 


4.39 

6.51 
11.26 


10.06 

21.87 
30.00 


0.29 

2.55 
.69 


1.59 

1.44 
2.29 


70.35 

8.65 
2.98 


2.26 

20.69 
6.54 


10.55 

38.40 
46-24 



"This table shows that the dry substance in the 
slop is very different in composition from the 
potato itseK, being a more highly nitrogenous food. 
The great increase in the amount of protein as 
compared with the total dry substance in the slop 
is, of course, due to the fermentation of the starch 
and sugar, resulting in a concentration of the nitrog- 
enous material. 

"Any scheme for the operation of agricultural 
distilleries, whether small or large, should provide 
for the utilization of the by-product knowTi as 
'slop.' This is the residuum remaining after the 
alcohol and a small amount of water have been 
boiled off from the fermented distillery mash; and 
it contauis, dissolved or suspended in the remaining 
liquid of the mash, all of the constituents of the 
materials employed except that portion of the 
sugars and starch which was converted into alcohol 
during tlie fermentation. This slop has been 
found, both in this country and abroad, to be a 
feeding stuff of high value and should be fed to the 
stock on the farm that furnishes the raw materials 
used in the distillery. In this way its full utiliza- 
tion can be secured. First, through the production 
of flesh, milk, or energy in the stock to which it is 
fed; and, second, by returning to the soil in the 



THE POTATO 309 

form of manure those necessary elements of plant 
food which were abstracted during the production 
of the potatoes or other raw materials. 

"The large proportion of water contained in all 
slop has an important bearing in determining the 
amount of slop solids which can be fed to any 
animal in one day. It has been customary in this 
country, where cattle have been fed with slop in 
sheds on the grounds of large whiskey and alcohol 
distilleries and not on the farm, to allow each bul- 
lock dailj'' the volume of slop corresponding to a 
bushel of the grain mashed. In other words, a 
distillery mashing 1,000 bushels daily will diiitrib- 
ute its slop among 1,000 head of cattle. Reduced 
to volume, this would be equivalent to about 
thirty gallons per head per day. This amomit is 
excessive, even when fed with considerable ciuan- 
tities of hay and other roughage, as is showTi by 
the flabbiness of the stock and the liquid character 
of their manure. The injurious effect of the slop 
when fed excessively, as heretofore in tliis countr3% 
is liable in the case of milch cows to result in 
dangerous contamination of their milk through 
the great difficulty of keeping their hindquarters 
clean. 

"In Germany, where slop feeding has been 
practised very successfully on the basis of care- 
ful investigations at the agricultural experiment 
stations, it is customary to feed much smaller 
volumes. According to Maercker, it is allowable 
to give from eighteen to twenty gallons per head 
per day in fattening oxen weighing from 1,300 to 
1,400 pounds. More than this amount has been" 
found injurious. Milch cows should not receive 
more than sixteen gallons daily. It is necessary 
to feed the slop as hot as i)Ossible, and since it is 



310 THE POTATO 

especially susceptible to bacterial decomposition it 
should also be fed when fresh. 

"Investigations are needed in this country to 
determine the composition of rations, suited to 
American conditions, in which potato slop takes 
its proper place." 



CHAPTER XXVI 

POTATOES FOR EXHIBITION: SCORE CARDS AND 

STANDARDS 

THE interest in exhibits of agricultural prod- 
ucts increases yearly. Never before in 
the history of this country have the most 
representative and influential people so keenly 
realized the importance of farming, and this is 
manifested in the apparent demand for shows at 
which are displayed the ])roducts of the soil. 

To see the results of the most advanced work in 
farming helps the producer, the dealer, and the 
consumer. The producer is spurred to do his best, 
and the rivalry between growers makes the product 
better each year; the dealer is educated as to better 
sorts, and methods of marketing are improved, and 
the consumer learns to know and appreciate the 
best, thereby increasing consumption. 

The Old World is far in advance of America in 
some features of agricultural exliibitions. There, 
shows are held for agricultural exhibits alone, 
without the disgusting so-called "attractions" and 
fake shows that characterize so many American 
fairs. A change is coming rapidly in this country, 
brought about largely by the representatives of tlie 
agricultural press. These broad-minded, hard- 
working gentlemen have had and continue to have 
in a greater degree than ever before a most whole- 
some and uplifting influence for higher ideals in 
American agriculture. 

311 



312 THE POTATO 

The selection and exhibition of potatoes Is a fine 
art in England, the potato being one of the princi- 
pal features in their agricultural shows. Recent 
shows in this country, notably the Chicago Land 
Shows in 1909 and 1910 and 1911, and the New 
York Land Show of 1911, have had most creditable 
exhibits, and there are plans now under way for 
displays better and more elaborate than any yet 
made. During the next decade visitors to Ameri- 
can agricultural fairs will see remarkable advances 
in the modern potato. 

Exhibitions of the past have been a factor in 
increasing the demand for high-class potatoes, and 
in the future will be an even greater factor in mak- 
ing demand and increasing per capita consump- 
tion. These displays show discerning people that 
there are potatoes and potatoes, the same as 
other food products, and they teach themselves 
to distinguish between the good, bad, and in- 
different. 

The work of preparing potatoes for exhibit 
should begin with the selection of strong, true-to- 
type seed, and include everything that is correct in 
cultural methods. A deep, mellow, well-aired seed 
bed is especially important. This permits the tu- 
bers to grow naturally and evenly. 

At digging time the potatoes are either carefully 
dug with a fork, or selected as they are turned out 
by the digger. The ground should be perfectly dry 
and every precaution taken to prevent bruising and 
peeling. This is particularly important when the 
tubers are not entirely ripe. 

As they are gathered they should be allowed to 
remain in the sun only long enough to dry and 
harden the skin — probably two or three hours. 
As soon as thoroughly dry, the potatoes may be 







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THE POTATO 313 

carefully brushed with a soft brush — to remove all 
dirt and dust — then wrapped in soft paper and 
carefully packed in slatted crates. If potatoes are 
left in the sun too long they turn green. 

Exhibition potatoes must be kept in a cool, dry 
place and should be examined frequently to make 
sure that all conditions are right. The kind of 
potato that wins in the shows is one that is of the 
greatest commercial value — a smooth even tuber 
weighing ten to sixteen ounces, with clear, disease- 
free skin, shallow eyes, and the lustre and bloom 
that make an attractive appearance. It must be 
true to the \}^e of the variety, and each potato as 
nearly like the others as possible. 

Shows encourage growers, keep old varieties dis- 
tinct and bring about the production of new ones of 
higher quality and usefulness. 

The big overgrown potato is no longer a factor 
at a show except as a monstrosity. 

At the show, the ideas of the exhibitor as regards 
attractive display make the individuality of the 
exhibit. The one important thing to keep in mind 
is that pretty decorations should be made second- 
ary to displaying the quality and uniformity of 
the potatoes. Bushel market baskets may be used 
to advantage in display, and plates are sometimes 
used. 

A large quantity of potatoes, displayed in a pile 
or against a wall, impresses the observer with the 
idea of plenty, and that they must come from a big, 
rich country or farm that is well adapted to the 
production of the crop. Such a display is espe- 
cially striking when in the same show there are 
exhibits consisting of only two or three specimens 
of a variety. 

At the English and Scotch shows very fme dis- 



314 THE POTATO 

plays are made by tlie big seed houses. They 
show big banks of even tubers that are as attrac- 
tive as oranges or apples. Retail dealers in Great 
Britain put up potatoes for sale in very much 
more attractive shape than our dealers, thereby 
increasing their sales and the consumption of 
the crop. 

Fruit and flower shows have been important 
factors in increasing the interest in and demand 
for these, and there are great possibilities both 
for the grower and exhibitor, and the industry 
in general in the well-planned exhibitions of po- 
tatoes. 

For judging potatoes there is no universal scale 
of points. The following is one used by the Weld 
County, Colorado, Farmers' Club. Greeley is the 
principal town in this county: 

SCORE CARD FOR GREELEY POTATOES 

Disqualifications: For show or first three mar- 
ket grades. Screen less than one and seven eighths 
inches in clear. INIany knots. Very deep eyes or 
very irregular shape. For show, any mixture of 
varieties; for market, more than 5 per cent, of 
same color or 2 per cent, of different color. Color 
mottled, splashed, blue or purple. Muddy. Over 
15 per cent, scabby or wormy, or 1 per cent, un- 
sound. One fourth hollow. Sacks not neat, 
strong, uniform in size. Sacks not securely sewed 
with standard sack twine. 

Trueness to name and type required, but judges 
are instructed to favor improvements in type. No 
red potato to score as high on color as a white 
variety; no deep-eyed or long potato to be scored 
as high on shape as if round and smooth. 



THE POTATO 315 

/. Dealers' Scale. External Examination 

{ Too large 2 

Size 20 ] Too Small 12 

( Not even 

Shape 10 10 

( Not bright 10 

Appearance GO -< Dirty 10 

( Scabby or wormy 40 

t^ \•^ in j Unsound 5 

Quahty 10 j Brittle or spongy 5 

100 

//. Filial Purchasers' Scale. Knije Examination 

Smoothness 5 

Pares thin 10 

Flesh white 5 

Soimd and not hollow 5 

Cortical layer thick 10 

Centres small and not watery 15 

50 
///. Consumers' Scale. Table Quality 

Quickness of cooking 5 

Potatoes cook alike 10 

Mealiness 20 

Whiteness 5 

Grain (mashed) 5 

Flavor 5 

50 

Four potatoes for cooking test of same total bulk 
for each lot shall be put into white pots of same 
shape and size, covered at same time with boihng 
water, kept boiling evenly until done. Set one 
potato aside until cold. If it then crumbles on 
cutting as for rewarming, deduct 1 to 5 points on 
mealiness. Drain and season alike the three po- 
tatoes on each lot with same (luanlity of sailed 



316 THE POTATO 

cream, mashed the same number of strokes with 

same masher. 

Total score. Perfect 200 „ 

MARKET GRADES 

Fancy Potatoes. One variety ripe, sound, 
smooth, clean, bright, even, run of good size, true 
to type, not over 5 per cent., but would run over 
screen two inches in clear: 

Choice Potatoes. One variety, ripe, sound, not 
over 5 per cent, scabby, wormy or knotty; fairly 
clean, bright and even in size; not over 10 per cent., 
but would run over screen two inches in clear. 

No. 1 Grade. One variety with not over 5 per 
cent, mixture of same color, or 2 per cent, of 
other color; fairly ripe for date of shipment; not 
over 15 per cent, scabby or wormy; not very knotty 
or muddy; fair size, run over screen one and seven 
eighths inch in clear. 

No. 2 Grade. Not over 50 per cent, scabby, 
wormy, knotty, or green; not over 5 per cent, 
unsound or that would go through a screen one and 
seven eighths inch in clear. 

The grower who sorts poorly, or uses a screen 
less than one and seven eighths inch in the clear, 
or who does not throw away his poor sacks, or who 
fails to do that little job of grading and to provide 
that foot ditch and wasteway, injures his neighbor 
even more than himself. 

THE CHICAGO SCALE 

The scale which follows is used under the Chicago 
Produce Reporter System: 

Fancy Potatoes shall be known as: One variety' 
true to name, ripe, sound, smooth, clean, bright, 



THE POTATO 317 

free from disease, scab and second growth, uniform 
run of medium to large size, correct shape for the 
variety quoted, with none but would run over a one 
and three fourths inch screen, and not over 5 per 
cent, that would run through a two-inch screen 
for round varieties. For long varieties there may 
be 20 per cent, that would run through a two-inch 
screen. 

Choice Potatoes shall be known as: One variety 
with not over 10 per cent, mixture, but all of one 
color, ripe, sound, not over 5 per cent, scabby, 
diseased and second growth, fairly clean, good 
color, mediimi to fair size and shape for variety 
quoted, ^^'ith none but w^ould run over a one and 
one half inch screen, and not over 10 per cent, that 
would run through a one and three fourths inch 
screen for round varieties. For long varieties there 
may be 20 per cent, that would run through a one 
and three fourths inch screen. 

Good Potatoes shall be the same as Choice, onlj' 
there may be a 30 per cent, mixture of same color, 
or 10 per cent, mixture of any color and variety, 
fairly well matured, according to season shipped, 
and not over 15 per cent, scabbj'', diseased and 
rough, fair to dark color, fair size, with none but 
would run over a one-inch screen, and not over 
15 per cent, that would run through a one and 
one fourth inch screen, w^ith not over 2 per cent, 
unsound. 

Field Run Potatoes should be practical!}^ sound, 
but unassorted. Dockage, when loading potatoes. 
In cases w^here the percentage of dirt, small, infe- 
rior, green, etc., potatoes exceeds the allowance in 
above grades, inspectors may make said stock equal 
to the grade quoted, or purchased, by such dock- 
age as they consider equitable. 



318 THE POTATO 

The section from w]ilch the potatoes are quoted, 
and the general quahty of that season's crop in that 
section, should always be considered in connection 
with grades; not as really changing above defini- 
tions, but in close cases inspectors should favor 
the shipper if that season's general crop is not up 
to the average quality, or favor the receiver if as 
good or better than usual. " 




CHAPTER XXVII 

POTATO SUPERSTITIONS AND PREJUDICES 

IIIERE are a great many superstitions and 
prejudices in regard to the potato. Some 
are as old as time but, generally there is no 
good reason for their existence. 

Planting "in the dark of the moon" is a popular 
fallacj^ Some argue, and often can relate, experi- 
ences that to them seem to prove that potatoes 
will not make a satisfactory crop unless planted 
during that part of the month when the moon does 
not shine. If planted when the moon shines at 
night, the belief is that the plant goes "all to top" 
and will not make tubers. Others will argue that 
the planting should be done "in the light of the 
moon" in order to give the plants a good start, 
because of the additional light. There are experi- 
ences to prove that both are right. There is of 
course no foundation for such notions, and pota- 
toes make good crops if soil and moisture condi- 
tions are right, regardless of the moon. 

"Cutting off the seed end," or terminal bud, is a, 
practice supposed to result in benefit to the crop. 
The young potato plant is started and nourished 
by the plant food stored up in the tuber. To 
throw away any part of the potato is to destroy 
food that could be used to advantage. The reason 
given for doing it is to keep too many eyes from 
starting, but experience shows that if the seed is 
strong and has been well stored and handled, the 

319 



320 THE POTATO 

sprout from one strong bud dominates and the 
others remain practicall}^ dormant. The terminal 
bud is the one found first, and European growers 
consider it the most important part of the seed 
tuber, and it normally starts first. 

"Cutting seed to one eye," or two eyes, or some 
other number, is supposed by some to carry a 
mysterious charm that will affect the crop. All 
there can be of importance in this notion is that 
the larger the seed piece the greater supply of 
nutriment available for starting the new plant. 

"To irrigate when potatoes are in bloom" is a 
practice relied upon by growers in some irrigated 
sections. This may or may not be the right time, 
depending on the condition of the soil. The time 
to irrigate is when moisture is required by the 
plant, regardless of anything else. 

"Do not use manure on potato land, it makes 
scab," is a belief so strong in the minds of some 
growers that the crop is grown continuously on 
land without manuring until it becomes impover- 
ished. It is probably true that fresh manure ap- 
plied to land immediately preceding the planting 
of potatoes furnishes conditions favorable to the 
growth of the scab bacteria, but when used in a 
rotation, as on the grass crop that precedes po- 
tatoes, manure, especially when well rotted, is a 
benefit. Growers in Europe place great depend- 
ence on its use. 

"To plant potatoes on Good Friday" is beheved 
by some people to insure the crop, regardless of the 
conditions. If all conditions are right, it would be 
as well to plant on this day as any other, but no 
better. Soil and climatic conditions must be the 
guide for time of planting. 

Color and shape are factors that govern some 



THE POTATO 321 

markets. For instance, on the Pacific coast the 
demand is for a long, white potato; Denver and 
Colorado Springs pay a premium for red potatoes; 
in England, kidney shaped varieties are in highest 
favor, and nowhere are blue-skinned varieties pop- 
ular except in Spain. As a matter of fact, any 
good potato is good food ; there is no more reason 
for these discriminating prejudices than for w^hite 
eggs to sell higher in San Francisco than brown, 
and vice versa in Boston. 

*'That potatoes grown on irrigated land" are not 
of good quality and flavor is sometimes believed. 

Moisture is one of the essentials in the produc- 
tion of the potato crop, and with irrigation the 
supply of moisture can be kept even and sufficient 
to grow a product of the greatest possible uni- 
formity and quality. It depends entirely on the 
grower. A potato grown from start to maturity 
without a check is produced under the most ideal 
conditions. 




CHAPTER XXVIII 

RECENT DEVELOPMENT IN NEW AND OLD DISTRICTS 

IHE acres of land In the world capable of 
producing crops can and must produce a 
greater annual tonnage of food in order 
to feed the people, unless there be some unfore- 
seen calamity to stop the rate of increase of pop- 
ulation. 

The production must be mcreased by better 
methods in the countries now producmg the great- 
est total crops, and undeveloped and semi-devel- 
oped countries and districts must be brought up to 
the limit of their producing possibihties. 

That the potato has been and is given very high 
consideration in Great Britain is very conclusively 
shown in the article bj^ David Yomig in tlie chap- 
ter on "Seed Stocks and Varieties." 

During the past decade more attention has been 
paid to the potato in America tlian at any period. 
This interest must continue because of the mcreas- 
ing iniiwrtance to the world of all food crops. 

A number of educational factors are at work in 
this country. Among these are the agricultural 
colleges and experiment stations, the farmers' 
institutes and the great transportation interests. 

Great good has been accomplished in the devel- 
opment of districts by the railroads. It is true, of 
course, that the reason for this is the increase m 
tonnage, but the result has been of great benefit 
to individual growers. 

y22 




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THE POTATO 323 

The first railroad to operate a special potato 
instruction train was the Denver Kio (irande 
in Colorado. C. H. Sclilaacks, now vice-president 
of the Western Pacific, was vice-president of the 
Rio Grande at the time of the beginning of this 
work, and credit is due him for its initiation. He 
was the first man in America to grasp the great 
importance of this work. 

The first train consisted of five cars, carrying 
practical growers as instructors, specimen imple- 
ments to improve crop production, and approved 
types of seed. The train travelled over the 
entire system — 1,700 miles. In five years the 
production of potatoes in this territory was quad- 
rupled. 

D. E. Burley, general passenger agent of the 
Oregon Short Line Railroad, Salt Lake City, Utah, 
was the first man to put up his own money for 
prizes for the best potatoes grown in his territory. 
He also ran a special potato train through Utah 
and Idaho over 3,500 miles of railroad. This gave 
great aid to potato growers in a big, undeveloped 
territory. His work in the interests of agriculture 
in the Northwest is far-reaching in its effect. 

Following are the blanks and other documents 
used in the Burley contest: 

CONDITIONS OF BURLEY POTATO PRIZE CONTEST 

YEAR 1910 

1. Entries to be filed on or before May 5, 1910. 

2. No more than one crop of one variety of potato must be 

grown on one acre (43,560 feet), and in case grower 
enters more than one acre, separate blanks nmst be 
filled out for each additional acre. 

3. The hills or rows must be at least twelve inches from the 

boundary lines of the acre. 



324 THE POTATO 

4. The contest is confined to the four following varieties: 

Peachblow, Rural Type, Netted Gem, or Dalmeny 
Challenge. 

5. The land must be surveyed by a competent engineer, and 

satisfactory proof made. 

6. "Planting blanks" will be furnished, and must be filled 

out and sent to D. E. Burley, G. P. A., O. S. L. R. R. 
Co. Salt Lake City, two weeks after potatoes are 
planted. 

7. D. E. Burley, G. P. A. O. S. L. R. R. Co., Salt Lake City, 

must be notified ten days before potatoes are har- 
vested. 

8. During the growing season inspection of the potatoes 

may be made at any time by representatives of the 
contributors. 

9. The first prize of $500 will be awarded to the acre 

producing the largest tonnage of best quality market- 
able potatoes, and the second prize of $225 will be 
awarded to the next best acre. 

Prizes are personal contributions of the following: 



D. E. Burley, Salt Lake City . . 

E. M. Heigho, Weiser, Idaho . 
E. H. Dewey, Nampa, Idaho . 
H. E. Dunn, Payette, Idaho . 
D. C. MacWatters, Milner, Idaho 



$500.00 

100.00 

75.00 

25.00 

25.00 



ENTRY BLANK FOR BURLEY POTATO COMPETITION, 

YEAR 1910 

Name of Grower 

Location 

Town 

County 

State 

Section 

Township 

Range 

Variety to be grown 

Character of soil 

Probable date of planting 




I'lwlo Copyright l>y I'ach l-ro,. 

JAMES J. HILL 

An empire bulkier wlio early realized llic imporlaiice of agrieulture 

to Iraiisporlatioii iiileresLs 




Eugene H. Grulib. who conducted the tirst potato instruction train 

in America 



THE rOTATO 323 

PLANTING RECORD OF BURLEY POTATO 
COMPETITION, YEAR 1910 

Name 

Location 

Variety to be grown 

Character of soil 

Fertilizer used, if any 

Crop in land previous year 

Crop in land second year previous 

Crop in land third year previous 

When was ground plowed 

What was subsequent preparation of land 

When were potatoes planted 

How were potatoes planted (by machinery or by hand) .... 

Depth of planting 

Number of rows planted on acre 

Distance of rows apart 

Distance hills apart in rows 

Number of hills per acre 

Size of seed 

IRRIGATION AND CULTIVATION RECORD OF BURLEY 
POTATO COMPETITION, YEAR 1910 

Name 

Location 

Variety to be gro^\^l 

Character of soil 

WTien cultivated 

How deep 

Number of times irrigated 

Kind of cultivator used 

When ditched for irrigation 

Date 

How deep 

How high and how wide were ridges made, if any 



326 THE POTATO 

HARVESTING RECORD OF BURLEY POTATO COMPETITION, 

YEAR, 1910 

Name 

Location 

"\^ariety 

Plot measured by engineer 

Date of harvesting 

How harvested (by machinery or hand) 

Yield 

State of ) 
County of f ^^' 

AFFIDAVIT 

We and 

being residents of the county and state aforesaid, hereby 

certify that on the day of 

1910, we were each personally present at 

the digging of one acre of 

potatoes planted and owned exclusively bj^ 

at or near the city of county of 

and state of 

that the said potatoes were weighed, sacked and sealed in 

our presence; that they were of a total weight of 

pounds and that they were all raised on and taken from one 
acre of ground only. 

We further certify and declare that we a''e in no way or 
manner interested financially or otherwise in the outcome of 
this contest. 



Subscribed and sworn to before me this , 

day of 1910. 



Notary Public. 



THE POTATO 327 

ANNOUNCEMENT OF AWARDS IN POTATO PRIZE CONTEST 

FIRST PRIZE, $500 

To Mu. L. A. Snyder, 
Twin Falls, Twin Fulls County, Idaho 

Variety, "Dulmcny Challenge" 

Gross weight .... 38,085 pounds 044.75 bushels 
Less culls 4,150 pounds 

Marketable . . . 34,535 pounds 575.5 bushels 

SECOND PRIZE, $225 

To Mr. W. B. Gilmore, 
Payette, Canyon County, Idaho 

Variety, "Peachblow" 

Gross weight 37,470 pounds 

Less culls 3,920 pounds 

Marketable 33,556 pounds 

A description of the methods by which the Snyder pota- 
toes were grown is given in the " Idaho " chapter. 

The development of any industry should first 
follow the lines of least resistance. For this rea- 
son, a prospective grower in search of a location 
would find the opportunities very attractive in the 
many good valleys throughout the intermountaiu 
region of the western part of the United States. 
As has been indicated elsewhere, the climatic con- 
ditions are such that produce the wild potato. 
In these districts, where irrigation is possible and 
the soil conditions are right, the highest quality of 
product can be produced at the lowest possible 
cost. 

In succeeding chapters, the potato industry in 
various districts, is taken up in detail. 



CHAPTER XXIX 

NORTH ATLANTIC STATES 

A REPORT of the potato industry in Maine 
and New York is given as typical of the 
states covered in this classification. 
The potato is an excellent rotation crop on a 
general farm in this territory, and there are dis- 
tricts in it that produce as fine seed potatoes as are 
grown in the world. 

MAINE 

The following article is by Mr. E. L. Cleveland, 
of Houlton, Maine, one of the best potato author- 
ities in America: 

*' Aroostook County, Maine, covers an area 
equal to that of the state of Massachusetts, 
growing and shipping annually approximately 
30,000 car loads, or about 18,000,000 bushels of 
potatoes. 

"By reason of its northern latitude, and the 
virgin soil in which the potatoes are grown, they 
inherit those staple and vigorous qualities which 
make them at once the best and most valuable seed 
obtainable, as well as the most desirable table pota- 
toes known to the general trade. 

"The most improved methods and machinery 
are here used, and probably no potato-growing 
county within any state in the Union can show 

328 



THE POTATO 320 

such marked prosperity or satisfactory results as 
those which obtain in Aroostook. 

"Some forty different sorts are grown, which, 
with the exception of the main crop table varieties. 
Green Mountains, and two or three others, are 
used almost wholly for seed purposes, and dis- 
tributed from New England to the Gulf of Mexico. 

"The industry of potato growing in Aroostook 
began to develop in the early '70's, when it was 
found the soil was especially well adapted to the 
raising of fine flavored and mealy table potatoes as 
well as the most vigorous and virile seed, and the 
demand quickly became general and pronounced. 

"The soil in the main is of a rich, gravelly loam, 
underlying which there is a strata of lime deposit. 
This gradually disintegrates where near to or 
exposed to the surface, and thoroughly impreg- 
nates the soil, so that it becomes ideal for the grow- 
ing and maturing of the Irish potato. 

"Any up-to-date farmer that practises good 
farming and adopts improved methods frequently 
has under cultivation 100 acres or more, and counts 
on a yield of not less than 275 to 300 bushels per 
acre, according to varieties used and prevailing local 
conditions, and it may here be stated that good 
farming in Aroostook implies proper rotation, and 
this in turn means to grow potatoes not more tlum 
two seasons in succession on the same land, supply- 
ing nitrogen with clover, alfalfa, or other nitrogen- 
ous plant food as rotation is made, together with a 
sufiicient amount of humus. 

"It may here be stated that improved methods 
of cultivation as well as conservation of soil re- 
sources are being sought for and closely followed 
where proved valuable. Of course commercial 
fertilizers are still being largely used. They luivc 



330 THE POTATO 

no doubt been used too much in the past, but intel- 
hgent farmers are coming to reahze that more fre- 
quent rotation, together with an adequate supply of 
nitrogen and humus to be grown on the land with 
stated periods of rest, is vastly more profitable for 
a series of years. These matters are being earn- 
estly discussed by the different granges and farmers' 
ckibs, to the end that the best and most approved 
methods may be practised. 

"With the beginning of digging and harvesting 
of the crop (about Sept. 1st), the potatoes are 
usually sorted in the field, the merchantable stock 
being taken direct to the shipping station or to the 
farmer's cellars, according to his idea of the then 
prevailing market, and the small and refuse stock, 
to the starch factories, of which there are some 
sixty odd in the county. The price obtained for 
this starch material is of course somewhat elastic, 
according to the value of the finished product, but 
at all events there is no waste allowed, and 
frequently the amount received is such as to 
materially add to the net profits of the farm 
operation. 

"Where the farmer gTows a larger quantity than 
he has storage for, a part of his crop is hauled 
direct to the shipping station, where cash is paid 
on a basis of the prevailing markets, less freight 
charges, and a fair compensation to the buyer and 
shipper for the amount of labor required in the 
marketing and handling of same. 

"Such a part of his crop as he decides to hold for 
later marketing is usually stored in an outdoor 
farm cellar, built especially for the purpose, and 
to be hauled during the winter at leisure, accord- 
ing to his idea of what the market may afford as 
the season advances. 



THE POTATO 331 

"The buyer or shipper owns or controls large 
storehouses at the difFerent shipping stations, and 
the stock he purchases is promptly forwarded to 
the different markets in full carloads or held in 
storage, according also to his judgment and knowl- 
edge of the markets, visible supply, and the law of 
supply and demand, with the result that the im- 
mense track storehouses are often completely 
filled during harvesting, to be gradually emptied 
according to demand later in the season, artificially 
heated cars being used as weather conditions de- 
mand. 

'*The construction of these storehouses is such 
that they are practically frost proof. In fact, some 
of the more thoroughly built seldom, if ever, use 
artificial heat. 

"Such varieties as are to be used for seed pur- 
poses are carefully assorted and placed in large Vv ell 
ventilated bins, the light excluded and tempera- 
ture kept at as low a point as outside conditions 
will admit of and be safe. 

"The seed shipments begin to move into more 
southern territory with December, and continue 
for six months or more, gradually working north 
with the advance of the season, until the New 
England States are supplied. In the meantime of 
course the main crop, or table varieties, are being 
moved out to the many different markets, this part 
of the business beginning with harvesting, and 
continuing for ten months or more. Indeed, slii])- 
ments are generally made every month in the year, 
though of course very light in July and August. 

"The future of potato growing in Aroostook 
should be regarded as in no sense problematical. 
With a large part of the county still undeveloped 
agriculturally, a soil admittedly almost ideal for 



332 THE POTATO 

the production of the Irish potato at its best, 
improved methods and a quahty continually being 
bettered, a rolling surface well adapted to the use 
of improved farm machinery, and a product that 
of itself cannot be matched for either seed pur- 
poses or table use, together with competing trans- 
portation lines to tidewater, the next decade should 
see the present output more than doubled. '* 

The following interesting mf ormation is from the 
Bangor Aroostook Railroad, Bangor, Maine: 

"Maine has long been famous for its wealth of 
timber-lands, its summer resorts and great game 
country. The preeminence of the Aroostook po- 
tato is winning for the state new and constantlj^ 
increasing fame. Because of the remarkable yield 
and exceptional quality of the crops, the Aroostook 
potato country has come to be known as the gar- 
den spot of New England, and in many ways it is 
attracting more attention than any other agricul- 
tural section of the country. 

*'The Aroostook potato is known the country 
over. Millions of bushels are shipped to Boston, 
New York, and other centres for domestic use, while 
thousands of carloads are called for from all parts 
of the country for seed purposes. Wherever it is 
planted the Aroostook potato varieties retain the 
characteristics which have made them famous, and 
they also adapt themselves to conditions of soil 
and climate supposedly much different from those 
of Maine. In Virginia, for instance, where the 
paramount object is to hasten the early crop, the 
Aroostook potato matures from a week to a fort- 
night earlier than other varieties. 

"The development of the Aroostook country, a 



THE POTATO 333 

great area of 4,000,000 acres, has gone hand In 
hand with the expansion of the Bangor & Aroos- 
took Railroad, and it is by this road that the pota- 
toes are sent forward to the metropoHtan markets. 
Although the number of new farms increases each 
year, there are still thousands of acres of desirable 
land. Aroostook has seen a marvellous growth in 
the past decade — a growth which bids fair to be 
even more remarkable within the next few years. 
Dozens of stations along the line of the Bangor & 
Aroostook Railroad are potato shipment points 
for farmers, while the thriving towns of Houlton, 
Presque Isle, Caribou, and Fort Fairfield sent out 
hundreds of potato trains each season. 

"The standard size of the Aroostook farm is the 
regulation 160 acres. At the present time this is 
considered a large farm. Near any of the business 
centres of the county, in a locality easily accessible 
to a railroad shipping point, under good cultivation 
and with ample buildings, such a farm will range in 
market value from $10,000 to $20,000 according to 
the percentage of good potato producing land it 
contains. The buildings on an Aroostook farm 
must comprise, among other things, ample barn 
room for the storage of hay and grain, a good frost- 
proof potato storehouse capable of holding from 
2,000 to 3,000 barrels. The equipment must in- 
clude all appliances for planting, cultivating and 
harvesting the potato and other crops, such as 
seeders, planters, diggers, sprayers, mowing and 
reaping machinery, etc. Usually from four to six 
heavy draft horses are required, and the invest- 
ment outside of the land runs from $2,000 to $3,000 
and many times much more. 

"The average price of good, cleared land in 
Aroostook, well located and under good culti\'ation 



334 THE POTATO 

is not far from $100 an acre. The appreciation in 
value of Aroostook farm land has been steady since 
the beginning of the potato raising industry, and 
particularly marked since the opening of the Ban- 
gor & Aroostook Railroad, as has also been the 
increase in wealth and population in almost all 
sections of the county. Within fifteen years, or 
covering the period the railroad has been in oper- 
ation, many towns have doubled their population 
and trebled their valuation. 

"The phenomenal success of farming in Aroos- 
took from the financial viewpoint has been a strong 
magnet in attracting the public eye. Numberless 
instances can be pointed out where successful 
potato growers have risen from smallest beginnings 
to possessors of considerable wealth. Statistics 
show that in no section in the country is the potato 
yield greater per acre than in Aroostook and also 
that as a class the farmers are nowhere more 
prosperous. 

"The energetic and enterprising methods of 
farming in Aroostook County suggest strongly the 
widely commended Western spirit. Farms are 
conducted as business establishments. Modern 
methods are employed and buildings, equipment 
and paraphernalia are orderly, well-kept and al- 
ways up-to-date. For the person whose idea of a 
farm is the depressing picture of the oft talked of 
' abandoned ' farm, a visit to Aroostook County will 
be a joyful awakening. 

"The Aroostook farmer believes in having every 
possible city advantage. He believes in making 
life worth living. His crops make it possible for 
him to follow this idea. A trip through Aroostook 
is replete with interest whether it be in the summer 
when the fields of blossoming potato plants stretch 



THE POTATO 335 

far away beyond the reach of the eye or at the har- 
vest time when the farms take on a new activity. 
The mechanical potato digger has revohitionized 
the work and the crops are taken from the ground 
in surprisingly^ quick time. Potato growing in 
Aroostook is already a business of big proportions 
and the constant development promises to make 
it one of the greatest agricultural industries in the 
country." 

During the winter of 1910 the senior author 
visited the Aroostook district, and his impressions 
follow : 

This one county is like a Colorado county in area. 
It is on the northern boundary of Maine and bor- 
ders on Canada. 

Apparently the whole idea of the farmers in the 
county is centred on the growing of potatoes to 
the exclusion of all other crops as much as possible. 
The potato dominates every sentiment and idea. 
It is the sole topic of conversation where two or 
more men are gathered together. They are apt to 
be discussing machinery and wagons for potatoes 
and the cultivation of potatoes. And you see men 
haulmg potatoes in every direction in barrels 
to and from warehouses, from farms to markets. 
They talk of them in the streets, in the offices and 
in the banks; and, I have no doubt, in the schools 
and churches, and even in their sleep. At Car- 
bondale and Greeley, Col. they think and talk 
of other things than potatoes, because their 
crops are diversified. At Houlton, ^Nlaine, the cen- 
tre of the potato work, is the only place where I 
have been talked to a standstill on the subject of 
potatoes. I never met people who were so eager 
for knowledge m comicction with potatoes. 



336 THE POTATO 

The yield in this district is three times that of 
any single district in the United States and quite 
double that of the irrigated states 

Mr. E. L. Cleveland, pioneer and father of the 
seed potato industry in Houlton, Maine, has for the 
past thirty years been growing seed potatoes for 
shipment over the United States, but largely for 
the Southern market. They are growing sixty 
varieties of pure seed and their shipments amount 
to from eighty to one hundred thousand barrels an- 
nually. 

Their growing season is very short, much shorter 
than w^e have in Colorado. It is only about one 
hundred days between killing frosts from June to 
September. The first week of April the fields were 
still covered with snow and it was known as a mild 
winter and a light snowball. They almost univer- 
sally practise fall plowing owing to their short sea- 
son. They plant their potatoes much closer than 
we do in Colorado, rows from twenty-eight to 
thirty inches apart, and the hills from ten to twelve 
inches apart. This method produces more uni- 
form and smaller potatoes than are grown in the 
irrigated West. They use about 700 pounds of 
very small, cut seed to the acre. 

The implements for cultivation are very similar 
to those used in the best districts of Colorado. 

Owing to their lack of livestock they have little 
or no barnyard muck. They place their whole 
reliance on commercial fertilizers and it is from this 
and the extravagant use of it that gives them such 
wondrous results in eclipsing other potato com- 
munities, but the cost has been high. They com- 
menced the use of commercial fertilizers twelve or 
fifteen years ago, using 400 to 500 pounds per acre 
at a cost of $7.50 per acre. They have been com- 



THE POTATO 337 

pelled to increase this amount from year lo year, 
and to date they are using 1,800 to 2,000 pounds 
per acre. This, coupled with the expense of spray- 
ing with Bordeaux mixture two or three times in 
the season and the added expense of combating the 
potato beetle, brings the expense of growing po- 
tatoes to from $70 to $75 an acre, but a yield of 240 
bushels per acre is produced. 

These lands are valued at $80 to $120 an acre, and 
the tenant farmers pay $10 to $20 an acre rent for 
growing potatoes, according to the richness of the 
soil and distance to railways. 

Their proximity to large and populous cities, the 
cheap and rapid transportation facilities, with the 
splendid edible qualities of their potatoes (that 
their natural soil and climatic conditions give), as- 
sures them a good business. 

The growers of this district can, however, well 
pay more attention to livestock and diversified 
farming in connection with their potato work. 

POTATO CULTURE IN NEW YORK STATE 

The information that follows is by Mr. T. E. 
Martin, Superintendent of Demonstration Farms 
of the New York Central Lines. 

''For best results in potato culture in New York 
State tile drainage is as much of a necessity in soils 
that contain excess water as is plant food. 

"In my personal experience at farming in west- 
ern New York, thirteen miles south of Rochester, 
latitude 43 degrees, elevation 550 feet, fifty-seven 
acres, Dunkirk series of soil, a thorough drainage 
system of 3,265 rods (over ten miles) was estab- 
lished at a cost of about $2,000. This work was 



338 THE POTATO 

done under adverse and hostile conditions while 
carrying a heavy mortgage on unfertile soil much 
against the proffered advice of self-appointed au- 
thorities and established doctrines. However, the 
drainage has paid for itself several times over. 

*'As sweet memories of quality and good work 
linger long after the cost is forgotten, it is there- 
fore essential that only the best thought, effort, 
and material be allowed to predominate. There 
is no work of importance in which this truth is 
more applicable than in tile drainage, because of its^ 
permanency, as everlasting as the hills. Often the 
first crop increase from potatoes repays the entire 
expenditure, together with handsome annual re- 
turns and a heritage imperishable handed down to 
posterity more valuable the one hundredth year 
than the first. 

"All sewer pipe and round tile were used. No 
boards under pipe. Mains are two to four inches 
lower than laterals. Drains are of good length and 
depth and so placed that the drainage reaches 
laterally from drain to drain on time. Standing 
water is fatal to the potato yield. Three-inch 
lateral drains are placed fifty -five feet apart and 
four feet deep. Some soils need aeration as much 
as others require drainage. For such four-inch 
tile give better eflSciency. The drainage usually 
costs 50 cents per rod, or $25 per acre. Intakes are 
provided with silt basins. Outlets and intakes are 
established in cement abutments. Special screen 
pipe prevents animals or trash from entering. Ac- 
curate location maps give all data in detail. 
Horses and an ordinary three-horse plow were used 
for the opening and closing of drains. Under 
average conditions a traction ditcher will lessen the 
cost one third to one half. 



THE POTATO 339 

We attribiiLc to drainfige largely the gradual 
increasing pot<xto yields of sixty bushels in 1892 to 
an average of 417 bushels per acre, or 7,510 bushels 
on eighteen acres in 190G. No irrigation. 

"Crop rotation is a. three-year one, growing 
aniuially eighteen acres each of wheat, clover, and 
potatoes. The last of September or early October, 
after potatoes are harvested, the potato vines are 
raked and burned to destroy lurking disease, the 
ground twice disked, leveled with spring-tooth har- 
row and sown to Klondike wheat. 

"The spring following from April 1st to 10th, 
when certain conditions are present and favor- 
able and the wheat ground is well checked up, 
one half bushel of high grade medium red clover 
and alfalfa seed, previously carefully mixed, is 
sown per acre with a broadcaster, preferably dur- 
ing afternoons, when the surface is dry. Experi- 
ence only teaches when these conditions exist. 
The next forenoon a three-section, lever-sets, spike- 
tooth harrow, teeth set straight up and down, is 
run over the field. Teeth should be sharp. Such 
valuable seed should be covered as much as garden 
seeds. 

"From 1907 to 1909 six and three fourths bush- 
els clover and two and one fourth bushels alfalfa 
were sown — a 75 and 25 per cent, mixture; 1910- 
1912 four and one half bushels each, equal parts, 
or 50 per cent, of each has been and will be used; 
1913-1915 the mixture will be 25 and 75 respec- 
tively, just the reverse of first three-year cycle; 
1916 and following, alfalfa only will be grown. No 
lime or inoculation has been used. The former is 
dangerous in a short potato rotation. All things 
being equal alfalfa gives us more hay the following 
year at first cutting than clover. Second cutting 



340 THE POTATO 

has decidedly more alfalfa, and third cutting is all 
gain. Besides, the alfalfa is richer both as a feed 
and soil enricher. Roots are larger and go deeper. 

" First crop of hay is cut June 15th to 25th, and 
put up for feedmg and sale purposes. Several times 
the first crop was left on knolls and thin places. If 
first crop was heavy and hay cheap the second crop 
was cut August 1st and left on the ground for the fol- 
lowing potato crop, and it pays as well as livestock 
feeding, with little work connected thereto. Third 
crop is cut middle of September and always left 
on the land. Teed the land and the crop will feed 
you. * Cutting is preferred, as stray weeds are de- 
stroyed. The next crop comes up through this 
mass of organic matter and it decomposes sooner. 
Next year as a moisture retainer it has valuable 
qualities. 

"Manure from the stock, four horses and two 
cows, is made in box stalls and drawn direct to the 
field and spread on the thin places on the clover 
and alfaKa. No straw is sold. The surplus is 
spread and plowed under. 

"Potato ground is fall-plowed ten inches deep. 
In springtime the field is prepared with a four- 
horse, double-acting, cutaway harrow, which is run 
over field four times, lengthwise, diagonally twice, 
and crosswise lastly, and leveled with the spring- 
tooth harrow. 

"For available fertility we rely mainly on drain- 
age, preparation, tillage, clover and alfalfa and the 
farm manure. 

"Commercial fertilizers were first used in 1901, 
increasing from 400 to 1,500 pounds of 4, 8, and 12 
per cent, in 1907, costing $32 per ton for home- 
mixed goods, using nitrate of soda, blood, tankage, 
bone, 14 percent, rock, and sulphate of potash. A 



THE POTATO 341 

careful farmer can mix fertilizer constituents as 
perfectly as the elaborate mixing machinery does 
in a large fertilizer factory. Home mixing costs 
about 50 cents per ton, and the saving ranges from 
$2 to $8 per ton. A better and purer grade of 
goods is secured with no filler in them, conse- 
quently no worthless stuff. The fertilizer is ap- 
plied with an eleven-hoe grain and fertilizer drill, 
preferably between the first and second cutaway 
work. Tests have been made with the various 
fertilizer ingredients separately and in combina- 
tion in varying quantities. On our farm potash 
paid the best. Fertilizers used in connection with 
a good supplj^ of organic matter in the soil gives 
better results. 

"If wheat lodges, that is an indication of alack 
of potash. Dw^arfish growth signifies lack of ni- 
trogen, shrunken grain shows lack of phosphoric 
acid. However, the only sure way to determine 
such questions is to test out the fertilizer in plats 
and let the behavior of the plants and results deter- 
mine which form of plant food will pay best to 
invest in. Excessive growth of potato vines with 
few potatoes represents a shortage of potash. 

"The past spring (1911) the fertilizer was cut 
down to 800 pounds per acre, using the minerals 
only, lOj per cent, phosphoric acid and 12J per- 
cent, potash, costing $20 per ton. 

"Good, healthy, vigorous potato seed is one of 
the most important factors in the growing of the 
crop; and the simple fact about it is that every 
farmer can have such first-class seed stock by a 
little extra study and work; by land digging, for a 
start, say 500 to 1,000 hills of potatoes, where they 
are the best in the field, and selecting individual 
high yielding hills for next year's seed and breed- 



342 THE POTATO 

ing. By hand digging and rejecting the low yield- 
ing hills next year and years following, a good 
variety of potato is found to gain both in quality 
and quantity from 10 to 50 per cent. This is worth 
looking into. Up-to-date authorities and live- 
stock breeders do not perpetuate the scrubs. If 
there is an abiding law in the animal kingdom, there 
certainly is a similar one in the vegetable. Vio- 
lation of this and similar laws invariably brings 
disaster. 

"Do potatoes run out? They surely do. There 
is no question about it, but it is man's standard of 
seed selection and culture that 'runs down and 
out.' The following are some of the causes of 
potatoes deteriorating: (1) Wet, infertile soil, (2) 
half preparation and fertilization, (3) late planting, 
(4) first sprouts destroyed, (5) diseased stock, (6) 
low vitality, (7) poor storage. 

"Another way is to maintain an annual seed or 
breeding plat large enough for the requirements. 
When seed plat potatoes are in full foliage, ten days 
before they die down, go over them and remove 
every diseased hill, that such stock will not be a 
menace to future yields. At harvest time the seed 
plat product should be carefully handled and put 
into cold storage. Assort these into two grades — 
specials and selects — enough of the former (ideal 
shaped typical tubers) to maintain the annual seed 
plat and of the latter enough to plant the annual 
crop. Treat the specials with formaldehyde, one 
pint diluted with thirty gallons of water, and po- 
tatoes immersed two hours. 

"Potato ground is rolled ahead of potato planter 
to insure uniform planting depth. Especially im- 
portant is this if soil varies. At digging time, if 
season is wet and potatoes are in deep, the digging 



THE POTATO 343 

is a sort of horse-killing job even for four strong 
horses. 

"Potatoes are planted 4 inches deep, 11 inches 
apart in the row, and rows 3G inches apart, 15,840 
hills per acre. One pound per hill would yield 264 
bushels per acre; two pounds per hill, 528 bushels; 
twenty bushels of large potatoes are used per acre, 
cutting to about two eyes per seed piece. Plant- 
ing is usually completed about May 12th. 

"For the cultivation of the crop a riding, pivot- 
wheel, double-row cultivator is used exclusively. 
Cultivator is started same day or week the plant- 
ing is finished, endeavoring to get three times over 
field before potatoes are up. Potato row ridges are 
fallowed. The row middles should be thorough 
and deeply broken up. It is safe to cultivate deep 
at this stage, but not after potatoes are four inches 
high, as roots extend over halfway from row to 
row. By deep cultivation at this time roots are 
torn off, and the potato root system is interfered 
with, with a corresponding lower yield. 

"Next, the walking seven-foot weeder is run 
twice over field, first crosswise the rows and the 
last time straight with row, which leaves plants in 
a narrower row, and aids in closer cultivator work. 
If storms follow and weeder went crosswise last, the 
potato row would be wider from being pounded 
down and elbowing up. For weeder work, dry, 
hot weather is chosen, if there is a choice, and not 
starting same until after nine o'clock, as potatoes 
will stand more abuse when warmed up. 

"The cultivator is now adjusted with narrow 
teeth, one and one fourth inch on the two central 
ones, and set as close to the row as it is possible to 
run it; in fact, so close, the operator says, that 
every time he sneezes out goes a hill of potatoes. 



344 THE POTATO 

Go twice over field with cultivator so adjusted. 
Then cultivator is arranged with a pair of seven- 
inch side steels on the two central teeth, and a 
small ridge of soil, about three inches high, is 
thrown on to the potato rows, and twice over field. 
Up to this time the cultivations number seven. 
Balance of cultivation, usually twelve to fifteen all 
told, is done with cultivator, gradually widening 
apart the side steels as the vines develop. Every 
cultivation is equal to a light dressing of nitrate of 
soda — forty pounds per acre. Earth mulch is 
provided, evaporation prevented, aeration and 
ventilation of soil is established, and lastly weeds 
are destroyed. Level culture is the plan, but these 
frequent cultivations ridge up the field consider- 
ably, which ranges around four inches out of level. 
The more surface the more evaporation. Culti- 
vation is discontinued the last of July. Care is 
taken to go astride alternate rows at each cultiva- 
tion. With this construction of cultivator the 
gang bars are each side of wheels. After vines 
commence to lop, four teeth are placed forward on 
gang bars. These teeth raise vines up and prevent 
damage from wheels and teeth. For stray weeds 
two hand weedings are given during the middle of 
July and August. 

" Bordeaux mixture is used freely and vigorously. 
Stock solutions of copper and lime are kept in 
readiness; 1,000 to 1,500 gallons Bordeaux applied 
per acre annually, 125 to 150 pound pressure. 
Arsenate of lead is added to Bordeaux for the po- 
tato bugs and larvae. Nozzle angle should be 
changed from straight to right and left and go re- 
verse directions at each application. Flank an 
enemy and he is in a dangerous condition. Bor- 
deaux is a protection insurance only. Only a film 



THE POTATO 345 

of it is required. On time and thoroughness are 
virtues. First appHcation should be made about 
the last of June, when potatoes are about one 
foot high. Spraying should be discontinued 
from September 1st to 15th, depending on the 
season. 

"The results of spraying for 190G to 1911 follow: 
This is the net profit, not gain: 190G, $42.07; 1907, 
$32.42; 1908, $48.80; 1909, $20.08; 1910, $24.00. 
The total cost of thorough spraying ranges from 
$8 to $15 per acre. 

"Inside measurements of potato crates are 
12 X 14 X 15} inches. Outside 12| inches high, 
14 J inches wide, and 17 inches long. They nest 
up and fit endwise a three-foot wagon box. They 
contain 2,562 cubic inches, and hold sixty pounds 
potatoes level full. Ends are |-inch pine or white- 
wood boards, 12 inches wide, cut to length; sides 
and bottoms are f -inch basswood. We have 500 
crates. 

"For harvesting the crop the Hoover digger is 
used, digging every other row, beginning on lower 
side of field and digging in divisions of four rows. 
Four rows of potatoes are picked into two rows of 
crates. The truck wagon passes to farther end of 
field, distributing the empty crates. The wagon 
is loaded on return by driving between the two 
rows of full crates. One or two men on each side 
set on to the wagon the crates of potatoes without 
stopping. The truck wagon platform is 6 x 19 
feet and only 30 inches above the ground. It 
holds sixty crates, one crate high. Often 100 to 
110 bushels are drawn. In 1906, 1,501 bushels 
were dug and picked up in one day and over 1,000 
bushels drawn one mile and loaded on to cars. 
Selling direct from field to car is highly satisfac- 



346 THE POTATO 

tory. During 1901 $2,013 worth of potatoes 
were sold direct from field to car with only the 
initial handling. Potato crop for 1907 totaled 
$2,807.89." 

The cost of growing potatoes in these districts 
wiU be found in Chapter XIII. 



J 



J 



CHAPTER XXX 

SOUTH ATLANTIC AND GULF STATES 

THE states in this classification grow large 
acreages of sweet potatoes. This subject 
is covered in a separate chapter. The 
Irish potato situation is also discussed in the chap- 
ter on "Specialties — Early Potatoes.'* 

The mild climatic conditions make the produc- 
tion of a crop of very early potatoes — and a later 
crop — possible, and furnish opportunities for the 
marketing of an " out-of -season" product at a high 
price. 

There is no reason why the local supply of 
"white" potatoes for the South should not be 
grown locally. The fundamental things to be 
considered are soil, season, and seed. 

If the soil in which it is intended to gi'ow the 
crop is not naturally mellow, easily worked, and 
sufficiently stocked with fertility to make a crop 
possible, steps must be taken to bring this about. 
Heavy, hard lands need cover crops and barn- 
yard manure to lighten their texture; sandy soils 
require the same things to add fertility. 

As far as climate is concerned, it must be re- 
membered that the potato is a "cool- weather" 
crop, as distinguished from corn, cotton, and the 
"hot-weather" crops. It must be planted so as 
to make its greatest growth during the early or 
late part of the crop season. 

Growers of potatoes in warm climates generally 

347 



348 THE POTATO 

find it profitable to use Northern -grown seed. Seed 
from districts where the tops are killed by frost 
makes the surest and strongest growth. It is 
only in such places — like Chile and the western 
slope in Colorado — that potatoes endure with- 
out cultivation for centuries. This is a reason for 
getting seed from these north latitude or high 
altitude districts, but is no reason why potatoes 
should not be grown in the South. 

Potatoes to be held for use should be stored in 
a dark place, as cool and dry as possible. 

Following is a description of conditions in one 
district in Florida that has been made quite famous : 

The growling of Irish potatoes in the Hastings 
district in Florida was begun about ten years ago. 
It has grown steadily until in 1911 the production 
was 300,000 barrels, or 800,000 bushels. 

The conditions that obtain at Hastings are dif- 
ferent from anywhere else in the world. 

The soil is a very light sand and the subsoil a 
stiff, impervious clay at varying depths. This 
sand is claimed to be very low in available fertility, 
and annual fertilization is necessary. This fer- 
tilizing seems to be quite as essential on land just 
cleared of timber as on that cropped continuously 
for ten years. 

A commercial fertilizer costing $30 a ton and 
containing 4 per cent, nitrate, 7 per cent, acid 
phosphate, and 7j per cent, potash is in common 
use. It is applied at the rate of one ton per acre, 
being sown in rows previous to planting the 
potatoes. Some growers claim that barnyard 
manure cannot be used for fertilizer because it 
"poisons" the land and causes potato scab. 

Potatoes are planted on what are called "beds," 
in ridges thrown up with implements similar to a 



THE POTATO 349 

"middle breaker" plow or lister, or by a double 
disk with two small sixtcen-inch disks in front, 
followed by two twenty -four-inch disks that throw 
the furrows together. 

The ridges are forty -two inches apart and about 
ten inches high; the fertilizer is then put in the 
furrow and the potatoes planted in this ridge. 
They are planted two to six inches deep. When 
planted, the fields have the appearance of a field 
ridged after the final cultivation in other dis- 
tricts. Very little cultivation is done in this dis- 
trict. Only disk cultivators are used. These 
cover up the potatoes deeper than they are planted 
and destroy such weeds as are between the rows. 

One grower objected to the use of barnyard 
manure because it was the cause of many weeds. 

The land in the Hastings district is very flat. 
The heavy rainfall at some seasons of the year 
makes it imperative that all lands for potato grow- 
ing be drained. During the dry season irrigation 
is necessary to insure profitable crops. 

This part of Florida is fifteen to twenty miles 
from the ocean. The St. John's River bounds it 
on the west. Between the ocean and the river is 
an artesian water belt. The depth of the wells 
that furnish this artesian flow is about 200 feet. 

At the T. E. Bugbee farm, near Hastings, where 
land is seventeen feet above sea level, the artesian 
flow is twenty feet above the surface. At the 
other end of the farm, two and three fourth miles 
away, the land is six feet higher and the artesian 
flow is fourteen feet above the level of the land. 

A four-inch well gives a sufficient flow for ir- 
rigating forty acres of potatoes. At a cost of 
$200 for the installation, this system affords per- 
petual irrigation. It is probably the cheapest ir- 



350 THE POTATO 

rigation known in the world. All that is neces- 
sary to work it is to open or close the valve. The 
farm homes and barns are supplied with pressure 
water. 

This system of irrigating is similar to that in 
the San Luis Valley in Colorado. In Florida, 
however, the sub-laterals or deep trenches are only 
forty feet apart, while in Colorado they are about 
200 feet apart. 

The impervious clay subsoil and the flatness of 
the land permit this system of filling the land with 
moisture from the clay floor up to the surface or as 
near the surface as the farmer desires. The top 
soil is so loose and porous that the soil spaces fill 
with water readily. These narrow beds in the 
Hastings district allow the planting of about ten 
rows of potatoes, forty-two inches apart to the 
bed. Then, there is about six feet of land re- 
quired for the trench in which the irrigating water 
is held until it "subs" or seeps to the centre of the 
forty-foot bed. This is a waste of land. 

Northern-grown seed potatoes are used ex- 
clusively. They come from New York or Maine 
growers. One successful Florida grower says that 
partially matured seed from Maine gives the 
strongest plants and growth with less rot in un- 
favorable cold and wet seasons. 

The Spaulding No. "4" Rose, a variety that is 
regarded as a late sort in the North, is the earliest 
large yielding sort they have ever grown exten- 
sively at Hastings. Fully 95 per cent, of the plant- 
ing is of this variety. Last year, however, an 
acre of "Polaris" gave the best yield ever grown. 

From ten to twelve bushels of seed are used per 
acre. From 65 to 90 per cent, of a perfect stand 
is generally secured, although occasionally a 



THE POTATO 351 

whole planting is lost from excessive cold and 
heavj^ rains, unless the best possible drainage or 
ditch facilities are made. 

Planting on flat ground without ridging would 
almost always be a failure because of the heavy- 
rains. This is because the land is so flat and the 
subsoil so impervious. The water could not be 
carried off until the crop was scalded by the hot 
sun, or the seed rotted. 

From one to four, generally two to three, irri- 
gations are usually necessary to mature a crop. 

The yields are about forty barrels, or 112 bushels, 
per acre. The range is from 75 to 250 bushels per 
acre. 

The busy harvesting season is from April 10th 
to June. Harvest hands come long distances to 
work in the potato fields. The labor is all colored; 
$1 to $1.50 per day is the wage paid. Forty to fifty 
cars a day are sent out during the season. Forty 
to fifty buyers from Northern cities are on the 
ground during this short harvesting season. The 
potato-growing area can be about quadrupled. 
Considerable capital is required to clear the land of 
pine trees and stumps — about $30 to $75 per acre. 

Ten days before potatoes are harvested corn 
is planted in the furrows, and when digging time 
comes the corn is six to ten inches high. The po- 
tatoes are "lifted" or dug by hand. The com is 
cultivated once or twice and one and one half 
bushels of cow peas are sown per acre. The corn 
is harvested in November and the cow peas cut 
for hay. The cow peas are cut about eight inches 
above the ground. The stubble is then plowed 
under. This makes it possible to grow a crop of 
potatoes every year. The cow-pea stubble and 
the root svstem furnish humus to the soil. 



352 THE POTATO 

Land values have advanced in ten years from 
$25 an acre to $200 an acre for best improved 
farms. 

Potatoes are graded and shipped in barrels. 
The No. 1 grade is two and one fourth inches or 
more in diameter. No. 2, one and one half to 
two and one fourth inches in diameter. The No. 
1 grade usually sells for one dollar per barrel above 
the No. 2 grade. When the potato crop is short 
and prices are high, the culls are also shipped. 
Average prices received by the grower for five 
years has been $3.25 per barrel net. Barrels hold 
eleven pecks (two bushels and three pecks). 

When the potatoes are dug, three rows are 
thrown into one and one set of pickers pick out the 
No. 1 grade, another set of pickers follow and sort 
out the No. 2 grade. This seems a very crude and 
expensive way. 

At the beginning of the harvest, potatoes are 
only partially matured. They are soft and full 
of sap and must be taken out of the hot sun within 
thirty minutes from the time they are exposed. 
Otherwise, they scald and heat. No sorter or 
grader has been devised that will grade without 
bruising the skin. 

This season (1912) the best growers are spray- 
ing extensively for blight. 

The cost of growing potatoes m Florida is given 
in Chapter XIII. 

In a report of Ed. R. Kone, Commissioner of 
Agriculture of the State of Texas, the following 
in regard to the Texas potato situation is sub- 
mitted: 

** Potatoes are a profitable crop in Texas. Our 
soils and climatic conditions appear well suited to 



THE POTATO S53 

them. The principal supply of this crop, which 
goes to the markets of the country, is grown in 
eastern Texas, though it grows well in much of our 
soil from the Gulf coast to the northwestern boun- 
dary of our state. 

"The sweet potato is especially adapted to 
Texas soils and climate. Usually the yield is much 
greater per acre than that of the Irish potato. 
In 'Farmers' Bulletin No. 324' of the United States 
Department of Agriculture, on sweet potatoes, this 
crop is placed among the five greatest commercial 
truck crops, and ranked as third on the list. No 
truck crop in Texas has increased in volume so 
much as this. It is one of the great commercial 
crops and can be grown over as wide a range of 
territory as any of the other vegetable crops. 

*'As long ago as 1899 Texas ranked tenth in the 
value of all vegetable crops grown that j^ear. This 
is according to the twelfth census report of the 
United States, 1900. The average value per acre 
for Irish potatoes for 1899 was $33.25, and 
for sweet potatoes $38.77. The average yield per 
acre for Irish potatoes was 61.5 bushels and for 
sweet potatoes 75.7. The average value per bushel 
was 54 cents for Irish potatoes and 51 cents for 
sweet potatoes. Hence it will be noted that the 
sweet potato gives the greatest average value per 
acre, and explains why there has been such a 
marked increase in the development of the sweet- 
potato industry in our state during the last ten- 
year period." 



CHAPTER XXXI 

THE MIDDLE WEST 

A LARGE tonnage of potatoes is grown in 
the states comprised in the territory known 
as the Middle West. 
There is so much similarity in conditions and 
methods that for the purpose of this work a dis- 
cussion of two states (Wisconsin and Kansas) is 
taken as being typical of the territory. 

WISCONSIN 

The following very comprehensive information 
about the potato industry of Wisconsin is furnished 
by Prof. J. G. Milward of the Horticultural De- 
partment of the University of Wisconsin. He is 
a graduate of that institution and a very capable, 
earnest worker for the upbuilding of the agri- 
culture of the state. It is the work of such men 
as Professor Milward that has been one of the 
principal factors in agricultural progress during 
the past decade. He says: 

"The main or late crop of potatoes in this state 
is usually planted between the dates June 1st and 
June 15th. The early potatoes for early market 
are usually planted May 1st to May 15th. A 
number of growers in this state who raise early po- 
tatoes for seed for southern trucking centres 
practise planting as late as July 1st and gain what 

S54 



THE POTATO 355 

is sometimes an advantage of having the vines 
mature during the cool fall months. The season 
for harvesting the main crop ranges from October 
1st to October 15th. In unusual seasons of 
drought or blight the late crop may be dead as 
early as September 15th5 in which case the har- 
vesting season is earlier. 

"Potatoes are grown in Wisconsin on both the 
clay loam and sandy loam tj^ies of soil. The large 
potato belt of the state, comprising Waupaca, 
Waushara, and Portage counties, runs quite largely 
to the sandy loam type of soil. There is also con- 
siderable sandy soil in the newer potato sections 
in the northwestern part of the state. In this 
section, where clover grows luxuriantly, the set- 
tlers seem able to secure very good yields of po- 
tatoes from the lighter grades of sandy soil. The 
soil in every potato section of the state varies con- 
siderably both in mechanical conditions and in 
fertility, and a wide range of yields is obtained in 
every section of this state, due quite largely to 
these varymg factors. 

"The central potato district of this state com- 
prises Waupaca, Waushara, and Portage counties. 
The counties of secondary importance in this state 
are Adams, Juneau, Columbia, and Sauk. The 
three counties mentioned above rank among the 
thirteen leading producing counties in the United 
States. The newer sections in this state, especially 
under development at the present time, are found 
in the northwestern part of the state and com- 
prise sections in Washburn, Burnett, Barron, 
Chippewa, Rusk, and Eau Claire counties. This 
section is especially adapted to the growing of 
early varieties, and it is our opinion that north- 
western Wisconsin will become one of the leading 



356 THE POTATO 

potato sections of the United States. Consider- 
able attention has been given in this section to the 
development of the seed-growing phase of the 
industry. 

"Most of the potato stock grown in this state is 
raised from home-grown seed. There has been 
considerable deterioration in potato seed in the 
last few years, and there is a great need in this 
state for more uniformity in varieties grown. 
Very often the standard sorts in demand on the 
markets have been supplanted by coarse, imi- 
tative sorts. The Wisconsin Experiment Station 
through its extension service is endeavoring to 
remedy this matter by encouraging community 
centres w^here one variety can be gro\\ii. The 
important commercial varieties in this state are, 
for late. Rural New Yorker, Sir Walter Raleigh, 
Carman No. 3, Burbank, and Peerless; early va- 
rieties, Early Ohio, Early Rose, and Triumph. A 
number of growers are becoming interested in the 
Irish Cobbler, but this variety has not been grown 
on a wide enough scale to judge its adaptability. 
The Rural New Yorker, Sir Walter Raleigh, and 
Carman No. 3 are mixed in car shipments. Most 
buyers grade potatoes according to type rather 
than variety, and round white varieties are usually 
graded together in car shipments. In many lo- 
calities the standard Burbank has disappeared, 
and especially on the poorer soils a coarse variety, 
the Late Pride, has taken its place. This substi- 
tution has caused considerable difficulty both at 
the loading stations and on the markets. 

"On the heavy types of potato land in this 
state fall plowing is often practised. On the 
sandy loam soil potatoes are usually planted on 
spring plowed land. Especially in places where a 



THE POTATO :357 

good catch of clover has been secured sprmg plow- 
ing is satisfactory. The clover is allowed to grow 
until about May 20th to 25tli. The land is then 
plowed, well disked and harrowed and firmed with 
a planker, and the potatoes planted fron June 1st 
to 15th. The most successful growers make an 
application of manure to clover sod in this state. 

*' Potatoes are planted usually in drill rows, the 
rows about three feet apart and the seed pieces 
fifteen to seventeen inches apart in the row. On 
the heavier land a number of successful growers 
practise checking the rows three feet apart each 
way. Very little difference in yield has been 
noticed in a comparison of the two systems in this 
state. In the sandy loam soil the potatoes are 
planted about four to six inches deep. In the clay 
loam soil the depth is a trifle more shallow. 

"The fields are harrowed well at the time of 
planting and also about the time the potatoes 
come up. Wlien the rows are visible the culti- 
vator is started and the potatoes are given from 
three to five cultivations during the season. Level 
cultivation is practised. Very little hilhng is 
done except to ridge the rows slightly at the last 
cultivation. 

*'A good percentage of the potato crop of this 
state is sold direct to warehouses from the field. 
If the price is as high as 40 cents per bushel, a 
large percentage of the crop will go into ware- 
houses and be shipped to the markets during the 
fall months. The potatoes of this state are han- 
dled quite largely through the hands of buyers who 
ship to commission men in Milwaukee, Chicago, 
St. Louis, Minneapolis, and St. Paul. All of the 
large commission houses in Chicago have a num- 
ber of warehouses in this state. A number of the 



358 THE POTATO 

large growers ship direct to commission houses in 
Milwaukee or Chicago. In some potato sections 
the farmers have organized and have warehouses 
of their own. They hire a man at a salary to 
handle the stock and ship direct to commission 
houses in the large cities. 

"A good many progressive growers in this state 
have built small storage cellars costing approxi- 
mately from $300 to $500. In a good many cases 
excavations have been made in side hills and ar- 
rangements have been made to load the potatoes 
into these cellars directly through openings in the 
top, or in some cases provision has been made to 
back the wagons right into the storage cellars. 

"It costs from $20 to $25 per acre to grow pota- 
toes in this state. Profits necessarily vary con- 
siderably, due to the fact that conditions vary so 
throughout the state. A net profit of $30 per 
acre would be considered satisfactory in sections 
where an average yield of 150 bushels per acre was 
secured. In sections where the yield runs as high 
as 300 bushels the profit should be increased pro- 
portionately. There are a good many growers 
on the light, sandy soils who do not average a net 
profit of $25 per acre. 

"Artificial fertilizers are not used to any extent 
by the potato growers of this state. The best 
potato growers use the following crops in three 
or four year rotations: Clover and some grain 
crop corn, and potatoes. Liberal applications of 
manure are made on farms where considerable 
livestock is kept. 

"A system of rotation in this state has been 
found necessary to maintain the fertihty on po- 
tato farms. Where rotation has been neglected, 
along with the failure to handle livestock, the 



THE POTATO 359 

yields of potatoes have deteriorated in the past 
ten years both in quahty and quantity. There 
are sections in this state which originally yielded 
from 200 to 300 bushels per acre which now yield 
below 100 bushels per acre. 

"The largest acreage of potatoes reported in 
this state on a single farm is 400 acres. In the 
important potato sections of the state the average 
acreage would probably run to about ten acres. 

"This station (Wisconsin Agricultural Experi- 
ment Station) is pushing as hard as possible the 
extension work along the line of potato improve- 
ment. There is a great need in this state for better 
seed, both in regard to uniformity and conformity 
to type." 

KANSAS 

Secretary, F. D. Coburn, of the Kansas State 
Board of Agriculture, most admirably sums up the 
potato situation in that state in "Report 91," as 
follows : 

"The potato is probably more generally grown 
and utilized than any other vegetable, and every 
county in the state, with the possible exception of 
six or eight in the southern and western portions, 
devotes greater or less acreage to its production. 
As many conditions within the state's 82,144 
square miles of area are widely variant, yields hke- 
wise differ; thlis the potato grows prosperouslj'- 
luxuriant in the rich, sandy loams of the formerly 
timbered river * bottoms' and the upland prairie 
limestone soils, while flourishing in a more modest 
degree where altitude, longitude, soil and climate 
present conditions quite dissimilar yet no less 
suited to various other crops. However, regard- 



360 THE POTATO 

less of adaptability, potatoes, as in the past, will 
doubtless continue to be grown on practically every 
farm and in every considerable garden; conse- 
quently yields per acre for the state may seem to 
average low, comparatively; but in the real po- 
tato districts in the more favoring seasons returns 
of over 400 bushels per acre are realized, and an 
output of 300 bushels or more is not at all un- 
common. 

*'The portion of the state proved most admi- 
rably adapted to potatoes as a commercial crop is 
known as the Kaw Valley potato district, in east- 
ern Kansas, where large quantities are growTi and 
shipped each year. In the main, this consists of 
sandy loam 'bottom' land, tw^o to six miles wide, 
adjacent to the Kaw or Kansas river, in the coun- 
ties of Wyandotte, Johnson, Leavenworth, Doug- 
las, Jefferson, Sha^vnee, Pottawatomie, and Wab- 
aunsee, and extending westward 100 miles from 
its joining with the Missouri at Kansas City. Of 
the total Kansas area planted to Irish potatoes in 
recent years more than one fourth is in these eight 
counties, Wyandotte ordinarily leading in acres 
and production. Nearly a third of the state's 
crop, or practically all potatoes raised in Kansas 
for export, is frequently the product of the coun- 
ties named. 

*' Early varieties for summer marketing are 
planted mostly, and of these the Early Ohio is by 
all odds the favorite, followed to a small extent by 
the Early Rose and Triumph, as named. The 
small proportion of late sorts planted are the Bur- 
bank and Peachblow. Even for winter use the 
early varieties are grown, and left undisturbed in 
the ground until fall. While some home-grown 
stock is planted, Northern-grown seed is found 



THE POTATO 361 

best, and each year Uiousaiids of bushels are 
shipped in by planters and dealers, who buy from 
Minnesota and eastern North Dakota, in the Red 
River Valley. 

"Kaw Valley potatoes find their market in all 
parts of the country; early in the season Chicago 
and northern points claim many, and some go in 
the direction of New York and Pittsburg, but prob- 
ably the bulk are sent south and southwctst, especi- 
ally to Texas, and preferably sold at digging-time. 

"The consensus of opinion of Kaw Valley 
growers reporting suggests that they consider in 
the neighborhood of 37 cents a bushel a fair 
price for potatoes on board the cars, and the 
range in the past ten years has been from about 
14 cents to $1.15 per bushel. 

"Two striking features of Kansas potato grow- 
ing as compared with that in other states surpass- 
ing her in aggregate yields are absence of need for 
expensive fertilizers and freedom from insects and 
fungous diseases. Of the Kansans reporting, none 
mention using commercial fertilizers, although the 
majority apply more or less manure, or sow some 
crop such as cow peas or turnips for plowing under 
when green, thereby enriching the land and in- 
creasing its subsequent yields. 

"A most interesting and suggestive fact is the 
possibility of profitably irrigating, in the more 
western counties, small areas for potatoes, and 
other vegetables as well, where underground waters 
are made available by wind or other power. 
Several correspondents have realized gratifying 
success by such means. By it the home demand 
in such territory may not only be supplied with 
certainty each year, but the markets of nearby 
cities and towns would offer for any surplus at- 



362 THE POTATO 

tractive inducements in prices, usually quite in 
excess of those realized by growers elsewhere. 

"The foregoing pertains to Irish potatoes ex- 
clusively, but sweet potatoes are likewise grown 
more or less in about four fifths of the counties, 
most extensively and successfully, however, in 
the valleys of the Kansas and Arkansas rivers. 
The six counties of Pottawatomie, Riley, Wabaun- 
see, Shawnee, Wyandotte, and Sedgwick yield 
annually about one half or more of the state's out- 
put, which in the past twenty years has varied 
from 779,783 bushels m 1889 to 212,468 bushels in 
1897." 

The cost of growing potatoes in these districts 
is found in Chapter XIII. 



CHAPTER XXXII 

COLORADO 

THERE are a number of districts in Colorado 
that produce potatoes of very high quahty. 
Among these are: Greeley and north- 
eastern Colorado, San Luis Valley, the Grand River 
country, in which Carbondale is located; the ter- 
ritory along the North Fork of the Gunnison River, 
the La Platte and Montezuma country, and the 
Routt County territory. 

Colorado potato growers have made a name for 
their product, which is now generally know^n as 
"Greelevs" for the section north of Denver and 
east of the mountains, and "Western Slope" for 
all the districts west of the mountains. 

GREELEY 

Greeley, Col., and vicinity, was settled by a 
colony of professional and business people who 
were attracted to the West and to the soil by the 
forceful writings of Horace Greeley. The early 
history of the colony chronicles considerable of 
that element which the Western cow-puncher calls 
"grief.'* They had a new business to learn under 
hard, pioneer conditions. Those who stayed, 
however, prospered. This has been true of all 
who have brought to the business of farming 
trained minds and broad experience. 

Many of the advanced cultural methods used 

363 



364 THE POTATO 

to-day by the best potato growers originated at 
Greeley. 

The story of the Greeley district is to be told by 
Senator H. C. Watson, one of Greeley's most in- 
fluential men and one of the first in the business; 
by Lord Ogilvy, agricultural editor of the Denver, 
(Col.) Post, one of the best informed men in 
agriculture in the world and an old-timer at 
Greeley; and I. Rothschild, the leading dealer in 
the Greeley market. Senator Watson says: 

"The colonists commenced to arrive here early 
in May, 1870. I came on the first day of May of 
that year, and am now the oldest inhabitant in 
point of continuous residence. The necessity of 
raising something to feed the people was very ap- 
parent, so I hired a man who had a yoke of oxen, 
to plow up some lots on the higher ground but 
under the ditch we proposed to dig, and bought 
some Early Rose potatoes of a merchant in Evans, 
Col., the town which was, at that time, the ter- 
minus of the Denver-Pacific Railroad (now the 
Union Pacific Railroad), about four miles from 
Greeley. I paid 3 J cents per pound; had them 
planted, but unfortunately for the success of the 
experiment, I joined a party of men who proposed 
and did go to the mountains for the purpose of 
floating logs down the river to supply the very 
great need of lumber to house the people. The 
man I left in charge of the crop did not do much, 
and as a result I did not get much of a crop, al- 
though I did demonstrate the fact that we could 
raise potatoes on the uplands of Colorado, and 
received enough money from my venture to pay 
the actual cost of raising. I believe these were 
(with the exception of some that were raised on the 



THE POTATO 365 

Ames place near Fort Collins the same year) the 
first potatoes raised on the uplands of Colorado. 

"In the years following 1870 there were in- 
creasing acres planted around here, principally 
Early Rose. A little later, Morten Whites (these 
did not make a good potato; they seemed to be 
lacking in starch and w^ould not cook soft), a few 
Peachblow^s, and some Snow Flakes were planted. 
The latter were the very best eating potatoes, as, 
in fact, they are yet, but they did not yield heavily 
enough to be profitable. 

"In the course of five years or -so we had suf- 
ficient potatoes to sell to make it necessary to do 
something to market them. I was then employed 
as clerk in a large store here. We built a ware- 
house on the railroad track, which stands there 
yet, and went at the business systematically. I 
had charge of that department and had to make 
frequent trips to Denver to sell our stuff. On one 
of those trips I wrote about a column article de- 
scribing how we handled potatoes in Greeley — • 
took them in loose, sorted, and sacked them our- 
selves. I published this in the News of Denver. 
The result was that Greeley * spuds ' got a reputa- 
tion that was of value. 

"In the year 1881 1 went into business for my- 
self. A part of this business was the handling of 
potatoes, which by this time had become an in- 
dustry of larger dimensions and kept increasing 
every year. In the season of 188G a number of 
business men and bankers concluded that the po- 
tato business had become so large that it was nec- 
essary to organize the selling end, so that we could 
extend our markets. To that end, the Greeley 
Mercantile Company was organized with a capital 
of $40,000. Mr. O. P. Gale was president and I 



366 THE POTATO 

was vice-president. We paid cash and handled 
our product on its merits, as every business should 
do. About this time, or in fact several years be- 
fore, we found that the Early Rose were not grow- 
ing in paying quantities, and some farmer shipped 
some seed of the Rose Seedling variety from New 
York; also some Mammoth Pearls, Carmans, Mam- 
moth Prolifics, and Rurals. All of these varieties 
were more or less successful, especially the Pearls, 
which are yet the principal crop raised here. In 
the summer of 1887 our president died and I was 
compelled to take charge of the business. We 
sent a man to Texas and kept him there a whole 
season at considerable expense, being careful to 
ship only good stock. We did not make much, but 
we created a market for the future. That year 
there were about 1,500 cars of potatoes raised in 
the territory north of Denver. We found that 
we had about reached our limit, as the water from 
the streams would not hold out for late irrigation; 
that is, in August. This made it necessary to 
build reservoirs to store flood waters and the win- 
ter floods of the streams. 

"We were not raising much over 100 bushels to 
the acre, as the soil lacked humus and nitrogen. 
A farmer from Iowa by the name of Bliss concluded 
that he would try turning under alfalfa as they 
did clover in the East. Now our farmers were of 
the opinion that you could not get it to rot, as it 
came right up again, but he managed, by putting 
chains on the plows, to turn the plant under. The 
result was astonishing, as it just about doubled the 
crop, not only of potatoes, but of everything else. 

"A number of years ago I conceived the idea 
that we might increase our crop by shipping in 
some seed from a non-irrigated country; so we got 



THE POTATO 367 

a car of Mammoth Pearl seed from northern Wis- 
consin. We had some trouble in getting this car 
sold, as we had to get $1.25 per cwt. for it, but we 
scattered the potatoes over the country — five 
and ten sacks in a place. The result was a very 
large increase in the crop and very much better 
stock. Now our farmers do not object to paying 
$2.00 per cwt. for seed.' 



>> 



Lord Ogilvy says: 

"Whatever claims may be pressed by other 
sections, it must be remembered that Greeley 
is one of the best known districts in the potato 
world. 

"The soils in their natural state were not com- 
parable to some of the mountain plateaus and 
gulches, where grow the wild potatoes, in their 
adaptability to potato growing. Alfalfa growing 
and storage of water were necessary before potatoes 
could be produced to the amount of 10,000 car- 
loads and upward per year. 

"There were no popple washes, leaf mould from 
mountain slopes or accumulation of dead grasses 
on the plains to furnish stored food for the crop. 
Cactus of short growth as a rule indicated those 
pliable rich loams containing granite sand as an 
enduring base for the welfare of the potato. 

"The soil, so rich in mineral elements, was de- 
ficient in humus, and it was not until alfalfa had 
been grown some years that any tonnage was pro- 
duced except here and there. The breaking up of 
alfalfa at first gave an excess of humus in that it 
forced vine and early growth; the tubers set on and 
matured during the excessive heat of summer. 
An occasional run or two of river water at the 



368 THE POTATO 

right time gave heavy tonnage and indicated what 
was to be. It became plain that regulated supply 
of water must be served; that in this district late 
potatoes must be held back to make their tuber 
growth during cool weather. 

"Even though the first reservoirs of magnitude 
were completed by the farmers at a time to in- 
crease production — which found a light demand 
during the panic period of 1893 — yet the results 
were so satisfactory that the building of reser- 
voirs has been continued ever since. Except in 
those districts where potatoes can be allowed to 
mature during the heat of the summer, or in those 
rare instances where the river supply is continu- 
ous, reservoirs are a necessity. Once potatoes 
have set on they must be kept moist so their 
growth be continuous. If arrested growth takes 
place and they are then watered the further de- 
velopment will be in the form of knobs that make 
rough potatoes. 

"Those who believe that potatoes must have an 
exactly suitable soil for successful culture should 
visit the Greeley district. Not only do the soils 
vary from heavy clay or adobe to sand, which 
need entirely different handling, but also the same 
fields that have raised potatoes for forty years in 
rotation with other crops are now handled in other 
ways than were formerly expedient. A rising 
water table due to pressure from irrigated lands 
at higher levels has necessitated more aeration by 
thorough cultivation of the soil. 

"Had we been told twenty years ago what was 
needed to raise good potatoes — brains and hard 
work — we likely would have quit right there, but 
we gradually grew into it and perfected the sys- 
tem which can best be studied in all its varieties 



THE POTATO 369 

ill the Greelej^ district, where work is thorough and 
intense; varieties of potatoes studied for their 
particular adaptations, and the method of culture 
also made to fit the potato. 

"The growing of potatoes begins with seed 
growing or its purchase. The selection is only 
partly carried out before the seed is cut, and must 
continue through that process, rejecting every- 
thing that shows badly under the knife. The 
preparation of the ground has begun years before 
with the seeding of alfalfa to enrich it with manure, 
and by its root contents. When the specially 
built alfalfa plows turn the sod we are nearer the 
last end of potato growing than the beginning, for 
we have the seed selected and the medium in 
which it is to be grown full of stored fertility, the 
result of forethought. The good seed is planted 
at the right moment and the land is not allowed 
to rest, for the heavy horses in harrowing, leveling, 
and planting have compacted it too much and lack 
of air circulation breeds disease. The cultivators 
at once follow the march left by the planter and 
should run as deep as a plow sole stirring and 
aerating the soil. 

"From then on clean, absolutely clean, cultiva- 
tion until the time when the ditches are put in to 
guide the water through the rows. The depth of 
these will vary according to the fall of the land, 
and what is known as the Kersey, a wooden mold- 
board ditcher, is much used. This has an attach- 
ment for distributing earth on top of the rows, to 
keep potatoes from frost and sun-scald. Just 
when the water and how much, whether in every 
other row or all, is something which every farmer 
must know for himself, for the time will vary ac- 
cording to the condition of the soil, altitude, and 



370 THE POTATO 

variety of potato, and it will also vary with the 
changing seasons. 

"Besides the remarkable energy of Greeley 
people in perfecting their system of potato growing 
and originating tools and methods of culture, 
something must also be credited to their system of 
storage and marketing. Probably nowhere else 
are such perfect potato cellars to be found upon 
the farms, or as convenient and large a supply 
of potatoes along the tracks which can be dis- 
patched at a few hours' notice. Besides this, 
there is always a large number of cars the 
routing of which can be changed to meet urgent 
demands. 

"Many varieties of potatoes have been experi- 
mented with and discarded, and changes have only 
been made when a variety has thoroughly proved 
itself. The Early Rose gave way to the New York, 
Rural, or Carman group on heavy soils or those 
with a cool subsoil. Pearls in one form or another 
are a great standby. The Rose seedhng, or, as 
it is sometimes called, the Greeley Red, fills the 
demand for red potatoes. The Early Late Ohios 
are also largely grown, and for all these there is a 
general score card of perfection in the grower's 
mind when he has an order to fill, which enables 
him to satisfy his customers." 

There is no one in a district in closer touch with 
affairs than the dealer. I. Rothschild says : 

"There is planted this year (1911) 35,000 acres, 
and for the past eight years there have been 
planted 25,000 to 35,000 acres each year, the crop 
running from six to fourteen thousand carloads 
each year. 



THE POTATO 371 

"Most of our farmers grow potatoes in pref- 
erence to any other crop, and the only reason 
more are not grown is because the land is not in 
just the right condition, and then again it is an 
expensive crop to grow. 

"As to markets, we have Texas first. This is a 
short haul and quick service; that is, the Texas 
people can get 'spuds' from Greeley quicker than 
from any other section and the freight rates are 
as low and some lower than in a great many of the 
potato districts. Again, we have onions which 
we are privileged to ship with potatoes, and the 
smaller towns which would not use a car of 
onions will buy the potatoes in order to get 
twenty or thirty sacks of onions in the car with 
their potatoes. 

"Different locahties use a different style of po- 
tato. For instance, Chicago wants a rather large, 
long potato, while St. Louis wants a round, med- 
ium size, and Kansas City demands the very 
largest. Then, there are a few places that will 
take them " mixed, and it all depends on the 
strength of the market as to whether they will 
take them at all. 

"As to yield, we have. one section of the Greeley 
district that last year averaged 200 bushels to the 
acre, and another section not fifteen miles away 
where the average was less than fifty bushels to 
the acre. Altogether, the average last year was 
100 bushels to the acre, and we had one year 
when they averaged 250 bushels for the entire 
district. 

"Rurals and Pearls are our standard varieties, 
with 6 per cent, planted to Pearls, but Rurals are 
gaining. It seems that some of our growers are 
just learning how to grow Rurals." 



372 THE POTATO 

The following table shows the cars sold at vari- 
ous seasons, the price, and total cars produced 

Prices 
Cars. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. 

1. 1. 1. 1. 



fc. i''lfo£.:::-:::::::::::::::2:ZJ^iio ^^-^^ $105 $1.25 

Jan. 1. 190S 1.800 \ „n -,. _. _„ 

Feb. 15.1903 1.090 1 ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ 

Jan. 1.1904 4.000 to 4,500 \ _^ „„ .„ 

Mar. 1. 1904 1.800/ ^" "" ^"^ ^ ^" 

Jan. 13. 1905 6,030 \ „„ ,„ » 

Mar .124, 1905 4.000 to 4.500 / ^" '" *^ '^^ 

Feb. 1. 1906 3,500) 

Feb. 24, 1906 2,575 -'- 75 65 65 60 

Apr. 12, 1906 1.020) 

Mar. 11. 1907 1,627 \ -„ ^- -,- -^ 

Apr. 12. 1907 550/ ^^ ^^ ^* '^O 

Feb. 1. 1908 3.000 to 3,500 \ -,. g^. „, ,„„ 

Apr. 7. 1908 500 / '^^ ^^ ^^ ^'^^ 

Jan. 5.1909 5.000 1 j., „q ,. ,„ 

Feb. 1,1909 3,000/ ^^ **" ^^* * "^^ 

Mar. 1.1910 2.000 60 G5 45 25 

Jan. 1.1911 2,500\ _- „. q. 

Feb. 1,1911 1,400/ '^ "* ^^ 

. Season 1910-11 6,500 cars. 

1909-10 8,000 " 

1908-09 11,000 " 

1907-08 9,000 " 

" 1906-07 10,000 " 

" 1905-06 11.000 " 

" 1904-05 14,000 " 

" 1903-04 6,500 " 

" 1902-03 4,500 " 

" 1901-02 5.000 " 



THE WESTERN SLOPE COUNTRY 

The districts that supply the markets with 
Western Slope potatoes are Carbondale, Rifle, 



THE POTATO 373 

New Castle, Eagle, Gypsum, Montrose, Delta, 
Olathe, Grand Junction. The conditions in all 
of these are very similar and a description of one 
serves to describe all. 

Because it was a leader in making the present 
popularity of the product, the Carbondale ter- 
ritory will be described most in detail. 

Carbondale is just off the Roaring Fork of the 
Grand River. From the Frying Pan — a small 
tributary at the head of the Roaring Fork — to 
Glenwood Springs, where it joins the Grand, the 
Roaring Fork is about thirty miles long, and the 
valley is about one mile wide. It is a rough, 
mountainous country, with an elevation of from 
5,000 to 8,000 feet. 

The farming land in this valley is not in one 
continuous body, but in scattered areas along the 
river and its tributaries and on the bench land ad- 
jacent. 

It is in this sort of country that the potato is 
found growing wild. The soil is open and well 
drained and the native vegetation consists of rich 
grasses, sage brush, and trees. 

The excellence of the potatoes grown at Car- 
bondale first attracted the interest of the partic- 
ular hotel and dining-car trade. Seven years ago 
(1905) Mt. Sopris Farm contracted to furnish 
the New York Central Railroad with potatoes. 
Baking and cooking tests were made at the farm 
by the buyer. The business grew, and Carbon- 
dale had the first growers' association on the 
Western Slope. Now this product is known from 
the Atlantic to the Pacific. 

In an interesting publication regarding the 
country is the following descriptive matter: "Ly- 
ing within the shelter of high mountains at an alti- 



374 THE POTATO 

tude slightly over 6,000 feet, shielded from severe 
storms and extremes of temperature, with pure, 
dry, invigorating mountain air and the purest of 
mountain water, entirely free from alkalies, it is a 
natural health resort and an ideal place in which to 
make a home — an unpeopled valley, luxuriant 
in wild vegetation and threaded by crystal streams 
fed by the inexhaustible snows of the giant Mt. 
Sopris and surrounding ranges, transformed in less 
than twenty-five years into one of the garden 
spots of the globe. This, in brief, is the story of 
the Carbondale district, a story that typifies the 
highest achievement of natural resources and hu- 
man resourcefulness and cooperation." 

One of the most popular booklets ever published 
about the potato, if popularity can be judged by 
demand, is that issued by Mt. Sopris Farm en- 
titled "A Modern Delicacy." Because that pub- 
lication is not now obtainable it is being practically 
reproduced in the following: 

A MODERN DELICACY MT. SOPRIS 

FARM POTATOES 

Next to bread and meat, the most important 
article of food to the Anglo-Saxon race is the 
potato. Notwithstanding its importance as a food 
product, comparatively little attention has been 
paid to the development and improvement of the 
potato until recent years. The writer, having spent 
a number of years in trying to grow varieties of 
potatoes that would be of such quality and perfect- 
ness in economical conformation as to command the 
highest market prices, and having met with a fair 
degree of success, is constantly appealed to by 
growers for information as to methods and by con- 



i 




o 

O 



-6 
3 

WW 






o 

C/2 




Lord Ogilvy, agricultural editor Denver Post, Denver. Colo 



THE POTATO 375 

sumers for a history of the operation in producing 
the three varieties that I am now growing and 
which are rapidly attracting the attention of the 
trade all over the country because of their merit. 
In order to answer these questions intelligently, I 
have in this manner explained, as briefly as pos- 
sible, something of the methods now being suc- 
cessfully used in the Carbon dale potato district 
and on Mt. Sopris Farm, and a history of the prin- 
cipal varieties grown. 

In order to produce a perfect specimen of any 
article one must first have in mind an ideal. We 
must therefore understand w^hat constitutes a 
perfect potato, both from the standpoint of the 
consumer and the trade. The consumer desires 
a potato that when cooked will be dry, mealy, or, 
when crushed, like flour. The trade wants a potato 
that is clean and dry, with a rough skin, not easily 
bruised or broken, as a broken sldn provides the 
nucleus for rot. 

Uniformity. — One of the most important speci- 
fications in the production of an ideal potato is 
uniformity in size. It is, of course, impossible to 
grow potatoes all the same size, but I make it a 
point to grade the potatoes before marketing into 
nearly uniform sizes. In cooking the tuber this is 
important, as ^vhen a small potato is cooked with 
a large one, either the small one becomes overdone 
or the large one underdone. With nearly equal 
sizes, they all cook alike. 

Quality. — Potatoes are like fruit in one respect : 
they are best when fully ripe. A well-ripened 
potato, matured in proper soil, is a luxury for an 
epicure when properly cooked. The unripe po- 
tato when cooked is wet, soggy and clammy. The 
starch molecules have not been transformed as 



376 THE POTATO 

they should be and the potato is not as digestible. 
The well-ripened potato cooks dry even in water 
and crushes into a flaky, powdery mass, with the 
starch in fine, granulated form. 

Conformation. — It is only within recent years 
that potato breeders have paid much attention to 
the formation of the potato. The ideal potato 
must be regular in shape, round or oval, with eyes 
nearly flush with the surface. Large hotels and 
restaurants are compelled to use machines for 
paring. With the old-fashioned, irregular shaped 
potato, the loss in paring was often equal to a third 
of the weight of the tuber. The Mt. Sopris po- 
tatoes can be handled very economically in a par- 
ing machine, the loss being practically nothing 
but the tough skin. In the matter of economy, 
therefore, the regular conformation of the potato 
is highly important. 

The original potatoes were found growing wild 
in the mountain districts of North and South 
America. In looking for ideal climatic and soil 
conditions, therefore, we have but to study the 
environment of the wild potato. 

An important effect of the climate is the uni- 
formity in the quality of the product from year to 
year. Climatic conditions in the mountain sec- 
tions of Colorado do not apparently vary enough 
to materially affect the quality of the crop from 
one year to another, and the crop this year is as 
good in quality as last year, and will be the same 
next year. This is highly important in estabhsh- 
ing a commercial demand. 

My experiments in improving and developing 
the varieties of potatoes grown on Mt. Sopris 
Farm cover a period of about fifteen years. My 
first work was with the Perfect Peachblow. This 



THE POTATO 377 

is an improved type of the old Peachblow, a 
variety grown in this country for over fifty years, 
and is one of the oldest varieties in existence. 
Originally it was yellow fleshed, often hollow and 
bitter of taste. Peter Henderson, a well-known 
New York seedsman, developed this variety, and 
in 1883 some of his Perfect Peachblows were 
brought to Colorado and planted in the lloaring 
Fork Valle3^ The perfected variety was of white 
flesh, never hollow nor bitter, and proved an ideal 
potato. It was round and slightly flattened on one 
side, with few eyes and a tough skin. It became a 
great favorite and is still the leading variety on the 
western slope of Colorado. 

Perfect Peachblow. — My first efforts were in 
the direction of increasing the tonnage yield of 
this varietv. The trouble most found was that 
the hills produced one or two potatoes of great 
size and many small ones. The large potatoes 
often cracked open and the crop as a whole lacked 
uniformity. My method was first to plant the 
size of potato I desired to produce and later to 
select my seed from hills producing not less than 
twelve potatoes of uniform type and size. By 
this method I have been able to secure a crop of 
uniform and fixed type characteristics. This plan 
resulted. in greatly increased production, but sub- 
sequently I found it advisble to sacrifice some of 
this increased yield to quality. I have succeeded 
in producing a uniform type of Perfect Peachblow, 
of fine quality, fixed type characteristic and fairly 
uniform size. 

Dalmeny Beauty. — Several years ago I had an 
opportunity to see the work being done in type 
breeding of potatoes on the Earl of Kosebery's 
Dalmenv Farm in Scotland. Since then I have 



378 THE POTATO 

imported twelve different varieties of these fine 
Scotch bred potatoes, but have found only two 
varieties that proved adaptable to the Roaring 
Fork district. Of these the Dalmenv Beautv has 
proved very promising. It is a white fleshed, 
medium to large potato, oval to oblong, shallow 
eved, with a clean and attractive skin. The vines 
grow from three to five feet high, and it is one of 
the heaviest yielders known. One stalk in the 
Carbondale district produced twenty-five tubers 
weighing eleven and one half pounds. Four 
acres in the same section produced 307 sacks per 
acre, IIG pounds to the sack. It is a strong feeder 
and needs rich soil. 

Challenge. — This is another Scotch variety im- 
ported from Dalmeny Farm. It is a medium late 
variety of high quality. It is white fleshed and 
mealv. The skin is smooth and white. The 
tubers are oblong, medium to large, with scjuare 
shoulders. A good cropper. This year one plat 
of ten acres at Carbondale yielded 277 sacks per 
acre, IIG pounds to the sack. It is a very high 
quality potato, and those grown in Carbondale 
have been used for the past four years on the 
Vanderbilt system dining cars. 

In my opinion the Perfect Peachblow, as de- 
veloped in the Carbondale district of Colorado, 
is about as near the ideal potato as has yet been 
grown. One difficulty most potato growers have 
had to contend with in other sections is the fact 
that the various varieties "run out" in two or three 
years, or, in other words, deteriorate in quality. 
The Perfect Peachblow is an exception. Notwith- 
standing the years of injudicious methods in seed 
selection and cultivation, the variety is as vigor- 
ous and healthy as ever and is steadily improving. 



THE POTATO 379 

It has an astonishingly strong constitution, and 
seems to easily resist the many diseases that 
afflict potatoes elsewhere. Much of this is due 
to the ideal conditions that exist here. It is im- 
possible to grow a firm texture, high quahty po- 
tato in a hot soil. The soil here is always cool and 
the tuber has plenty of time to mature. 

The consuming public has not yet learned to 
discriminate in the quality of potatoes. Grad- 
ually the demand for the high quality potato is 
increasing, however, and the time will come when 
the people of the East will insist upon having the 
fine tubers grown in the mountain valleys of 
Colorado. When that time comes Colorado will 
produce twenty million bushels annually instead 
of six million, as at present, and the fame of the 
Carbondale potato will be equal to that of the 
Rocky Ford cantaloupe. 

The important requisite in securing the best 
results m potato growing is to plant in an open, 
porous, well-prepared soil. The soil must be well 
supplied with humus, or vegetable mould, so that it 
is open and easily accessible to air, as the best po- 
tatoes must have air, especially when maturing. 
Excessive irrigation contracts and solidifies the 
soil. I practise frequent cultivation, and with 
special machinery ridge the hills high and wide, 
with a deep trench for the irrigation. For at least 
two months previous to maturing I do not irri- 
gate, allowing the tubers to mature in a soil 
almost dry, the tap and feeder roots providing 
all the moisture needed for the tubers. Bv this 
method the tubers when ripe come from the soil 
in a clean, bright condition; the skin is tough 
and the potato keeps better. 

The Perfect Peachblow is the best keepmg po- 



380 THE POTATO 

tato known when grown in this manner, often 
keeping until the middle of August. It is an ideal 
potato for the early spring and summer market, 
being in prime condition. 

That a cool, porous soil is largely responsible 
for the best quality in potato growing was evi- 
denced at the Aspen Fair this year, when the first 
prize potatoes in a most wonderful exhibition were 
found to come from an altitude of 8,100 feet above 
the sea. 

Probably the most important item in securing 
a high quality potato is seed selection. Carbon- 
dale growers are now exercising the greatest care. 
We are trying to secure fixed characteristics, and 
the seed potatoes from this district will do well 
in most any potato section where proper conditions 
can be had, and the crop will be found to possess 
the uniformity as to size and quality that is so 
necessary to success. 

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. So is 
the proof of a high quality potato to be found at 
the table. It must be properly cooked and served, 
and thus the Carbondale potato will be found one 
of the dehcacies of the world. 

Few people know that a potato has a season of 
best eating quality, the same as an apple or peach. 
The Perfect Peachblow is best after the first of 
January. The Dalmeny Beauty is best from the 
first of November until April. The Challenge is 
best from September to January. 

No part of the world is better fitted by nature 
for growing potatoes than the mountain districts 
of Colorado. Those sections where the soil is 
largely composed of ground granite and sandstone 
are of course best adapted. The Roaring Fork 
and Crystal River Valley section of Colorado is as 



THE POTATO 3S1 

nearly perfect in soil conditions as can be found, 
and the potatoes grown there are not excelled 
anywhere in the world, and are equalled in but few 
places. With the requisite climatic and soil 
conditions, and the use of careful and intelligent 
methods in seed selection and the maintenance of 
a uniform type, few crops can be grown that will 
return better profits for the producer. 



CHAPTER XXXIII 

IDAHO TWIN FALLS COUNTRY UPPER SNAKE 

RIVER 

IDAHO is one of the newest states in the 
Union, both in point of history and agricul- 
tural development. As in most of the Western 
States, mining caused the first immigration. 

Lewis and Clark went through the Snake River 
Valley in 1805, but in 1860 the state was inhabited 
only by the Nez Perces, Palouse, and Coeur d'Alene 
Indians in the north, and the Blackfoot, Bannock, 
and Shoshone in the Snake River country. 

Irrigation farming is making southern Idaho one 
of the richest and most famous agricultm-al sec- 
tions in the world. The first irrigation was along 
the small streams where individuals took out 
ditches to water their small farms and fields. 
Local consumption took all of the first farmers' 
produce and more. Even now the people of Idaho 
import much of their foodstuffs. 

The next stage in irrigation was the company or 
community ditch system, where a few hundred or 
thousand acres were watered by a number of farmers 
working together, doing most of the work them- 
selves. All of the work performed in these first 
two stages of the business Vv^as done as cheaply as 
possible, and comparatively little capital was re- 
quired. 

In the Twin Falls country the first irrigation was 
along Rock Creek and Goose Creek on the south 

382 



THE POTATO S8S 

side; along Wood River above and below Sho- 
shone; on Clover Creek on the north; and from 
springs in the north side of the Snake Kiver Cafiou 
at Blue Lakes and along down the river to the 
Hagerman Valley. Successful crops of fruit, grain, 
hay, and vegetables have been raised in these 
places by pioneer stockmen and miners for forty 
years. 

The great Snake River plains, the most fertile 
and best drained agricultural section in the state, 
were undeveloped because milhons of dollars was 
required for large improvements before the settler 
with ordinary means could find a place. 

To I. B. Perrine of Blue Lakes is due the credit 
for successfully starting the extensive irrigation 
work in the Twin Falls country. He located the 
dam at Milner from which water is diverted, and 
interested capital in the possibilities of the countr3\ 
J. S. & W. S. Kuhn of Pittsburgh, Pa., have spent 
and are spending twenty million dollars in develop- 
ing the possibilities of this agricultural empire. 
Five years ago sage brush and coyote reigned 
supreme; now 40,000 people have their homes in 
the Twin Falls country. 

There are 54,000,000 acres of land in Idaho. Of 
this amount about 2,500,000 are irrigated. Over 
450,000 acres are contained in the irrigation pro- 
jects already built and being built by the Kuhn 
interests. 

At the present time the tracts reclaimed in Idaho 
by J. S. & W. S. Kuhn of Pittsburgh and their as- 
sociates include the first, second, and third segre- 
gations of the Twin Falls North Side Land & AVater 
Company, embracing 220,000 acres; that of the 
Twin Falls Salmon River Land & Water Com- 
pany, embracing 80,000 acres; and that of the 



384 THE POTATO 

Twin Falls Oakley Land & Water Company, with 
50,000 acres; also pumping projects covering 
100,000 acres. 

The achievements of these organizations are 
among the greatest in the history of irrigation and 
agriculture. 

To develop in the desert one of the richest 
agricultural districts in the world is to produce 
wealth for the state and nation, and make it won- 
derfully fast. 

More development per acre is made in five years 
under these big projects than was the case in the 
fertile corn belt in thirty. More capital is being 
used in developing farms now than ever before, and 
nowhere is this condition more marked than in 
this section of Idaho. 

The water supply of the greater part of the west- 
ern slope of the Rocky Mountain system is far in 
excess of the land available for irrigation. There 
can never be any question of an abundance of 
water for the irrigation of all of the lands in south- 
ern Idaho if it is properly cared for, and never any 
possible question about those with the first water 
rights. 

By actual test products grown in the irrigated 
districts of the West have a higher food value than 
those of any country where conditions are less favor- 
able for crop perfection. Soil, sunshine and moisture 
control are responsible for this. For instance, the 
average weight per bushel of the oats grown in the 
Middle West and East for 1908 and 1909 was 
twenty-four to twenty-six pounds. In the irri- 
gated Twin Falls country oats weigh thirty-eight 
to forty-nine pounds per bushel. A legal bushel is 
thirty-two pounds. Oatmeal manufacturers have 
found that oats produced bj^ irrigation contain 7 




ToLato di^'ging near Twin Falls 




Planet Jr. fuiixjwer or ridger lor hilling }>otatoes. 
attached to cultivators. Manulaclmcd hy S. F. A! 
Philadel])hia. Pa. 



These 



are 
Co., 




Polatoes near Jerome — junior author in field. Photo taken 

August 10, 1000 




Irrigating potatoes near Wendell 
SCENES IN THK TWIN FALLS COUNTRY, IDAHO 



THE POTATO 385 

per cent, more meat as compared with hull than 
any other oats they have milled. Idaho sugar- 
beets have a high sugar content, and Secretary of 
Agriculture James Wilson, the father of sugar-beet 
industry on this continent, has said that it would be 
possible for Idaho to supply the United States with 
its sugar. Idaho fruit is high in nutriment and 
sugar content, because these elements are elabo- 
rated by the plant in the presence of sunshine. Its 
delicious flavor and fine texture are very marked. 
Meat produced from rich grasses is in turn high 
in food value. 

One of the most important factors in the estab- 
lishment of a market for all high class agricultural 
products is the uniform permanency of supply. 
The conditions are under such perfect control, and 
the Twin Falls country is of such extent, that this 
is absolutely provided for. 

The Twin Falls country of southern Idaho is in 
about the centre of what is commonly called the 
Snake River lava plains. Until the recent appli- 
cation of water to large tracts of land here it has 
been known as the Snake River desert. It was 
never a barren desert, however, but covered with a 
growth of desert plants and grasses, making an 
excellent winter stock range. 

Geologists report that southern Idaho was orig- 
inally a rough, rocky country, the rocks being 
granite, rhyolite quartzite, and limestone. The 
valley of the ancient Snake River was broad and 
several valleys opened out from it into the moun- 
tains to the north and the south. After the river 
had worn to a deep channel, a flow of lava or a 
volcanic upheaval obstructed it in the western part 
of the state, and a lake covering a large part of the 
Snake River plains was formed. This lake was 



386 THE POTATO 

gradually filled up with wash and sediment, and 
with dust blown from volcanoes. In places this 
sediment is known to be 1,000 feet deep. Flows of 
lava from numerous vents, and deposits blown in 
by the wind, added to the superstructure of the 
country. The lava flows to the eastward of the 
lake region have been covered with wash from the 
mountains, dust blown from the old lake bed and 
lava dust from old volcanoes. The disintegration 
of lava rock has also probably added to the present 
soil. While in one way a plain, the Snake River 
country is more or less broken, making soil drain- 
age perfect. The valley is surrounded by moun- 
tains rising from a few hundred to 6,000 feet above 
the plains, and 7,000 to 10,000 feet above the sea 
level. 

The lava ash soil of the Twin Falls country is fine 
in texture. It is classed as an arid or desert soil in 
comparison with those of the rain belt. Soils 
found in a country of light rainfall, where irrigation 
is absolutely essential for the production of maxi- 
mum yields of most crops, are high in the min- 
eral elements of fertility because the soluble 
salts have never been leached out bv the rains. 
Muck, peat or sour acid soils are not found in the 
Twin Falls country. A large number of tests of 
samples of arid and humid soils shows that the 
average arid soils contain three times as much 
potash, thirteen times as much lime, and six times 
as much magnesia as the humid soils. There is 
less humus in an arid soil. Humus is one of the 
chief sources of nitrogen, and nitrogen is one of the 
principal elements of plant food. The humus of an 
arid soil, however, contains three times as much 
nitrogen as the humus of a humid soil. Limestone 
soils are usually rich in phosphorus, and it is 




>» 

u^ 



O 

05 






— r. 

- =0 



o - 



y - 



THE POTATO 387 

proverbial that "a limestone country is a rich 
country." The average per centage of lime in 
clay soils is .617. In the lava ash soil of the 
Twin Falls North Side tract there is 4.5 per cent. 
An acid soil is almost invariably a hard soil to grow 
crops on. As a general statement, all good soils 
show an alkali reaction — that is, they contain more 
alkali salts than acids. 

The fact that the soil f)f the Snake River plains 
is partly an seolian or wind deposit classes it with 
the richest soils in the world. It is the deposits 
of the dust of ages swept from a desert country in 
addition to the lava dust from volcanic eruptions. 
The fine particles of soil are those from which the 
rootlets of the plant obtain their chief food supply. 
The Twin Falls North Side soil classes as 100 per 
cent. fine. In the regions embracing these fine, 
rich deposits there are dust storms while the coun- 
try is a desert, but after irrigation and cultivation, 
with the consequent filling of the soil with moisture 
and vegetation, dust storms do not occur. The 
great plains of North America, including a large 
part of the Mississippi Valley, is a wind deposited 
loess or loam. The fertile loess soil region in 
northwestern China, which supports a dense 
population, is of seolian origin. The soil of the 
Twin Falls country consists of a mixture of the 
finest particles of the deposits from the disintegra- 
tion of the rock of the mountains and plains, the 
wash of the same, and dust blown off the lake de- 
posits to the west and south. 

The altitude of the Twin Falls country is from 
2,800 to 4,800 feet. It lies just south of the 43d 
degree of north latitude, almost centrally north and 
south in that section around the globe in which has 
been made the major part of the world's prog- 



388 THE POTATO 

ress. It is about 400 miles east of the Pacific 
Ocean, 1,320 miles west of Lake Michigan, 432 
miles south of the Canadian line, and 700 miles 
due north of the mouth of the Colorado River 
at the Gulf of California. Three mountain ranges 
separate the Snake River Valley from the Pacific 
Ocean. The main range of the Rockies protects 
it on the north and east from the moisture-laden 
winds of the Japan current and from the fury 
of winds and bhzzards that are common in the 
plains country of the eastern slope. This makes 
the air dry, and while not free from winds or from 
some rain and snow, destructive wind is not known. 
The freedom from blizzards and excessive changes, 
and the perfect altitude, make possible the greatest 
perfection in all crops. 

The growing season is comparatively long and 
the combination of cloudless, hot days, rich soil, and 
irrigation water in the growing season matures 
crops of quality and great quantity. The annual 
precipitation is about fourteen inches; the number 
of clear sunny days average annually 300; the 
highest temperature 101 degrees; and the lowest 
12 to 20 degrees below zero. The dry climate 
makes prostrations from heat unknown. There 
are some snowstorms in winter, as everywhere in 
this zone, and in the transformation of the desert 
wind and dust storms occasionally occur. Almost 
all of the rainfall is in winter and spring, making 
the growing and harvesting season practically free 
from profit losing storms. The last killing frost in 
the spring is about May 15th, and the first in the 
fall about September 25tli. 

Southern Idaho soil has demonstrated that it 
contains the elements required to make deliciously 
flavored potatoes, especially where the quality of 



THE POTATO 389 

water applied is under absolute control, as with 
irrigation. 

Potatoes grow best in a mellow, deep, easily 
worked, rich soil, one that docs not bake and is 
well drained. Soils classed as sandy loam and 
volcanic ash are excellent. Drainage is important, 
as the water table should be at least three feet 
below the surface. With the gradual but marked 
fall of the Twin Falls North Side tract to the south 
and wTst toward the Snake River, and the numer- 
ous draws and coulees, it is one of the best drained 
tracts of land in the world. 

A light, fine soil is easily worked. It responds 
more quickly to culture, and the potatoes at digging 
time come out clean and free from dirt, and keep 
better. Soil and crop experts, without exception, 
class the soils on the Twin Falls North Side tract 
as perfect for the growing of potatoes. It is chem- 
ically right, and has produced crops that have 
never been equalled in quality anywhere. The 
tubers grown in it are smooth, clear skinned, con- 
tain a high per centage of solid matter, are firm, of 
excellent flavor, and when dry come out of the 
ground as clean as new dollars from the mint. 
Besides that, the yield per hill and per acre is very 
large. 

The principal shipping points in this territory 
are Idaho Falls, American Falls, Rupert, Burley, 
Turn Falls, Buhl, Jerome, Wendell, Gooding, 
Bliss, Mountain Home, Pampa, Boise, Caldwell, 
Payette, and Weiser — all in Idaho. 

In the Burley potato contest in 1910, L. A. and W. 
L. Snyder of Twin Falls, Idaho, won the first prize of 
$500. The production on one acre was 38,685 
pounds gross weight. The weight of culls was 4,150 
pounds, making 34,535 pounds, or 575§ bushels, of 



390 THE POTATO 

marketable potatoes. The variety was Dalmeny 
Challenge. 

Following is the story of how the first prize po- 
tatoes were grown, as told by the growers: 



ce- 



lt will be necessary to give a brief account of 
our previous experience and observations along 
this line in order to impress upon the farmer the 
fact that he can do equally as well if he will use his 
powers of observation and a little study along with 
his work. 

"We partly owe our success to attending farm- 
ers' institutes and demonstration trains, and mak- 
ing a study of the different farmers' bulletins and 
articles on potato culture by E. H. Grubb and 
others. We do not mean to infer that we followed 
any set rules, but whenever we read an article we 
always compared it with our methods and acted 
accordingly; so that in reading this, all we expect 
the farmer to do is to compare it with his con- 
ditions and methods. We are confident that our 
record will be broken within a year or two, still we 
are pleased to be the first to prove it possible on our 
soils. 

"W^e came to the Twin Falls tract in the fall of 
1905 and have raised a few potatoes each year 
since. Our first experience was with mixed run- 
out seed, and it kept getting w^orse each year. We 
had about decided to quit the potato business when 
Mr. Grubb shipped in some seed from his farm in 
Colorado in the spring of 1908. In this car were 
Red and White Peachblow, Dalmeny Challenge, 
and Dalmeny Beauty potatoes. The Peachblow 
had been grown in Colorado for years, while the 
Challenge and Beauty were imported from Scot- 
land two years previous by Mr. Grubb. We sold 



THE POTATO 391 

our run-out stock at 70 cents per 100 pounds and 
bought some of this seed at $2.80 per 100; and can 
say that it was the best investment we ever made 
in the potato hne. The crops raised from this seed 
were superior in quahty and yield; still the yield 
w^as far from what was claimed for them in Scot- 
land. In the fall of 1909 we had one patch which 
yielded 430 bushels per acre. This crop was raised 
on sagebrush land, which had been cropped twice, 
but had had a light manuring. 

"By this time we were curious to see what we 
could do on alfalfa land. So in the fall of 1909 we 
'crowned' four acres of alfalfa as shallow as possi- 
ble, plowing with sharp plows to cut alfalfa crowns. 
This alfalfa w^as planted in the spring of 1906. 
The first two years (including the summer of 1906) 
it was cut for hay, the next year it was pastured by 
hogs, about ten head per acre, and the next year 
it was again cut for hay. We had intended to 
harrow the crowns to the surface, but we had a 
wet spell and a freeze immediately after and as a 
consequence all the crowns were alive next spring. 

"When the Burley prize w^as offered last spring 
(1910) W'C decided to enter this contest. We en- 
tered for several reasons. In the first place there 
was nothing to lose; there was a great opportunity 
to learn by comparing our methods with those of 
the winner; and, again, there was a chance to win. 
In trying to decide how to proceed in order to get 
the best results, a great many questions confronted 
us, as for instance: How much manure can we 
apply without getting scab.'^ How close can we 
plant without sacrificing the size of the potato and 
the yield .^ What size seed will give the best re- 
sults.^ How is it possible to get a perfect stand? 
Realizing that the practical educational value of 



392 THE POTATO 

the contest would be lost, so far as a yield crop was 
concerned, if the winner did all the work by 
hand on a single acre, we decided to use horses 
and machinery in all our operations. 

"In order to break the crust which had formed 
over the field during the winter we used a double- 
action disk harrow, which always leaves the surface 
level, being a marked improvement over the ordi- 
nary disk-harrow. This was followed with a drag 
harrow and was harrowed several times at inter- 
vals of one week. By the time we w^ere ready to 
plow nearly all the alfalfa was dead. All this disk- 
ing and harrowing had thoroughly mixed the 
manure with the soil, and had created a dust 
mulch over the field. Being afraid of scab, we had 
only applied twelve loads of manure per acre. 
This was put on in the spring while we were killing 
the alfalfa. Being so thoroughly mixed with the 
soil and plowed under so deep, we had no scab, and 
could have apphed more and still have been safe 
so far as scab was concerned. Before plowing we 
corrugated and irrigated. We did this for several 
reasons: First, to help get a better stand; second, 
to carry the crop as long as possible without any 
further irrigation, as we have found that the longer 
the plants can grow and develop without needing 
any further irrigation the better the results ; third, 
to cause the manure to rot and get in a shape that 
the plants could use; fourth, to supply enough 
moisture so that the soil would pack (not bake) 
after it was plowed. It is always better to irri- 
gate before plowing, as the plowing replaces the 
air that the water has driven out. 

"As soon as the ground was dry enough it was 
plowed from ten to twelve inches deep. As the 
surface soil had been worked many times before 



THE POTATO 393 

plowing, it was very fine and made a perfect C(3n- 
tact with the bottom of the furrow. This is verv 
important and w^e find it pays to disk before plow- 
ing for any crop. After plowing, it was harrowed 
twice in order to pack the soil and create a dust 
mulch on top. This harrowing was very beneficial, 
as a soil which is comparatively compact with a 
dust mulch on top will hold moisture longer than 
one which is loose clear to the bottom of the fur- 
row. 

"WTiile we were preparing the soil we had been 
getting the seed ready. The seed w^as selected true 
to type, and as near the same size as possible. We 
cut the seed more to conform with the needs of the 
planter than to our own ideas. Part of this seed 
had been hill-selected. We found that the planter 
planted a piece about the size of a hen's egg to best 
advantage, so we cut our seed in squares about that 
size. In cutting a potato we always used as manj'^ 
cuts from the seed end as possible, each piece hav- 
ing one or two eyes. The seed was treated with 
formaldehyde as per directions. 

"As we had decided to do all the work with 
horses and machinery, w^e w^ent to considerable 
expense and delay to get a planter which would 
plant a perfect stand in preference to planting by 
hand. An Iron Age Planter was used. Acre No. 1 
was planted from four to five inches deep with 
Dalmeny Challenge, the rows being thirty-three 
inches apart and the sets eight inches in the rows. 
Acre No. 2 was planted the same distance, with 
White Peachblow. Being doubtful as to results of 
planting eight inches in rows, we planted acre No. 
3 with Red Peachblows, the same as acre No. 1, 
except that the sets were twelve inches apart. 
The eight-inch planting required 1,750 pounds of 



394 THE POTATO 

cut seed per acre and the twelve-inch planting 
1,250 pounds. 

"The planting was commenced May 21st. The 
planter was set to ridge the hills quite high. Im- 
mediately after planting, the land was 'packed' 
with a float made from four two-inch planks ten 
feet long. These planks are nailed together 
parallel to each other, overlapping about two 
inches. This float runs over the high ridges in 
the same direction the planter ran, presses the 
dirt around the set, and being that it leaves the 
surface smooth has a tendency to bring the mois- 
ture up to the seed. The ground should be har- 
rowed in a few days, or too much moisture will 
be lost. 

"Acre No. 1 yielded 645 bushels, which was over 
100 bushels more than No. 2, and was of a superior 
quality, showing the difference in variety. Acre 
No. 2 yielded more than No. 3, which would indi- 
cate that planting eight inches in the row was bet- 
ter than twelve inches on this particular piece of 
ground. The percentage of small potatoes was no 
greater in the eight-inch planting than in the 
twelve-inch planting. On the whole, the per- 
centage of small potatoes was less than in the 
average crop. 

"Too much cannot be said of the importance of 
a good stand. It costs no more to irrigate and 
cultivate a perfect stand, and the line between 
success and failure often depends on this point. 
A more uniform size is produced with a perfect 
stand, as big, over-sized tubers are more apt to 
develop where they have too much room." 

Seed potatoes from Mt. Sopris Farm have given 
good results in Idaho. Mr. Alan P. Senior of Twin 



THE POTATO 395 

Falls, in a letter to H. A. Stroud, recites the fol- 
lowing : 

"I purchased from you last year (1908) some 
seed Red Peachblow potatoes that you secured for 
me from Eugene H. Grubb of the Mt. Sopris 
Farm, Carbondale, Col. I planted these potatoes 
on May 15th, and had a perfect stand. My yield 
was 530 bushels to the acre. I irrigated twice, the 
first time when the blossoms were on and the 
second time about a week later. I believe in 
thorough cultivation, and went over my potatoes 
five times. I hilled these potatoes up just as high 
as possible to get the ridges with the cultivator, and 
am going to get them higher next year by the use of 
a machine that will throw the dirt higher than a 
cultivator. 

" I also planted a few of the Dalmeny Beauty and 
Dalmeny Challenge potatoes, and liked them so well 
that I intend to try them further next year. 

*'I took from one row, 1,100 feet long, of Red 
Peachblows, twenty sacks of potatoes that ran 
over 100 pounds to the sack — over a ton of 
potatoes. I sold these potatoes for $27.40. 

"Any one can raise potatoes in this country — 
potatoes of the highest yield and finest ciu;dity. 
It is only a question of intelligent cultivation and 
not too much water. 

*'A11 of my potatoes and garden produce were 
grown between rows of young apple trees that 
I planted three years ago next spring." 



CHAPTER XXXIV 

THE NORTHWEST 

IN THIS classification we have arbitrarily 
grouped the states of Washington, Oregon, 
and Utah. Idaho, Colorado, and California 
are considered separately. Conditions in Wyom- 
ing and Montana are very similar to those in 
Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and Idaho. 

There are great possibilities for enlargement of 
the industry in districts in the states covered in 
this chapter. 

UTAH 

Utah has a comparatively large acreage that is 
admirably adapted to the growing of potatoes. 
Both soil and climate are suited to the crop. 
Prof. L. A. Merrill, agronomist in charge of arid 
farms for the Experiment Station of the Utah 
Agricultural College, and Director of Agricultural 
Extension Work, furnishes the following infor- 
mation : 

*'The average date of planting potatoes in this 
state varies from May 1st to 15th, and the average 
date of harvesting is from September 5 th to Oc- 
tober 1st, making the length of the growing season 
about four and one half months. 

"Potatoes require for their proper development 
a deep, rich, sandy loam. We have found that 
they do not thrive on a heavy clay or lumpy soil, 

396 



THE POTATO 397 

neither do they do well on a rocky soil. We have 
in our state large areas of the very best type of 
soil for the production of potatoes. In 1910 Utah 
produced 2,432,000 bushels of potatoes on 16,000 
acres, or an average of 152 bushels per acre. 

*'Most of the potatoes in the state are grown in 
the following counties and I am giving them in 
their order of importance as potato-growing sec- 
tions: Salt Lake, Utah, Davis, Sevier, Weber, 
Morgan, Cache, Wasatch, Emery, San Pete, 
Boxelder. The seed is mostly home-grown and is 
as a rule not well selected. The main factor con- 
tributing most to the discouragement of the potato 
growers of this state is the lack of good seed. In 
this state this year we have a number of illustra- 
tions. On the farm of Mr. H. J. Cannon, West 
Jordan, Utah, recently I observed a field of home- 
grown side by side with potatoes grown in Colorado, 
and it was certainly an object lesson favorable 
to the imported seed. 

**The following varieties are grown: Eureka, 
Six Wrecks, Early Roast, Early Ohio, Royal Duch- 
ess, Dalmeny Challenge, Russett, Peerless, Free- 
man, Twentieth Century, Uncle Sam, Sir Walter 
Raleigh, Hammond, Maggie Murphy, Peachblow, 
White Pearl, Majestic, Farmer. 

"As a rule the ground for potatoes is prepared 
by manuring it for winter, plowing it as soon as the 
land is ready in the spring, harrowing immediately 
after the plowing. When planting time comes the 
land is marked off with a marker and a furrow is 
made some four to eight inches deep with a shallow 
plow. In this furrow the seed is dropped; it is then 
covered with the regular plank or log leveler, and 
usually two harrowings are given the patch before 
the plant appears above the ground. The field is 



398 THE POTATO 

cultivated three or four times after the plants are 
up, the cultivation being done with a regular horse 
cultivator and with a small shovel plow. They 
are usually irrigated four times. During the first 
two irrigations which are given, one before blos- 
soming and one just after blossoming time, the 
water is run in every other row, the second time 
running the water in the row alternately with the 
rows in which the water was run the first time. 
The last two irrigations are given as the plants 
show need of water. As a rule twenty acre inches 
of water are applied during the season. 

*'In harvesting I have noted that those who are 
growing early potatoes use the centre-draft hand- 
plow and gather by hand to prevent peeling the 
thin-skinned tubers. In many localities regular 
machines for digging are used, and wherever used 
are giving entire satisfaction. 

"Potatoes are stored both in pits and cellars. 
Pits are made by digging a trench four feet wide 
and one foot deep and as long as necessary. The 
bottom of this is then covered with four inches of 
straw. The potatoes that are being stored are 
then placed in the pit and covered with about six 
inches of straw, about six inches of earth is then 
put on the straw, leaving ventilation holes about 
every eight feet. These ventilation holes should 
have an extra whisp of straw in them. A trench 
is now dug around the pit to insure good drainage. 
Where cellars are used care is taken that they shall 
be particularly well ventilated. 

*'Utah potatoes last year were shipped to Chey- 
enne, Wyo.; Butte and Helena, Mont.; Denver and 
Pueblo, Col.; Topeka, Kan.; Kansas City, Mo.* 
Austin, Houston, and Galveston, Texas; San 
Francisco, Sacramento, and Los Angeles, Cal.; 



THE POTATO 399 

Portland, Ore.; Spokane, Seattle, and Tacoma, 
Wash. 

"The potato fields in the state are usually small, 
ranging from one acre to about thirty. The aver- 
age size field is about five acres. Around Smith- 
field the people rotate, planting sugar-beets one 
year and potatoes the next. This rotation can be 
practised onl}^ when the ground is well fertilized 
each year. In many places potatoes follow a 
leguminous crop, generally alfalfa; others have po- 
tatoes follow peas or beans, and still others have 
potatoes follow corn. Potatoes do best when they 
follow a leguminous crop. 

"Potatoes should receive more attention from 
the irrigation farmers of the state than they do. 
My opinion is that the potato is destined to become 
one of our leading crops and is bound to take its 
place in our permanent rotations for the land under 
the irrigation canals. We have the fertile soil, 
good climate, moisture control, and are fairly near 
to good markets, so that with the good quality 
which our properly grown potatoes have, the in- 
dustry in Utah ought to grow and prosper. " 

WASHINGTON 

R. W. Thatcher, Director of the Agricultural 
Experiment Station of the State College of Wash- 
ington, at Pullman, Wash., says that the industry 
of growing potatoes is a very extensive one in that 
state, and potatoes are grown commercially at every 
elevation from below sea level to ncarlv the snow 
line; and with every variation of rainfall from so 
little that irrigation is necessary up to 120 inches 
annually; and on almost every type of soil known 
to agriculture. 



400 THE POTATO 

"The peculiar climatic and soil conditions of 
Washington are especially favorable for the pro- 
duction of potatoes," writes A. G. Craig, Assistant 
Horticulturist of the same institution in 'Bulletin 
11.' 

"In many large sections of the state the atmos- 
phere is so dry during the summer that conditions 
are very unfavorable for the growth of fungous 
diseases on the foliage. We do not have in this 
state the Colorado beetle (potato bug), which is so 
destructive a pest in other potato-growing dis- 
tricts. There is little danger of overstocking the 
market for potatoes here. The Eastern demand 
for Washington grown potatoes is good and has 
rarely allowed the price to fall below $10 per ton in 
car lots in the past. In addition to this there is a 
rapidly increasing market for our potatoes in 
Alaska. There is no crop now grown in Washing- 
ton which shows greater variation in yield per acre 
than the potato. This is largely because of an 
erroneous idea that the potatoes as a crop do not 
need much attention. Many farmers give time 
and care to the potato crop only when there is 
nothing else to be done, and as a result the potato 
is neglected. This crop responds to good treat- 
ment to as great a degree as any other, and the 
grower who exercises proper care with his potatoes 
is always repaid in the yield and quality of his crop. 

"There are thousands of acres of land now de- 
voted to summer fallow which might produce 
good crops of potatoes with very httle additional 
expense, and yet leave the soil in better condition 
for wheat than it is under the present methods of 
summer fallowing. The average cost of producing 
potatoes in eastern Washington is a little less than 
five dollars per ton. The plowing and harrowing 



THE POTATO 40i| 

which would have to be done on the summer, f^HtiW) 
land if potatoes were not grown is included, in itb^. 
cost. Therefore, the potatoes grown in th^^.p|q,o0 
of summer fallow can be sold for a very lo\y pi^iCei 
and still leave a good balance. If the matk^t-. 
remains as high as it has been for many years ^, Dil^tl 
profit of $15 to $20 an acre from what w^ouldQ;thfirrt 
wise be idle land can easily be secured. ; ',i|j '\[ 

"A deep, friable, mellow loam, rich in l^i^nwiSn 
is the ideal soil for potatoes. Heavier soil$i'|liay 
give good results if well manured or by plp|vvii|g| 
under a clover or alfalfa sod. If the soil h(^$,rai^l 
tendency to pack, the tubers are restricted in.JI}|^f#j; 
growth and are often misshapen. Supplying jhu^^jUj^ I 
to such soils not only remedies this difficulty,, Ip^j 
making them more friable, but increases^/ thmV] 
water-holding capacity, thus insuring largeij |y^f J[^} 
per acre. The soil should always be put in] ^iQo4>, 
physical condition, as potatoes respond very f^-pflt?/ 
ably to good soil conditions. Light soils q^n/J^j 
worked earlier in the spring than clay soils ai)fii^]^Qr 
favor early maturity of the crop. They are,4tQri?rf 
fore, better for early potatoes. Potatoes $t4({>ji44i 
not be grown repeatedly on the same soil, ^q.;i?|io^t^! 
of the potato diseases live over in the soil. ,,,''! " 

*' Potato land should be plowed in the f^lV^^r 
allowed to lie rough during the winter. TJyis , [f)^7;^ 
vors the catching of winter moisture and all9[s>^i^ ,ih^ , 
subsurface soil to settle, and the surface (jap.,pq' 
worked earlier in the spring. If fall plo\vir^g; i^( 
impossible, the land should be disked in the)faH,^i 
that the surface may be rough and open tj||^9|Ugj^j 
the winter. Deep plowing usually gives ilby^t-er 
results than shallow. The plowed land shq^|(jtli^) 
well harrowed early in the spring and if not ^^i;]m^p4| 
diately planted it should be frequently harro\>]vii.Ha| 



402 THE POTATO 

order to conserve moisture and kill the weeds which 
start after the first harrowing. Spring plowed 
land should be harrowed immediately after the 
plow, to prevent loss of moisture. In the drier 
sections, some form of subsurface packer should 
follow the plow, and this should be immediately 
followed by the harrow to work up a surface mulch. 
If the soil plows up cloddy, a plank clod masher 
may profitably be used. 

*'The time of planting should be governed 
largely by the climate and the purposes for which 
the potatoes are grown. The potato plant needs 
ample moisture when the tubers are "setting," 
hence the grower should endeavor to have the 
plants reach that stage of development at the 
time when the moisture supply is likely to be 
favorable. For early new potatoes, the seed 
should be planted as early in the spring as the soil 
will permit, on light, warm soil. For late potatoes 
they may be planted as late as the middle of June, 
provided the moisture supply is ample and con- 
tinuous, but where summer rains cannot be de- 
pended upon, the earlier the potatoes are planted 
the better, if danger from frost is guarded against. 

"Enormous yields of potatoes have been secured 
under irrigation, but their cultivation is attended 
with some difiiculty. No other crop is so much 
dependent upon the skilful use of artificial water. 
The quality of irrigated potatoes may, or may not, 
be as good as that of those grown without irriga- 
tion. Good varieties, if well grown, will be good 
in quality either with or without irrigation. 

"Winter irrigation may be practised very suc- 
cessfully in potato growing. The fields should be 
flooded before plowing, and allowed to dry to a 
tillable condition. This insures perfect condition 



THE POTATO 403 

of the soil for working and for the early growth of 
the potato plants. The ordinary methods of eul- 
tivation may then be followed, without further 
addition of water, until about the time the plants 
blossom. At this stage of development the tubers 
are set, and it is then that an abundance of water 
is needed to give them good growth- After the 
water is once applied to the soil, it should not be 
allowed to become dry again until time for the 
crop to mature. If the soil is allowed to become 
dry at any time after the first apphcation of water 
and a subsequent irrigation is given, the tubers are 
sure to make a second growth and become knobby. 
Water should not be applied too late m the season, 
or the potatoes will not ripen properly. In all 
applications of irrigation water, care must be taken 
to avoid bringing it in direct contact with the 
growing tubers, as under such conditions the ten- 
dency for the potatoes to become scabby is in- 
creased. 

"If winter irrigation is not practised, the first 
water should be applied immediately after the seed 
is planted. Irrigated potatoes should be hilled, 
and the water applied between the rows. In ordi- 
nary soil, water applied in the middle of rows three 
feet apart satisfies the requirements of the grow- 
ing potatoes. The cultivator should follow each 
application of water. 

"'Sub-irrigated' lands, when not too wet or too 
strong with alkali, are most satisfactory for rais- 
ing potatoes. There are some localities where soils 
receive just enough seepage from irrigation ditches, 
or other water supplies, to keep in moist, friable 
condition throughout the season. These, with 
frequent shallow cultivation, produce the finest, 
smoothest tubers, with the least trouble and ex- 



404 THE POTATO 

pense. To produce uniform moisture conditions 
in the soil is the secret of successful irrigation, and 
this is the absolutely essential condition for the 
most profitable potato growing under irrigation." 

OREGON 

Oregon has earned an enviable reputation for 
quality of potatoes produced, and Oregon Bur- 
banks are very popular as seed tocks in California 
and elsewhere. 

The following description of Oregon conditions 
is by Prof. H. D. Scudder, Professor of Agronomy 
in the Oregon Agricultural College at Corvallis: 

*'The length of our growing season for potatoes 
is about seven months. Potatoes are generally 
planted the first two weeks in April and harvest is 
completed during the month of October. 

"The soils most commonly used for the potato 
crop here are sandy loams along the river bottoms 
and silt loams on the valley floor and on the hill- 
sides. Both these types of soil produce a very fine 
quality of potatoes and, where properly handled, 
nearly the same yields, the sandy loams, of course, 
maturing the potatoes earlier and giving a larger 
yield if anything, as a rule. The silt loams, on the 
other hand, especially on the red hill lands, pro-, 
duce a very fine quality of potato. 

"The chief potato district in the state is the 
Willamette Valley, especially at its lower or north- 
ern end. The Umpqua Valley and the Rogue 
River Valley also are potato-growing districts, al- 
though of lesser importance. 

"All our potato seed is home-grown. The chief 
varieties are the Burbank and American Wonder, 



THE POTATO 405 

which are grown as table varieties, and the Early 
Rose, which is grown as a seed potato and shipped 
to Cahfornia. The Garnet and Peerless are also 
growTi to a lesser extent for the same purpose as the 
Early Rose. 

"The preparation of the land here generally con- 
sists in early spring plowing, harrowing and disking, 
then seeding immediately to the potatoes. On the 
smaller fields the potatoes are generally planted by 
hand and covered by the plow or with the hoe. In 
all the fields of any size, how^ever, the planting is 
done with a planting machine. The more careless 
farmers give but little cultivation to the potato 
crop, sometimes merely harrowing the land a 
couple of times before the potatoes are up. The 
more successful growlers, however, not only harrow 
the potatoes two or three times before they are up, 
using the weeder after they are up, but then use a 
row cultivator two or three times to complete the 
cultivation. Where such thorough cultivation Is 
given the most excellent results are obtained. 

"Irrigation Is not required at all for potatoes in 
western Oregon. They are never irrigated In the 
Willamette Valley at the present time, although in 
years to come there Is no doubt that the yield may 
be slightly increased by Irrigation when more 
intensive farming methods require the highest 
yields obtainable. In the Rogue River Valley the 
potatoes are sometimes Irrigated, but this Is not 
the common practice. Of course. In eastern 
On^gon wherever potatoes are grown on a commer- 
cial scale, at least, Irrigation is used, as a rule. 
Potatoes in eastern Oregon, however, are grown 
only, as a rule, In amounts sufficient to supply the 
local markets. On the dry-farming wheat land 
in eastern Oregon the farmers are just beginning 



406 THE POTATO 

to produce potatoes for home consumption, and 
they are obtaining very fair yields of very high 
quahty tubers. In fact, potatoes, grown under 
dry-farming conditions in eastern Oregon on the 
silt loams, or volcanic ash soils, as they are called, 
I believe to be the finest flavored and finest quality 
that I have ever seen. 

"Potatoes are harvested in all the large com- 
mercial fields by a machine digger, in the smaller 
fields by hand with the spade, or sometimes merely 
by plowing them up. Those potatoes which are 
stored are often merely dumped in bins in an 
ordinary w^arehouse, but the best growers, in those 
cases where they make a practice of storing them, 
are putting up specially constructed warehouses 
which are properly insulated w^ith saw^dust in the 
w^alls and with special ventilation to keep the po- 
tatoes in the best possible shape over winter. 
Practically no protection is required here against 
freezing, as that rarely occurs with our mild cli- 
mate. What protection is used is generally merely 
to maintain equable temperature and humiditj^ 

"The Oregon potato crop is practically all 
marketed at Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco, 
all the Early Rose and other varieties raised as a 
seed crop, being marketed in the last city. 

"The cost of growing, of course, varies a great 
deal, but under good methods it will average from 
twelve to fifteen cents per bushel in the bin, this 
figure including interest on the investment. The 
profit, where the potato crop is grown as a regular 
part of the rotation, will average $40 or $50 per 
acre net. 

"No artificial fertilizers are used, the only fertil- 
izer of any kind so far used or recommended being 
a cover crop of vetch and rye or vetch and oats 



THE POTATO 407 

sown in the fall and plowed under when twelve or 
twenty inches high early in the 8j)ring. The vetch, 
on account of its very high nitrogen content and 
nitrogen gathering ability, makes, of course, a 
wonderfully good covering and green manuring 
crop. 

"The size of the farms on which potatoes are 
grown in Oregon is about 100 acres, and the 
potato field is anywhere from five to sixty acres 
in size. A ten-acre field is generally considered 
a pretty good size field of potatoes, and forty 
or fifty acre potato fields are only had by those 
growers who are making a speciality of this 
product. 

"The big growers are beginning to use system in 
the culture and marketing of this crop, as well as 
using rotations which will keep the ground in the 
best condition. One of our best growers is using 
that old and everywhere very successful rotation 
of clover, followed by potatoes, followed by wheat, 
the first crop of clover being cut and left on the 
ground, and the second crop harvested for seed, the 
field being plowed early in the spring for potatoes. 
There are other rotations equally as good, but there 
are no special ones that have as yet been widely 
adopted. 

"Altogether, potato growing in Oregon is a very 
profitable industry, especially so where modern 
methods are employed and rotations are used. 
Year in and year out the market is high when com- 
pared with the potato market elsewhere and as yet 
no such thing as a potato disease or insect pest is 
known. As time goes on I think this crop will be 
more widely and intensively grown and one which 
will always prove excellent for including in rota- 
tions throughout Oregon." 



408 THE POTATO 

'lO '>yf') NEVADA 

})(iljii94 very fine book on Nevada, published by the 
Hprneseekers' Bureau of the Sunset Magazine, San 
Jiriaiwigco, CaL, in an article by C. A. Norcross, 
Commissioner of Agriculture of Nevada, it is 
stated that the potato is the principal export of the 
stfc|tei.Mi The Nevada potato has taken the first 
;aw^d/ at several fairs, international expositions, 
b^d [produce shows. It grows evenly, when prop- 
^T^y! cultivated, of uniform size, clear and healthy 
4k\Xii firm texture, free from disease, is not watery, 
iftrt^ when cooked is dry, mealy, and white as a 
snowdrift. It is no mean agricultural art to get 
jljhei I biest results in potato growing. It requires 
^Ofp^rJence and intelligence to know when and how 
'tKJipAant the crop, how deep the irrigation furrows 
shewed be and the precise quantity of water re- 
K^iiired* But where the art is mastered, the profits 
Ironi/ potato growing one year with another are 
Vtryngreat. The average yield is about six tons 
'tic>itjl^<e>acre, or 200 bushels, under any reasonably 
^killul: handling, but the leading potato growers of 
the! ist^te grow from eight to fifteen tons per acre. 
'JThlei average selling price is about $20 per ton, or 
60 cents per bushel. A net profit of $200 per acre 
^n the crop is not unusual in seasons of good prices. 
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CHAPTER XXXV 

CALIFORNIA 

CALIFORNIA occupies a similar position on 
the Pacific coast of the United States to 
that of the territory lying between Charles- 
ton and Boston on the Atlantic coast. There are 
158,360 square miles or 101,350,400 acres within 
its borders. A large part of this is mountain or 
desert, but the territory is so great that the total 
acreage of the arable valleys w^ould make a good- 
sized eastern state. 

The great interior valley in which the Sacra- 
mento and San Joaquin valleys lie is about 420 
miles long and has an average width of forty-five 
miles. 

California's greatest agricultural asset is its 
climate. Throughout southern California and the 
Great Central Valley the growing season is prac- 
tically^ twelve months long. During the winter 
there is some cold weather, but the thermometer 
rarely registers lower than freezing. Pastures pro- 
duce feed in the winter season, although less lux- 
uriantly than in summer; oranges ripen, and all 
kinds of vegetables make satisfactory growth. 

Potatoes will live over winter in the ground and 
make a volunteer crop the next season. 

Even though fruit and vegetable growing, dai- 
rying, and other lines of agriculture are highly 
developed in some sections of the state, the re- 
sources and possibilities for agricultural pursuit are 

409 



410 THE POTATO 

of such magnitude that they can be said to have 
been hardlv touched. 

The potato industry has been most largely 
developed in the vicinity of Stockton in the San 
Joaquin Valley, and in the Salinas and Lompoc 
valleys along the coast. The crop is grown every- 
where in the state, but not in a large commercial 
way, except in the places mentioned. 

There are splendid opportunities for developing 
an early potato proposition in the Sacramento 
Valley and elsewhere throughout the state. 

The first potatoes on the market alw^ays bring 
the high prices, and by the use of European meth- 
ods of storing and starting seed, the crop could be 
sold four to six weeks earlier than any now pro- 
duced. 

In the following are brief descriptions of Cali- 
fornia conditions: 

THE LOMPOC VALLEY 

The Lompoc (little hills) Valley is a very nar- 
row strip of country that extends up from the 
Pacific Ocean. The mainland juts out into the 
ocean somewhat at this point, so that the climate is 
tempered by the ocean both from the front and 
sides. The valley is about nine miles long and 
not over five miles wide at the widest part, having 
a total area of something less than 15,000 acres. 
It is in Santa Barbara County, 172 miles north of 
Los Angeles and 303 miles south of San Francisco. 
Lompoc (1,500 population), the only town in the 
vallev, is nine miles from the sea on a branch of 
the Southern Pacific Railroad connecting with the 
main coast line at Surf. 

All of the land in the valley and the surrounding 



THE POTATO 411 

foothills was originally embraced in a Mexican 
land grant. In 1874 this was bought by the Loni- 
poc Valley Land Company, subdivided and the 
town laid out. The land was sold in compar- 
atively small acreages, principally to people from 
Santa Cruz — a town farther north on the coast. 
One of the old Franciscan Missions (La Purissima) 
is in this valley. 

The Lompoc Valley is surrounded by hills 200 to 
300 feet high. At the coast, or at the mouth of the 
valley, the elevation is forty-five feet; at Lompoc, 
nine miles inland, it is ninety-three feet. Because 
of the ocean breezes the climate is cool and moist 
during the entire year. The highest average 
monthly temperature for twelve years is 75 degrees 
(for August), and the lowest 44 degrees (for De- 
cember). The average annual rainfall is eighteen 
inches, practically all in the winter. There are dry 
spells some years when irrigation would be bene- 
ficial, but good cultivation, in connection with the 
cool climate and sea breezes and fogs, is generally 
sufiicient to mature maximum crops Grains, 
potatoes and many seed crops grow to perfection, 
because there is no excessively hot weather. 
Mustard (German and English) is gro\\Ti com- 
mercially, and W. Atlee Burpee, the Philadelphia 
seedsman, selected this as ideal for growing sweet- 
pea and other seeds. A farm, with Edwin Lons- 
dale in charge, has been started by this concern for 
growing seeds commercially. 

The Pacific Garden of July, 1910, says that the 
summer temperature is so low that Lima beans do 
not mature seed. A temperature of 85 degrees is 
considered very high and 20 degrees very low. 

The district is one of small farms, forty acres 
being an average size. L. F. Shanklin is one of the 



412 THE POTATO 

largest potato growers, and he considers fifty acres 
a good size planting. Many growers have five 
to twenty acres. 

The total annual acreage of potatoes is from 
4,000 to 6,000. The average yield is 75 to 100 
sacks (150 to 200 bushels) per acre, making the 
production about 50,000 sacks (100,000 bushels), 
or about 165 cars. The other principal crops of 
the valley, those with which the potatoes are ro- 
tated, are: 

Mustard seed about 300,000 sacks of 100 pounds each 

Barley about 60,000 sacks of 100 pounds each 

Beans about 125,000 sacks of 90 pounds each 

Onions about 25,000 gacks 

There are places in the valley where orchards 
have been taken out for the growing of potatoes 
and other field crops, even though with proper care 
orchards pay well. In other places the Sugar 
Beet Company has bought land devoted to beans, 
potatoes and onions, for growing beets. These 
things show nothing but some of the inconsisten- 
cies of American agriculture. It is certainly not 
economically right that an apple orchard be torn 
out just because the owner does not like to "fuss" 
with fruit, or because he has changed his mind 
about growing apples. 

Lompoc is unique in that potatoes of the 
very highest quality are grown here at a low 
altitude and a southern latitude. The moist, 
cool atmosphere and the sea breezes make this 
possible. 

Potatoes have been grown at Lompoc ever since 
the first settlement, but it is only during the past 
five or six years that modern methods have been 
introduced. Now the cultural methods are strictly 



THE POTATO 413 

up to date, and improvement in seed work is com- 
ing very rapidly. 

Like almost every agricultural section in the 
"West, the soils are spotted. Here they range from 
a very heavy clay, locally called "blue mud," to 
pure drift sand. In tlic grades between these are 
the fine, well-aired, well-drained, fertile, easy-work- 
ing sandy loams that are known as the "potato 
lands. " The total area of such soils is not over 
7,000 to 8,000 acres. The water table on most of 
this best potato land is about twelve feet below the 
surface of the ground. 

The preparation of land for potatoes is most 
thorough, three important factors being kept in 
mind : 

'1) Conservation of moisture. 

(2) The making of a deep, mellow seed nest. 

(3) Killing weeds. 

After the crop is off the land in the fall, a heavy 
growth of volunteer grain and weeds starts up. 
In January, when this is one to two feet high, it is 
plowed under, generally eight to twelve inches deep. 
After this the ground is kept thoroughly w^orked 
and free from weeds until May. One of the pop- 
ular tools for making a mulch and killing weeds 
is a knife weeder and cultivator, consisting of 
blades attached under a solid frame. It is a local 
tool patented at Ventura, Cal. The cutaway disk 
harrow is also used for this winter working of the 
soil for killing weeds and conserving moisture. 
Another local tool is a jointed plank drag filled with 
harrow teeth. 

The plowing in January opens up the soil, 
permitting the easy absorption of the largest 
possil)le (juantities of winter rainfall. The almost 
continuous cultivation following this breaks the 



414 THE POTATO 

capillary, holding the moisture in the subsoil, and 
by killing the weeds keeps them from sapping 
moisture from the soil. The nettle is a bad weed 
for this, and growers state that wherever this weed 
is allowed to grow there is a dry spot the coming 
summer. 

About May 10th the ground is plowed again, 
this time ten to twelve inches deep. After this the 
cultivation is continued to keep weeds down and 
hold moisture. Potatoes are planted May 20th to 
June 20th. The Iron Age planter with a heavy 
press wheel behind is now quite generally used, 
although until the last four or five years the work 
was done largely by hand. The rows are thirty - 
six inches apart and the pieces dropped fifteen to 
seventeen inches apart in the row. BurbaJik ig 
the only variety grown in the valley, and the best 
product is a most beautiful potato, absolutely 
clean and clear-skinned, with a very fine netting 
that indicates a mature potato of excellent quahty. 
The best growers now want a medium-sized potato, 
with shallow "eyes" and square shoulders, a 
"spud" that nicely fills the "fist" of a good-sized 
man. Some extra large potatoes are grown, and 
"Peerless" (a big, rough variety here) yields up 
to 400 sacks per acre. 

The seed is almost entirely imported from 
Oregon. Seed is generally used two years follow- 
ing the introduction before another change is made. 
The theory is that seed from a cold northern cli- 
mate is necessary, but L. F. Shanklin believes that 
the greatest cause of the so-called "running out" 
of seed is poor selection. The practice is to sell all 
the best potatoes and select seed from the seconds 
and culls or "cow feed" remaining on the fann in 
the spring. He is planning to select his seed from 



THE POTATO 415 

staked and selected hills that produce healthy 
tops and satisfactory hills, then by planting whole 
seed from such hills he expects to increase yields 
rather than have them decrease. 

Seed is greened with sun and generally cut in 
very small pieces, sometimes to one eye, about 600 
pounds per acre being the average amount used. 
Because of this the stand is often poor and all of the 
plants do not always start as strong and vigorous 
as they would if a larger seed piece furnished more 
nourishment for the starting of the plant. Mr. 
Shanklin believes the yield can be increased 30 to 
50 per cent, by seed selection and the use of larger 
seed with the same good cultivation methods now 
used. From one hill that volunteered from a whole 
tuber he dug seventeen big potatoes. 

Lompoc potatoes are grow^n by the high ridging 
system, the aim being to get as high and big a ridge 
as possible. A heavy soil mulch is kept all over 
this ridge and there are heaA^ dews and fogs almost 
daily. This moist, open, well-aired ridge is an 
ideal place for the perfect development of the 
tubers. 

The ridging begins with the first cultivation 
after planting. There are generally two culti- 
vations and the final ridging. This is done with a 
special ridger which is illustrated. 

Potatoes are harvested in November with horse- 
power diggers, the Douden and O. K. Champion 
being generally used. A long apron and low wheels 
on the digger are good things in this very loose 
soil. 

Potatoes are stored in long ricks in the field and 
in big warehouses in Lompoc. The climate is such 
that when piled loose in big ricks twelve feet wide 
at the base, six feet high and often several hundred 



416 THE POTATO 

feet long, the potatoes keep with no other protection 
than mustard .straw or some other hght covering 
that simply keeps off the light frosts. It must not 
mat or shed water, or it will mold. These piles 
are soaked through repeatedly with the rains and 
no damage is done tliereby to the potatoes. They 
keep all right until well into the spring; if piled 
east and west instead of north and south, some 
potatoes on the north side always frost. 

Ten Japanese laborers will pick up the potatoes 
as fast as one digger will take them from the gTound, 
or six acres per day of eighty sacks per acre. The 
Japs cost $1.75 a day, or $17.50 for picking up 480 
two-bushel sacks — a little over 3 cents a sack. 
Potatoes are sacked as fast as dug, but the sacks 
are left in the field to dry out for a day before being 
piled in the ricks. 

A large part of the crop is sold to brokers at 
digging time. The quality of the Lompoc and 
Salinas potatoes is such that they generally bring 
$1 to $1.50 per hundred as they come from the 
field. The crop is graded into firsts, seconds, and 
"cow feed. " The firsts are smooth, even, medium- 
sized potatoes, the pick of the crop; seconds con- 
tain more small and large and the uneven potatoes, 
but are all sound; "cow feed" includes all cut, bad 
and very small tubers. 

A popular rotation of crops at Lompoc is pota- 
toes, beans, onions, potatoes, potatoes, beans, etc. 
The soil is naturally very Tich, all recent alluvial, 
and there are frequent overflows from the streams 
depositing silt. For tliis reason there has been 
practically no commercial fertilizer used. Green 
manuring with legumes is not done (the weather is 
too cool for affaffa to do well), and animal manures 
iire not used to any extent. In fact, there is very 



THE POTATO 417 

little stock kept in the valley except for work. Of 
course, range cattle are kept in the hills. It is 
essential!}" a special crop valley, but some day 
fertilization will be given more attention. 

The authors are indebted to T. L. Harris, L. F. 
Shanklin, A. G. Balaam, Secretary Chamber of 
Commerce, and others for valuable information 
and many courtesies shown during a visit to 
Lompoc. 

THE SALINAS VALLEY 

In many ways the Salinas Valley is very similar 
to Lompoc. It is on the coast, between Lompoc 
and San Francisco. 

The maximum temperature is about 91, the min- 
imum 28, or a little lower. Citrus fruits are not 
grown commercially. 

The principal crops are potatoes, sugar-beets, 
deciduous fruits, and dairy cow feed. 

The methods of cultivation and harvesting are 
not as good as at Lompoc. 

Seed is imported from Oregon every third year 
by many growers. The seed stock is best the 
second year, or that following its introduction. 
The Burbank variety is grown exclusively. 

The potatoes grown at Salinas are as smooth as 
eggs — average from four to twelve ounces in size, 
and have a beautiful, clear, netted skin. 

The best soil is a sort of sandv loam, verv mellow 
and easily worked. There are but a few himdred 
acres of this character, however, the balance being 
heavier. 

When potatoes are not grown continuously on 
the land, the system is, grain, potatoes, sugar- 
beets. No fertilizing is done, and cover crops are 
not used. 



418 THE POTATO 

The land sells for $100 to $500 an acre when of- 
fered, but there is practically none for sale. The 
entire valley was originally taken up by Mexican 
land grants and some of these have not yet been 
subdivided. 

The seed stock is stored in straw-covered ricks, 
and sprouted once or twice before planting. 

The land is plowed twice with a three-gang disk 
plow, ten inches deep; harrowed twice, cultivated 
twice, and hoed twice. The crop is dug by hand, 
Japanese labor being used. They do the hand 
labor for 30 per cent, of the crop. 

Growers estimate that it costs $25 an acre to 
produce the crop. Seed cut to two to four ounces 
is used. 

The crop of the valley is about 25,000 sacks. 
The yield is thirty -five to seventy sacks, of 100 
to 110 pounds each, to the acre. 

STOCKTON 

The Stockton district is now one of the biggest 
potato-producing sections in the world, area con- 
sidered. 

The crops are grown in the lowlands in and along 
the San Joaquin River, in a rich alluvial soil, some 
of it containing a large percentage of decayed vege- 
table matter. 

The " tule " lands on the islands in the San Joa- 
quin river are made up of the decayed vegeta- 
tion of many years, and being subject to overflow, 
this has had some silt incorporated with it. In re- 
claiming these lands they are surrounded by big 
levees. Deep drains are cut through the land, 
with shallower drains emptying into them. These 
smaller drains are about 40 feet apart. During 



THE POTATO 419 

high water time in the river an excess of water on 
the land is pumped out of the ditches and over the 
levees by inunense electrically operated j)umps. 
When irrigation is needed it can be let through 
the dikes or the same pumps can be used to pumi> 
water from the river back into the ditches. When 
the ditches are filled the land absorbs the moisture 
readily. When the land is dry there is danger 
from fire, and this is very hard to control when it 
gets into the subsoil. A complete fire fighting force 
is maintained. 

The potatoes are taken to railroad shipping points 
on boats, and commission men and dealers re-sort 
before selling to retailers. 

Disease develops rapidly in this moist, rich soil. 
Careful rotation of crops and perfect control of 
moisture is necessary to control and prevent dis- 
eases. 

Practically the entire crop in the district is 
grown by Japanese and Chinese, Portuguese, and 
Hindus. Large areas are rented at from $12 to 
$30 per acre, and sublet in smaller lots to the Japs 
or Chinese on a share basis, the landlord furnishing 
land, implements, and seed for 49 per cent, of the 
crop. 

Seed of the Burbank variety from Oregon is 
universally used. New seed is secured every two 
years, so that the only home-grown seed used is 
that produced the first year from imported stocks. 

The planting period extends from January loth 
to July, and the harvesting is continuous from 
May to January. 

Eight sacks (about 100 pounds to the sack) of 
cut seed are planted per acre, and the yield is from 
80 to 150 sacks per acre. 

The potatoes are planted when the land is 



420 THE POTATO 

plowed, the seed being dropped by hand in e very- 
third row. 

The crop is irrigated four to five times and cul- 
tivated twice. 

The digging is all done by hand. 

The men are paid $50 per month and board, and 
they work eleven hours a day. 

The rotation of crops practised is potatoes, 
then barley or onions. Potatoes are never planted 
twice in succession on the same ground. 

The Piatt Commission Company of Stockton 
handles a large tonnage of potatoes. Their chief 
buj^er is a Chinese '*boy " who has been with them 
since 1878. He is considered the most competent 
buyer in California and draws a salary commen- 
surate with his services. 

Potatoes are often shipped from Stockton 
before they are fully ripe. They are then loaded 
in double decks in the cars, but the sacks are set on 
end instead of being corded up lying flat. By 
loading on end the air circulates all around the 
sack. The crop marketed from June to Septem- 
ber is handled in this way. It costs $10 to fit 
up a car for this kind of shipping. 

Potatoes known as *' leaky,'* because when 
bruised by rough handling, water runs out of them 
and wets the sacks, are produced in the delta or 
tule lands. These contain an excess of moisture 
because they make a rapid, soft growth. These 
potatoes often turn blue. 

The excessive growth of tops that these po- 
tatoes make in the field indicates a soil rich in 
nitrogen, but deficient perhaps in potash and 
phosphoric acid. The addition of the two elements 
last nam.ed might increase yields and earliness 
very much and make a firmer, better table potato. 



THE POTATO 421 

Closer planting would also increase yields, as 
would larger seed and the starting of seed, as in the 
British Isles. 

The quality of the tule land potatoes could also 
be bettered by more perfect control of the water 
table. 

The potato crop in San Joaquin County (on 
which Stockton is located) was valued at $2,145,000 
in 1910. 

A good deal has been written about a Japanese 
potato king, Shima, but at Stockton Sing Kee, a 
Chinaman, is accorded that honor. He grows 
from 3,000 to 4,000 acres of potatoes every year. 

In the following by Forrest Crissey, in the 
Saturday Evening Post, a description of his methods 
is given : 

" And speaking of potatoes — there is Sing Kee, 
the real potato king of the Stockton District. His 
bona-fide Chinese name is Chin Lung, but he is Sing 
Kee to his American friends. It is passing strange 
that the publicit}^ men of the railroads and big land 
companies, who are so eager to prove that the city 
business farmer is a success w^hen transplanted 
from the pavement to the soil, should have over- 
looked Sing Kee, of San Francisco Chinatown. 
This remarkable Mongolian first slapped his san- 
dals on the pavements of San Francisco about 
thirty years ago. He slipped quietly into the 
ranks of the loose-frocked toilers and plodded along 
for several noiseless years. Then there was a store- 
opening in Chinatown in which Sing Kee was the 
central figure. He had saved until he was able 
to promote himself into the merchant class. 

"Sing Kee drove a good trade with his coun- 
trymen and built up a respectable following among 



422 THE POTATO 

the Chinese farmers and gardeners that came Into 
the San Francisco market with their truck. Hav- 
ing the same inquisitive tendencies as the great Li 
Hung Chang, he pHed his farmer friends with 
questions and came to know almost as much about 
their business as he did about his own. One year 
trade in Chinatown was depressingly poor. His 
thoughts then recurred to the tales of farming 
profits that his customers had brought him, and he 
was not long in deciding that he could make more 
money on the soil than he could over the counter. 

*'Consequently Sing Kee struck out for the soil 
and carried all his business instincts with him. He 
made his first big hit in 1889 on 1,200 acres in po- 
tatoes. White men had repeatedly gone broke on 
this very tract of land, owing to their inability 
to cope with the overflow. But the clever Orien- 
tal watched the water with shrewd eyes, and at 
just the right moment after it had receded he put 
in his plows. The result was an average of 160 
sacks to the acre. At the outset of the har^-est 
season that year the prevailing price of spuds was 
50 cents. But his land rental was cheap — only 
$7 an acre — and so was his labor. Even at 
20 cents there was a fair profit in the enterprise. 
But Sing Kee, the merchant, studied the market 
in his stoical way and looked far ahead. All of 
his experienced field neighbors were selling their 
whole crop at this price, but the buyers could get 
nothmg more out of Sing Kee than a shake of the 
head. Prices went up to 65 cents and from that 
they eventually climbed to $1.65. Between these 
two points the slant-eyed Oriental merchant- 
farmer unloaded his bumper crop and made a tre- 
mendous profit. 

"In spite of the fortune that he realized from 



THE POTATO 423 

his single crop of potatoes, Sing Kee is too shrewd 
a farmer to put all of his eggs into one basket, al- 
though he still makes spuds his main crop. An 
American who is his close business confidant makes 
this statement of Sing Kee's present farming opera- 
tions: He has four thousand acres in potatoes; 
100 acres in onions; 400 to GOO acres in beans; 560 
acres in asparagus; and 300 to 400 acres in seeds. 
It will be hard to beat that combination. 

"No part of his farming operations indicates to 
the uninitiated the skill and daring of Sing Kee as 
a cropmaker so much as the simple fact that he 
has 200 to 400 acres devoted to the production of 
seeds. Seed-raising may be said to be the su- 
preme test of farming skill. The seed for this part 
of his operations is sent to him by a seed house the 
head of which makes this statement in comparing 
the average American farmer with the alien, and 
particularly with the Oriental: 

*'*I should not think of letting a seed contract to 
many American farmers. Experience has taught 
me that failure would be the almost certain result. 
But the men who have been raised in the Old 
World traditions of intensive cultivation are able 
to qualify in this highest refinement of field hus- 
bandry. I wish that it were otherwise, but it 
isn't. The average American farmer has more to 
learn from the alien farmers of every race now rep- 
resented on our own soil than he can possibly 
realize or appreciate. The first step toward as- 
similating the skill and the knowledge that these 
alien and intensive tillers of the soil have brought 
to his door is a realization of his lack of their mar- 
velous mastery of plant life, their intimate and al- 
most intuitive understanding of the secrets of 
plant production.' But Sing Kee isn't afraid to 



424 THE POTATO 

put 400 acres into the growing of seeds; and the 
seed house is not afraid to back this shrewd mer- 
chant-farmer in so extensive and difl&cult an under- 
taking." 

Following is an article from the Stockton (CaL) 
Independent of August 26, 1911: 

** Stockton, though known to-day throughout the 
world as a potato centre, is destined to make such 
strides in tuber cultivation as to make the delta 
regions adjacent to this city universally famed as 
one of the leading spud regions of the world, and in 
many distinctive particulars to stand out in a class 
by itself in points of merit from a potato stand- 
point. Such was the general statement made by 
Eugene H. Grubb, of Colorado. 

"While in this section in search of information as 
to the local product, Mr. Grubb has been the guest 
of P. E. Piatt of the Piatt Product Company, and 
yesterday he visited the delta regions and selected 
samples of the delta tuber from the Rindge prop- 
erties. 

"Explaining the potato of this section and the 
crop condition generally Mr. Grubb stated that 
the one outstanding feature as compared with all 
the world that signalized the Stockton delta re- 
gions was the fact that tubers are in the ground 
here every day in the year, and that shipments are 
made from Stockton covering a wide area 365 days 
continuously year in and year out. 

"The continuous crop feature, says Mr. Grubb, 
is phenomenal and gives Stockton a unique dis- 
tinction throughout the world in the potato in- 
dustry. 

"Speaking of the improved cultivation of the 



TIIE POTATO 425 

Stockton tuber as compared to five and ten years 
ago, Mr. Grubb states that the local product has 
gained wonderfully in point of quality and that its 
standard to-day is of the highest mark. This, he 
said, was due to the fact that such shippers as 
Mr. Piatt have come to learn that the trade de- 
mands the best obtainable and that anything less 
than the best is overcome by competition and to 
that extent unprofitable. The exact conditions 
imposed upon the shipper by the trade necessi- 
tates the shipper holding the grower unrelentingly 
to the best possible qualities obtainable from the 
soil. 

"Those things which make for quality have been 
bounteously provided the Stockton delta regions. 

"'Here, he pointed out, is found the wonder- 
fully rich, fertile, light peat soil so peculiarly 
adapted to the highest cultivation of potatoes. The 
sun shines from a growing standpoint every day 
in the year, the climate is all that could be desired. 

"Discussing the local tuber from a distribution 
and supply phase, Mr. Grubb called attention to 
the fact that Stockton to-day is shipping practi- 
cally all points west of the Missouri River and only 
yesterday shipped two cars to Kansas City, the 
very centre of a much boasted potato area long 
since famed among the tuber fields of the country. 
That the wonderful breadth and scope of Stock- 
ton's supply territory might be better emphasized 
the visitor directed attention to the fact that 
the Piatt Produce Company alone as a single firm 
ships out of Stockton annually more than one half 
as large a crop as the noted Greeley district of 
Colorado. So extensive, says Mr. Grubb, are the 
fields of patronage for the Stockton product that 
the Easterner cannot grasp the immensity of it 



426 THE POTATO 

all, nor appreciate the vast population fed by the 
delta regions adjacent to this city. 

"Pointing out the merit features of the local 
spud the distinguished authority on the tuber says 
that in point of attractiveness, size, shape, smooth- 
ness of skin, quality and all that goes to make a 
potato perfect, the delta regions produce the most 
nearly perfect tuber known throughout the world. 
Such potatoes, said Mr. Grubb, could not pos- 
sibly be grown on a heavy soil nor under general 
conditions less ideal than characteristic of Stockton. 

"Taking up the subject of distribution and sup- 
ply aside from the quality of the potato itself the 
visitor pointed out that this section invariably has 
a normal crop and that for this reason the trade 
throughout the area covered by the local supply 
feels that it can always depend upon Stockton for 
receipts, and places orders here deeming it the most 
likely of satisfactory deliveiy. This confidence 
of the trade is a most valuable asset and goes a 
long way in establishing Stockton's high standard 
of reliability as a potato shipping centre. Added 
to this very" important feature is the fact that the 
local delta regions yield early and at such seasons 
as famine, so to speak, is characteristic of other 
tuber districts. 

"Of the many variety of spuds grown in this 
locality the visitor observes that the Burbank is 
the best adapted to local conditions, and in this 
connection, Mr. Grubb added, that no section of 
America is so famed for its Burbanks as are the 
California potato fields. 

"From the standpoint of quantity Mr. Grubb 
says that Stockton is but a drop in the bucket. 
Throughout the tuber fields of America there are 
this season about 300,000,000 bushels. All CaH- 



THE POTATO 427 

fornia will produce but 8,000,000 bushels. And it 
is estimated that the local delta regions, which 
have an acreage planted to potatoes amounting 
to about 44,000 acres will yield on a general aver- 
age 100 sacks to the acre. This in dollars and 
cents will represent about $5,000,000 for the total 
harvest revenue. 

"After returning from the delta regions Mr. 
Grubb met a number of the business and pro- 
fessional men of this city, all of whom heard with 
delight the announcement that Stockton will be- 
come world famous in a greater degree than at this 
time seems at all probable as a tuber district." 

SACRAMENTO VALLEY 

The Sacramento Valley is watered and has 
been made by the Sacramento River and its tribu- 
taries. It is a vast, alluvial plain, comprising over 
2,500,000 acres of land. 

The annual rainfall in the valley is about eigh- 
teen inches, and it comes entirely during the winter 
months. 

Without irrigation the principal crop has been 
grain — wheat and barley. This is sow^n in the fall, 
gets the benefit of the winter rains, and is ripened 
in early summer. From June until the rains come 
in October the country is dry and brown. 

With irrigation, every crop of the temperate or 
semitropical zones can be grown. 

The Sacramento Valley Irrigation Project of 
150,000 acres is the most important undertaking 
in the valley. Water is taken from the Sacra- 
mento River under an Act of Congress. 

There are wonderful possibilities for early potato 
growing on some of the lands in this valley. 

The potato being a cool weather crop, in hot 



428 THE POTATO 

countries it is grown to the best advantage during 
the cooler parts of the growing season. For in- 
stance — in the Sacramento Valley there are two 
growing seasons each year: Potatoes planted in 
February or early in March are dug in July or 
August and those planted in August are dug late in 
November. Many failures are recorded when the 
crop is planted in May or June because of the too 
intense heat of atmosphere and soil during the 
period that the tuber should be forming and de- 
veloping. 

This climatic situation makes two crops of po- 
tatoes possible where soil conditions are right and 
cultural conditions are properly managed. 

It should be possible to make early potatoes one 
of the largest per acre revenue yielding crops in 
the valley because of the possibilities of getting 
the crop on the market when high prices prevail. 

The potato-growing business is a very profit- 
able one nov\" on the bottom lands along the Sacra- 
mento and San Joaquin rivers and on the islands 
and deltas. 

The easiest kind of soil in which to grow po- 
tatoes is a sandy loam, or one well filled with 
humus or decayed vegetable matter. 

The reason for this is that such a soil is easies^ 
to work; it does not bake when it becomes dry, il 
takes water from irrigation in sufficient quantity 
but does not water-log, it drains readily, and is a 
mellow, friable medium in which the tubers can 
develop symmetrically and quickly without too 
great resistance 

In order to grow potatoes on heavy clay and clay 
loam soils, in which the percentage of sand or vege- 
table matter is very small, it is necessary to do 
such preparatory work as is necessary to make 



THE POTATO 429 

them open and friable; In other words, to better 
the mechanical condition. 

These heavy clay loam soils are among the rich- 
est known in agriculture. This is because they 
have been made of the finer particles that have 
been washed out of hills and mountains over a 
large area. The valleys in which such soils are 
usually found are really the cream of an entire 
watershed. A soil that is easier to handle may be 
very much less rich, because the finer soil particles 
are held apart by coarse sand of little or no fer- 
tility, or by large quantities of decayed vegetable 
matter. 

For this reason about the only problem con- 
nected with potato growing on the heavier lands 
in the Sacramento Valley, is to add sufficient vege- 
table matter to the soil to hold apart the fine soil 
particles and make it more loose, open, friable and 
easily worked. 

This can be done by growing alfalfa for several 
years, filling the soil and subsoil with roots and 
when it is plowed up turn under a big crop of the 
green alfalfa to further add to the vegetable con- 
tent. 

Another way would be to grow and turn under 
successive crops of peas, vetch, or other cover 
crops. 

The addition of large quantities of animal ma- 
nures is another way to loosen up heavy lands. 

In Scotland, one large potato farmer has hauled 
sand onto heavy clay land to a depth of five inches, 
incorporating this and large quantities of stable 
manure into the soil. 

On a small, intensely cultivated farm in the 
Sacramento Valley, where large quantities of 
animal manures are returned to the soil, and alfalfa 



430 THE POTATO 

and other deep rooted crops grown, it will be easy 
to have a plot in fine condition for growing po- 
tatoes each year. 

The Burbank is the most popular variety of the 
potato in California. For early planting it would 
be well to try Bliss Triumph and Early Rose. 
New early varieties should be experimented with. 
Only by trial can the most profitable varieties be 
determined. In a warm climate the best seed is 
generally that imported from colder or high alti- 
tude districts. 

Preparation for the early crop of potatoes 
should begin the year previous to that in which 
the crop is grown. If stable manure is to be ap- 
plied this should be done the first or second year 
prior to the raising of the crop. The presence of 
too much manure before it is thoroughly decom- 
posed or rotted makes a favorable condition for 
the development of diseases, like scab. 

If the land to be cropped in potatoes has been in 
alfalfa, it is a good plan to first plow it shallow, 
with a sharp plow, to cut all the crowns, then plow 
it ten to fourteen inches deep. Land for early 
potatoes should be fall plowed. 

As soon as the ground is in condition in the early 
spring, it should be disked and harrowed, to 
make a good seed bed and to "warm it up" as 
much as possible in preparation for the seed about 
to be planted. 

A practice not now followed, but one that could 
be used to advantage, would be to plant nothing 
but whole seed, and start the sprouts in a green- 
house or sheltered spot, so that there is a sturdy 
sprout developed on each tuber before it is put in 
the ground. This will advance the maturity of 
the crop from twenty to twenty -five days. 



THE POTATO 431 

The furrows may be opened up a few days in 
advance of the planting, so that warm soil will 
surround the seed when it is dropped. The seed 
should be dropped by hand and carefully covered 
with a shovel plow or ridger. 

As soon as the first crop is out of the ground, the 
ground should be thoroughly worked in prepara- 
tion for the second crop, if another crop of po- 
tatoes is to follow. If potatoes are to follow^ grain 
or some other crop the ground should be deeply 
plowed and a good seed bed made. The ground 
is warm at this time, so that no sprouting of seed 
is necessary before planting. Seed from the pre- 
ceding crop, or northern-grown seed that has been 
kept dormant in storage may be used. 

Cultivation should begin soon after the seed is 
planted. The first cultivation should be deep, 
to thoroughly open up a deep root nest in which 
the tubers are to form. On irrigated land the 
high ridge system of growing potatoes is usually 
used, because it makes it possible for the po- 
tatoes to develop in a loose, open, w^ell-aired soil, 
the moisture supply coming through the bottom 
of a fairly deep furrow into the base of the ridge 
and being drawn up by capillarity. 

The number of irrigations, and the number of 
cultivations, must be determined by the needs of 
the soil and the growing plant. No fixed rule can 
be set, because conditions may change daily. 
Irrigation water must be used with suiHcient fre- 
quency to furnish all the moisture the crop needs. 
Too much is as bad or worse than too little. A 
shortage of moisture makes a short crop. Cul- 
tivation is required as often as is necessary to keep 
the soil open and mellow. 

In the Sacramento \'alley the first crop starts 



432 THE POTATO 

out with a sufficiency of moisture in the soil 
from the winter rains. Late in the spring 
one — or perhaps two, irrigations might be re- 
quired while the potatoes are making the greatest 
growth. After the tubers are full size they are 
dug. 

After the first crop is taken from the ground 
(whether this be potatoes, another root crop, or 
grain) the ground should be thoroughly irrigated 
before a seed bed is made in which to plant the 
second crop of potatoes. The irrigation of the 
second crop, during its early growth, will be more 
important than the early irrigation of the first 
crop, because the weather is hot and plenty of 
moisture must be provided for greater evapora- 
tion at this season. Irrigation of the second crop 
must be discontinued in time to permit the ripen- 
ing of the tubers in dry ground. 

The moisture supply to a potato crop must be 
constant. If the ground is allowed to become too 
dry, the tubers begin to mature, and when an- 
other supply of moisture is provided, a new growth 
is started, making little wart-hke growths on the 
already formed tubers. 

Practically all of the crop in the Sacramento 
Valley would probably be sold almost direct from 
the field, making storage unnecessary. If it was 
desired to store potatoes, a cool, underground eel- 
car, or a regular cold storage room, should be pro- 
vided. Heat, rather than cold, is the factor to 
guard against here. 

The potato crop requires deep, thorough prepa- 
ration and cultivation of the soil; consequently, 
is a good crop in a rotation. After a crop of po- 
tatoes has been grown the soil is in fine mellow 
condition for a succeeding crop, for in addition to 



THE POTATO 433 

the fine mechanical condition produced, much fer- 
tihty has been made available. 

On heavy soil, small "patches" of potatoes are 
sometimes grown under straw, or some similar 
material used as a mulch. By this method the 
seed bed is prepared (mellow and moist) , the seed 
planted very close to, or just at the top of, the 
ground, then the whole area is covered with straw 
to a depth of six to ten inches. This settles down, 
the plants come through it, and the tubers develop 
beneath. 

When planted this way the crop is not touched 
from the time the straw is placed until the tubers 
are dug. 



CHAPTER XXXVI 

THE ISLAND OF CHILOE, CHILE 

IN THE history of the potato there are occa- 
sional references to Chiloe. The senior au- 
thor and Luther Burbank are planning to go 
there soon to study conditions. 

The following information has been secured 
through the kindness of Secretary James Wilson of 
the United States Department of Agriculture, and 
Alfred A. Winslow, American Consul, Valparaiso, 
Chile. 

"It is generally understood here that the Island 
of Chiloe, Chile, is the home of the potato and that 
it was found there by Pedro Valdivia's expedition 
in the first half of the fifteenth century, where 
they were known by the natives as Poni. At that 
time potatoes served as the principal food of the 
Indians, who cultivated them to some extent, and 
where they are still cultivated in a very crude way. 

"The Chiloe Archipelago is situated off the west 
coast of Chile between 42 and 46 degrees south 
latitude, and is composed of many islands of which 
the largest, Chiloe, is about 100 miles long by 38 
miles wide and covers about 2,450 square miles, 
with a population of about 40,500 persons, mostly 
Indians or half-breeds. 

" The farms vary from 50 to 500 or 600 acres, but 
the island is covered with a dense forest, save 
where small patches have been cleared for cul- 

434 



THE POTATO 435 

tivation, scarcely ever exceeding fifty acres in 
atea, and the potato patches rarely exceed six to 
eight acres. According to the best information 
I have been able to get, no machinery is used in 
the cultivation of potatoes further than a very 
crude plow and a spade or hoe. They are planted 
in rows at irregular distances varying from eigh- 
teen inches to three feet apart. On the larger 
farms the seed is generally planted by dropping 
whole potatoes into the furrow at distances of 
from eighteen to twenty-four inches, and covered 
by dragging a split log over the surface with the 
face down, or by plowing a furrow on either side 
of the row. 

"As a general rule they are cultivated only once, 
and then when they are three to four inches high. 
The weeds are cut out with a hoe or spade, when 
they are left to take care of themselves until it is 
thought best to dig them, which may be at any 
time after they mature until the following spring. 

"There are many varieties of potatoes grown in 
Chiloe, although no special attention is paid to this 
matter. Each farmer may have his own variety, 
since no attention is paid to changing seed, for 
varieties do not seem to run out as at home. I 
am told that the same variety is planted on the 
same land year after year, by father and son, with- 
out deterioration. No special attention is given 
to the selection of seed, and still fine potatoes are 
grown from year to year. 

"In general the potatoes are dug by turning the 
row over with a plow drawn by a yoke of oxen, 
and the ground poked around with a crooked 
stick. Of course in this way many are left m the 
ground, but this makes but little difference, since 
they are very prolific, and easily raised. 



436 THE POTATO 

" No special attention is given to storing potatoes 
in that country. They are generally stored by the 
producer in a building with a ground floor on a 
level with the surface of the ground quite open to 
the air. There are no cellars in that part of Chile. 

"There is no way of ascertaining the yield per 
acre, the cost of production, nor the profit per 
acre, since no account of such things is kept. 

"Potatoes are sold in Chiloe Island by the pro- 
ducer, both to the consumer and the dealer, who 
may be a grocer, baker, butcher, generally mer- 
chant — in fact, almost every business house han- 
dles them." 



CHAPTER XXXVII 

GREAT BRITAIN 

AS HAS been indicated elsewhere, the senior 
A\ author spent the season of 1910 in Europe 
studying agriculture in general and potato 
methods in particular. 

In the various countries of Europe he found the 
best growers using very advanced methods, while 
as in this country the average grower could greatly 
improve his operations to his own benefit and 
that of the industry. 

In the ultimate analysis of the situation the 
principles which are responsible for the high j^ields 
are simple. They are the essentials of good farm- 
ing everywhere in the world. 

The fundamental reasons for the successes of 
the best growlers of Europe may be all broadly 
classed as soil culture, but may be classified as 
follows : 

1. Drainage — good, careful, effective farm 
drainage. 

2. The keeping of livestock and the use of 
animal manures. 

3. The use of fertilizers of all forms to make 
crops produce to the limit of fertility. 

4. Seed selection, breeding and adaptation. 

Preceding a description of impressions of British 
agriculture and potato growing by the senior 

437 



438 THE POTATO 

author, is the following discussion of the situation in 
the United Kingdom by Walter P. Wright and Ed- 
ward J. Castle, taken from their very clever book, 
"Pictorial Practical Potato Growing," and used 
with their permission and that of the publishers, 
Cassell & Co. of London: 

"Ireland has always taken more kindly to the 
potato than the other countries of the United 
Kingdom, and she still boasts a larger acreage 
devoted to this crop than England, Scotland, and 
Wales combined. From various causes, this 
acreage has, however, been steadily decreasing 
for some fifteen years, the decrease being chiefly 
accounted for by the emigration of potato growers, 
and changes introduced into the diet of the in- 
habitants. Still, in 1904, Ireland could boast of 
618,540 acres devoted to potato growling, as 
against 570,209 acres ow^ned by England, Scotland, 
and Wales. These figures showed a decrease for 
Ireland, and an increase for the rest of the king- 
dom, an increase which was augmented to 608,473 
acres in 1905. 

"It is gratifying to know that efforts are being 
made to check the decrease in Ireland, chiefly by the 
production of very early potatoes for the EngUsh 
market, and of others suitable for seed purposes. 
Experiments in growing early potatoes on a small 
scale were made in Ireland in 1901, and proved so 
successful that each succeeding year has seen an 
increase in this direction. The climatic conditions 
of the west coast of Ireland seem exceptionally 
well fitted to the production of early potatoes, 
and there are not wanting experts to prophesy 
that Ireland may yet compete successfully with 
Jersey and St. Malo. 



oc/ifu^Ai> Ancus 




Ctt^ftMCL ISLAM 03 I 



Map showing districts in Great Hritjiiii wlicre tlirrc arc 
prominent poliilo t'nruis 



THE POTATO 439 

"In the growing of seed potatoes, Irish pros- 
pects would seem to be particularly rosy, especially 
since Mr. J. F. Williamson, of Mallow, has demon- 
strated that Irish grown seed of the variety Duch- 
ess of Cornwall gives better returns than similar 
seed from other parts of the kingdom. Hitherto 
the great obstacle to the development of the Irish 
seed potato trade has been the dogged pertinacity 
with which the Irish growers adhere to their own 
type of potato — a type which finds little favor 
among English growers or consumers. With this 
obstacle removed, progress may well be expected to 
be rapid 

*'The iyipe of potato, finding chief favor in Ire- 
land is rather ungainly in shape, and possessed of 
very deep eyes, Champion and Black Skerry being 
two of the most popular varieties. Both of these 
cook like balls of flour, and are very white in the 
flesh, and flaky. As they are cooked and served 
in their skins in Ireland, shape and appearance 
matter little, the true criterion of a potato being its 
flavor. In England, however, where potatoes are 
generally peeled before cooking, shape is a great 
consideration, and the deep-eyed, Irish varieties 
have to yield pride of place to well-shapen, shal- 
low-eyed varieties. 

"England is easily next to Ireland in the matter 
of potato growing, having about three times the 
area of land devoted to potatoes that Scotland has, 
and more than fifteen times as much as Wales. 
Moreover, the acreage of potatoes in England 
shows a steadv increase, it having been 402,725 
acres in 1903, 402,760 acres in 1904, and 434,773 
acres in 190.5. The average yield per acre is, how- 
ever, slightly less in England than in Scotland, 
though more than in Ireland and Wales, the aver- 



440 THE POTATO 

age of the ten years 1895-1904 being: Scotland, 
5.90 tons; England, 5.84 tons; Wales, 5.36 tons, 
and Ireland, 3.83 tons per acre (a ton is thirty- 
seven-and one half bushels) . 

"The bulk of English potatoes is grown in the 
counties of Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Lancashire, 
Cheshire, and Cambridgeshire. In 1905 the fol- 
lowing acreage was under patatoes in the respect- 
ive counties: Lincoln, 79,564; Yorks, 57,364; 
Lanes, 47,697; Cheshire, 26,642; and Cambridge, 
26,039. Lincolnshire is the centre of the English 
seed potato industry, and Lines seed potatoes 
have a reputation second only to the best Scottish. 
Cornwall, which has only an area of 4,822 acres 
devoted to potatoes, has generally the honor of 
placing the earliest English grown potatoes on the 
market. These follow the supply from the Chan- 
nel Islands, the latter, however, being preceded by 
supplies from Malta and the Canary Islands. The 
Maltese potatoes reach our shores in November, 
and have recently become so popular that quite 
a flourishing trade has been built up. 

*'In Scotland, the acreage of potatoes has rap- 
idly increased, 144,265 acres being required for 
the crop of 1905, while 137,735 acres sufficed for 
that of 1904. This increase is mainly attribu- 
table to the enormous demand for Scottish seed 
potatoes, a demand created largely by the results 
of experiments conducted by scientists to deter- 
mine the relative value of seed from various sources. 
But Scottish ware potatoes also hold their own 
against the world, the famous Dunbars frequently 
being quoted at 20s. ($4.80) per ton above all 
others. These tubers possess a remarkably 
bright and taking appearance, combined with 
high cooking quality, for which the peculiar kind 



THE POTATO 441 

of soil in which they are grown is deemed 
responsible." 

The notes which follow were 'UT'itten by the senior 
author as he visited the various farms mentioned : 

NEAR EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND 

Dalmeny Farm, Edinburgh, Scotland, is one 
of the most famous livestock and plant breeding 
institutions in the world. It is the home place of 
of the Earl of Rosebery. A large number of 
specialists are employed and they have accom- 
plished wonderful results with grains, grasses, 
vegetables and livestock. The intricate details 
of breeding have been carefully worked out and 
the products of the farm go all over the world. 

The Earl of Rosebery has bred and raced three 
Derby winners (thoroughbred running horses), 
and a great many famous prize winning Clydes- 
dale horses, Aberdeen-Angus and Shorthorn cat- 
tle, large Yorkshire and Berkshire hogs and Shrop- 
shire sheep. 

In the potato world this farm is famous for 
having produced the largest yield of potatoes ever 
recorded. 

The place is visited annually by many dele- 
gations of agriculturists and students from all over 
the world. 

Everything is made to pay. The Earl instructs 
his factor or manager that unless he makes every 
branch of the business pay he will be replaced by 
a man who can. 

The crop rotation on the potato lands is: Po- 
tatoes, one year; grain, one year; grass, two years. 
The grass consists of a heavy seeding of rye grass 



442 THE POTATO 

or red clover, alone, or rye grass with wheat, oats, 
or barley as a nurse crop. I saw red clover seeded 
with wheat. The grain was a very heavy crop, 
(forty-eight to fifty-six bushels) and the red clover 
was thick and fully eighteen inches high. 

The rye grass meadows are fed off with sheep. 
Cottonseed and linseed cake and some grain are 
fed in addition. Then twenty tons of well rot- 
ted manure are spread and plowed in during the 
winter when potatoes are to be grown the follow- 
ing year. Potatoes always follow grass. This 
system combined with the northern latitude, has 
always kept the potatoes free from blight and dis- 
ease. Mr. George Sinclair, the farm manager 
says: "There is no potato disease in Scotland if the 
crop is grown only every fourth year, and on turf 
or sod ground. This keeps the soil open, loose 
and porous, and full of decayed vegetable matter." 
The condition of the soil was ideal for potatoes. A 
special artificial fertilizer mixture that has been 
adapted to conditions after many years of experi- 
menting by their soil experts and specialists is 
sown at the time of planting at the rate of six to 
seven hundred povmds per acre. 

Whole seed is always used and increasing the 
size has given satisfactory results in increased 
yields. They are now using about 3,300 pounds 
of seed to the acre. Formerly 2,000 pounds was 
the rate. I saw as much as 5,000 pounds per acre 
planted — seed up to three inches in diameter. 

In some series of experiments for three years suc- 
cessively with three varieties, 3,500 to 4,500 pounds 
of seed to the acre gave an average of seven tons 
per acre greater production than a 2,000-pound 
seeding. 

Late varieties are planted in rows twenty-seven 




Sir MaLLliew \\allace — kni'slitcd l)y (Jooriie V for his work in the 
interests of llu- |)uUilo induslry 








Potato digging in Scotland 




A potato field on the farm of Matthew G. Walhice, Terregleston, 

Dumfries, Scotland 



THE POTATO 443 

inches apart, twelve inches apart in the row. 
Early varieties are planted twenty six by eight 
inches. This increases the number of hills per 
acre, consequently the yields. 

Deep cultivation is practised. George Sinclair 
is the only farmer I have found who advocates 
extra deep stirring of the soil between the ridges to 
keep the soil loose, open and porous. 

All potatoes for seed are stored in pits. He ad- 
vises growing as large a crop as possible, rather 
than digging green, as frost always cuts off the 
growth sufficiently early to secure strong growing, 
vigorous seed. There is no special boxing or storing 
in cellar or houses. Seed is never cut, no matter 
how high the price. He cannot afford to w^eaken 
the plants by dividing the tuber. 

Land rents for $20 an acre. It cost $105 an 
acre to grow 600 to G75 bushels per acre. 

Extra large seed planted whole gives best re- 
sults for growing seed stocks, as so many more po- 
tatoes set to the one big root system, they are 
slower in growing, more miiform in size and of 
more suitable size. 

IN WESTERN SCOTLAND 

The results of the work of Matthew G. Wallace, 
Ter regies town, Dumfries, Scotland, in growing 
potatoes are very remarkable. He is a tenant 
farmer, and has been growing potatoes on a 300-acre 
farm for the last twenty years. In January, 1911, 
he was knghted by King George for his services 
in the interest of the potato industry. This is the 
first time in history that a man has received such 
an honor for such service. It is a sign of the in- 
creasing interest in agriculture. 



444 THE POTATO 

The soil in this section is peculiarly adapted for 
growing certain varieties of potatoes. It is a 
very light sandy loam and is naturally well 
drained. The subsoil is of sand or gravel, and 
some of the most successful crops are grown where 
the soil is not more than eight inches deep. 

Mr. Wallace's whole work is potato production. 
His conditions are such that he has grown potatoes 
every year for twenty years on the same land, and 
out of a total of 300 acres, 260 are kept in potatoes. 
The other forty acres are used for pasture and for 
growing hay and grain for his horses. 

On the 260 acres of potatoes he uses annually 
5,000 tons of barnyard manure costing $7,500 
and eighty tons of commercial fetilizer costing 
$3,000. He compounds the latter himself. The 
manure is apphed at the rate of twenty tons per 
acre. 

Mr. Wallace grows only two varieties of po- 
tatoes: the Sutton's May Queen and Sutton's 
Ninety -fold. The former is a capricious variety ,• 
in its habits and nature of growth. In the soils 
and weather conditions to which it is adapted it 
gives maximum yields and endures from year to 
year. This fact is true of every variety of potato 
of which I have any knowledge, but it is a phase 
of the subject that is very little studied by potato 
growers. One of the strong habits of the May 
Queen, which grows to perfection in the peculiar 
conditions at Dumfries, is that it grows very 
rapidly and strong, and has large leaves and stocks. 
These are necessarily tender and will not with- 
stand strong winds, which would whip it, weaken 
the plant, make it apt to blight, and check the 
growth of the tops as well as the tubers. This 
variety is not a favorite on the coast where there 



THE POTATO 445 

are heavy winds, and it is never grown there. An 
adaptation of this information can be well ap- 
plied in districts in western United States, on open 
plateaus where there are strong winds during the 
early growing season of June and July. 

The May Queen is one of the very best early 
market sorts for the British markets. On June 
first I saw one hundred acres that was a beautiful 
sight because of the healthfulness, vigor and bright 
green foliage of the plants. Mr. Wallace begins 
to harvest early in July and the entire crop is 
harvested during that month. 

Potatoes that go over a two and one fourth inch 
mesh are shipped to market, those between two 
and one fourth and one and one fourth are sold 
for seed or kept as seed stocks. When the po- 
tatoes are dug they are practically about one half 
to three fourths grown. They are planted about 
March 25th and will yield about eight tons when 
harvested July 8th. When ripe and matured they 
would make twelve tons over a one and one half 
inch mesh. 

After being cured in long narrow pits, about 
three feet wide and thatched with straw, they are 
shipped to the seed houses for which they were 
grown. 

He is very particular to keep seed true. The 
same variety is grown year after year in the same 
fields so that any potatoes that might winter over 
and come up as volunteers the next year would 
not mix with those planted in the spring following. 
He is so careful and painstaking that each storage 
house is labeled w ith the name of the variety and 
no other is stored in it. 

Potatoes are harvested in July. They are dug 
with forks and picked up by hand. If no disease 



446 THE POTATO 

which they spray to prevent is found, the vines 
are spread evenly over the surface, plowed under, 
and three bushels of Italian rye grass sown to the 
acre. 

Heretofore he has imported the rye grass seed 
from France- It is stronger than the English or 
Irish grown seed and has given the best results, but 
this year Mr. Wallace is growing his own seed. He 
uses an immense quantity of seed. It costs $1.50 
a bushel or $4.50 an acre. The object is to get as 
large an amount of grass as early as possible, and 
to get the greatest amount of fibrous roots and 
turf to plow under later to keep up the humus con- 
tent and mechanical condition of the soil. Rye 
grass gives more roots and turf in a shorter season 
than any other grass they have used. One object 
of sowing it immediately after the potatoes are 
harvested is to pick up and hold any or all of the 
expensive commercial fertilizer that has been used 
in growing the crop of potatoes. Otherwise it 
would be leached into the subsoil from the ex- 
cessive rains. This rye grass is a second crop for 
the year — following the early potatoes. The 
grass makes a fairly heavy crop by the end of the 
growing season. 

Manure is piled up and rotted until it is almost 
like black putty, then it is hauled out and applied 
to the rye grass crop at the rate of twenty tons per 
acre and plowed under about nine inches deep in 
November or December. It has the winter's 
snow, rain and freezing to decay this green cover 
crop, to disintegrate the soil and make splendid 
conditions for growing potatoes the following 
spring. 

His land is thoroughly worked in the spring, and 
furrowed out in long, straight, deep furrows, six 



THE POTATO 447 

or seven inches deep and twenty-seven inches 
apart. The potatoes are dropped by hand twelve 
inches apart and covered with a horse plow. This 
plow has a special form for splitting the ridge and 
covering two rows of potatoes at the same time. 

I consider his seed work, seed storage, and hand- 
ling the remarkable part of his system and 
methods. He is without exception using par- 
tially grown or partiallj^ matured seed. The po- 
tatoes that are lifted in July are kept over until 
the next March for planting. He claims that he 
gets less disease than when lifted at maturity, the 
potato throws out a less number of sprouts when 
planted, it makes a more vigorous growth, and the 
sprout is stronger. Consequently the crop ripens 
earlier. 

As soon as cold weather approaches in October 
the potatoes are taken out of the pits and stored in 
trays of various sizes. These are from fifteen by 
twenty -four inches to twenty by thirty inches, and 
about three inches deep, with corner posts six 
inches high, so that it makes an air space of about 
three inches for the circulation of air between the 
layers of potatoes. These trays are corded up to 
the ceiling in the seed potato storage buildings. 
These buildings are enormously large and eigh- 
teen and twenty feet high. They are made frost- 
proof, with a large part of the roof of glass, so as 
to give an abundance of light, to keep the potato 
from developing sprouts. Then when they want 
them to develop sprouts, the rooms are darkened. 
When one or two white, tender, delicate sprouts 
appear at the seed end, these potatoes are 
taken out into the sun and weather. This must 
be done a sufficient time before planting so that 
the sprouts become green and tough to withstand 



448 THE POTATO 

the handling in planting. The potatoes in the 
trays are hauled into the field and dropped by 
hand by women and boys. This method hastens 
the crop fully two weeks at both ends of the growing 
season. It makes it possible to delay planting un- 
til the soil is warm, and danger of rotting in cold 
soil is passed. This can be done with no loss in 
earliness. The seed is never cut, always planted 
whole. 

Mr. Wallace uses 2,400 pounds of seed to the 
acre. After this year he expects to use larger 
seed than ever before. I saw on this farm one 
twenty-acre field on which was planted five thou- 
sand pounds per acre. The potatoes used were 
as large as a man's hand. This large seed was 
used this year because the market price of com- 
mercial potatoes was very low. He thinks it 
will make more net money than any acre of po- 
tatoes on his farm this year. They were planted 
next to potatoes where the ordinary amount and 
size of seed was used with the same soil conditions 
and culture. The result in the growth of the two 
crops was very striking and in favor of the large 
sets. The tops averaged fully 40 per cent, 
better than the potatoes from the ordinary seed 
size, and the yield should be correspondmgly 
great. 

In growing early potatoes they are very partic- 
ular never to disturb or break the first sprouts off, 
or, as some say, to disturb the first intention of the 
potato to reproduce itself. When not disturbed 
or broken only one or two sprouts develop. When 
it is desired to propagate a great many plants from 
high priced seed, the potato is allowed to put forth 
sprouts about one half inch long from the seed end. 
Then the sprout is broken off. The result is that 



THE POTATO 449 

all the eyes of the potato develop sprouts of equal 
vigor and vitality, but none as strong as the first. 
When only the first develop, the other eyes of the 
potato remain dormant. When the potato is eut 
in sections, one eye to a piece, the seed will go 
much farther and plant a great many more acres, 
although the crop will be less in yield and fifteen 
days later in maturing. 

On these three hundred acres Mr. Wallace pays 
about $5,100 rent and about $13,000 for labor. 
On this farm it costs $110 to grow an acre of po- 
tatoes. The annual revenue is $175 making a 
profit of ^65 per acre. 

As near as I could determine in going with him 
over the several lots, he had (1910) an average of 
99.5 per cent, of a full stand. 

He pays $4 to $5 a w eek and house rent to men 
with families. Foreman and men handling teams 
get $5 to $6 a week. 

The potatoes are picked up in small baskets and 
dumped on a screen, which is placed over the head 
of a barrel. The dirt and small potatoes go 
through; the others are put in other barrels. The 
top is covered with green potato tops and netting. 
All early potatoes are marketed in barrels, the 
late or main crop potatoes in sacks. 

GIRVAN, SCOTLAND 

Girvan is a town on the western coast of Scot- 
land, on the Firth of Clyde. It is the birthplace 
of Hon. James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture of 
the United States. 

It is the earliest potato-growing district in 
northern Great Britain. It is on the coast where 
they have no severe late spring frosts, because of 



450 THE POTATO 

the protection from the Gulf Stream. Potatoes 
are planted the first of March and they commence 
harvesting in June. The soil is a wonderful light, 
warm, sandy loam. The conditions here are the 
best I have seen in Europe for potato production. 

There are five thousand acres of early potatoes 
produced annually in this district. They are, 
without exception, of one variety, Sutton's Epi- 
cure. This variety clearly fills all the requisites 
of the climate conditions in that it is a low, sturdy 
grower with tough leaves and vines. There are 
stiff sea breezes and violent storms that come from 
the sea. These do not injure or damage the plant 
by whipping and beating. It is an early, strong 
grower, the tubers form early, it is round and 
white, and yields well. It is much in demand in 
the cities throughout Great Britain. 

I visited Mr. John Hannah, Girvan, Mains, the 
leading and largest potato grower of the district. 
His system varies little from that of Mr. Wallace 
of Terreglestown. He has the same total acreage 
of 300 acres, and has continually the same acreage 
in potatoes — 260 acres. He differs from Mr. 
Wallace in that his potatoes are all sold for market 
in June and July, and he does not grow and save 
his own seed. Every year Mr. Hannah buys his 
seed in July from other growers in the district. 
By selecting his seed from the best fields and crops 
there is apparently no disease whatever, so far as I 
could learn. 

His potatoes are all sold to dealers in the dif- 
ferent cities. The same merchants come back 
year after year and buy the same fields at from 
$140 to $175 an acre. The merchants lift (dig) 
and barrel the potatoes, and Mr. Hannah puts 
them on the cars. It is surely a novel system of 




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THE POTATO 451 

harvesting a crop. These city merchants harvest 
the crop from day to day as their customers in the 
various cities require them, and there is no loss in 
shipping to commission brokers by overstocking 
and breaking the market. 

I had a very dehghtful time with Mr. Hannah, 
going over his work and discussing methods. He 
uses hirger sized seed than Mr. Wallace. Mr. 
Hannah plants 3,000 pounds of whole seed per 
acre, and, of course, insists that it must be only 
partly matured when dug. It was very interest- 
ing to go over the field, seeing in nearly every hill 
examined the originally planted seed potato still 
clinging to the roots as firm and sound as when 
planted last March. I did not see a single col- 
ored leaf or a dying or withered leaf in a field of 
100 acres (June 25, 1910). 

Mr. Hannah uses seaweed that washes up on 
the beach for fertilizing. It is gathered and spread 
on the field in the fall at the rate of forty tons per 
acre. On the balance of the land he uses twenty 
tons of well-rotted barnyard manure annually. 
In fifteen years he has increased the application 
of commercial fertilizer from some GOO or 700 
pounds to about 1,200 pounds per acre, annuall3\ 
There is a steady increase in the use of commercial 
fertilizer to keep up the maximum yields. 

He had commenced harvesting the day I was 
there, the 25th of June. The next morning the 
grass seeder was out ready to start planting. 
He used three bushels of French grown Italian 
rye grass seed per acre and then I think a little 
more was added for good measure, as he said it 
cost $5 per acre. His 200 acres of potatoes will be 
harvested in two weeks' time. Instead of plow- 
ing the rye grass cover crop under as at Dumfries, 



452 THE POTATO 

Mr. Hannah buys 3,000 head of sheep. Ke usually 
puts in forty acres of rape, although he can grow 
rape only about one year in six on account of the fin- 
ger and toe disease. He would grow more rape than 
Italian rye grass if it were not on account of this. 
These 3,000 sheep are started grazing about 
August first. They cost $8 a head. When fin- 
ished for market they are slaughtered on the farm 
and the dressed carcasses sent to the London 
market. Great care is taken that all the offal 
from the sheep, except what can be sold, goes into 
the fertilizer heap. Not even the blood is lost. 
Nothing seems to go to waste on a thrifty Scotch- 
man's farm. The slaughtered sheep give an in- 
crease in value of about $1.75 per head. No 
grain or cake is fed — nothing but rape and 
Italian rye grass pasture. These sheep are pas- 
tured in hurdled lots. They are slaughtered once 
a week until the sheep and pasturage are all 
gone. 

When the grass is fed off, the forty tons of sea- 
weed or twenty tons of manure are spread on the 
stubble and plowed under in the late fall or early 
winter. 

This farm has been growing potatoes with this 
same system for thirty consecutive years, the 
son succeeding his father, and Mr. Hannah 
sees no change in the yield. This is the most 
favorable year and the best yield he has ever 
produced. He sees no reason if this farm has 
grown potatoes for 100 years why it should not 
go on forever. 

The cost of production is practically the same 
here as at Mr. W^allace's, Dumfries — $110 per 
acre. He plows about the same depth, nine inches, 
and has the same system of boxing and sprouting. 



THE POTATO 453 

With his pccuHar conditions, plowing inicler the 
cover crop has given no better resnlts than the 
growing of forage crops and grazing it off with 
sheep, and he has the additional projSt of $1.75 per 
head for the sheep. 

In this northern latitnde he is getting two crops 
a year, one of potatoes, a cover crop of forage, and 
an increased value in fattening a flock of sheep. 
Surely this is a fine example of intensified farming, 
that can well be imitated in many favored dis- 
tricts of the United States. 

While I was there a little incident came up that 
is well worth recording. A golf club wanted Mr. 
Hannah to release twenty-four acres of his lease- 
hold. He had nine years yet to run on his nine- 
teen year leasehold. After assuming the lease 
on the twenty-four acres for the nine years, and 
paying the annual rental to the owner and an 
additional bonus to INIr. Hannah for the release, 
they then paid him $1,000 for the unexhausted 
manure that he had applied on the twenty-four 
acres after removing the crop. A very large part 
of this land had been tiled to three feet deep, the 
lines of tile being fifteen feet apart. 

Another piece of work he did on a piece of heavy 
clay land was to cart pure, clean-washed sand and 
cover ten acres five inches deep with it. He claims 
that in the increased production and the ease of 
cultivation it was a paying investment on leased 
land. This is a good illustration of the great value 
of the easv working lands of the Twin Falls conn- 
trv in southeni Idaho, because it certainlv cost a 
considerable sum of monev to have this land 
covered five inches deep with sand. Mr. Hannah 
is continuing this work on other land. 

It was very interesting to see this scientific, 



454 THE POTATO 

practical, money -making potato grower doing ex- 
perimental and demonstration plot work with the 
various combinations of fertilizer. Barnyard ma- 
nure had been applied to all of the plots. 

The use of 1,200 pounds of commercial fer- 
tilizer in addition to barnyard manure gave an 
additional yield of seven tons per acre, at an ex- 
pense of $22, or about $3 per ton for the excess 
yield. 

Mr. Hannah is a contented, satisfied, tenant 
farmer. He has made a great success in special- 
ized potato growing for the early markets, on 
high priced, high rate, rented lands. He is prob- 
ably worth over $200,000, and is living a life of 
comfort in a beautiful home. He has servants, 
beautifully kept lawns, parks and gardens, with all 
kinds of fruits and flowers, and a conservatory for 
growing hothouse plants and fruits out of season. 
This is agriculture on ideal lines. The house he 
lives in is 102 years old. 

The popular opinion in America is that it Is dis- 
graceful, undignified, and belittling to be a ten- 
ant farmer. But here is a tenant farmer who has 
acquired a quarter of a million dollars as a potato 
grower, but he is a specialist and he specializes 
to such an extent that he has more leisure for 
travel and pleasurable recreation than merchants, 
mechanics, or professional men, or any well-to-do 
farmer in America who owns his land, occupies, 
and farms it. 

These tenant farmers are paying high land ren- 
tals and for expensive fertilizers, $5.60 a ton im- 
port duties on potatoes into the United States and 
ocean rates, yet they can successfully compete 
with the American farmer with all his Improved 
implements and cheap lands. 



THE POTATO 455 

IN FORFARSHIRE, SCOTLAND 

Thomas Buttar, Corston, Coupar Angus, Scot- 
land, is a very successful breeder of Shropshire 
sheep and Shorthorn cattle. 

Mr. BuUar grows forty acres of potatoes for 
seed annually for the soutliern England trade and 
sells to seed dealers. He fertilizes heavily and 
grows 370 bushels of seed stock and 110 bushels 
of large potatoes and waste per acre. He plants 
large sized seed whole. This gives more tubers 
per hill and per acre and they are smaller and 
more uniform in size. It is another corrobora- 
tion of ^It. Sopris Farm methods and results 
of planting perfect large tubers for growing seed 
stocks. 

Corston is a large seed-growing section. I met 
six other large and successful growers. Every 
one feeds livestock. They grow a very large ton- 
nage of yellow Aberdeen turnips and Swedes, 
which they feed with oil cake. Each and every 
one declares they could not farm profitably with- 
out grazing, cake feeding for making muck, and 
the use of artificial manures. Their main re- 
liance is cake made manures and crop rotation, 
potatoes one year in three, sometimes two years in 
seven, two years in grass for hay or pasture, 
usually hay first year and pasture second, then 
fall plowing after a coat of ten or twelve tons of 
well-rotted muck or manure has been applied. 
They have no disease, require no spraying with 
this system, and it keeps the soil health}^ and free 
from injurious germs. The soil is in splendid 
physical condition, notwithstanding the fact that 
there is both drought and excessive rains. It is in 
such condition that it holds sufficient moisture for 



456 THE POTATO 

plants In dry times and drains well to the tiles if 
there is excessive moisture. All the lands are 
tiled to a depth of thirty inches with lines of tile 
twenty-four to thirty feet. 

Mr. Leybum of Kunochtry, Coupar Augus, is 
another successful grower. 

He feeds his land like his bullocks, giving the soil 
all the barnyard muck and artificial fertilizer it 
can use. His oats and barley make sixty-four to 
eighty bushels per acre every year — he has no 
bad years. He feeds no grain to bullocks or 
sheep, just roots, chaff, cake, and potatoes. No 
small potatoes are wasted in Scotland. They are 
fed to hogs or cattle. 

Mr. Leyburn grows the Epicure for early mar- 
ket, and follows with British Queen for second 
early. King Edward, Ever Good, and Langworthy 
are the late varieties. Langworthy is not a 
heavy cropper, but of such quality that it brings 
$5 more a ton for Its table quahty. There are 
300 acres annually in potatoes on a 1,000-acre 
farm. Mr. Leyburn Is a tenant farmer and pays 
$13 an acre rent. 

I am sure he feeds his soil all It can utilize from 
the solid look of the tops. I could not tell the 
direction of the rows without going into the field. 
When a hill was lifted eight to fifteen great po- 
tatoes would be found. They were not nearly 
grown and would continue to increase in size for 
another four weeks. 

The Epicure is his favorite for early market. It 
is not of as good quality as some, but is a strong 
grower and will stand dry or wet weather well. It 
is round, of even size, and there are few small ones. 
They were planted April 1st and harvested July 
15th to August 1st. The British Queen is two 



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THE POTATO 457 

weeks later in marketing. I believe it would be 
a desirable type for the United States. 

Irish women and girls do the digging wllli forks. 
Eight women take sixteen rows. Tliey walk Inick- 
ward and fork them out deftly and other women 
pick them up, two rows at a time. A man emp- 
ties them into barrels. They are sorted to market 
size and refuse as picked up. The land is left as 
smooth and level as if it had been harrowed. The 
tops from the sixteen rows are put in four winrows. 
They dig and pick up seventy-five bushels a day 
at a cost of $1.20. They get a cabin, firewood, 
and what potatoes they can eat. Women work 
better and sort better than men. 

AT DUNFERMLINE, SCOTLAND 

A. Burns and Sons, Dunfermline, Scotland, 
farm 1,000 acres and crop 300 to 500 acres in po- 
tatoes annually. 

They grow one variety of early potatoes ex- 
clusively, the British Queen. This outsells all 
other early varieties on account of its extra fine 
table qualities, good shape and medium size. It 
is a strong grower and makes large yields. The 
quality is corroborated by the extra gain of steers 
fed on the waste of British Queens as compared 
with softer varieties witli less starch, like Epicure 
and Up-to-Date. Mr. Burns says cattle relish 
them more, consume more, and they give 25 per 
cent, more gain on the British Queen. 

Mr. Burns grows and saves his own seed. It is 
screened out of the small potatoes when they are 
picked up by the harvesters. All the refuse is 
run over a one and three eighths inch screen. 
The seed potatoes are boxed and stored in seed stor- 



458 THE POTATO 

age cellars if he has time; otherwise they are 
stacked up outside. They wilt and green in the 
sun and air and get quite soft. He says this is 
not advantageous for seed vitality. He uses 
smaller seed than most growers in Great Britain 
advise. 

He sow^s rye grass (two bushels per acre) and 
rape seed (twelve pounds per acre) as soon as the 
potatoes are lifted. He grazes this off with sheep 
from August 15th to December 15th. He feeds 
cake to the stock he is pasturing. Cake is his 
great reliance for keeping up soil fertility. He 
applies twenty tons of well-rotted manure in 
December and plows under as deep as possible. 
He has grown potatoes successively this way for 
fifteen years. Potatoes are sometimes followed 
with wheat or Swedes. The roots get the same 
treatment as the potatoes. He grows thirty-five to 
sixty -five bushels of w^heat per acre and from thir- 
ty-five to forty-six tons of Swedes. There is noth- 
ing sold off the farm but finished cattle and sheep, 
potatoes and wheat. All roots, straw, rye grass, 
hay, oats, and small potatoes are fed in covered 
sheds for making muck. No fertilizer is used the 
year he grows wheat, but 1,200 pounds of ground 
lime is plowed in. Lime costs $3.50 a ton. 

He uses 2,300 pounds of seed potatoes per acre, 
planted wdiole. They are boxed and sprouted. 
All potatoes are harvested before they ripen and 
are sent to market from July 15th to August 15th. 
If any of the crop is matured it makes 600 bushels 
per acre. The average w4ien marketed unripe 
in July and August is 375 bushels. 

Mr. Burns uses 1,200 pounds of commercial 
fertilizer. This is 10 per cent, ammonia, 12 per 
cent, potash, 25 per cent, phosphates. The secret 




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THE POTATO 459 

of his success in fertilizing is in getting the proper 
proportion of barnyard muck and artificial fer- 
tilizer. 

The crop is cultivated twice and hoed once. 

The head lands in the fields are not planted, so 
it leaves room at the ends of rows without tram- 
pling the crop. 

The seed is stored in stone buildings. There are 
windows in the roof and sides that can be fully 
opened and there are large doors in the ends. 

The potatoes begin to throw out sprouts about 
December. He keeps these from developing too 
rapidly by opening doors and ventilators. He 
says the sprouts will not grow if there is a cir- 
culation of air at 45 degrees to 50 degrees F. 
When the sprouts are one and one half inches long 
he checks their growth, and greens and toughens 
them by circulation of air and Hght. One of the 
great problems of early potato growing is to hold 
back the development of the sprouts until the 
time of the planting. Another great secret im- 
parted by Mr. Burns is that if seed potatoes are 
boxed at once and put into storage before wither- 
ing or greening, and if only partially matured when 
dug, only the terminal bud or eye develops. One 
sprout gives the best crop, and it is ten days or more 
earlier. There is no disease and no spraying. He 
had the best 300 acres of wheat I have seen, except 
an irrigated crop. It was as heavy as would 
grow without lodging. For this crop he used from 
180 to 200 pounds of seed per acre, and it will 
make a sixty-four-bushel yield. 

He has Irish help for harvesting — 100 of them 
now( at time of visit). It costs $11 an acre to dig 
and pick up. They commence work at 4 a. m. 
and work ten hours. 



4G0 THE POTATO 

He feeds 400 bullocks a year in stone-wall 
stables, under cover, bedded every day with straw 
and peat moss to hold the liquid manure. They 
are fed from 100 to 160 pounds of small waste po- 
tatoes and ten pounds of cottonseed cake per day 
with rye grass, hay or straw. He has 100 bullocks 
on feed. They weigh about 1,040 pounds and cost 
$100 each. He says that in forty days they will 
weigh 1,200 pounds and bring $125. He never 
grazes steers, but always feeds oil cake, potatoes, 
Swedes and roughage in close pens. He values 
potatoes at $7.50 a ton for feeding. The Tnanure 
of cattle fed a ration rich in linseed and cotton- 
seed oil-cake is the reliance and success of his 
potato growing. The cake and bullock manure 
with the liquid manure he conserves with the dry 
bedding of various kinds is worth $3 a ton, with 
city horse manure at $1.50 a ton. He gets one 
and one half tons of manure to a bullock. 

Without muck combined with artificial fer- 
tilizer, potato growing would be an absolute fail- 
ure. The advantage of growing early potatoes 
is that he can grow a crop of rye grass or vetch, 
before freezing weather, to plow under for green 
manure or graze off with sheep and cake. 

Mr. J. Butterrs, Dunfermline, raises only main- 
crop potatoes (late ) at a cost of $50. He grows 
and selects his own seed, pits it and plants it 
whole, using from 2,500 to 3,000 pounds of seed 
to the acre. 

He has a special trade direct to consumers, and 
cannot supply the demand for Langworthy at $20 
a ton (37.3 bushels) because of the table excel- 
lence of this splendid potato. 

He gets $150 an acre for his crop, making a 
profit of $100. 



THE POTATO 461 

He plants 27 by 9 inches. I did not see a weed 
on the farm. He has grown Langwortlij^ exchi- 
sively for eight years, and selects the seed per- 
sonally. No rogueing (going through field and 
pulling out other varieties) is necessary here. 

IN LINCOLNSHIRE, ENGLAND 

Lincolnshire is one of the largest shires or coun- 
ties in England. It vies with Yorkshire in its 
area in production and yields of agricultural prod- 
ucts. The lowlands next to the sea are known 
as the fens. In former years they were bogs that 
were affected by the tides. They were reclaimed 
by the Dutch. Now it is one of the most fertile 
lands for grazing, growing grains and potatoes. 
It is the largest potato district in England. 

The fens are drained by large canals. At one 
time the drainage water was pumped out by wind- 
mills, but now steam power is used. The water 
is raised ten or twelve feet. In the rainy season 
the expense of this is much greater, but in some 
seasons they pump only about four months, just 
enough to hold the water table from two to five 
feet below the surface. Some of this land has no 
fall whatever, while the higher lands are drained 
by large canals, which empty into the sea. These 
have a fall of about four feet in six miles. The 
canals are seventy feet wide, from ten to fifteen 
feet deep, and from three to five mil(\s aj^art. 

In dry seasons the drainage canals that are not 
affected by the salt water tide are allowed to fill 
up to furnish sub-irrigation to the growing crops. 
From my experience in England with the cloudy 
weather and excessive rainfall, I would not iliink 
there would be any necessity for sub-irrigation 



462 THE POTATO 

once in a thousand years. Nevertheless, it is 
used. 

The black fen land produces enormous crops of 
grass, grains, roots, potatoes, and the most won- 
drous crops of peas. I saw from forty to sixty 
acres of peas in a lot and they yield forty to fifty 
JDushels per acre. This year they are bringing very 
high prices in the city markets. I saw 250 women 
and children in one field picking the pea pods and 
sacking them for city markets. At a distance they 
looked like a great flock of sheep in the long rows. 

These lands are now valued at from $350 to 
$500 an acre. As the country recedes from the 
sea it has more drainage and the soil is more of a 
clay. The lands are tiled. The lines of tile are 
from ten to twenty yards apart and the tiles are 
laid four to five feet deep. The original cost of 
the canals for construction was 75 cents an acre 
and 25 cents an acre maintenance every four or 
five years for cleaning and pumping. 

Lincolnshire is noted for its specialized breed 
of livestock. In a week's motoring I saw nothing 
but Lincolnshire sheep and Lincoln Red Short- 
horn cattle. They are all cherry red, and are de- 
scended from the old Shorthorn stocks. They are 
larger than the modem Shorthorn and much better 
milkers. They are good grazers. I was very 
much interested in the weight of some bullocks 1 
saw grazing in a pasture, but I could not learn of a 
single weigh bridge (scales) in the whole of Lin- 
colnshire. I saw 201 thirty-month-old bullocks, 
all cherry red, sold to a butcher by one firm of 
farmers, W. D. Dennis and Sons of Kirton. It 
would have been interesting to have witnessed 
the deal made, as this was said to have been the 
largest sale of bullocks from one farm at one time 



THE POTxVTO 463 

in Great Britain. First, the dealer came and 
looked over the bunch very carefully, then he was 
entertained at luncheon, where tliere was a plenti- 
fid flow of wine and spirit, and after every one had 
been put in the best of feeling, the dickering began. 
1 have forgotten just where they started, but it 
fmished £24.15.0 ($123) per head. The parties 
guessed at the weight these bullocks would dress. 
When 200 were counted out at the figure one more 
broke in, maldng 201 in the sale. These English 
farmers are willing to put their judgment against 
the butchers who are slaughtering and weighing 
every day. These buUocks had never been on a 
weigh scale in their hves, and had never been fed 
a pound of grain. They were largely bred and reared 
on the farm, and were mostly from pure-bred Lin- 
colnshire cows, 200 of which are kept. Only eiglit 
or ten bull calves are kept from the annual calf 
crop for bulls, and rest are made steers. 

I had been so inquisitive in their other farm op- 
erations, especially the potatoes, that I refrained 
from asking one of tlie sons, who is manager of the 
cattle department, what one of the bullocks 
cost. It had been reared from a registered cow, 
that was valued at $125, and was pastured and 
summered on land that had a valuation of $500 
an acre. I wanted to know the cost of that calf 
at weaning time, figuring the interest on the capi- 
tal invested in the cow and the land she grazed 
on at $625 a year and including the service of the 
sire, and figuring in the percentage of calves per 
annum to 100 cows. I simi)ly remarked that I 
knew of no American farm that could raise steers 
at a profit on this basis. After weaning, the calves 
were wintered on straw and roots with a bit of oil 
cake — a j^ound a day. The next sunmier they 



464 THE POTATO 

were grazed without cake. The second winter 
they were carried on straw, clover hay, Swedes 
and mangels, and four and one half pounds of 
cake a day until sale early in July. They were a 
prime lot of killers. The pastures they were 
grazed on were drained and tiled. There is no 
history as to when these pastures have been plowed. 
They will probably be kept for grazing for all 
time to come. 

It would be a great problem to determine just 
how far and in what way these cattle were a fac- 
tor in the profitable agriculture of this farm. I 
am positive that they would not have these fabu- 
lous crops were these cattle not raised, as they are 
necessary in converting the world of straw that is 
fed and tramped into fertilizer beds of manure 
every winter. They are just as careful to fertilize 
their meadows or pastures here as they are their 
plowed fields. All the manure from the horse 
stables, pigstys, cow stables, poultry houses, and 
butcher houses, piles of weeds, and all liquid ma- 
nure is hauled into the feed lots and conserved. 

The Shire is the exclusive horse of this district, 
as is the white, curly coated Lincolnshire hog. 
The Lincolnshire sheep are also peculiar to this 
district. 

Mr. Wm. Dennis and his five sons are pioneer 
growers of large acreages of potatoes. He com- 
menced in 1869 by buying six and one half acres 
of land at $500 an acre. They now have 3,000 
freehold acres and lease 3,000 more. They are 
operating 6,000 acres as follows: 1,500 acres in 
potatoes, with extra early, early, second early, 
medium late, and main crop in about equal pro- 
portions; 1,500 acres in grain, and 3,000 acres in 
pasture for grazing. The grass and grazing land 




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THE POTATO 465 

sells for more than plowed or arable laud, and it is 
quite impossible to lease it for the purpose of 
breaking it up. They run six 1, '200-pound bul- 
loeks to four acres, always give them a bit of oil 
cake, and never graze too close. 

The older Mr. Dennis tells me that their suc- 
cess, prosperity, and accumulations are all directly 
due to potato grow^ing, and corroborates the state- 
ment that I have made continuously whenever I 
talk potatoes, that potato growing when given 
proper attention returns more revenue for capital 
and labor invested than any other crop. 

The Lincolnshire district has used whole seed 
potatoes for upward of forty years, and their 
prosperity is largely due to this using of good, 
sound whole seed, as against cutting the tubers for 
seed pieces. 

Dennis and Sons are also the pioneers in the 
most successful methods of storing their seed po- 
tatoes. They use glass storehouses, and have 
five on their farms. They are IGO x 24 feet and 
the walls are twelve feet high. The lower six feet 
of wall is of brick, and the upper six of glass. The 
roof is all glass. They give the appearance of 
conservatories or greenhouses. They cost $2,250 
each and store 200 tons of seed potatoes in crates, 
giving a total storage capacity of 1,000 tons 
annually. The balance of their seed stocks is 
shipped from the north of Scotland. They are 
large importers of seed. 

Sir. Dennis says that no matter how perfect 
every condition of potato work is made, if seed 
stock is not perfect, of high germinating power, 
free from disease, and planted uncut, the grower 
will lose. 

Their home-grown seed is one and three fourths 



4G6 THE POTATO 

to one and seven eighths Inches In diameter, but 
when they buy Scotch seed, the Scotch seed 
grower furnishes larger sized seed. Their seed 
stocks are largely selected from the market crops 
that run through a one and seven eighths inch 
mesh. They are selected in the field and are im- 
mediately put in crates or storage boxes about 
three inches deep, and stacked up in the open air 
as long as safe from frost or freezing weather, 
which is usually about the middle of October. 
Then they are stored in their glass storage houses 
for the winter. 

Two days before my arrival at Mr. Dennis's, 
Monday evening, they had sprayed a forty-acre 
field of May Queen for leaf blight. These were 
early potatoes they expected to harvest the fol- 
lowing week for market. When late that evening 
they discovered indication of leaf blight, they knew 
the spraying had been delayed two days too long. 
That night arrangements were made for thirty or 
forty men to commence pulling the tops in the 
early morning. This keeps the disease from at- 
tacking the tubers. The potatoes were not much 
more than half grown. In two days' time the 
tops had been pulled from this field and thrown in 
neat winrows. The rest of the crop would be left 
in the ground for twenty days, then lifted and put 
in boxes and kept in the open until danger of 
frosts, then stored for seed. They were too green 
for market, but would make good seed. To a po- 
tato grower of the sunny irrigated West this fun- 
gous blight in its rapidity of development is fright- 
ening, as in three or four days 50 per cent, of the 
tubers will be diseased. They will have great 
brown spots, looking like brown blisters. These 
potatoes had been sprayed some two or three 



THE POTATO 407 

times previous, but the weather conditions (con- 
tinuous cloudy, sunless, rainy weatlier) made the 
disease hard to combat. Had the temperatures 
been high, it would have been a terrible disaster 
to the British potato industry. The early growing 
sorts are more susceptible than the more hardy 
main crops. When the disease strikes a district it 
spreads with the fierceness of a prairie fire. It is 
one of the very great problems to contend with 
where there is such a rank, rapid growth of vege- 
tation. I am inclined to think there is greater 
danger from their very close planting. The thick, 
dense foliage completely shades the lower leaves 
and soil from the little bit of sun that they do have. 

As everywhere else in Great Britain, they rely 
on barnyard manure, with occasional crops of 
clover, for humus. The idea is to keep as great an 
acreage in potatoes as possible and yet keep up 
their yields and freedom from disease. About 
one third of their arable lands are kept in potatoes, 
or potatoes two years out of six, with clover and 
other grasses one year; and for the other three 
years wheat, oats, barley, white mustard, man- 
gels, and Swedes for their cattle. I saw some good 
fields that had grown potatoes twelve years out of 
eighteen, and one farm that had been in potatoes 
twelve consecutive years. Here the land was fall 
plowed as deep as their big three-horse Shire 
teams with present style plows could turn it. 
They often plow twice between crops. AVlien this 
is done one of the plowings will be shallow. 

For early potatoes they thoroughly harrow and 
lav out their lands. The rows are twentv-five 
inches apart, hills twelve inelies a])art in the row. 
Late potatoes are planted '27 x 14 inches, and in 
the fens or peat land, 30 x l'^ inches. TIkmf peat 



468 THE POTATO 

soil is so loose and light that it does not hold its 
form in ridging so well, so they plant wide to give 
more soil for better ridging. Up to the present 
time this soil has required no nitrate of soda or 
nitrogen, but requires phosphates, lime, and potash. 

Whole seed with green sprouts one half inch 
long are placed in the furrow by women and chil- 
dren. They use light, one-horse cultivators, and 
practise what we would call shallow cultivation. 
They depend largely on hand hoeing and hand 
weeding. It seems to be the only system in the 
close rows, and these close rows and close planting 
are very important factors in the large yields in 
Europe as compared to our small yields in America, 
where we plant in rows three to four feet wide with 
hills fifteen to twenty-four inches apart, producing 
a few large, rough potatoes in a hill and a small 
number of bushels to the acre. 

They spray two to five times per season for blight 
at an expense of $2.50 an acre per spray. Sutton's 
Epicure is producing nine tons of salable po- 
tatoes per acre this 19th day of July (1910) at 
$15 a ton net. They would get thirteen tons 
matured thirty days later at $10 a ton. Their 
method of harvesting would be very primitive and 
crude to our potato growers with improved ma- 
chinery in the United States. Boys and girls first 
pull the tops in two rows and throw^ the tops on 
harvested land. Then the potatoes that were 
pulled out with the tops are picked up from the 
surface and the balance are plowed out with old- 
fashioned shovel plows with rod attachments. 
Then the potatoes that lay on the surface are 
picked up by women, boys and girls and carried to 
a point where they are being sacked. The land is 
then harrowed twice and picked over again, so 



THE POTATO 4G9 

they will get any potatoes that have been covered 
up by the mefficiency of the crude digger they 
have been using. They are thrown into a round 
sieve thirty inches in diameter that sets on an- 
other sieve, and this on top of an empty barrel. 
The top sieve has a three fourths inch mesh. A 
man shakes this sieve and the potatoes that do 
not go through this sieve are pitched into a sack 
held by a sack-holder. The lower sieve holds the 
very small potatoes for stock feed. It takes a big, 
strong man to do this all day. All potatoes over a 
three fourths inch mesh are nuirketed as early 
potatoes. Sacks weigh 112 pounds net. Eng- 
lish laws do not allow the weighing of a package or 
a sack in marketing, as is the custom in America. 
They do have weigh bridges (scales) for potatoes 
if they do not for cattle. Every sack of potatoes 
is sold at the net weight at which it is filled at 
harvesting time. 

The laborers pull the top, dig up and sort, sack, 
weigh and sew and winrow the tops, going over 
the field twice, for $10 per acre, contract price. 
The boys and girls make 30 cents a day, the women 
48 cents, and men $1. All board themselves. 

The main or late crop is harvested and handled 
the same w ay, and goes direct to market. Those 
that are stored for late market are put in pits or 
piled upon the ground six or seven feet wide at 
the base and coned up at an angle of forty-five 
degrees. As the weather gets colder they are 
thatched with straw and dirt is added. 

On this farm an economical plan is just being 
worked out. It is a narrow gauge railway that 
goes around the outside of a 1,000-acre farm and 
once through the centre, running to the storage 
house and railway shipping station. When the 



470 THE POTATO 

potatoes are harvested they are pitted or stored 
alongside this railway. They call these pits 
*' clamps." There are 600 acres of potatoes on 
this farm that will be harvested and stored in this 
way, making a pit three miles long. They expect 
ten tons to the acre, making 6,000 tons of potatoes. 

The carting of potatoes in this level peat soil 
is often quite impossible when they have excessive 
rain. 

Land values in Lincolnshire have changed very 
greatly in forty years. They are about the 
same values now as in 1870. Then Mr. Dennis 
paid $500 per acre for his first purchase. He 
pointed out to me a 100-acre farm for which $500 
an acre was refused in 1870. It was sold in 1908 
for $275 an acre. Since 1870 the lands that sold 
as low as $175 to $300 an acre are bringing from 
$400 to $500 an acre. 

These lands are now producing up to fifty-six 
bushels of wheat to the acre, with a general aver- 
age of a series of years of forty-five bushels. It 
weighs sixty-three pounds to the bushel. Oats 
produce up to eighty bushels, weighing forty-two 
pounds to the bushel. The general average is 
sixty bushels to the acre. A great deal of the grain 
of 1909 is still in the stacks unthreshed. They do 
not thresh their grain until they need the straw. 
It is kept in thatched stacks instead of in ware- 
houses. 

Growing white mustard is a very profitable 
industry and it serves as a good change of crops 
for soils. It often returns $60 an acre with very 
little expense. 

A very interesting visit was made to Titus Kime, 
Marham-le-Fen, Boston, Lincolnshire. In a letter 
to E. H. Grubb in July, 1911, he gives many facts 




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THE POTATO 471 

about his potato and hog business. Extracts from 
the letter follow : 

*'This has been the earliest season for potatoes 
ever known in our neighborhood (Lincolnshire) 
since we began to send early potatoes in quantity 
to market. June 11th was the earliest day pre- 
viously we have ever sent tons to market. This 
year I sent away on June Cth and 7th three tons 
twelve hundredweight of Early Puritans (this 
is an American variety) and they realized exactly 
£50 English money ($250) gross. 

*'0n June 12th I got away a few Eclipse and 
realized a very good price, and on June 15th I be- 
gan to dig Eclipse with a good gang of diggers and 
pickers. And about these I must tell you a little 
history which I hope will interest you. On July 
20, 1910, I bought two fields of land here near the 
woods and very poor indeed — well known as be- 
ing the poorest land in the parish. Perhaps you 
do not know the old English saying, ' If you want to 
take land go near the church and far from the 
wood.' These two fields have an area of exactly 
fourteen acres. They cost £18 ($90) per acre; 
this is, £252 ($1,2G0). 

" Now perhaps you will excuse me from boasting, 
but I had potatoes well started in boxes — Eclipse 
was the kind — and planted on these fields in 
March. This land is very light, and, as I said, 
very poor, and I wanted to get it cleared up as 
early as possible to sow for tuniips, as getting a crop 
of turnips eaten oft' poor land succeeds splendidly 
here, makes us sure of a good grain crop (barley 
or oats) the following year, or, we can take an- 
other crop of potatoes. Well, I succeedtHl in get- 
ting all the potatoes off of that field 'green,' as 



472 THE POTATO 

we call it, and the land is now ready all in good 
time for the growing of turnips for this season, 
with every prospect of a good crop, and the po- 
tatoes have realized £276 ($1,380) — that is more 
than the purchase price of the land and I am very 
much pleased and rather proud of the result. 

"The cultivation was quite expensive. The 
field, after barley, had fifty tons of good cowyard 
manure made under cover and a good deal from 
feeding linseed and cotton cake, put on before 
being plowed. Then four hundredweight per 
acre of kainit was sown broadcast on top of the 
plowing, and after being ridged ready for planting 
six hundredweight of Peruvian guano was sown 
down the ridges, and after the potatoes were well 
up one hundredweight of nitrate of soda was sown 
straight down the rows. 

"The other field had no cowyard manure, but 
four hundredweight of kainit per acre was sown 
broadcast after plowing and then one ton of shoddy 
waste manure per acre was thrown on and pretty 
well spread. After ridging ready for potato 
planting we sowed ten hundredw^eight per acre 
of a compound potato manure, analyzing about 4 
per cent, ammonia, 3J per cent, potash, and 25 per 
cent, soluble phosphate, and after the potatoes 
were well up and about ready for ridging up we 
sowed one hundredweight nitrate of soda straight 
down the rows. 

"You will see from the above that both fields 
were pretty liberally manured and the crops paid 
for it, because I find if we mean to dig potatoes 
early (and every day's delay makes a difference in 
price) we must be liberal with manure in order to 
force Uiem along. 

"I have about forty kinds of new and old po- 



THE POTATO 473 

tatoes this year, and among the new ones per- 
haps two or three are sliowiiig some very good 
points. One tuber I got from America I am afraid 
will be of no use here. It has a pale green haulm 
with white flowers and much too floriferous for 
a new potato. 

"I have two tubers growing which were sent to 
me by a firm in Scotland, asking me to plant them 
both whole. I did so, one yard apart, and these 
two rows make a fine picture. The haulm is 
splendid, and although the tubers were, as I say, 
planted three feet apart, the haulms met on July 
1st. 

"On the other hand, just lately, I had the pleas- 
ure of paying $37.40 for a few of the new kind that 
I am afraid are not worth 7 pence-ha'penny. 
Early Puritan, Duke of York, Sharp's Express, and 
Echpse are the best early for earliest market pur- 
poses, and the grand old Up-to-Date is still the 
best main crop we have, but Ever Good, Royal 
Kidney, and Northern Star are largely grown for 
main crop in Lincolnshire. The finest quality 
of all for eating is the old Clarke main crop, now 
grown under many other names, such as Lang- 
worthy, East Anglian, etc. This potato grows 
well and produces a fairly good yield on good po- 
tato land, but on naturally poor land, no matter 
how well it is manured, it will not do so well. 

"My potatoes this year I think look as well as 
I have ever had them. I have about thirty acres 
of Eclipse growing from seed direct from Scotland, 
and I think if you saw them you would say they 
are a grand sight. 

"As to pigs, I still keep my usual ciuantity, 1^20 
to 150, and I am always breeding and always feed- 
ing all the year round, I am a member of the 



474 THE POTATO 

Lincolnshire Curly-Coated Pig Breeders' Asso- 
ciation, but I get up no pigs for showing and make 
no fancy prices. My pig business is principally 
feeding. The last two years, when prices have 
been good, I have sent away on an average of 
twenty fat pigs, weighing about twenty stone (280 
pounds) each, live weight, every six weeks. 

*'I feed all my waste potatoes to the pigs. I 
have a boiler which holds about 350 pounds of 
potatoes, and when we have plenty of waste po- 
tatoes, or our ordinary potatoes are making any- 
thing under 40 shillings per ton, we cook on an 
average of nine hundredweight per day. In my 
valuation I put all waste potatoes down at 15 
shillings ($3.60) per ton, but I do not sell any under 
20 shillings ($4.80) per ton. 

"As to meal, etc., for feeding pigs: When po- 
tatoes are plentiful, we cook liberal quantities and 
mix in a large cemented brick receptacle that will 
hold about 200 gallons. Say we shall throw into 
this about six hundredweight of potatoes and mix 
up with about four hundredweight of meal, one 
half barley meal and the other half wheat shorts. 
If the boiler is not freely employed cooking po- 
tatoes we fill up the time by cooking maize pre- 
viously ground. This makes good food to mix in, 
and we consider cooked maize very good food for 
pigs. Also, if beans, peas, and wheat happen to 
be as cheap, or nearly as cheap, as barley, we grind 
them up pretty freely and mix with the barley 
meal. Barley meal, sold as barley meal, is well 
known to be often by no means ground from bar- 
ley alone. If lentils or Indian grain are reason- 
able in price, all in moderation make excellent 
food for pigs, but sows that have just farrowed 
and which are suckling their pigs should have very 



THE POTATO 475 

little of any kind of meal except (wliere practi- 
cable) fine wheat shorts. 

"It is a good plan to begin to feed the young pigs 
when about four weeks old, by themselves, on a 
little wheat and shorts mixed with skimmed milk, 
if you have it. As to the breeding sows, I keep 
mine now at less than half the cost I used to 
twenty years ago. I generally have about fifteen 
or sixteen brooding sows or gilts, and most of these 
run out summer and winter with the boar in a 
grass field. In this field they have about five 
acres to themselves and have rough sheds to lay 
in. We take them about four buckets — say, 
about ten gallons (perhaps twelve gallons) — 
per day of slop made of meal and potatoes, and 
they get plenty of exercise picking up a living from 
the grass and a few rough roots such as very rough 
potatoes, mangles and waste grains of any kind 
when we have them. Sows and gilts in pig, in my 
opinion, require plenty of exercise and should only 
be shut up a few days before pigging." 

After fully studying and investigating the Lin- 
colnshire farm district, farm lands, livestock, 
grass, grazing, and potatoes, I cannot see wherein 
they have an earning capacity equal to the irri- 
gated fertile lands that have a suflScient water 
supply, like Colorado, Idalio, Utah, and Cali- 
fornia. The latter exceed them in quantity and 
quality of everything produced. ,We (in the 
West) can and do grow more wheat, more grass, 
more oats, potatoes, and more hay, with a more 
liealthful climate, and with all kinds of fruit. 
Lincolnshire is debarred from growing fruits. 
Above all, our continual summer sunshine enables 
us to harvest our crops without loss and in good 



476 THE POTATO 

condition when grown. I am safe in saying that 
these lands that are valued at $500 an acre on their 
revenue-earning capacity have an earning ability 
of 50 per cent, less than good Western irrigated 
lands. 

SUMMARY 

The following practice of European potato 
growers should be of interest and value to Ameri- 
can producers: 

1. The use of deep-rooting grasses — rye grass, 
alfalfa, etc. 

2. The use of large quantities of animal ma- 
nures. 

3. The use of immature, northern-grown seed. 

4. The careful storage of seed stocks in trays. 

5. Selection of seed to type and purity of va- 
rieties. 

G. Close planting. 



CHAPTER XXXVIII 

THE CHANNEL ISLANDS 

THE first early open field grown potatoes of 
the season for the London markets are 
from the Canary Islands, southwest of 
Spain. The next are from the Jersey Islands and 
arrive in London in April and May. Early po- 
tatoes that are marketed previous to that time 
are grown under glass in the Jersey and Guernsey 
Islands. 

There are so many factors and features of po- 
tato work in Jersey that it is really hard to com- 
prehend the magnitude of the industry. In round 
figures there are 19,000 acres of this fertile little 
island, of which about one half is cropped continu- 
ously in potatoes and has been for a long time, 
some of it for fifty consecutive years. By the 
most scientific methods and study they have not 
only maintained but gradually increased their high 
3'ields. All of the potato growers are breeders and 
growers of Jersey cattle. 

A tenant who farms about sixty acres is the 
largest operator. He is a breeder of cattle, grows 
twenty-five acres of potatoes annually, and is the 
most up-to-date, money-making farmer on the 
island. He i)ays a rental of $60 an acre annually. 
He values his low grazing land, too low for po- 
tato growing, at $35 an acre a year for pasture. 

The main }:)ortion of the crop is planted early in 
February and harvested in May and June. The 

477 



478 THE POTATO 

price received Is from $20 to $100 per ton. The 
market is very changeable, often varying as much 
as $20 a ton in a day, according to the suppHes in 
the London market. They get an average yield 
on the island of 425 bushels to the acre, but many 
of these potatoes are sold when only partly grown. 
A maximum yield of 750 bushels to the acre is 
considered about the limit for matured potatoes 
per acre. 

They plant very closely. The rows are six- 
teen inches apart, the hills twelve inches apart 
in the row. The potatoes are ridged with hand 
plows. It is necessary to use hand power in 
cultivation because the potatoes are planted 
so close together. They can grow a large num- 
ber of hills per acre, on account of the great 
amount of concentrated fertilizer applied to the 
land. 

Only one variety of potato Is grown. This is 
known as the Royal Jersey. It is kidney-shaped 
and is the smoothest potato I have ever seen. No 
one seems to know the origin of it, but it is thought 
that it comes from seed stocks shipped in years ago. 
It surely would be an acquisition to have a ship- 
ment of these potatoes come to the United States, 
to have them experimented with in the early po- 
tato districts. The variety does not seem to be 
grown any place except on this island. 

This calls to mind the wart, or black scab, dis- 
ease of potatoes. These shrewd islanders are a 
very careful, exacting class of people in all of their 
affairs. For a great many years they have not 
allowed the importation of any livestock, not even 
for slaughtering on the day of arrival. For this 
reason infectious or contagious diseases of cattle 
have never been known on the island. On first 




llarvcsliiii;' early polaloes on liu- l>laiiii ol .Jersey 




Oats on the Island of Jersey. The senior author is standing in 
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3d 



THE rOTATO 479 

information of the dread wart disease of potatoes 
the parhament of the island (whieh has home rule) 
quarantined Great Britain against sending any 
potatoes into the ishmd. They are not even al- 
lowed to be brought in for table use. This shows 
how they protect their most important money- 
making industry. Our national Congress could 
well pattern after this in the protection of the 
American farmer and potato grower. 

The revenue derived from potatoes per acre is 
sometimes quite fabulous when they get an early 
crop. They are subject to spring frosts in March, 
which checks the growth as much as three weeks. 
One farmer told me he lost $8,000 by frost in one 
morning. The crop often brings as much as 
$400 and $500 an acre. One grower received 
$2,090 on one and three fourths acres of the land. 
This is a remarkable little block of warm, sandy 
soil, encircled by a stone wall to shelter it from the 
winds, and sloping to the south at an angle of al- 
most forty degrees. I think it is the finest f)iecc 
of land that I have ever seen cropped. He took 
the chances of planting them very early, used an ex- 
cessive amount of fertilizer, and well-sprouted 
seed, planted w^hole. He harvested and shipped 
them in one day, when the London market was 
bare of potatoes. This land will readily rent for 
$250 an acre, as it is the earliest piece of land on 
the island. I saw one twelve-acre farm that rents 
for $140 an acre. In recent years this land, which 
produces the early crop, has appreciated very 
nmch in market value. It is now valued at from 
$1,000 to $2,500 an acre. I heard of many small 
tracts that are being rented at from $75 to $175 
an acre. No wonder that this 19,000 acres of 
arable land supports a population of 55,000 and 



480 THE POTATO 

over, 20,000 domestic farm animals, or three 
people and one domestic farm animal per acre. 

I saw meadow grass — a combination of nearly 
all of the legumes and other grasses — being har- 
vested. It gave a yield at one cutting of five tons 
to the acre (2,240 pounds to the ton). 

Following this is a second crop to be grazed off 
by the cattle for fall and winter pasture. This is 
the result of feeding the soil with liquid manure 
from the cow barns. It is sprinkled over the 
meadows from time to time with an apparatus 
something like a street sprinkler. If this land 
is kept in grass, say, for three years, it will 
grow potatoes continuously, year after year, al- 
most indefinitely. Potatoes are often followed 
with tomatoes. I saw one ten-acre tract the po- 
tatoes from which had been harvested in May. 
On the 6tli of July 13,500 tomato plants per acre 
were in bloom and setting tomatoes. They would 
give $600 to $700 an acre as a second crop. Often, 
after the potatoes are harvested, the land is im- 
mediately sown to Italian rye grass for the cows. 
This gives them the turf and splendid root system 
of the rye grass to feed the land for the next year's 
potato crop. 

I saw this big sixty-acre farmer, the sixth of July, 
digging, sorting and putting away his seed for the 
next year's cropping. The potatoes were lifted 
by hand with forks; women were picking out by 
hand the most perfect potatoes for seed stocks and 
placing them in boxes to be stored in their stone 
storage houses. They were put in boxes about 
three inches deep, and were sorted to size. Noth- 
ing is wasted on the Jersey Islands. A potato no 
larger than a hazel-nut is picked up and used for 
something. 



THE POTATO 481 

I 

Three bushels of com (It looks like Americtan 
corn) were sown over the field before the potatoes 
were dug so that the digging of the potatoes w ould 
cover the seed three or four inches deep. This 
grows and is used for pasture and forage for cattle 
and horses. It is also an aid in feeding the land 
as a cover crop for the next year's potato growing. 
They did not lose one hour's time in the use of the 
land. This corn would be up in four or five days 
and making rapid growth. 

The soil is a disintegrated granite formation. 

Sometimes immediately after harvesting the 
potatoes they sow the land down to rye grass and 
clover, and leave it two years. They use it for hay 
and grazing, sometimes both. The first year after 
breaking sod they use no barnyard manure; the 
second and third years they use all the barnyard 
manure they can secure, twenty -five or thirty tons 
if possible, with a ton of commercial fertilizer 
additional to the acre. 

They usually spray two to five times during the 
growing season. The best farmers always spray 
five times, and they always secure a full crop. I 
saw two fields adjoining. The conditions w^ere 
the same. One w^as sprayed five times and the 
owner expected a yield of thirteen tons to the acre 
or more, w'hile the field alongside, sprayed twice, 
was completely burned up with blight. There 
was nothing but the black stalks left standing. It 
costs about $1.25 to spray each time, and the work 
is always done by hand, as they cannot use horses 
in their closely planted fields. 

Their system of using partially grown seed is 
practically the same as in the early potato-growing 
districts of England and Scotland. Saving seed 
in June for the next year's planting is a very 



482 THE POTATO 

serious problem. It must be held over during 
their warm months of summer and fall, and sprout- 
ing retarded so as to have the seed in good con- 
dition for planting the next February. 

Owing to their close planting they require from 
3,000 to 4,000 pounds of seed to the acre. They 
never cut seed. 

These potato growers were very much excited 
on reading the Orchard Heating Bulletin^ published 
by D. E. Burley, general passenger agent of the 
Oregon Short Line Railroad. This bulletin tells 
how fruit is saved from frost by the use of 
heating pots in the orchard. They think frost 
protection will be very valuable in enabling them 
to put their potatoes on the city markets of 
Europe two to four weeks earlier than they ever 
have before. 

I hope to see their great money-making meth- 
ods for the production of early potatoes adopted 
in the Sacramento Valley and elsewhere in Cali- 
fornia. The days of sunshine here are much more 
favorable for the crop than the chilly winds off the 
sea on the Jersey Islands, where in the month of 
July I was not uncomfortable with winter clothing, 
and where I saw many people wearing their coats 
in the middle of the day. 

The unit of weight which is used in the market- 
ing of farm crops in Jersey is known as the cabot. 
This is forty pounds. Their potatoes are mar- 
keted in willow baskets or small barrels. The 
potatoes are sold to the dealers in willow baskets. 
The dealer barrels them. It takes a quarter of a 
million barrels to handle the potatoes of this little 
island. The barrels are returned from the mar- 
kets daily. 

There are large numbers of glass houses for grow- 



THE POTATO 483 

ing vegetables and crops of all kinds. This gives 
winter employment and income. 

The amount of wheat and oats that grows on 
this granite soil is wonderful. Much of it was 
higher than my head and very thick on the ground, 
and there was not one place where the straw was 
weak enough to make it lodge. It had the strong- 
est, stiff est straw I have ever seen. They told me 
the wheat would give an average of sixty-nine 
bushels to the acre. It did surely look as though 
no more could grow on an acre, and I have seen 
upward of seventy-five bushels in the irrigated 
West. 

Referring again to the fertilizing, the Agricul- 
tural Society of the island gives prizes for the 
best conducted and appointed farm. The first 
requisite in the scale of points, in a total of sixty, 
is farm buildings, manure and liquid manure tank, 
five points; if neat and compact, five additional 
points. There are eighteen other factors for con- 
sideration in awarding the prize. 

Shiploads of guano and commercial fetilizer are 
imported and used; great quantities of turf, roots, 
and cover crops are incorporated in the soil, and 
every bit of animal manure is conserved. ]\Ia- 
nure is used at the rate of twenty to twenty-five 
tons when they have it. That does not mean 
sticks, fire fanged, coarse manure and straws but 
well-rotted barnyard manure which has the con- 
sistency of well-ripened sugar-beet pulp. 

Their humid, cloudy, sunless climate makes a 
splendid environment for disease such as blight. 

As a plow maker I have contended that it was 
nearly impossible to make a moldboard plow that 
would do good work over twelve inches deep, but 
on the Jersey Island I saw moldboard plows that 



484 THE POTATO 

plowed an eleven-inch furrow, eighteen inches deep 
and turned it well. The moldboard was twenty- 
six inches deep, with a strong steel beam and a pair 
of ordinary wagon wheels for a front truck to regu- 
late the width and depth of the furrow. It re- 
quired ten heavy horses to handle it with the turf 
and manure that was plowed under. A farmer 
can imagine what a nest or bed this aerated, fer- 
tilized soil would make for the root system of the 
potato or any other vegetable crop. It also makes 
a fine storehouse for moisture and heat. 

On one farm the crop of potatoes from ten acres 
sold for $10,450. Of course, this was a very ex- 
treme case, for the potatoes sold for eight cents 
a pound, or $180 a ton. The man farming this 
land said it would readily rent for $250 an acre on 
nineteen-year leasehold. The man who gave me 
this information is a leading representative tenant 
farmer. He told me that he made annually 180 
barrels of apple cider and consumed it all on the 
farm. When he saw me drawing a long breath he 
led me to the storage cellar and I saw the tanks. 
He said there was no other beverage used on the 
farm for his family or help, and I saw great pitch- 
ers and mugs of it in the fields where he had 
thirty men at work. 

A great deal of labor is imported from France 
during potato harvest, the total annual outlay for 
this item being $75,000 to $90,000. 

The following very interesting account of the 
Channel Islands potato industry is from "Pic- 
torial Practical Potato Growing," by Walter P. 
Wright and Edward J. Castle* 

"The Channel Islands, as being British ter- 
ritory, and supplying us with our first early 



THE POTATO 485 

potatoes in bulk, are entitled to a little consid- 
eration here. Guernsey and Jersey are the chief 
islands concerned in the potato trade, the bulk 
of the Guernsey crop being raised under glass. 
Jersey has also taken up glass culture to some ex- 
tent, but still relies almost solely upon outdoor 
crops. These are grown everywhere — by road- 
sides, on railway platform gardens, on the slopes 
of valleys so steep that one wonders how the soil 
keeps in position, and even up to the very walls of 
Jersey's most famous *lion,' Mount Orgueil Castle. 
"Digging begins in the more favored parts, 
such as L'Etac and St. Aubyn's, at the end of 
April, an army of Breton peasants, with their 
wives and families, being imported for the purpose. 
The potatoes are packed in barrels, and taken to 
the one Jersey port, St. Heliers, whence they are 
shipped to England. Prices fluctuate enormously 
even in a single day, but the returns have aver- 
aged some £400,000 ($2,000,000) for several years 
past. The variety grown is the old International 
Kidney, raised nearly forty years ago by ]\Ir. 
Robert Fenn, and in its day the leading exhibi- 
tion variety." 



CHAPTER XXXIX 

IRELAND 

HISTORY is responsible for the statement 
that the first potatoes grown in Great 
Britain were planted in Ireland, near Cork. 
The name "Irish Potato" has come into uni- 
versal use and many believe the tuber to have 
originated there. 

The potato has for generations been one of 
the principal foods of the Irish peasant, and at 
the present time potato growing and all other 
branches of Irish agriculture are receiving great 
attention. One of the world's best agriculturists, 
Professor Campbell, is doing a wonderful work in 
advancing the farming interests of Ireland. 

In another chapter considerable history and 
data concerning Irish potato conditions are given. 
As stated there, the future of the Irish early po- 
tato seems particularly bright. In "Leaflet 19" 
of the Department of Agriculture and Technical 
Instruction for Ireland, issued from Dublin, is 
the following: 

"The cultivation of potatoes for the early mar- 
ket is undoubtedly one of the most profitable 
branches of agriculture, provided the produce can 
be put on the market at the beginning of the season 
while high prices still obtain. In May phenome- 
nally high prices are procurable ; any time in June 
the price is usually good enough to insure hand- 

486 



THE POTATO 487 

some profits; the first half of July is, as a rule, bet- 
ter than the ordinary late or main crop, and the 
latter half of July as good as winter marketing. 

"With the advent of August, prices often fall to 
a very low point, and the risk of disease being very 
great, only those growers who are in favored po- 
sitions as respects markets and freightage can suc- 
ceed. It should be borne in mind that the cost of 
production is much greater than in the case of the 
late croj), and unless several pounds sterling per 
acre more is received for the early crop it is not 
profitable. Within the last twenty years great de- 
velopments have taken place in this industiy. 
Foreign countries have participated in a trade 
which was thought impossible to them, and in our 
own country the cpop has been greatly accelerated. 

"The season ojjens in April with potatoes from 
^lalta and Teneriffe. In INIay great quantities 
are poured into our markets from Jersey and Cotes 
du Nord, France. Strangely enough, the next 
place in point of earliness is a strip of seaboard, on 
the west coast of Scotland, where for fifty miles in 
Ayrshire and Wigtonshire the Gulf Stream exer- 
cises a beneficent influence directly through the 
North Channel, and renders that district singu- 
larly imnmne from spring and ^lay frosts, llie 
Ayrshire season commences generally about the 
middle of June. Good crops ready to raise at 
that date are worth £40 per statute acre, and are 
sold gro^^^ng to merchants, who take all further 
risks and bear the expense of raising, the farmer 
having no more to do except cart the potatoes to 
the nearest station. 

"Ireland's share in this lucrative industry has 
hitherto been small, although her ])hysieal con- 
ditions are extremely favorable. It would not 



488 THE POTATO 

be possible to approach the earhness of the Chan- 
nel Islands, but what can be done in Scotland may 
assuredly be improved upon in Cork and Kerry, 
subject to the same ameliorating influences in 
even greater degree, 200 miles farther south, and 
possessing ideal soil. 

"The east coast of Ireland does not enjoy so 
mild a climate, but whatever is lacking in that 
respect is compensated for by contiguity to mar- 
kets and greater facilities for intensive farming. 

"Early potato growing has long been practised 
in County Dublin, and at one time Scotch mar- 
kets were largely supplied from there. Even now 
it is perfectly wonderful what has been achieved at 
Rush, by a race of shrewd and hardy men, whose 
ceaseless and laborious industry deserves a better 
reward. By the adoption of some of the new 
methods for accelerating the crop they can in 
some measure recover their lost supremacy, and 
Ireland generally may to a very large extent par- 
ticipate in the extremely profitable industry of 
supplying England with early potatoes." 



CHAPTER XL 

CONTINENT OF EUROPE 

^S AYILL be seen by the graphic map of the 
L\ world in Chapter I, the aggregate potato 
X ^ production of the countries on the conti- 
nent of Europe is enormous. 

During his European trip in the interest of 
American potato growers, the senior author spent 
considerable time in France and Germany and is 
indebted to Consul-General Frank M. Mason, 
Paris; Robert P. Skinner, Consul-General, Ham- 
burg; Lutten & Son, commission merchants, Ham- 
burg; and Baron Kriesheim of Bariskow, for many 
courtesies and kindnesses. 

The manufacture of starch, flour, alcohol, and 
other products has been developed extensively in 
some districts. This is described more fully in the 
chapter on manufactures. 

In a report of Consul-General Robert P. Skinner 
of Hamburg the following facts about the situ- 
ation in Germany are given: 

**A number of causes have combmed to bring 
about the immense German potato crop, which has 
apparently reached the limit of profitableness, as, 
in spite of the efforts of the German Government 
to encourage the industrial use of potatoes, only 
4 per cent, of the total crop is taken up for the 
manufacture of starch and its by-products, and 
8 per cent, for the distillation of alcohol. Thus the 

489 



490 THE POTATO 

chief demand for potatoes remains the ordinary 
consuming market, which, because of cHmatic 
conditions, looks to a number of foreign countries 
for considerable quantities of early varieties. 
There are in this countiy immense areas of poor 
agricultural land which yield fairly well when 
planted with potatoes, and as the crop is valuable 
for rotation purposes, and the table demand prob- 
ablv greater, relativelv, in Germanv than m anv 
other country, and the industrial appHcations nu- 
merous, the succeeding vears have seen the \^eld 
advance steadily to an average which now exceeds 
45,000,000 tons. 

"The cultivation of potatoes is indirectly encour- 
aged by the German Government, which confers 
special privileges upon farm distilleries consuming 
the products of the land. Consul-General Thac- 
kara, in his able report of October 3, 1908, has 
furnished valuable figures in regard to the pro- 
duction of potatoes and their uses. In respect to 
the agricultural distilleries, the Imperial Govern- 
ment permits them to produce a certain amount of 
grain or potato alcohol, the amount depending 
upon the size and the location of the farms ajid 
the annual demand for the product, upon the pay- 
ment of a revenue tax of marks 1.05 (25 cents) hi- 
st ead of the usual tax of marks 1.25 (29.75) cents 
per litre. Alcohol distilled in excess of the quan- 
tum is subject to the higher rate of tax, and de- 
natured alcohol is not subject to any tax at all. 
The slops are used for feeding and the refuse is 
returned to the land. 

"At the present time over 200 varieties of pota- 
toes are raised in this countiy, the most of which 
are used indifferently for all purposes. Naturally, 
such varieties as have a small content of water are 



THE POTATO 491 

best adapted for the production of alcohol. In 
some parts of Germany a mealy potato is popular, 
while in others the watery variety is preferred. 
The hard, mealy tubers are found to keep better 
through the winter than the others. A loose and 
not too heavy soil is preferably chosen for this cul- 
ture, as in a heavy soil the crop is likely to deteri- 
orate or become diseased. In the proximity of 
large cities farmers seek to raise favorite table 
varieties, and in the remote, and particularly the 
northern, portions of the country the crop goes 
to a large extent to the alcohol distilleries or starch 
factories, or to cattle feeding purposes. In por- 
tions of the empire where grain is a large crop 
potatoes are planted every fifth or sixth year. 
Cabbage also is raised for rotating purposes be- 
tween wheat and rye, or other cereals. Should 
the demand for this vegetable be considerably in- 
creased there are large tracts of marsh and heatli 
land in northern Germany which could be im- 
proved and made to yield potatoes in fair quan- 
tities. 

"The success of the German farmer with potatoes 
has largely- resulted from the necessity of securing 
an income from soil which could hardlv be utilized 
for anything else, and upon such soils, in addition 
to stable manure, large quantities of industrial 
fertilizers are also applied. In connection with 
experiments made by order of the Director of the 
Botanical Garden of Hamburg, the following in- 
dustrial fertilizers have been successfully used for 
the cultivation of potatoes: 

Kainit 0.7 tons per hectare ('2.47 acres) 

Thomas meal 0.5 " " 

Chilean nitrate. . . 0.3 " 



492 THE POTATO 

*'The kainit and Thomas meal were applied in 
the fall and the nitrate was strewn in the spring. 
Instead of nitrate, sulphate of ammonia was also 
used. No mention is made of superphosphates as 
having been used in these experiments, although 
farmers employ them to a very large extent. 
Kainit is a mixture of sulphate of potash and sul- 
phate of magnesia with variable proportions of 
chlorure of magnesium and marine salt. The 
useful substance in this combination is the potash 
which is represented by a proportion of 12.96 per 
100. As the chlorure of magnesium is a salt de- 
structive to vegetation, the use of raw kainit is not 
recommended. As a rule it is sold in prepared 
form after having been calcined, whereby the 
chlorure is eliminated. 

"Thomas meal is a fertilizer made from basic 
slag. Concerning Chilean nitrate of soda it is 
scarcely necessary to speak. In respect to this 
fertilizer, C. V. Garola says that it is not an in- 
dispensable fertilizer, and need not be employed 
unless it furnishes a pound of azote at a cost in- 
ferior to that of other fertilizers containing azote, 
such as blood, honis, flesh, and, particularly, sul- 
phate of ammonia. 

"Mr. Garola, already quoted, in his *Ten Years of 
Agricultural Experiments' says in regard to the ef- 
fect of fertilizers upon the cultivation of potatoes : 
*The potato is always very grateful for the ma- 
nure that it receives. A strong manure, well pre- 
pared, is the first condition to a good crop. By 
using it to an extent of thirty tons (the author does 
not state over what area) I have obtained an in- 
crease of 88 per cent, in the yield ; and a small dos- 
ing of manure, completed by super-phosphate and 
nitrate of soda, increased the crop by 105 per cent. 



THE POTATO 493 

This confirms wliat I have ah'cady recognized in 
regard to other crops — that is to say, that ma- 
nure in moderate doses and with complementary 
fertihzers is more advantageous than a heavy 
fertihzation of manure alone. The doses of 
phosphoric acid and potash should be increased 
in poor soils and diminished in rich soils. They 
should be buried before sowing. As to the ma- 
nure, it should be turned under before the winter, 
if possible. Nitrate of soda should be spread at 
the time of harrowing.' 

"This writer states that upon reduced surfaces 
he has obtained 550 quintals (5.5 tons) of potatoes 
per hectare (2.47 acres). The maximum yield 
observed upon a larger scale and upon surfaces of 
from 7 to 16 hectares (17.29 to 39.52 acres) was 410 
quintals (4.1 tons). He considered a satisfactory 
yield, with proper cultivation, to be about 300 
quintals (3 tons) per hectare (2.47 acres.) 

"It is rather doubtful whether American potatoes 
can be sold profitably in Europe, or, at all events, 
in Germany, in spite of some rather optimistic dis- 
cussion of the subject. Wholesale buyers can pro- 
cure German potatoes to-day (December 22, 1910) 
at $2 per 220 pounds for the *egg' variety, and 
$1.52 per 220 pounds for the * Magnum Bonum' 
variety. 

"(Prices on June 28, 1911, date of copy of this 
report, as follows: Egg potatoes sold out. At 
present 'long spring potatoes' are on sale and are 
worth $2.38 to $2.62 per 220 pounds. ':\Iagnum 
Bonum' scarce at present and worth $2.09 per 
220 pounds. — R. P. S). • 

"In order to sell American potatoes in Germany, 
it would be necessarv to lav them down in New 
York at not more than the above figures, less the 



494 THE POTATO 

freight to Hamburg, for wliicli my only quotation 
is 20 shillings ($4.8665) per ton. It costs only 16 
shillings ($3.8928) per ton to ship German po- 
tatoes to America, and perhaps if American ships 
were available it would not cost 20 shillings to 
ship American potatoes to Germany, or Europe. 
From August 1st to February 14th foreign pota- 
toes are admitted free into Germany, but at other 
times there is an import duty of 60 cents per 
220 pounds. 

"American potatoes offered for export to Ger- 
many, apparently, would not bring more, f.o.b. 
New York, than 28 cents per bushel of 60 pounds 
for the 'Magnum Bonum' and 41 cents for the 
'egg' variety. The calculation stands as follows: 

Magnum 
Bonum Egg 

Price per 220 pounds in Hamburg . . $1.52 $2 . 00 
Less freight from New York to Hamburg 

(48 cents) 1.04 1.52 

Net price in New York, converting price 

per 220 pounds into bushels of 60 

pounds .28 .41 

*'With these figures before them, American cor- 
respondents can determine for themselves whether 
it will be possible to pay freight rates from farm to 
seaboard, and compete with the prices named. 
Statistics follow: 

Potatoes 1909 1908 

Total importations into Germany : 346,617 tons 329,417 tons 

From Belgium 53,620 " 48,402 " 

Gibraltar, Malta, Cyprus. . . 8,989 " 11,020 " 

France 9,349 " 6,757 " 

Italy 26,454 " 19,579 " 

Netherlands 163,311 " 168,322 " 

Austria-Hungary 16,592 " 29,439 " 

European Russia 63,926 " 43,540 " 



THE POTATO 



495 



Potatoes 



1909 



1908 



Total exportationsfrom Germany: 124,442 tons 115,236 tons 

To France 2,120 

Netherlands 4,317 

Norway 4,931 

Austria-Hungary 62,969 

Sweden 10,108 

Switzerland 27,227 

Brazil 3,078 

United States of America.. . 1,640 

Production in Germany 

1909 — 46,706,252 tons 1908 — 46,342,726 tons 

1907 — 45,538,299 " 1906 — 42,936,702 " 

1905 — 48,323,353 tons. 

Average wholesale prices in Germany: Cash for prompt 
delivery. (Per 1000 kilos, 2,200 pounds, exclusive bags): 





2,973 




13,991 




3,036 




12,731 




10,845 




18,401 




2,472 




1,480 





Good Early Red 
Unassorted distilling 


Good Early Red 
Sound assorted table 


Good sound Silcsian 
table potatoes 




Berlin 

Mks. 


Berlin 
Mks. 


Breslau 
Mks. 


1905 


36.50-$8.69 


53.40-$12.71 


50.40-$12.00 


1906 


20.40- 4.86 


34.60- 8.23 


33.20- 7.90 


1907 


29.90- 7.12 


53.10- 12.64 


40 .60- 9 . 06 


1908 


32.60- 7.76 


54.00- 12.85 


37.70- 8.97 


1909 


31.80- 7.57 


49.90- 11.88 


40.70- 9.69 



The market situation in France is given in a 
report by Consul-General Frank H. Mason of 
Paris under date of January 27, 1911: 

"The shortage in the French potato crop has 
created a deficit which is being filled by large ini- 
l)ortations from other European countries, notably 
Great Britain, Austria, Germany, and Belgium. 

" Importations of potatoes from theUnited States 
to France had been })rohibited since the decree of 
1875, which was inspired by fear of the Colorado 



496 THE POTATO 

potato 'bug, until that decree was annulled on 
October 15, 1910, opening the French markets to 
potatoes from the United States, provided tliej^ are 
clean, free from the soil in which they were grown, 
and the packages in which they are shipped con- 
tain no stems or leaves of the potato plant. 

''As a result of this long prohibition American 
potatoes are practically unknown in France, and 
French importers have no acquaintance or es- 
tablished relations with American exporters which 
would enable the trade to be promptly taken up 
since the withdrawal of the prohibitory decree. 
Partly for this reason, and partly because many 
French people have still a lingering dread of some 
possible disease in American potatoes and do not 
even know that the prohibition against them has 
been withdrawn, they have not yet appeared in 
any appreciable quantity on the Paris market. 

"Meanwhile several letters have been received 
at this consulate from American shippers who are 
prepared to offer potatoes to French importers. 
A careful investigation of the situation has been 
made, and the names of American exporters given 
to leading French commission merchants and 
dealers in potatoes, who have been thus enabled to 
send direct propositions to the parties who are 
seeking a market for American potatoes in France. 

"The principal mart of the wholesale potato 
trade in Paris is at the great Central Markets (Les 
Halles) and the busj' streets in their mimediate 
neighborhood. The one recognized wholesale 
unit or weight or measure for potatoes is the met- 
ric quintal of 100 kilos, equal to '■2^20 pounds avoir- 
dupois, and American merchants seeking to find a 
market here should base their propositions on that 
unit instead of bushels, bags, or barrels. 



THE POTATO 497 

"From the statements obtained by personal in- 
quiry among the leading merchants in that hne it 
appears that potatoes are now bemg dehvered in 
wholesale quantities at 12 to 20 francs per 100 kilos 
($2.31 to $3.86 per 220 pounds), according to qual- 
ity. One firm pays as high as 22 francs ($4.24) for 
potatoes of the highest class, but this is exceptional 
and supplies only special and limited demands. 

"The ruling price for imported potatoes of good 
average quality is about 15 francs ($2.89) per 100 
kilos, which would be approximately 82 cents per 
bushel of 60 pounds. The same potatoes are re- 
tailed in the groceries and provision stores through- 
out the city for about 5 to 6 cents per kilo ($1.33 
to $1.60 per bushel). Genuine red-skinned po- 
tatoes are preferred here, with the white next, 
and yellow lowest in order of preference. 

"The general opinion of dealers is that toward 
the end of the winter, when the visible European 
supply is more nearly exhausted, prices of potatoes 
will be considerably higher than now, and large 
(luantities are at present held in storage at the 
'Halles' for this expected advance. New po- 
tatoes from Algiers and Tunis reach Paris in 
February, but they are a luxurv% so high in price 
and so limited in quantity that they exercise little 
influence on the general potato market. 

"Owing probably to the fact that potatoes have 
not hitherto figured among American exports to 
France, they are not included among the articles 
covered by the special arrangement of March, 
1910, between the United States and French 
governments, and are therefore subject, when 
imported into this country, to the maximimi duty 
of 6 francs per 100 kilos (32 cents per bushel) 
during the months of March, April, and May, and 



498 THE POTATO 

3 francs per 100 kilos (about 16 cents per bushel) 
if imported during the remaining nine months of 
the year. Potatoes from Great Britain, Belgium, 
Germany, Austria, and other nations which enjoy 
the minimum duty rates with France pay 3 francs 
duty per 100 kilos (16 cents per bushel) from 
March 1st to June 1st, and only 40 centimes per 100 
kilos (or 2 cents per bushel) during the remainder 
of the year. 

"As nearly all potatoes are imported here be- 
tween June 1st and March 1st, the American prod- 
uct will have to meet this discrimination — an 
excess of nearly 14 cents duty per bushel above that 
paid on potatoes from European countries except 
Portugal. 

"Among the offers which have been received 
here recently is one from an American shipper 
in Maine who quotes potatoes of high quality 
grown in that state at $1.75 per sack containing 
165 pounds, delivered at an American seaport on 
the Atlantic coast. This, converted into French 
equivalents, would be about 11 francs per 100 
kilos. Adding the estimated freight charges and 
import duty, cartage and handling, would bring 
the cost of the potatoes, delivered in Paris, up to 
about 14.50 francs (or $2.80) per 100 kilos. As 
already stated, potatoes at wholesale in the Paris 
market range from 12 to 20 francs per 100 kilos, 
according to quality. 

"The only apparent chance, therefore, is for 
American exporters to offer potatoes of the highest 
grades, clean and free from leaves and stems, such 
as sell here now for from 17 to 20 francs per 100 
kilos, and will undoubtedly be still dearer in late 
January and February. On account of the change 
of duty from March 1st, potatoes for France should 



THE POTATO 499 

be shipped, if possible, so as to arrive before that 
date. 

"For the Paris market it would be preferable 
to have potatoes in sacks containing 100 kilos or 
50 kilos each, to facilitate valuations and accounts 
under the French system. This, of course, is not 
strictly essential, but is an example of one of the 
wise things w4iich exporters of an unknown article 
into a new market may judiciously do to 'make 
things easy for the purchaser.' 

" It should be borne in mind that this is the first 
opportunity which exporters have had for thirty- 
five years to offer American potatoes to French 
consumers. It is therefore worth while this winter, 
even at the cost of some trouble, to make a seri- 
ous effort to enter the market here, to make known 
the high quality of American potatoes, and thus 
pave the way for an even more prosperous trade 
in future years. 

"There will be a large demand in March for 
seed potatoes, and for this the best varieties of 
American origin, free from all taint of disease, 
should, if properly presented, be especially at- 
tractive to French dealers and farmers." 

The senior author gives an account of his visit 
to Baron Kricshcim as describing a typical large 
estate where potatoes are an important crop. 
There are many such estates, and the bulk of the 
crop is probably grown by peasant farmers. 

"I am very proud of this most distinguished 
honor of an American agriculturist coming to me 
for knowledge in farming," said the big-bodied, 
massive-brained Baron when he read the letters 
of introduction of the senior author at the time of 
his visit. 



500 THE POTATO 

The fine condition in which the grounds and 
parks around the castles in these great estates 
are kept is a marvel to an American farmer who 
is used to seeing more or less untidiness about 
the homes of some of our largest farmers. 

The vocation of the wealthy German farmer is 
certainly alluring not only from the comforts it 
brings but the pleasure that must come with the 
accomplishment of results in soil building and 
crop production. 

The farming end of these estates is laid out like a 
manufacturing establishment — the crops, fertiliz- 
ers, etc., all planned in ten-year cycles. A fom'-crop 
rotation is being used, but a map is made showing 
just what each field is to do for a ten-year pei-iod. 

A large amount of vegetable matter in the form 
of cover crop is returned to the soil; and prac- 
tically all forage crops are fed on the farm, the 
manures carefully kept and returned to the land. 

Five hundred acres on the Kriesheim estate 
are kept for permanent pasture for horses, dry 
cows and young stock. The 100 milking dairy 
cows are kept in barns constantly and fed green 
cut grass, beet tops, clover hay, etc. 

The land is light, sandy loam, but is valued at 
$125 an acre and rents for $3 an acre annually. 

The farm hands get 35 cents a day — with 
cabin, garden and 900 pounds of grain. 

The potatoes have been developed for years 
for high percentage of starch, this quality being 
especially desired in the manufacture of starch 
and alcohol. They are coarse and low in quality 
as compared with British or French varieties. 

On the place potatoes have been grown for 
fifty years without spraying, but this year (1910) 
the blight was a serious menace to the crop. 



THE POTATO 501 

After the land is prepared for planting potatoes, 
the furrows and lioles for the potatoes are opened 
lip with a wheeled inij^lenient that opens four fur- 
rows. A spade-like atfair on the wheel makes a 
hole four to five inches deep, and the potatoes are 
dropped in this. 

The rows are made twenty-six inches apart and 
the seed is dropped eighteen inches apart in the row. 

The seed is then covered by a horse-drawn 
*'coverer" consisting of two disks, one working on 
either side of the row. 

This system of planting — 18 x 26 inches — gives 
the greatest amount of room for roots possible 
with close planting. Planting 10 x 27 makes the 
roots of one plant encroach on those of its neigh- 
bors. 

The entire crop goes to the starch factory, so 
there is no waste — all cut, green or rough tubers 
go in. The tubers are harvested by hand and 
handled in bulk. 

A narrow gauge railroad track is run to the po- 
tato field to be used in handling the crop. These 
tracks are in sections and can be moved to any 
part of the farm. The cars are pushed by hand. 

The seed for next season's planting is saved 
from the main crop. 

Whole seed is always planted, but small seed is 
used so that only about 1,000 pounds per acre 
are required. 

That part of the crop used for table consump- 
tion is largely grown on small holdings, while the 
starch and other factories are supplied from the 
large estates. 

Travelers in Europe complain of the potatoes 
served at the hotels lacking in flavor and ((uality. 
They are mostly served boiled or pared and are 



502 THE POTATO 

often very small — about the size of a walnut 
with the hull on. 

The potato is a favorite ingredient for soups and 
salads, a special soggy potato that does not cook 
"' mealy" being grown for salad making. The Pabst 
Brewing Company of Milwaukee, Wis., imports 
some of these every year for their customers. These 
have been grown at Mt. Sopris Farm. The potato is 
thin-skinned, yellow, and often seven or eight inclies 
long, tapering at both ends. It is about an inch 
in diameter, very waxy and holds its form well. 

A great may Russians are imported into Ger- 
many during potato harvest. They work for low 
wages, but are required to return to Russia after 
the harvest season. The German laws rigidly pro- 
tect local farm labor. 

The following about the manufacture of potato 
flour in Europe is from the reports of the following 
representatives of the Government of the United 
States — Consul-General A. M. Thackara, Berlin, 
Germany, and Vice-Consul D. P. De Young, 
Amsterdam, Netherlands : 

*'The great bulk of the so-called potato flour 
(kartoffelmehl) that is sold at retail in the gi'o- 
ceries of Germany for cooking purposes is simply 
fine ground and sifted potato starch. There is, 
however, a flour obtained by grinding and bolting 
dried potatoes that is a comparatively new product. 

"In 1901, when the potato crop of the country' 
reached the enormous total of 53,682,010 short 
tons, efforts were made to discover practical and 
economical methods of preserving the potatoes, 
so that the surplus could be stored and utilized 
in supplying future demands. Prizes were of- 
fered and a number of processes were submitted. 



THE POTATO 503 

in the more important of which the potatoes are 
dried by steam, forming what are called "kartof- 
felfiocken," or potato flakes, which can be used 
for feeding stock, for distilling alcohol, for making 
starch, and for other purposes for which potatoes 
are used, or they can be ground and bolted for 
human consumption. 

"In the Tatosin process for the production of 
flakes, the raw potatoes are washed in a washing 
machine commonly used in distilleries or starch 
factories, and then conveyed by an elevator to a 
steamer erected over the drying apparatus, where 
they are cooked by means of low-pressure steam, 
as if the potatoes were to be used for feeding stock. 
The drying apparatus proper consists of two 
smooth, hollow, cast-iron revolving drums about 
four feet long and two feet in diameter, each with 
a clearance of about 0.039 inch. The drums are 
supported upon a cast-iron framework, on the top 
of which there is an iron hopper fitted at the bot- 
tom with emasculators, or crushers. The drums 
are heated by steam of 5.5 to 6 atmospheres led 
through a pipe passing through their axes. The 
interiors of the drums are ridged longitudinally. 
Condensed water is taken from the drums by two 
small pipes and returned to the boilers. 

"The potatoes after being steamed are allowed 
to fall by gravity into the hoppers and through 
the emasculators, where they are reduced to pulp, 
and in this shape are forced on to the drying drum. 
The drums turn in opposite directions at five 
revolutions a minute. The heat drives off the 
moisture of the potato pulp, leaving a firm mass that 
is scraped off by means of knives set parallel to 
the main axes of the drums. The dried mass falls 
into a spiral transporter fitted with revolving 



504 THE POTATO 

arms, where it is broken into flakes and conveyed 
to the packing room. 

"In other processes of preserving potatoes used 
in Germany the tubers are cut into disks or small 
pieces and dried by hot air. The method described, 
however, is that most in use. At present there are 
436 plants established in Germany for drying pota- 
toes, with an estimated production annually of 
110,230 to 165,345 short tons, or 3,674,000 to 
5,511,500 bushels. Of the above plants, 350 are for 
the production of potato flakes, and in 86 plants 
the potatoes are dried by the hot-air processes. 

*'The prices of potato flakes vary from 14 to 
16 pfennigs (3.3 to 3.8 cents) per kilo (2.2 pounds). 
The estimated cost of the production of the flakes 
is 6.30 marks ($1.50) per 50 kilos (110.2 pounds). 

"In the production of ground potato flour the 
potato flakes are ground and bolted. There are 
but few concerns that manufacture the flour, each 
having its own process. The flour is a yellowish 
white product, rich in carbohydrates. According 
to experiments made by the ' Institut f lir Garungs- 
Gewerbe' (Institute for the Fermentation In- 
dustry) in Berlin, the principal constituents of the 
flour are: Water, 10.69 per cent.; protein, 6.59 
per cent.; fatty substances, 0.23 per cent.; non- 
nitrogenous substances, 78.73 per cent.; raw fibre, 
1.1 per cent, and ashes, 2.58 per cent. 

"The flour is used principally by bakers for 
adding to rye and wheat flour in making bread. 
The proportion for wheat bread is 5 to 10 per 
cent, of the ground potato flour, and for rye bread 
the amount can be increased to 15 per cent. It is 
claimed that the addition of the ground potato 
flour to the rye or wheat flour gives the bread a 
good flavor, makes it more digestible, and keeps it 



THE POTATO 



50' 



fresh for a comparatively long time. It is also 
used to a slight extent in lliickening soups and 
sauces 

"There are no statistics available that would 
indicate the annual consumpLion of ground potat(j 
flour in Germ.any, but as an industry the manu- 
facture of the flour has not attained large pro- 
portions. It is sold i)rincipally to bakers. It is 
known to the trade as 'Walzmehl,' 'KartofTcl 
Walzmehl' 'Patent Walzmehl,' and 'Fiddi- 
chower AValzmehl.' The prices vary according 
to the potato crop and the qualitv, and range from 
$4.7G to $7.14 per 100 kilos ('220.4G pounds). 

"During the last sixty years potato farming has 
assumed large proportions in the Netherlands, 
due in great measure to the development of the 
potato-flour industry. In 1860 the total potato 
area was 273,318 acres, while in 1908 there were 
395,089 acres. The following table shows the pro- 
duction by provinces in 1908 and the area of 
land devoted to the industrv: 



Provinces 



Drenthe 

Friesland 

Gelderland ... 

Groningen 

Liinburg 

North lirubant 
North Holland 

Overyssel 

South Holland. 

Utrecht 

Zeeland 

Total.... 



Production 


Area 


Percentage of 
tillable area 






Bushels 


Acres 




13,507,634 


40,515 


34.7 


1^2,459,213 


40,192 


38.1 


11,729,464 


65,609 


22.6 


18,565,776 


48,815 


15.1 


4,960,600 


30,562 


13.7 


9,634,745 


55,784 


15.2 


2,456,606 


11,209 


11.4 


9,959,664 


40,031 


34.7 


6,294,550 


26,497 


18 


1,076.S57 


7,853 


19.7 


6,093.868 


28,022 


11.3 


96,798,977 


395,089 





50G THE POTATO 

"Seventy-four per cent, of the potato crop is 
used for food and seed and the remainder supplies 
the raw material for manufacturing purposes. 
Three fourths of the manufacturing is done in 
the province of Groningen, and the remainder is 
confined to three other provinces. Of the 48,815 
acres of potatoes in Groningen, over 37,000 were 
planted for industrial purposes. 

"The scientific fertilization of the soil has be- 
come a very important feature of the potato in- 
dustry in Groningen. Sometimes $32 to $50 
worth of fertilizer is scattered on one hectare 
(2.471 acres) of ground. The land is valued at 
fully $500 per acre and rents at $22.50 per acre 
per year. The fertilizers consist of about 200 
Idlos of Chile saltpetre and 700 kilos of super- 
phosphates to the hectare. Potatoes raised on this 
highly fertilized soil are not very edible, being 
cultivated principally for their industrial prop- 
erties. There is a sentiment in favor of using 
the factor}^ waste for fertilizing, but it has not 
proved a success as yet. 

"The methods of planting, cultivating, and 
harvesting potatoes have not advanced as they 
should. Several picking machines have been 
tried of late, but not to the satisfaction of the 
planters. They want a machine that will not 
only dig the potatoes out of the ground, but clean 
off the dirt and empty them into a sack as well. A 
potato digger that merely uproots the potatoes, 
leaving them scattered over the ground to be 
picked up and sacked by hand, saves little labor, 
as they still have to be cleaned, sacked, and often 
shaken loose from the roots and vines. 

"In the cooperative potato producing and manu- 
facturing enterprises the packing is usually let to 



THE POTATO 507 

contractors at from $0.09 to $0.10 per row of 140 
meters (459 feet). That includes stacking them 
in piles and covering them with straw. The lal)or- 
ers are also given free potatoes during the picking 
season. Sometimes these contractors are the 
heads of large families, but there are also contrac- 
tors who sublet to individual workmen. They 
usually pay the pickers $0.00 per row. One per- 
son is able to pick seven of these rows per day of 
seven hours. The whole family usually joins in 
the work, camping out on the potato field during 
the season. Independent farmers often pick their 
own crops. 

"A great impetus to the potato-flour industry 
was given by the cooperative method introduced 
during the last two decades. In fact the intro- 
duction of that system has really joined the opera- 
tion of producing raw materials and manufactur- 
ing them into potato flour. It led to the estab- 
lishment of cooperative experiment stations whose 
object it is to study the scientific culture and 
treatment of potatoes for industrial purposes in 
all practical phases of the industry. Previously 
there was no organization between planter and 
manufacturer, which frequently proved disastrous 
to both. 

"The first step toward organization was taken 
in 1890 by several of the large manufacturers, 
but arrangements were not completed until 1900, 
owing to the lateness of some in joining. The 
factories then announced uniform prices for raw 
potatoes and the farmers liad to sell on their terms. 
The latter retaliated by organizing cooperative 
producing societies, which soon developed into 
manufacturing institutions as well. There are 
therefore two systems of operating, one in which 



508 THE POTATO 

the farmers cooperate to the extent of owning 
shares in the factory and the other in which the 
trading is independent and speculative. 

"The different cooperative plants are of course 
still competitive in respect to each other. They 
have their own trademarks, they sell indepen- 
dently through domestic and foreign agents, and 
are keen rivals in the production of superior qual- 
ities. Of the thirty-four potato-flour factories in 
the Veenkolonien, eleven are cooperative. The 
largest independent factorj^ has a capital of 
$600,000 and the buildings and machinery are val- 
ued at $100,000. This factory has small branches 
in various sections of Groningen. Some of 
these mills have a capacity for grinding over 
28,000 bushels in twenty-four hours; the smallest, 
about one fourth of that amount. Three fifths 
of the total production of potato flour of the coun- 
try is ground in independent mills. The demand 
for Dutch potato flour is always greater than the 
supply. 

"The season for manufacturing potato flour is 
usually about ten weeks in duration — from the 
middle of September to the last of November. 
The fine waterway system of Groningen greatly 
expedites the delivery of potatoes, naturally 
shortening the season, and in fact accelerating 
the industry. The great network of canals and 
other waterways makes it possible to transport 
the potatoes directly from the field to the factory, 
the latter always being on canals that accommo- 
date forty to 100 ton vessels. Potatoes are sent 
in shiploads of 2,000 to 3,000 bushels each. Fre- 
quently these ships are owned by the factories, 
though sometimes by private individuals or trans- 
portation companies. 



THE rOTATO 509 

"It Is difficult to set an exact value on the po- 
tato used In the potato-flour industry. Some 
factories buy them by the hectolitre {'■Z.8S7 
bushels) without paying any attention to the 
quality, while others grade them according to the 
amount of starch contained. However, it Is 
estimated that at an average of $0.34 per hec- 
tolitre the value of potatoes ground Into flour In 
one season would be $3,400,000. Calculating 
roughly, one hectolitre of potatoes produces 
eleven kilos of flour (8.54 pounds to the bushel). 
A conservative estimate of the total production 
of potato flour In the Netherlands for one season Is 
110,000 metric tons of 2,204.6 pounds. The price 
per bag of 100 kilos (220.46 pounds) has varied in 
the last few years from $3.60 to $5.20. An average 
price of $4.40 per bag would bring the total value 
of the manufactured product up to $4,840,000 per 
season, $1,440,000 more than the cost of the raw 
potatoes. 

"It would seem bad business for farmers to 
pay a rent of $122.50 per acre, fertilize to the ex- 
tent of $10 or $15, and sell 380 bushels of potatoes 
per acre at $0.12 to $0.15 per bushel, but it should 
be understood that the most valuable land, highly 
fertilized, produces much more than the average. 

"The potato flour exported from the Nether- 
lands goes to Great Britain, Spain, Belgium, 
Italy, the free port of Hamburg, Denmark, and 
the United States and Canada. The United 
States Imported $38,000 worth of dextrin and 
potato flour from the Netherlands in 1910. Eng- 
land and Belgium are perhaps the best customers. 
Exports have grown from 35,933 metric tons In 
1898 to 64,000 tons In 1909. 

*' There are altogether thirty-two potato-flour 



510 THE POTATO 

factories in the Netherlands, of which twenty-four 
are in the Province of Groningen, two in Fries- 
land, four in Drenthe, and two in Overyssel. In 
addition to this there are several small factories 
producing only dextrin or glucose. The total 
number of men employed in the works is nearly 
3,000. Most of the factories are situated on deep 
canals in the reclaimed swamps of the Veenko- 
lonien, and the tubers are transferred from the 
boats direct to the mill. 

*'A disagreeable feature of the potato-flour in- 
dustry in the Veenkolonien is the waste thrown 
off and the consequent pollution of the canal 
water. Just after the milling season the water is 
so bad that ignitible gases evaporate from it. 
Often a lighted match thrown into the canal will 
cause an apparent blaze. The economic loss 
resulting from this waste is in the eyes of the 
planters of that region a serious matter. In all 
it is estimated that the wasted material is worth 
$666,432 per year. 

"In connection with the potato-flour industry 
there are seven dextrin factories in the northern 
part of the country and two in the province of 
Limburg. Dextrin is used chiefly for sizing pur- 
poses in textile plants. As a consequence, the 
demand for that product depends largely upon the 
cotton and linen industries. While there is a 
flourishing cotton industry in Overyssel, it is not 
sufficient to consume all the dextrin produced 
here, the remainder being shipped to Great Brit- 
ain, United States, Spain, Italy, and Belgium. 
However, the exports in this line have decreased 
of late years, owing to both the increased price 
of the dextrin and higher import duties in many 
foreign countries. 



THE POTATO 511 

"The production of glucose from potatoes in 
the Netherlands dates from 187.5, since which 
time it has not only greatly increased but the 
quality has been improved. Eleven factories, 
some combined with potato-flour establishments 
and others working independently, produce glu- 
cose from potatoes in both the solid and liquid 
state. From a total production of 9, GOO metric 
tons in 1890 it has grown to 20,000 tons in 1908. 
Almost all of this glucose is consumed in the 
Netherlands, especially in confectioneries and 
cake and jam factories. It is inipossible to build 
up an export trade in this article, owing to the 
high import duties in other countries and the 
strong competition it encounters especially from 
American glucose manufactured from corn. There 
is a constant fear of overproduction in this article. 
However, the confectionery industry in the Neth- 
erlands is so thriving that domestic consumption 
may keep pace with the supply for a long time. 
The high excise tax on the article when consumed 
in the country — 3.28 cents per pound, American 
currency — is a great bar to its use. The form 
in which it will find its most successful outlet, 
therefore, is in a manufactured state, such as 
cookies, candies, and other confectioneries, as 
the excise is withdrawn from such articles if actu- 
ally exported to another country. It is evidently 
exported in that form." 

"Intensive cultivation" is the lesson to be 
learned from the European potato grower. 



CHAPTER XLI 

HISTORY 

IN COMMON with many other food plants, 
the early history of the potato does not appear 
to be especiallj^ authentic; but there are 
some points on which most writers agree. 

The potato {Solarium tuberosum) — French, 
pomme de terre; German, kartoffel; Dutch, aarap- 
pel; Danish, jordepeeren: Italian, patata; Spanish, 
patatas; American slang, spuds, murphies; Eng- 
lish slang, tatties — belongs to the same family as 
tobacco, belladonna, tomato, egg plant, and cap- 
sicum. There are 1,600 species in the family, and 
but six bear tubers. The wild potato produces 
seed balls from the flowers, and this is true now of 
some vines in the valleys of the western slope of 
the Rocky Mountains. The potato is a native of 
mountain valleys in South America very similar to, 
if not identical with, conditions in Colorado and 
southern Idaho. In its native home it grows at 
an altitude of 4,000 to 6,000 feet. The potato was 
probably carried to Spain by returning explorers 
in the sixteenth century. It was in turn taken to 
Florida by other Spanish explorers, from there to 
Virginia, and from that colony to the continent of 
Europe. 

It is reported that when the Spanish discovered 
South America — Chile and Peru — they found 
the potato an important article of food. 

In "Pictorial Practical Potato Growing," by 

512 



THE POTATO 513 

Walter P. Wright and Edward J. Casllo, and pul)- 
lished by Casscl & Company, Limited, London, is 
the following: 

"Italy would seem to be the first country to 
give special attention to the newcomer, an Italian 
named Cardano being early associated with it. 
The year 1586 is generally admitted to be the date 
of introduction to Great Britain, Sir Thomas 
Herriot, a companion to Sir Walter Raleigh, being 
its introducer. Some authorities are inclined to 
give the credit of its introduction into Britain to 
Admiral Drake, who is stated to have sent planters 
of Virginia especially to bring over the tubers. 

"Be that as it may, it seems certain that the 
first potatoes known in Great Britain came from 
Virginia, and it is equally certain that they were 
first planted in Ireland, near Cork. Switzerland, 
France, and Germany were the next countries to 
welcome Solanum tuberosum, but nowhere w^as 
it regarded as of particularly high value for food. 
The famous French botanist, Olivier de Serres, 
deemed it worthy of a special chapter in a book he 
])ublished in IGOO. To another Frenchman, JNI. 
Fraizier, the tuber owes its popular name, it having 
first been called pomme de terre — apple of the 
earth — in a book dealing with that gentleman's 
voyage to the coasts of Chile. This was in 171G. 
To a third Frenchman, M. Parmentier, the potato 
owes its popularization as an article of human food, 
though the statement that Parmentier had any- 
thing to do with its introduction is erroneous. 
Louis XVI seconded the efforts of Parmentier 
by ordering a large tract of land to be planted 
with potatoes, and himself wearing a fiower of the 
plant in his buttonhole. 



514 THE POTATO 

"In England the potato at first met with Httle 
favor, its relationship to the deadly nightshade 
causing it to be regarded with suspicion. Sir 
Walter Raleigh endeavored to interest Queen 
Elizabeth in the newcomer, and even succeeded to 
the extent of getting a dish of cooked tubers 
placed on the royal table. Courtesy forbade the 
guests to refuse to partake of the new dish, but 
their dishke was so obvious, and so assiduously 
did they circulate tales regarding the poisonous 
nature of the tubers, that we do not read of the 
experiment being repeated. In Ireland the potato 
met with a better reception, and its culture was 
far advanced and understood in that country be- 
fore England took the matter seriously in hand. 
Not until 1663 do we read of potato culture be- 
coming at all general in England, but in that year 
it received a great impetus, owing to the efforts of 
the Royal Society, which were prompted, it is said, 
by a recognition of the food value of the tubers in 
time of famine. 

"The original tubers would appear to have been 
round, and about the size of a large walnut. 
Herriot called the potato Openwak, and Gerarde, 
who pictured the plant in his famous 'Herbal' in 
1597, gave it the scientific name of Bata Virginia. 
To Gaspard Bauhin, a celebrated botanist of 
Basle, belongs the credit of giving the plant its 
present and universally recognized scientific name, 
Solanum tuberosum,. This was about 1590, and it 
does not appear that the name then bestowed 
has ever been disputed. There are at least six 
tuber-bearing species of Solanum, but in the 
opinion of Mr. J. G. Baker, the famous Kew botan- 
ist, all the varieties in cultivation have originated 
from one species — *S. tuberosum. 



THE POTATO 515 

"When once the real value of the potato was 
recognized its progress into every country of Eu- 
rope seems to have been very rapid, though Scot- 
land seems to have disregarded it until the middle 
of the eighteenth century, when famine and great 
destitution forced the claims of the new improved 
tuber upon the Scottish farmers. So rapidly did 
it grow in popularity that in 1747 we read of 700 
bushels of potatoes being exported from Carolina, 
while in 1840, the year of the potato's first ap- 
pearance in the United States census, the crop is 
given as 108,298,060 bushels. 

"The first real check to potato cultivation was 
received in 1842, when the now well-known and 
dreaded potato disease, Phytophthora infestans, 
(late blight) made its appearance in Germany. 
Soon after this it was recorded from Canada and 
the United States; in 1845 the Isle of Wight, and 
thence England, felt its presence; and by 1846 it 
was known almost all over Europe. A famine in 
Ireland followed, and for a while it looked as 
though the potato was threatened with extinction. 
Fortunately, however, the efficacy of sulphate of 
copper and lime in combating the disease was dis- 
covered, and this, under the name of Bordeaux 
mixture, has greatly helped to preserve the potato 
as we know it." 

Mr. Arthur W. Sutton, Reading, England, in a 
lecture before the Royal Horticultural Society, 
presents the following very interesting facts: 

** Concerning the introduction of the potato into 
England, the following extract from 'London's 
Encyclopedia, published in 1836, is of sufficient 
importance to find a place in any paper on po- 



516 THE POTATO 

tatoes : * It appears probable that the potatoe was 
first brought into Europe from the mountahi- 
ous parts of South America in the neighbor- 
hood of Quito, where they were called papas, 
to Spain, early in the sixteenth century. From 
Spain, where they were called vattatas, they found 
their w^ay to Italy, and there received the same 
name as the truffle, taratoufli. From Italy they 
went to Vienna, through the Governor of Mons in 
Hainbault, who sent some to Clusius in 1598. To 
England the potatoe found its way from North 
America, being brought from Virginia by the 
colonists sent out by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1584, 
and who returned in July, 1586, and " probably," 
says Sir Joseph Banks "brought with them the 
potatoe." Gerarde in his "Herbal," published in 
1597, gives a figure of the potatoe under the name of 
potatoe of Virginia, whence, he says, he received 
the roots; and this appellation it appears to have 
retained, in order to distinguish it from the bat- 
tatas, or sweet potatoe {Convolvulus hattatas) 
till the year 1640, if not longer. Gough says the 
potatoe was first planted by Sir Walter Raleigh 
on his estate of Youghall, near Cork, and that they 
were soon after carried into Lancashire. Gerarde 
and Parkinson, however, mention them as deli- 
cacies for the confectioner and not as common 
food. Even so late as Bradley's time (1716, in 
his "Historia Plantarum Succulentarum") they 
are spoken of as inferior to skirrets and radishes. 
'* 'The use of potatoes, however, became more 
and more knovv^n after the middle of the eighteenth 
century and has greatly increased in all parts of 
Britain within the last thirty years. It is also 
very general in Holland and many parts of France 
and Germany and is increasing rapidly in Russia. 



THE POTATO 517 

In Spain and the East and West Indies they are 
not much cullivated, owing to the heat of the 
chmate; but in all the temperate parts of North 
America, Australasia, and South America they 
are grown by the colonists. In China they are 
cultivated, but not extensively, owing to the slow 
progress which everything new makes in that 
country. Indeed, no root hitherto discovered is 
so well adapted for universal use as the tubers of 
the potatoe; for, having no peculiarity of taste, and 
consisting cniefiy of starch, their farina is nearly 
the same as that of grain. Hence, w ith the flower 
of potatoes, puddings and such preparations as 
do not call the gluten of wheat flower into action, 
may be made equal to those of millet or rice, and 
excellent bread with a moderate proportion of 
good wheat flower. Potatoe starch, independently 
of its use in the laundry and as a hair powder, is 
considered an equally delicate food as sago or 
arrow-root. As starch and sugar are so nearly the 
same that the former is easily converted into the 
latter, the potatoe yields a spirit equal to that 
of malt by distillation and a wine or beer by the 
fermentative process.' 

" Monsieur Henri L. de Vilmorin, in his lecture on 
the best kinds of potato, read before the Agricul- 
tural Society of Paris on January 30, 1888, men- 
tions that toward the end of the sixteenth cent urv, 
the potato was introduced directly into England, 
where it rapidly obtained a position among the 
common vegetables of the garden. On the c(mi- 
tinent, however, its progress was attended with 
greater difliculty. The prejudices which existed 
against its general use were, however, combated 
with energy by certain men devoted lo the ])ublic 
welfare, such as Duhamel du Monceau, Inspec- 



518 THE POTATO 

tor-General of Naval Construction; Mgr. du Bar- 
ral, Bishop of Castres, and the Minister Turgot 
himself. It was reserved, however, to Monsieur 
Parmentier to succeed where so many able men 
had failed, and his success was due above all things 
to his perseverance and the tact with which he 
used his intimate knowledge of the character of 
les Parisiens. Instead of trying to convince them 
by argument, he undertook, with the consent of 
the King, Louis XVI, to plant potatoes on the 
plain of Les Sablons, and, surrounding his experi- 
ments with an air of mystery, he had the plot 
guarded by a cordon of troops, and thus succeeded 
in adding to the curiosity of the population. He 
then invited a number of scientific and influential 
men to a banquet where every dish was either com- 
posed chiefly of potatoes, or was served up with 
potatoes as an accompaniment. This proved the 
most eloquent demonstration possible of the culi- 
nary properties of the new vegetable, and his 
cause was gained. During the end of the eigh- 
teenth century and the early years of the nine- 
teenth century the potato made great progress, 
and when, in 1813, the Central Society of Agricul- 
ture undertook to provide, as a basis for study of 
the culture of the potato, a collection of the varie- 
ties then in use throughout the French Empire, it 
brought together no less than 115 to 120 dif- 
ferent kinds. 

"Count Rumford in the middle of the last cen- 
tury tells of the trouble he experienced in persuad- 
ing the people of Munich to use the potato as food, 
even in a time of great scarcity. Only by his dis- 
guising the potato in a kind of soup did they grate- 
fully accept his offering. 

" Gerarde, in his 'Herbal,' 1597, wrote as fol- 



THE POTATO 519 

lows: 'Virginia potato hath many hollow, flexible 
branches trailing upon the ground; these are 
square, uneven, knotted or kneed in sundry places 
at certaine distances : from the which knots cometh 
forth one great leafe made of divers leaves, some 
smaller and other greater, set together upon a 
fat middle rib by couples, of a swart greene colour 
tending to rednesse ; the whole leaf resembling those 
of the Winter-Cresses, but much larger; in taste 
at the first like grasse, but afterwards sharp and 
nipping the tongue. From the bosome of which 
leaves come forth long round slender foot stalkes, 
whereon grow very faire and pleasant floures, 
made of one entire whole leafe, which is folded or 
plaited in such strange sort, that it seemes to be a 
floure made of five sundry small leaves, which can- 
not easily be perceived, except the same be pulled 
open. The whole floure is of a light purple colour, 
striped downe the middle of every fold or welt with 
a light show of yellownesse, as if purple and yellow 
were mixed together. In the middle of the floure 
thrusteth forth a thicke flat point all yellow as gold, 
with a small sharp greene pricke or point in the 
midst thereof. The fruit succeeds the floures, 
round as a ball, of the bigness of a little Bullesse 
or wild plunime, green at the first, and blacke when 
it is ripe, wherein is contained small white seed 
lesser than those of mustard; the root is thicke, fat, 
and tuberous, not much differing either in shape, 
colour or taste from the common potatoes, saving 
that the roots hereof are not so great nor long; some 
of them are as round as a ball, some oval or 
egge-fashion, some longer, and others shorter; 
the knobby roots are fastened unto the stalkes 
with an infinite number of threddy strings. It 
groweth naturally in Americus where it was first 



520 THE POTATO 

discovered, as reporteth Clusia, since which time 
I have received roots hereof from Virginia, other- 
wise called Norembega, which grow and prosper 
in my garden as in their own native country. 
The leaves thrust forth of the ground in the begin- 
ning of May; the floures bud forth in August, the 
fruit is ripe in September. The Indians call this 
plant pappas, meaning the roots; by which name 
also the common potatoes are called in those 
Indian countries. We have its proper name men- 
tioned in the title "Potatoes of Virginia." Be- 
cause it hath not only the shape and proportion of 
potatoes but also the pleasant taste and vertues 
of the same, we may call it in English, Potatoes 
of America or Virginia.' '* 

The potato is receiving greater attention to-day 
than ever before in the history of the plant. In 
the countries where it is most needed for food 
there has been the greatest development at the 
hands of man. Single tubers of new varieties 
in England have sold for fabulous prices, and new, 
improved sorts are jealously guarded by their 
originators. 

Growers, Government and state experimenters, 
and other scientific men — in all countries — are 
now working for varieties that will produce the 
greatest possible tonnage of the highest class prod- 
uct, and for cultural methods best suited to ac- 
complishing this. 



CHAPTER XLII 

BOTANY, PHYSICAL AND CHEMICAL COMPOSI- 
TION OF THE POTATO 

THE potato {Solanum tuberosum) belongs to 
the Solanum or Nightshade family. (Sola- 
men is a Latin word meaning soothing or 
quieting.) In Bailey's "Encyclopedia of Horti- 
culture," published by the Macmillan Company, 
New York, it is technically described as follows : 

"Solanum, giving name to the family Solana- 
ceae, is a vast genus of temperate and tropical 
herbs, shrubs and even trees, but is comparatively 
poorly represented in temperate North America. 
Dunal, the latest monographer, in 1852 recognized 
901 species, and many species have been de- 
scribed since that time. The genus finds its great- 
est extension in tropical America. Of the vast 
number of species barely 25 are of much account 
horticulturally, and half that number will com- 
prise all the species that are popularly well known. 
One of these is the Potato, Solanum tuberosum, 
one of the leading food plants of the human race. 
The genus seems to abound in plants with toxic 
properties, although its bad reputation in this re- 
spect is probably exaggerated. 

"As a genus, Solanum is not easily separated 
from other genera, but some of its most desig- 
native cliaracters are as follows : Leaves alternate : 
inflorescence mostly sympodial and therefore super- 

521 



522 THE POTATO 

axillary or opposite the leaves: corolla gamope- 
talous and rotate or shallow-campanulate; plaited 
in the bud, the limb angled or shallow lobed; 
stamens usually 5, inserted on the throat of the 
corolla, the anthers narrower or elongated and 
connivent and mostly opening by an apical pore 
or slit: ovary usually 2-loculed, ripening into a 
berry which is sometimes enclosed in the persis- 
tent calyx. The flowers are white, purple or 
yellow. The species are herbs in temperate cli- 
mates, but in warm countries many of them are 
shrubby and some are small trees. Many of them 
are climbers. Two species bear underground tubers 
beside the tuberosum. The tuberosum is described 
as follows: 

"'Low, weak-stemmed, much-branched per- 
ennial with tender, herbaceous tops, and per- 
petuating itself asexually by means of thickened 
or tuberous underground stems, glabrous or pubes- 
cent-hirsute: leaves are unequally pinnate; the 
5-9 oblong-ovate leaflets are interposed with 
much smaller ones: flowers are lilac or white, in 
long-stemmed dichotomous clusters, the corolla 
prominently lobed: the fruit is a small globular 
yellow berry, usually not produced in the highly 
developed modern varieties. It is a native of the 
temperate Andes of Chile and adjacent regions. 
There is a form with yellow-blotched leaves 
(known as var. variegatum) sometimes cultivated 
for ornament.'" 

A study of the structure and composition of the 
potato is very interesting. Dr. C. F. Langworthy, 
in "Farmers^' Bulletin 295 " of the United States 
Department of Agriculture, gives a very full 
and comprehensive description. It follows: 



THE POTATO 523 

*'The potato tuber is in reality a modified stem, 
being shortened and thickened as a storehouse for 
material held in reserve for the early growth of new 
plants. The outer skin of the tuber consists of a 
thin, grayish brown corky substance and corre- 
sponds roughly to the bark of an overground stem. 
If a crosswise section of a raw potato is held up to 
the light three distinct parts besides the skin may 
be seen. The outermost one is known as the cor- 
tical layer and may be from 0.12 to 0.5 inch in 
thickness. This layer is slightly colored, the tint 
varying with the kind, and turns green if exposed 
to the hght for some time, thus showing its rela- 
tion to the tender green layer beneath the bark of 
overground stems. It is denser than the other 
parts of the potato and contains many fibro-vas- 
cular bundles, especially on the inner edge where 
a marked ring of them plainly separates this 
layer from the next. The interior or flesh of the 
tuber is made up of two layers known as the outer 
and inner medullary areas. The outer one forms 
the main bulk of a well-developed potato and con- 
tains the greater part of the food ingredients. The 
inner medullary area, sometimes called the core, 
appears in a cross section of the tuber to spread ir- 
regular arms up into the outer, so that its outline 
roughly suggests a star. It contains slightly more 
cellulose and less water and nutrients than the 
outer medullary portion. These four parts of the 
tuber are shown in the illustration. 

"As in all other plant forms, the framework of 
the tuber is made up of cellulose, a carbohydrate 
or group of carbohydrates familiar in many forms, 
as, for instance, the fibre of cotton or linen or 
the bran of wheat. In food and feeding stuff 
analyses it is usually designated crude fibre. Cel- 



524 THE POTATO 

lulose forms the walls of a network of cells, which 
in turn form the body of the tuber. These cells 
vary in shape and size in different sections of the 
tuber according to the part they play in its hfe. 
In the flesh they serve mainly for storage, and in 
them lie the starch grains. 

"The interior of the tuber is more or less per- 
meated by water in which are dissolved nearly all 
the soluble ingredients, including the various soluble 
carbohydrates. In this connection it is well to 
recall that the carbohydrates (cellulose, starch, 
the different kinds of sugars, etc.) are all closely 
related, and that under the influence of certain 
acids, heat, or other agency an insoluble form, 
such as starch, may be changed into a soluble form, 
or vice versa. 

"Cultural varieties of a given plant often have 
very different habits, appearance and quality, 
and it is natural that the amounts and propor- 
tions of water, carbohydrates, fats, protein and 
mineral matters which the potato contains should 
vary with the variety as well as with the character 
of the soil, the climate, and other conditions under 
which it grows. Moreover, since the needs of the 
potato plant vary at different stages of its develop- 
ment, it will provide for them by varying the 
ingredients stored in the tubers and elsewhere. 
Taking into account all these factors, it might 
seem impossible to make any general statements 
about the chemical composition of the potato, but 
it may be said that the variations are in degree 
rather than in kind, and so many analyses and 
studies have been made, both in this country and 
in Europe, that the average or general character- 
istics of the potato are now well established. The 
following table shows the composition of raw and 



PROTEIN 2.2°fo 



CRUDE FIBER,EJCfi.4 



ASHLOofo. 




FATO.I^ 



Composition of the potato. Tlie shaded jjortioii represents the 
average loss of nutrients when boiled 





Transverse and longitudinal sections of the potato: a, skin; b, 
cortical layer; c, outer medullary layer; J, inner medullary area. 
From Farmers' Bulletin 21)5, United States Department of 



Agriculture 



THE POTATO 



5^5 



cooked potatoes and represents the average of 
many American analyses. For comparison the 
composition of white bread is also given. 





REF- 


WATER 


PRO- 


FAT 


CARBonvnRATr.s 


Asn 


FUEL 




Sugar, 


Crude 


VALUE 


KIND OF FOOD 


Per 
ct. 


Perct. 


Perct. 


Per ct. 


Starch, 

etc. 
Per ct. 


l-ibrc 
Per ct. 


Perct. 


PF.R 
POUND 

Calories 


Potato, aspuri-hascd 


20.0 


02. 6 


1.8 


0.1 


13.8 


0.9 


0.8 


310 


Potato, edible por- 


















tion 




78.3 


2.2 


.1 


18.0 


.4 


1.0 


375 


Potato, boiled 




75.5 


2.5 


.1 


20.3 


.6 


1.0 


440 


Potato, mashed and 


















seasoned 




75.1 


2.6 


3.0 


17.8 




1.5 


505 


Potatoes fried in fat. 


















"Potato chips" 




2.2 


6.8 


39.8 


46.7 




4.5 


2,675 


Potato, evaporated 




7.1 


8.5 


.4 


80.9 




3.1 


1,680 


\Vhite bread 




35.3 


9.2 


1.3 


52.6 


.5 


1.1 


1.215 



"The corky skin of the potato makes np about 
2.5 per cent of the whole, and the cortical laj^er 
8.5 per cent., leaving 89 per cent, for the medul- 
lary areas. Theoretically, the skin is the only 
refuse or inedible material in the potato, but in 
practice a considerable part of the cortical layer is 
usually removed with it. 

"The edible portion of the potato — i. e., the 
tuber without the corky skin — holds on an average 
about 78 per cent, water, and so onlj^ about 20 
per cent of the whole tuber has a direct food value. 

"The illustration shows very plainly that the 
l)ulk of the potato tuber is water. The stage of 
growth and other conditions affect the proportion 
present, young tubers being more juicy or watery 
than those which are fully developed. 

"The carbohvdratcs are bv far the most abun- 
dant of the nutrients. Of the 18.4 per cent, less 
than 0.5 per cent, is made up of cellulose, yel one 



5W THE POTATO 

sometimes hears the statement made that potatoes 
are mdigestible on account of the large quantities 
of cellulose which they contain. In reality there is 
as much or more in almost all the cereals and other 
vegetable foods, and such a criticism of the po- 
tato has no warrant of fact. 

"The bulk of the carbohydrates which the 
potato stores for future use is in the form of starch, 
which is, of course, insoluble in cold water, and 
small quantities of such soluble carbohydrates as 
dextrose, sugar, etc. In young tubers there is a 
larger proportion of sugars and less starch than 
when they have become mature. As the tuber 
lies in the ground the starch content increases. 
When it begins to sprout, however, part of the 
starch is converted by a ferment in the tuber into 
soluble glucose. Thus, young or early potatoes 
and old ones both have a smaller proportion of 
starch and more soluble sugars than well-grown but 
still fresh tubers. If the grated potato is mixed 
with water, starch falls out from the broken cells and 
settles to the bottom of the vessel, and may be 
removed in the form of a white deposit. Starch 
is manufactured to a large extent from potatoes 
by methods which are similar to the above in 
principle. 

*' Other carbohydrates in the potato are the so- 
called pectose bodies, the substances which cause 
fruit jellies to stiffen, and when the tubers are 
large and pulpy pectoses may make up 4 per 
cent, of the tuber, though they usually occur in 
much smaller quantities. They are believed to 
have about the same food value as starch. 

"Fat, or ether extract, appears in such small 
quantities in potatoes that it may be practically 
neglected in discussing their food value, especially 



THE POTATO 527 

as the greater part occurs in the inedible skin in 
the form of a wax-like body. 

"The protein bodies are rather scanty, as com- 
pared with those of cereals and such vegetables 
as peas and beans. Only about 60 per cent, of 
the total amount present is true protein — that 
is, in a form which can be used for the building and 
repair of body tissue. This means that a pound 
of potatoes furnishes only about 1.3 per cent, or 
0.2 of an ounce of true protein, and emphasizes the 
statement already made that potatoes alone make 
a very incomplete diet, as the proportion of ni- 
trogenous material would be very small in a quan- 
tity sufficient to supply the body with all the 
energy -yielding material required. 

"These potato proteids have been studied by 
the Connecticut Experiment Station and found 
to consist of a form of globulin, for which the name 
'tuberin' is suggested, and a proteose, part of 
these nitrogenous constituents being dissolved in 
the juice and part stored with the starch in the 
cells, especially in the cortical layer. 

"The nonproteid forms of nitrogenous sub- 
stances in the potato are asparagin and snuill 
quantities of amido acids, occurring mostly in the 
juice. If they have any food value it is indirect 
and due to the fact that they protect the true pro- 
teids from waste during digestion. It is possible 
that they may aid digestion in some way or serve 
a similar purpose. There is a larger proj)()rlion of 
protein compounds, and especially of the more 
soluble forms, in young potatoes than in old. 

"The most important mineral matters found in 
potatoes are potash and phosphoric acid com- 
pounds. There are several organic acids (as citric, 
tartaric and succinic acid), which vary in tubers 



528 THE POTATO 

of different ages and account in some measure for 
the flavor of potatoes. 

"If peeled potatoes are exposed to the air the 
outer surface turns brown, just as does the flesh 
of many fruits. Such change is due to the action 
of enzyms or linorganized ferments naturally 
present in the plants. In the presence of the oxy- 
gen of the air they work upon tannin-Hke bodies in 
the tuber or fruit in such a way that the latter 
change color. In the case of potatoes this brown- 
ing may be prevented by putting the peeled tubers 
into salted water or even into cold plain water. 

"In the condition in which they are purchased 
potatoes resemble such succulent carbohydrate 
foods as turnips and beets, with an average water 
content of 90 per cent., more than they do such dry 
carbohydrate foods as flour or rice with an average 
of 12 per cent. The condition in which foods are 
eaten should also be taken into account, for if the 
value of a food is judged solely by its chemical 
composition as it is found in the market a wrong 
impression may be obtained. For instance, po- 
tatoes as purchased consist of one fifth and rice 
of seven eighths nutritive material. The first 
inference is that rice is more than four times as 
nutritious as potatoes. In one sense this is true — 
that is to say, a pound of uncooked rice contains 
more than four times as much nutritive material 
as a pound of raw potatoes. But if we take about 
four pounds of potatoes — that is, the amount nec- 
essary to furnish as much nutritive material as the 
pound of rice — the composition and nutritive 
value of the two quantities will be just about the 
same, while from a pecuniary standpoint the 
advantage would be on the side of the potatoes. 
The chief difference in the two foods before cook- 



THE POTATO 529 

ing is that one is juicy and bulky, while the other 
is dry, and therefore more concentrated. In cook- 
ing rice we mix water with it, and may thus make 
a material not very different in composition from 
potatoes. By drying potatoes they can be made 
very similar in composition and iood value to rice. 
Considering the two articles as ordinarily pur- 
chased, 4.5 pounds of raw^ potatoes and a pound of 
uncooked rice contain nearly equal weights of 
each class of nutrients and have about the same 
nutritive value." 

The manufacturing processes of the potato 
plant are described in " Bulletin 71 " of the 
Wyoming Experiment Station, as follows: 

"In order to understand the relation of the leaves 
to the tubers it is necessary to know that the 
starches and other food materials which are stored 
up in the tubers are produced within the leaves 
through the activity of the contents of the leaf 
cells when influenced by the action of light. The 
leaves are green because the cells contain the green 
bodies technically known as 'chloroplasts.' No 
plant w hich lacks ' chloroplasts' is capable of manu- 
facturing starch. 

"Leaf structure is essentially the same in all 
plants. A section from the upper to the under 
side will show on either side an epidermis of flat- 
tened, colorless cells. The cells innnediatly under- 
neath the upper layer are elongated and closely 
packed and are known as the palisade tissue. 
The lower half of the leaves contain nearly sj)herieal 
cells, rather loosely arranged, witli c()nsj)icuous 
air s])aces near the lower e])idermis. Tliese com- 
municate freely with the smaller spaces among the 



530 THE POTATO 

cells, and are continuous one with the other 
throughout the leaf. The air spaces are in 
direct communication with the outside air 
through tiny openmgs known as stomata. These 
openings on the surface often occur on both sides 
of the leaf, but in most crop plants they are more 
numerous on the under side, or may be entirely 
wanting on the upper. They are very important 
to the plant, since it is through them that the 
plant food derived from the atmosphere finds 
ingress to the leaf, which is really the plant's 
starch factory. They also serve the very impor- 
tant function of allowing the escape of the watery 
vapor and the oxygen which is released during 
the period of active starch formation. Neces- 
sary^ as are these openings on the leaf surface, they 
are also sources of great danger to the plant. The 
rest of the surface of the leaf is so thickened or 
waterproofed with the substance known as cutine 
that water cannot enter nor escape through it, 
neither can germs from the atmosphere find en- 
trance into the leaf. When germs or other fungi 
secure admission to the tissues of the plant it is 
usually either through the stomata or through 
wounds upon the leaf or other part of the plant. 
It is for this reason that insect attacks are so often 
folio v.ed by fungous and germ diseases. Simi- 
larly wounds which plants accidentally receive or 
which are made by pruning are also often followed 
by diseased conditions. 

"The crude sap of plants, which is essentially 
the soil water with the gases and soluble minerals 
of the soil dissolved in it, is taken up by the roots 
and conveyed through the stem to the leaves. 
The air which has been admitted to the leaf 
through the stomata supplies the carbon dioxide. 



THE POTATO 531 

From these ingredients, throiioh the agency of 
the protoplasm of the cell and the 'chloroplasts' 
acting in the presence of sunlight, starch is manu- 
factured. This starch is temporarily stored in 
the leaf, but at night, when starch formation no 
longer is going on, the starch is, through the action 
of a ferment, converted into soluble form and is 
transmitted from the leaf through the stem to the 
underground stems, which become gorged with 
the material thus received. Another ferment 
now reconverts this soluble form of starch into 
the insoluble, which is then deposited in the tuber 
as a permanent part of it. The ultimate size of 
the tubers, therefore, depends upon the amount of 
starch that is thus formed by the leaves and trans- 
mitted from time to time to the tubers for storage. 
'*It seems that most of the crude sap passing 
upward in the stem is transmitted through ducts 
in the interior tissue, while the elaborated sap (as 
it is called when it has been acted upon by the 
leaf and is in condition to be used as plant food) is 
conveyed downward close to the exterior of the 
stem, viz., in the interior layers of the bark. It 
follows, therefore, that any injury to the inner 
bark or any artificial obstruction in these layers 
will prevent the downward movement of this 
elaborated sap. In the case of the potato, an in- 
jury to the barkwill prevent theformation of tubers, 
as the sap conveying the soluble starch can no lon- 
ger reach them. In the event of the elaborated 
sap being left in the above ground portions, it results 
either in very marked increase in the size of leaf 
and stem, through forced feeding, or the plant will 
attempt the formation of tubers above ground." 



APPENDIX 



THE WORLD'S FOOD PROBLEM 

The most important problem in the world to-day is the 
future food supply — and in this the potato is an important 
factor. President W. C. Brown of the New York Central 
Lines has made a very careful study of the agricultural 
situation all over the world, both as it concerns the pro- 
ducer and consumer. So valuable are his ideas considered that 
the following verj' coj^ious extracts are made from his address 
at the annual banquet of the Rochester (New York) Chamber 
of Commerce, March 18, 1910: 

"We hear much of the subject of the conservation of our 
natural resources, and it is well that this most important 
subject should have the most careful consideration. 

"I have thought, however, that about 90 per cent, of the 
discussion of this important question has been directed to 
about 10 per cent, of our natural resources. 

" Husband our coal as we will, economize in its use to the last 
limit, but the day will come when the last ton will be mined 
and nothing will remain but the empty holes in the ground. 

*'The same is true of all the products of our mines; but the 
fertility of the soil cannot only be maintained, but con- 
stantly augmented, and it must be, if this nation or any 
other nation on the face of the earth is to continue to exist. 

"Broadly stated, the great mcrease in the cost of living 
is caused by the simple economic fact that consumption is 
rapidly overtaking production, and a careful analysis of the 
increased price of farm products, as compared with the in- 
crease in price of the products of manufacture, wmII suggest 
the wondermg inquiry how it has been possible to make the 
reductions, or to maintain the unchanged or slightly increased 
prices of the lattci*, while the prices oit the former have been 
moving upward so rapidly. 

"These figures show conclusively that, in spite of the fact 
that the great increase in cost of these prime necessaries of 
life has increased the cost of labor more on the average than 
33 per cent., these great manufactunng companies have been 

£35 



536 APPENDIX 

able, by economics in administration, operation and cost of 
distribution, to keep their prices down substantially to the 
level of ten years ago. 

"Furthermore, by these same economics, these concerns 
are year by year increasing their sales in foreign lands, off- 
setting in great measure the loss in our exports of food- 
stuffs, which are rapidly diminishing to the vanishing point. 

"No more accurate measure of fundamental prosperity 
can be found than that an individual or a nation produces 
and sells more than he or it buys — that the aggregate of all 
transactions results in bringing money in, rather than paying 
money out; and here occurs another sharp and significant 
contrast between the products of agriculture and those of 
mining and manufacture. 

"In 1899 we produced more than three and one half 
billion bushels of corn, wheat, rye, oats and barley, and, in- 
cluding flour and cornmeal, we exported something more 
than four hundred and seventy millions bushel. 

"In 1909 we produced more than four and one half billion 
bushels of these cereals, but our exports had dropped to less 
than one hundred and thirty-four million bushels. 

" In other words, our exports of these products of the farm 
in 1899 exceeded those of 1909 by 251 per cent. 

"Our exports of beef and its products for 1899 exceeded 
those of 1909 by 72 per cent., and the exports of the products 
of pork in 1899 exceeded those of 1909 by 89 per cent. 

"Coincident with this falling off in our agricultural ex- 
ports we imported in 1909 no less than 8,384,000 bushels 
of potatoes, 3,355,000 bushels of beans and dried peas, and 
6,667,000 bushels of oats; and during the latter part of 
January of this year, notwithstanding a duty of 25 cents a 
bushel, we came within one half of 1 cent per bushel of im- 
porting wheat from England. 

"The increase in corn, wheat, oats, rye, barley, potatoes, 
hay, buckwheat, flaxseed, rice, and cotton for 1909, over 
1899, is as follows: 

Acreage 23 per cent. 

Production 36 per cent. 

Consumption 60 per cent. 

"In this economic evolution we are not following an un- 
trodden path. Other nations have been confronted with 
the same great question, 'How shall we be fed and where- 



APPENDIX 537 

withal shall we be clothed?' and ujx)n the wisdom with 
which the question has been solved has hung the fate of 
those nations. 

"More than a century ago the production of wheat in 
Great Britain had gone down to about the average of tliis 
country to-day — viz., a fraction less than fourteen bushels 
per acre. 

"A royal commission was appointed, which has been in 
continual active existence ever since. Tlie yield of wheat 
was gradually brought up to thirty-two bushels per acre, 
and at that figure it is maintained year after year. 

"The story of this campaign for imj)roved agriculture in 
England is exceedingly interesting, and, in the present 
juncture, of profound importance to this country. 

" The islands of the sea have been swept clean of their rich 
stores of guano, the accumulation of ages. Phosphates 
have been imported by the millions of dollars' worth from 
the United States. The battlefields of Europe were combed, 
the catacombs of Egypt rifled, and for years the bones of 
three million men were ground up annually and used to 
bring the soil of England back to its present fertility. 

"Approximately five million dollars' worth of our phos- 
phates are being exported each year. In some way this 
should be stopped. In the years to come this master fer- 
tilizer ^\nll be worth more than gold. 

"I believe it is well within the bounds of conservatism to 
say that long before the middle of the present century the 
phosphates which we export annually, and for which we 
receive five million dollars, will be worth five hundred million 
dollars for fertilizing our own land. 

"It is safe to say that no country in the world excels the 
United States in natural fertility of soil, or has a more favor- 
able general climate. 

"Notwithstanding these natural advantages, with our 
careless, uninformed methods — our utter want of method — 
our farms |)roduce an annual yield of less than fourteen 
bushels of wheat per acre, as compared with thirty-two in 
England, twenty-eight in Germany, thirty -four in the Nether- 
lands, and twenty in France. 

" We produce an average of less than twenty-three bushels 
of oats per acre, while England {produces forty -two, Germany 
forty-six, and the Netherlands fifly-tiiree. 

"Germany, ^ith an arable area of less than some of our 



538 APPENDIX 

largest states, produces more than seven times the number 
of bushels of potatoes that are produced in all the states. 

" Experimental farms should be established in every county 
of every state, where the most modern methods of fertiliza- 
tion and cultivation and the result of such methods can be 
demonstrated, and where every farmer in the county can 
see exactly how it is done, instead of being told in books or 
lectures how it can be done. 

"The marvelous extension and development of railroads 
through the Middle West during the ten years following the 
close of the Civil War, opening up and making easily ac- 
cessible empires of this rich land, marvelously stimulated 
emigration; and each new railroad, each extension of exist- 
ing railroads, was followed by the location of thousands of 
settlers and the opening up and cultivation of millions of 
acres of new land. 

"The result that followed was inevitable. The products 
of the nation's farms soon so far exceeded the demand for 
them that prices fell far below the bare cost of production. 

"I have seen as good corn as the states of Iowa, Kansas, 
and Nebraska ever grew sell for ten to twelve cents per 
bushel, and it was a drug on the market at that price. I have 
seen this corn burned for fuel on the farm, because it was 
cheaper than wood or coal. 

"Is it strange that such conditions resulted in a ruinous 
collapse in farm values in Pennsylvania, New York, and New 
England, or that they begot methods or habits of unthrift 
and improvidence in the cultivation of the soil in the West? 

"These conditions prevailed not only in our own country 
but abroad. Railroads were being built in Russia, Australia, 
Argentina, India, and New Zealand, and cheap land with its 
cheap product competed in every market on the globe. 

"Fifty-one years ago, in an address delivered before the 
Wisconsin Agricultural Society, Abraham Lincoln said: 

"'My first suggestion is an inquiry as to the effect of greater thorough- 
ness in all departments of agriculture than now prevails in the Northwest; 
perhaps, I might say, in America. 

'"What would be the effect upon the farming interests to push the 
soil up to something near its full capacity? Unquestionably, it will take 
more labor to produce fifty bushels from one acre than it will to produce 
ten bushels from the same acre; but will it take more labor to produce fiftj 
bushels from one acre than from five? 

" ' Unquestionably, thorough cultivation will require more labor to the 
acre; but will it require more to the bushel? 



APPI:NDIX 539 

"'If it should rcfiuire just as mucli to the bushel, there are some prob- 
able, and several certain, advantages in favor of thorough practice. 

"'It is probable it would develop those unknown causes which of late 
years have cut down our crops below their fornu'r averages. 

"'The thought rei'urs lliut education, cuilivati'il thouf^hl, can best be 
combined with agriculture labor, or any labor, on the principle of thorough 
work, and thorough work again renders sufficient the smallest quantity of 
ground to each man, and this again conforms to what mu.st occur in a world 
less inclined to war, and more devoted to the arts of peace, than heretofore. 

'"Population must increase rajjidly, more rajjidiy than in ft)rmer times, 
and ere long the most valuable of all arts will be the art of deriving a com- 
fortable subsistence from tlie smallest area of soil. 

"'No community whose every member possesses this art can ever be 
the \'ictim of oppression in any of its forms. Such community will be alike 
independent of crowned kings, money kings, and land kings.' 

"These words of Mr. Lincoln could not have appealed 
very strongly to the farmers of Wisconsin or the neighboring 
states when land and its products were about the cheapest 
thing in which men dealt. 

"Why expend money or especial effort to increase pro- 
duction when the most indifferent farming produced more 
than could be used and the surplus in many cases would not 
bring the bare cost of production? WTiy spend money in 
building up and enriching the soil when for two thousand 
miles, from the ^Iississi])])i to the Pacific, land as rich and 
fertile as the best on earth could be had for the asking. 

"Fifty years later this admonition, under the changed 
conditions, comes with the force and significance of proph- 
ecy, because it applies now to a vital, burning queslion in 
which lie the issues of national life or death. 

"When these words were spoken, and for thirty years 
following, production exceeded consumption, and there was 
a steady, continuous, heart-breaking decline in the values 
of the thing produced. 

"Now, and for ten years pa.st, consumption is overtaking 
production with alarming rapidity, and values are rising by 
leaps and bounds. 

"Then, increased consumption could be provided for by 
increased acreage; now, this is impossible. Increased con- 
sum])tion can only be met by increased production on sub- 
stantially our present acreage. 

"Then, the outlook for agriculture was dark and almost 
hopeless, the market was limited, prices low, and the ten- 
dency was always down. Now, the market is unlimited at 
liberal and steadily advancing prices." 



540 APPENDIX 

POTATO STATISTICS 

The world's production of various food crops for 1908 is as 
follows : 

Bushels 

Potatoes 4,927,576,000 

Corn 3,478,328,000 

Wheat 3,176,479,000 

Barley . - 1,267,561,000 

Rye 1,587,733,000 

A comparison between potatoes and rice given in pounds: 

Pounds 

Potatoes 334,431,840,000 

Rice 135,186,068,000 

The Year Book of the Department of Agriculture gives 
the potato crop of the principal potato-growing countries as 
follows : 

(No statistics for Switzerland, Portugal, Argentina, Trans- 
vaal, Egypt and some other less important potato-growing 
countries.) 

North America Year 1904 Year 1908 

Bushels Bushels 

United States 332,830,000 278,985,000 

Mexico 527,000 469,000 

Newfoundland 1,350,000 1,350,000 

Canada 55,436,000 74,746,000 

Total 390,143,000 355,550,000 

South America 

Chile 6,131.000 8,063,000 

Europe 

Austria-Hungary 520,461,000 639,407,000 

Belgium 91,632,000 82,846,000 

Denmark 24,214,000 29,752,000 

Finland 15,465,000 20,432,000 

France 451,039,000 375,000,000 

Germany 1,333,326,000 1,702,803,000 

Italy 29,000,000 29,000,000 

Malta 733,000 692,000 

Netherlands 94,421,000 96,695,000 

Norway 17,253,000 28,030,000 

Roumania 3,001,000 4,310,000 

Russia (European).. . . 893,908,000 1,060,135,000 

Servia 718,000 645,000 

Spain 84,000,000 84,000,000 

Sweden 51,314,000 78,020,000 



APPENDIX 541 

POTATO STATISTICS — continued 

Year 1!)04 Year 1908 

Eurooe IJushels Bushels 

Great Britain 13;5,!)(i 1.000 146,iS.JH,000 

Irt-land 98.035,000 119,4oj,000 

(Total Great Britain 

and Ireland) (232,596,000) (265.713,000) 

Total 3,843,081,000 4,497,480,000 

Asia 

Japan 11,274,000 21,023,000 

Russia (Asiatic) 18,800,000 22,588,000 

Total 30.074,000 43,011,000 

Africa 

Algeria 1,655,000 1,803,000 

Cape of Good Hope... 1,942,000 1.304,000 

Natal 451,000 405,000 



Total 4,048,000 3,512,000 

Australasia 

Australia 16,777,000 14,021,000 

New Zealand 7,795,000 6.339,000 



Total 24,572,000 19,360,000 

Grand Total 4,298,049.000 4.927,576,000 

A comparison of the total value with that of other 1900 
crops in the United States is interesting: 

Acreage Production Value 

Potatoes 3,52.5,000 376,537,000 206,545.000 

Com 108,771,000 2,772,376,000 1,652,822,000 

Wlieat 46,723,000 737,189,000 730,046,000 

Oats 33.204,000 1,007,353,000 408,174,000 

Barley 7,001,000 170,284,000 93,971,000 

Rye 2,006,000 32,2,'59,000 23,809,000 

Buckwheat 834,000 17,438.000 12,188.000 

Rice 720,225 24,368,000 19,341,000 

While of increasing importance in the United States, there 
are other crops that outclass it here. Tiiis is due to the fact 
that this is one of the great grain-producing countries of the 
world, and tliat the potato industry is capable of almost 
unlimited expansion here. In Europe its relative importance 
is very much greater than in the United States. A resume 
of the potato industry in the United States from 1866 to 
1909 shows the increase in its importance and volume: 



542 APPENDIX 

Acreage, Production, Value, Prices, etc. 











Aver. 




Imports 


Year 


Acreage 
planted and 


Average 
yield per 


ProductioH 


farm 
price 


Farm value 
Dec. ist 


during 
fiscal year 




bai^ested 


acre 




per bu. 


begiining 










Dec. I 




July I 


1866 


1,069,000 


100.2 


107,201 000 


47.3 


50,723,000 


193,265 


1867 


1,192,000 


82.0 


97,783,000 


65.9 


64,462,000 


209,555 


1868 


1,132,000 


93.8 


106,090,000 


59.3 


62,919,000 


138,470 


1869 


1,222,000 


109.5 


133,886,000 


42.9 


57,481,000 


75,336 


1870 


1,325,000 


86.6 


114,775,000 


65.0 


74,621 000 


458,758 


1871 


1,221,000 


98.7 


120,462,000 


53.9 


64,905,000 


96,259 


1872 


1,331,000 


85.3 


113,516,000 


53.5 


60,692,000 


346,840 


1873 


1,295,000 


81.9 


106,089,000 


65.2 


69,154,000 


549,073 


1874 


1,310,000 


80.9 


105,881,000 


61.5 


65,223,000 


188,757 


1875 


1,510,000 


110.5 


166,877,000 


34.4 


57,358,000 


92,148 


1876 


1,742,000 


71.7 


124,827,000 


61.9 


77,320,000 


3,205,555 


1877 


1,792,000 


94.9 


170,002,000 


43.7 


74,272,000 


528,584 


1878 


1,777,000 


69.9 


124,127,000 


58.7 


72,924,000 


2,624,149 


1879 


1,837,000 


98.9 


181,626,000 


43.6 


79,154,000 


721,868 


1880 


1,843,000 


91.0 


167,600,000 


48.3 


81,062,000 


2,170,372 


1881 


2,042,000 


53.5 


100,145,000 


91.0 


99,291,000 


8,789,860 


1882 


2,172,000 


78.7 


170,973,000 


55.7 


95,305,000 


2,362,362 


1883 


2,289,000 


90.9 


2(^,164,000 


42.2 


87,849,000 


425,408 


1884 


2,221,000 


85.8 


190,642,000 


39.6 


75,524,000 


658,633 


1885 


2,266,000 


77.2 


175,029,000 


44.7 


78,153,000 


1,937,416 


1886 


2,287,000 


73.5 


168,051,000 


46.7 


78,442,000 


1,432,490 


1887 


2,357,000 


56.9 


134,103,000 


68.2 


91,507,000 


8,259,538 


1888 


2,533,000 


79.9 


202,365,000 


40.2 


81,414,000 


883,380 


1889 


2,648,000 


77.4 


204,881,000 


35.4 


72,611,000 


3,415,578 


1890 


2,652,000 


55.9 


148,290,000 


75.8 


112,342,000 


5,401,912 


1891 


2,715,000 


93.7 


254,424,000 


35.8 


91,013,000 


186,871 


1892 


2,548,000 


61.5 


156,655,000 


66.1 


103,568,000 


4,317,021 


1893 


2,605,000 


70.3 


183,034,000 


59.4 


108,662,000 


3,002,578 


1894 


2,738,000 


62.4 


170,787,000 


53.6 


91,527,000 


1,341,533 


1895 


2,955,000 


100.6 


297,237,000 


26.6 


78,985,000 


175,240 


1896 


2,767,000 


91.1 


252,235,000 


28.6 


72,182,000 


246,178 


1897 


2,535,000 


64.7 


164,016,000 


54.7 


89,643,000 


1,171,378 


1898 


2,558,000 


75.2 


192,306,000 


41.4 


79,575,000 


530,420 


1899 


2,581,000 


88.6 


228,783,000 


39.0 


89,329,000 


155,861 


1900 


2,611,000 


80.8 


210,927,000 


43.1 


90,811,000 


371,911 


1901 


2,804,000 


65.5 


187,598,000 


76.7 


143,979,000 


7,656,162 


1902 


2,966,000 


96.0 


284,633,000 


47.1 


134,111,000 


358,505 


1903 


2,917,000 


84.7 


247,128,000 


61.4 


151,638.000 


3,166,581 


1904 


3,016,000 


110.4 


332,830,000 


45.3 


150,673,000 


181,199 


1905 


2,997,000 


87.0 


260,741,000 


61.7 


160,821,000 


1,948,160 


1906 


3,013,000 


102.2 


308,038,000 


51.1 


157,547,000 


176,917 


1907 


3,128,000 


95.4 


298,262,000 


61.8 


184,184,000 


403,952 


1908 


3,257,000 


85.7 


278,985,000 


70.6 


197,039,000 


■8,383,969 


1909 


3,525.000 


106.8 


376,537,000 


54.9 


206,545,000 





APPENDIX 



543 



The variation in price is wortliy of notice, and the fact 
that the average yield ])er acre is practically the same now as 
forty years ago shows the possiy)ilities of advanced work and 
methods. The acreage hjvs been increasing gradually with 
the development of the country. 

The annual iini)orts from Europe bear a direct relation to 
the total home ])roduction. 

The acreage, prodiiclion, and value of potatoes in the 
United States in 1909 follow: 

State, territory or division Acreage Production Dec™ bc^'ist 

Maine ISO.OOO 29,250,000 $13,748,000 

New Hampshire 21,000 2,730,000 1,747,000 

Vermont 30,000 4,650,000 2,046,000 

Massachusetts 34,000 4,250,000 3,358,000 

Rhode Island 6,000 750,000 600,000 

Connecticut 36,000 4,320,000 8,580,000 

New York 438,000 52,560,000 26,280,000 

New Jersey 80,000 7,200,000 5,904000 

Pennsylvania 305,000 23,790,000 15,404,000 

North Atlantic 1,080,000 129.500,000 72,733,000 

Delaware 9,000 864,000 622,000 

Maryland 35,000 2,800,000 1,848.000 

Virginia 60.000 5,520,000 3.804,000 

West Virginia 39,000 3,822,000 2,599,000 

North Carolina 25,000 1,850,000 1.498,000 

South Carolina 9.000 765.000 880,000 

Georgia 10,000 810,000 810,000 

Florida 5,000 475,000 570,000 

South Atlantic 192.000 16,906,000 12,691,000 

Ohio 182,000 16,920,000 9.479,000 

Indiana 95.000 9.025,000 4.093.000 

Illinois 164,000 14,924,000 9.104,000 

Michigan 348,000 36,540,000 12,789,000 

Wisconsin 262,000 20,724,000 10,155,(K)0 

N.C.E. of Miss. River. . 1,051.000 104,139,000 46,220.000 

Minnesota 160.000 18.400.000 6,440,000 

Iowa 145,000 12,905,000 7,098,000 

Missouri 88,000 7,4SO,0()0 5.012,01)0 

North Dakota 40,000 4,4(M),(i(>0 1.9(18,000 

South Dakota 50,000 4,000.(KK) 2,520.tK)0 

Nebraska 105,000 8,190.000 4.914,000 

Kansas 91,000 7,189,000 5.(;79,OO0 

N.C.W. of Miss. River. 679,000 62,564.000 33,643.000 



544 APPENDIX 

State, territory or division Acreage Production K^'™ Value 

December 1st 

Kentucky 40,000 3,680,000 2,355,000 

Tennessee 30.000 2,250,000 1,598,000 

Alabama 17,000 1,360,000 1,333,000 

Mississippi 9,000 783,000 744,000 

Louisiana 16,000 1,200,000 1,092,000 

Texas 60,000 3,000,000 3,180,000 

Oklahoma 27,000 1,890,000 1,796,000 

Arkansas 33,000 2,310,000 2,215,000 

South Central 232,000 16.473,000 14,223,000 

Montana 25,000 4,500,000 2,295,000 

Wyoming 10,000 1,600,000 1,008,000 

Colorado 65,000 10,400,000 5,928,000 

New Mexico 1,000 85,000 86,000 

Utah 15,000 2,700,000 1,161,000 

Nevada *. . . 3,000 540,000 459,000 

Idaho 25,000 5,000,000 2,400,000 

Washington 41,000 6,970,000 3,276,000 

Oregon 46,000 7,360,000 4,416,000 

California 60,000 7,800,000 6,006,000 

Far Western 291,000 46,955,000 27,035,000 

United States 3,525,000 376,537,000 206,545,000 

It will be noted that the states rank as follows : 

New York 52,560,000 bushels 

Michigan 36,540,000 " 

Maine 29,250,000 " 

Wisconsin 26,724,000 " 

Pennsylvania 23,790,000 " 

The importance given Idaho, Colorado, California, and 
other Western states in this book is because of the quality 
of their product and the possibilities in developing and en- 
larging the industry. 

The average production of wheat and potatoes in different 
countries covering a period of ten years is given : 

AVERAGE YIELDS EN BUSHELS PER ACRE 1899-I908 





U.S. 


European 
Russia 


Germany 


Austria 


Great 
Britain 


France 


Potatoes 

W'heat 


89.8 
13.7 


98.4 
9.3 


197.3 

28.7 


151.4 

18.7 


186.4 
32.6 


118. 
20.4 







APPENDIX 



545 



The best averages for states for 1009 are as follows: 

Maine iiS Bushels per acre. 

Idaho 200 

Montana 180 

Nevadu 180 

Utah 180 

Washington 170 

Colorado I(i0 

Oregon IGO 

Wyoming 160 

Vermont 155 

New Hampshire 130 

California 130 

Massachusetts 125 

Rhode Island 125 

Connecticut 120 

New York 120 

Michigan 105 

Wisconsin 102 

Florida 95 

Kansas 79 

Pennsylvania 78 

Louisiana 75 

Oklahoma 70 

Texas 50 



The production of potatoes in every state in the Union 
can and must be greatly increased. This can be done by 
the use of better methods, and it is the duty of every citi- 
zen of the commonwealth to do every thing possible to bring 
about the desired result. 



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