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August 27, 2007


Jacquelyn Goudeau

Today is 8/12/08 and I have not been able to find La Ratte fingerlings anywhere in the Bay Area! Help! Even went to the Potato Man at Ferry Plaza on a Saturday...he had never heard of them. I work in SF and if you have a source, I would love to know...svp.
Jacquely Goudeau


I bought some yesterday at the farmer's market in Occidental.


The La Ratte is easy to grow and high yielding. 2008 was my 5th season growing them. Harvested about 450 pounds in August and sold out very quickly. Make sure you purchase true La Ratte certified seed stock and not Russian Banana fingerlings. They look identical in the field. The La Ratte has a nuanced hazelnut flavor and is not quite as waxy as the Russian Banana. (The Russian Banana is also excellent). Be sure to ask your seed vender to tell you the generation of the seed stock available.
Do not save your harvested potatoes for seed unless you planted 3rd or 4th generation seed stock, otherwise you may end up with a disappointing yield due to build up of diease in the seed stock. You may develop and sustain your own seed stock using tissue culturing methodology, but this requires a bit of patience and zeal.
If you are planting in well tilled soil, inoculate with Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungus (AMF) and spray potatoes in row with a solution of unsulfured molasses before covering them. The molasses will enhance the soil bacterium that helps the AMF. Foliar spray every 10 days until flower drop with compost tea, fish emulsion, and kelp to fertilize and inhibit mildew and wilts.
The La Ratte potato is very sensitive to soil moisture, so keep them moist. Drip tape is an excellent irrigation methodology but will not work with a foot of hilled soil on top. It is best to install drip tape after the second hilling adapting system so the drip line does not have a 90 degree bend from the feeder line. In small plantings (50 feet or less), a soaker hose works fine as long as it doesn’t spay water on the plants. Overhead irrigation should be avoided as it increases the opportunity for mildews, wilts and blights. Stop irrigation 3 weeks prior to scheduled harvest.
To increase sanitation and speed up harvest, flame kill plants at scheduled harvest and allow the tubers to remain in the soil 2-3 weeks to harden up. This will increase overall quality, reduce damage at harvest and improve storage ability. They are excellent in salads; pan roasted, and mashed with Blue Solaize leeks.
And yes, don’t plant too early or frost will kill them off. We plant 3 weeks prior to average last frost date. If you get stuck with an expected frost, get up before sunrise and hose them down before the sun hits them dead.
I almost forgot planting…plant 4 inches deep in soil that either has good tilth or tilled down to 10 inches. Hill once plant is 8 inches and hill again at 8 inches. Don’t bury the plant but don’t be afraid to hill them up either. Hilling is essential to keep the weeds down and increase yield and decrease sun scald.

Southwind Farms

We have La Ratte potatoes for sale

irrigation systems

I would like to grow La Ratte Potates in my farm. What the are required climate condition for it ? Can you please tell me..Thanks in Advance !

Denny Hunt

This is my second year growing them in Sebastopol. We sold seed from last year's crop and then bought some more certified seed for this year. They are perhaps my most popular variety. This year I should be able to get one planting through without watering, but my first and last plantings will probably need some. I plant late like the old-time growers further west towards Valley Ford. Recently did a brix reading on some young ones and you can read about that in the news section at www.blankityblank.biz This is a great and informative blog and I am glad to find it. Thank you Craig! Sincerely - Denny



Potato dish

Great job!! You have shown many difference in potatoes which i never knew it before.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrSTQDVc0tc This article is very interesting that we can find right potatoes for right dish. Very usefull, thanks to the author.

UGGs On Sale

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Doug Pike

We have La Ratte and Russian Banana potatoes (amoung many others) at our small vegetable stand (Pike Farm) in a very small town in northern Maine (Exeter). Cooking, farming and dining are fun even without customers.

Thanks for the information!


Achievement presents the only genuine delight in life


Thak you for sharing them with us , I think it's worth reading

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