What happens if you take five ‘German Butterball’ seed potatoes and grow them, with minimal inputs during a very hot and dry year, in a 3′ x 3′ space hilled with compost and hay three times over the growing season? Well, it turns out, surprisingly wonderful things!
For several years we’ve been trying different potato varieties to see which ones have the best potential to grow vertically in a small space. ‘German Butterball’ certainly proved to be a contender this growing season.
This tiny (barely 9 square feet) patch of basically untended potatoes produced a total of 59 tubers! 14 regular eating size for the variety, 14 small, 15 mini and 16 micro tubers. The vines grew over 3′ tall and stolon development occurred along the deepest 7″ of the potato stems. The longest stolon recorded was not quite 12″ long. No berries were seed on this variety this year.
During the fall potato growing season these potatoes and the ‘Long Tall Red’ potatoes will be grown side by side for height and yield comparisons during the hopefully wetter and cooler part of the year.