Start a Project

Start a Potato Project

Project Potato Basics, as we see it. Rev.:1.5a1

What is needed:

  1. Suitable Ground - always, as available. Stay out of the rocks, clay, and bad shale.
  2. A way(s) to Till the ground for potatoes. Moldboard plowing at 8 inches desired to turn the soil.
  3. A way to Plant the seed potatoes, by hand or machine, or combination.
  4. Seed Potatoes/potato Source, and Cutting to size, rather than planting a whole potato as seed (Kennebec). You need a wholesale source or donation sponsor.
  5. A way to Cultivate & Hill the planted seed potato plants, if the usual Hilling and Cultivating is chosen, and/or Herbicide application and said Material.
  6. A way to Spray/dust the plants for insects (especially Colorado Potato Beetle) and conditions such as blight, and those effective said pesticides.
  7. A way to Harvest and prepare the potatoes/plot.
  8. Distribution; Packaging and Transportation as needed. Contact the major distribution center(s) in need. Bags, boxes, or bins. If bags, get a mesh type.
  9. Volunteers for hands-on assistance; (Church Congregations, Clubs, Business Organizations, Committed Individuals, to the scale of production expected and/or intended. See also Society of St. Andrew.
  10. Production monitoring, reporting, and information sharing. (Churches eMail list.)

Everything is to Scale to the Size of the Operation, including Funding.

Equipment Stages, to Scale:

  1. Shovel, Hoe, Hand Sprayer/Duster, Potato Fork, Buckets/Bags/Boxes.
  2. Rototiller, and optional attachments, Hand Sprayer/Duster, Potato Fork, Buckets/Bags/Boxes.
  3. Small Tractor and Moldboard Plow, Tractor Cultivator/Hiller, Hand Sprayer/Duster or adapted Tractor Sprayer with Clearance, Potato Fork or Tractor attached Digger, Buckets/Bags/Boxes.
  4. A to scale larger Tractor, Plow, Disc, Harrow, Cultivator Attachments, Hiller, Sprayer, Digger, Buckets/Bags/Boxes, suitable transportation. (Our first year; 1 acre plot cost $618 in production through final distribution.)

What is IHartHarvest using today, in 2017, after 9 years?

  • 8 Acres Land, 17,500 Pounds of Seed Potatoes, volunteers cut to Eye size for planting, producing 80K to +120K pounds at Harvest in a typical season. With appropriate funding, we acquire and store seed potatoes on arrival in March through April time frame here in N.E. PA, USA, prior to Cutting Seed Pieces. Store the potatoes cool and in the dark. We plow, disc, harrow, plant with 2Row planter adding fertilizer, we spray herbicides, and pesticides as needed scouting weekly or more and act appropriately, defoliate when needed for harvest, mow stalks and weeds, harvest with chain diggers, volunteers picking into buckets, consolidating in bulk into assembled bins on pallets, which the cooperating food banks pick up, as we handle the full palletized bins from the field to the appropriate truck or trailer for delivery. We currently plant seed pieces at a rate of +/-2,187 pounds per acre with a 2 row IH potato planter at 34" fows.
  • Tractor(s) to size/scale 37Hp, Kubota L3800HST
  • Moldboard Plow,
  • Disc,
  • Harrow,
  • Seed Potato Cutting Volunteers, and/or suitable Seed Cutting Machine with limited helpers (Like a Trexler Seed Potato Cutter).
  • Potato Planter with Fertilizer Applicator.
  • Sprayer on Tractor for Herbicide, Pesticide & Blight Applications, Micro-nutrient Application.
  • Mover for plants and weeds prior to harvest as well as “burn-down” spray application as needed,
  • Potato Chain Digger(s) for harvest,
  • Bins on Pallets,
  • Buckets, 5 gallon plastic. - Just don't bother with traditional baskets when going this route.
  • Volunteers in sufficient number(s), (Tie in to your Mission District Church Organizations, utilize eMail lists, and social media - look for buy-in.)
  • 3Point Fork, tractor attachment to handle binned potatoes,
  • Pickup Truck and associated Trailer,
  • Organize and provide Hospitality for the volunteers if you can.
  • Suitable weather and conditions as required.

We have expanded over the years, starting in our backyard with 1 acre in 2009 costing $618 at startup already having some small equipment, to an overall 60 acres and a $43K budget by 2017. We do 8 acres of high density planted potatoes, 1 acre of sweet corn, 2 or more acres of carrots, and onions, tried watermelon, and cabbage. We would like to expand with machine automation to more acres of sweet corn, add string beans and peas, as well as becoming successful for other seasonable produce, timed to harvests, as well as doing field corn which contributes to our sustainability funding and crop rotation needs. All for local neighbors in need.

Bunch of Video Clips Link

See ALSO: Fertilization | About Taters