Fingerlings are growing favor among potato consumers, thanks to an increased market demand for more varieties. That was part of the takeaway message from a presentation given at the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention in Hershey, PA, on Wednesday.
According to the Melvin Henninger, who gave the presentation and is in the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology at Rutgers University, before adding fingerling varieties to the crop list, however, growers need to know what kind of demand exists for the this type of potato and where.
He also suggested starting with quality seed, making sure the seeds are disease-free. Proper seed management is also necessary, he added.
Ideal soil conditions for planting fingerlings is 55 to 60 degrees F, with humidity of 90% to 95%. He said hand cutting works best and the seed pieces should be planted by hand or a pick, if the seed pieces are large enough. Spacing of the planting should be 12 to 15 inches.
Henniger said harvesting fingerlings can provide some complications due to the size of the tubers. Picking by hand may provide the highest percentage of tubers, or a belted chain on a digger.
Washing and grading is also problematic due to the size of the fingerlings. Henniger added that washing is most important, since unusual shapes is a key feature of fingerlings.
For more information on the outlook for potatoes this year, click here read the article in the January 2013 issue of American Vegetable Grower magazine.