This section is from the book "The Potato: A Compilation of Information from Every Available Source", by Eugene H. Grubb, W. S. Guilford. Also available from Amazon: The Potato: A Compilation Of Information From Every Available Source.
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 plowing, it was very fine and made a perfect contact with the bottom of the furrow. This is very . important and we find it pays to disk before plowing 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 furrow.
While we were preparing the soil we had been getting the seed ready. The seed was 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 many cuts from the seed end as possible, each piece having 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, we went 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 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. Immediately 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 moisture up to the seed. The ground should be harrowed 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 indicate that planting eight inches in the row was better 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 percentage 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 Falls, in a letter to H. A. Stroud, recites the following:
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 quality. It is only a question of intelligent cultivation and not too much water.
All of my potatoes and garden produce were grown between rows of young apple trees that I planted three years ago next spring."