This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
For some years past a new variety of the potato, extraordinarily productive, has been cultivated on many farms in the environs of Mans. It is known under the name of "the Chardon Potato," because it was obtained by M. Chardon, a farmer at Griez (Sarthe) in 1846, from a sowing made with seeds purchased at Mans, which had been ripened in Saxony.
The Chardon potato is distinguished from the varieties cultivated either in fields or gardens by the following characteristics: - '
1st. Its tubers are long, and rather flat; its skin is glossy and yellow when cultivated in light and sandy soils, and rough and yellowish brown tinged with red, when grown in argillaceous earth. Its eyes are numerous and deeply sunk in cavities; its flesh is of a clear yellow.
2d. Its stems are numerous, strong, and furnished with deep green leaves; its flowers are white, washed with rose, and succeed each other without interruption, from the 15th August to the end of September.
This variety is late, and ripens its tubers towards the end of October. Up to this time (1856) the disease which has appeared every year since 1845, and committed such great ravages upon the late potatoes, has not touched it.
But the Chardon potato is not only an interesting variety on account of its having up to this time resisted the attacks of the disease: it deserves to be propagated because it is without contradiction the most productive potato of all those cultivated upon a large scale.
M. Dugrip, to whom attaches the merit of having been the first to direct the attention of agriculturists, committees, and societies, to this fine variety, has produced, on an average per hectare, twenty times the quantity of tubers planted upon the same superficies; this result is so much the more remarkable that it constitutes the mean return of the culture of 7 hectares 40 ares (about 17 acres 1 rood 9 perches).
In cultures conducted on a smaller scale the returns obtained have frequently been extraordinary. Thus M. Coudray, a farmer in Saint Maixant (Sarthe), has produced from eight hectolitres 220 hectolitres or more than 27 to 1; M. Epinette, a proprietor at Ferte, Bernard, gathered 33 hectolitres, for one; and M. Velmorin has 18 hectolitres for 20 litres, which is more than 90 times the quantity planted. In general the weight of the tubers averages between 150 and 225 grammes (from 4.8 oz. to 7.2 oz.). This potato will propagate itself very rapidly in France, if it continues to be so productive and remains perfectly healthy; for a great number of agricultural committees and societies have experimented upon it this year (1856), and we strongly recommend the readers of the Journal d'Agriculture Pratique to follow this year its divers phases of existence in these attempts, and to take an account of the products they render in the autumn. We wish to believe that it will still furnish an abundant, if not an extraordinary produce, and that we shall be able anew to regard it as a true conquest, a unique variety, as well on account of the beauty of its tubers as of the large proportion of starch they contain. - Translated from the French of the" Journal d'Agriculture Pratique".