Potato Varieties for Northern Gardens

Potato Varieties for Northern Gardens
Some potato varieties are ideally suited to Northern climates. These include Chieftain and Caribou Russet potatoes.

Chieftain Potatoes

Chieftain potato is an excellent choice for organic and conventional home gardens. This variety was introduced in 1968 by the Iowa Agricultural Experiment Station.

The plant is sometimes called Red Chieftain potato. Chieftain potato is considered an early to mid season variety, ready in 65 to 70 days. It matures a little later than most early varieties.

Chieftain potato is very widely grown in Maine as a staple for the commercial market. It is also the leading commercial red potato variety in Canada. The medium sized tubers are oval or round to oblong.

The smooth thin red skin ranges from coppery red to a reddish-pink. This can be lightly netted.

The white flesh is firm and moist with a mealy, floury texture that some have described as “floury fluffiness.” Chieftain potato is an ideal choice for new potatoes.

This is pretty much an all purpose potato that is great for boiling, sauteed, mashed, or baked. Chieftain potato has a wonderful flavor.

This potato stores well. It has an extremely high yield. In Cornell University plant trials over twenty years it averaged up to 331 cwt/acre. This is one of the most productive and has an even greater yield than that of Dark Red Norland potato.

The medium sized plants are spreading. The flowers are lilac. Chieftain potato is highly resistant to late blight.

It also displays moderate resistance to common scab, viruses, and verticillium wilt. The plant is also resistant to stem end browning. It is susceptible to golden nematode.

Carious Russet Potatoes

It is by no means surprising that the Caribou Russet potato does very well in the North. It is recommended for cool climates, such as New England and areas along the Canadian border.

This potato originated at the University of Maine and was relesed in 2015. It was a cross between Reeves Kingpin x Silverton Russet and was bred by the University of Maine Potato Breeding Program in 2001.

Caribou Russet potato is a mid to late season variety, maturing in 80 to 90 days. The tubers are oblong to oval or long. They’re slightly flattened.

The lightly russeted skin is light brown. The white flesh is dry and floury. This potato is perfect for mashing and baking as well as frying, especially French fries.

Caribou Russet potatoes store well. This has a moderate yield. The vigorous to large plants are upright with medium sized stems and narrow leaves.

The large white flowers feature orange centers. Caribou Russet potato has moderate resistance to common scab and verticillium wilt. The plant is also resistant to hollow heart with moderate tolerance to golden nematode and blackspot, bruising, and mechanical damage.

These potatoes display few internal or external defects. Very few of the potatoes are misshapen.

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