Yukon Gold is the most popular yellow-skinned variety for baking, and it's easy to see why. It harvests early -- closer to 70 days than 90, and far ahead of the 100 to 110 typical of midseason types. The tubers are rounded, blocky, and packed with succulent flesh, with thin skins just perfect for eating. (That's where all the vitamins are hiding, too!) Although it's classified as a "dry" type best suited for baking, I find it superb boiled or fried too. The spuds range from 4 to 10 ounces, so I save the big mongo ones for baked potatoes, and turn the others into soups, stews, and veggie medleys!
The plant grows just 12 to 18 inches tall but spreads up to 4 feet wide, and each 2½-pound bag of plants will sow up to 25 feet of row and yield 20 to 30 pounds of potatoes. These plants are grown from disease-free stock, and for my money they're the best Potatoes on the market today!
Like all Potatoes, Yukon Gold fares best in sandy, enriched soil, but if you have heavy or clay soil, just used a raised bed or plant the tubers more shallowly, mulching them well with straw. Here's how to grow them:
If your soil is normal to sandy, work in some gypsum and Epsom salts before planting, then set the tubers 3 or 4 inches deep and about a foot apart. (If your soil is heavier, plant more shallowly and rely on mulch rather than soil for coverage.) Potato tubers should be planted in early spring, at the same time as you sow your green peas. If a late frost threatens, just toss a few inches of straw or other mulch over the young plants, and chances are they'll be fine. When the shoots emerge, you may want to sow some bush beans alongside the young plants -- they'll keep the bugs down! Basil and Summer Savory are also fine companions that keep insects at bay -- I usually just wait to see which Potatoes didn't sprout, and fill in the gaps with these helpful herbs! (Of course, Marigold, friend to all vegetables for its ability to destroy more nematodes than commercial repellents, is always a beautiful choice too!)
Potatoes tend to grow their fruit right under the soil, and over time the tubers may stick out above the soil line. This can cause greening, which ruins the flavor (and adds toxins to the Potato), so watch your plants and add more soil, straw, or peat moss as necessary to keep the taters under wraps! The plants may also bloom, and small, hard green fruits will appear when the flowers pass. Don't be tempted to harvest them -- they're toxic!
When it's time to harvest, begin at the outer edges of each plant and work your way in. You want to gently turn over the soil using a garden fork or blunt-edged spade, to avoid cutting into the potatoes. Store the spuds, unwashed and not touching one another, in a totally dark, cool place, where they'll last for several weeks. (You can eat them after they've sprouted; just cut away the inedible sprout and its eye.) Once you've harvested the crop from end to end, begin in a new spot and work your way through it from a different direction. You'll be amazed at how many spuds you missed the first time!
If you love Potatoes of all types, take a look at Rose Finn Apple, an heirloom variety. We've also got a frying type from seed, Zolushka. 2½-pound bag of tubers, planting 20 to 25 feet of row.