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Book Review

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 Book Review

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Potatoes … And So Much More

A comprehensive, easy-to-follow, go-to resource is now available for potato growers. The Complete Book of Potatoes: What Every Grower and Gardener Needs to Know can help you tell a “Reba” from a “German Butterball,” aid you in determining what is causing your potato stems to collapse, or provide suggestions for maximizing yield at harvest time.

Written by long-time Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada potato breeder Hielke (Henry) De Jong, Walter De Jong, associate professor at Cornell University, and Joseph Sieczka, professor emeritus of the Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Centre at Cornell, this book contains a wealth of practical and technical information on topics such as conventional and organic production techniques, pest management, storage practices, and the potato’s origin, among others.

The book’s contents are aimed at commercial potato growers and those who might plant a few rows in their backyard gardens, plus anyone who is simply curious about potato facts, such as the etymology of the potato names “Earth Apple” or “Horse Bell.” With this broad audience in mind, the authors use language that is easy to understand, also explaining technical terms in detail.

Starting with a look at the internal and external features of potatoes, the book includes a list of the 55 cultivars most commonly grown throughout North America. A thorough description and photos of each cultivar is provided. The importance of soil preparation and use of certified seed is discussed at length, along with tips on organic production, and growing potatoes in containers and in mulch. Additionally, a detailed account of diseases caused by fungi, bacteria, viruses and nematodes, also accompanied by colour photos, will help novice growers identify and treat problems. Once the crop is ready, readers can follow harvesting methods and storage techniques described by the De Jongs and Sieczka. The Complete Book of Potatoes makes a handsome and insightful addition to any grower’s library. 

 Andrea Geary

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