Wow, thanks Tim! (See comment for March 21) I don't know what I was reading? I just re-checked the SFG book and it says wait until the soil reaches 45 degrees. Guess I will have to dirty up my digital roast thermometer. Boy, Alton Brown would be REALLY proud of my multitasking of tools. So I guess no potato planting today.
Now I just have to find a place that's around 65 degrees and well lit, but not sunny in my house to store the 2 pounds of seed potatoes I got. My upstairs is currently used as storage so we don't heat it (getting heat up there is a project for when the kids get older and move up there). I'll stick them out of direct sun but in the room so it will be well lit area until after April 1, which is the historical LSF date for Seattle.
I would hate to have to wait until after May 1, though I know Portland weather's nearly identical to Seattle's. I wouldn't get bakers until October or Novemberish. /shrug Maybe that's when you're supposed to harvest them in mid-late fall. I sure hope they store well to last through the winter and maybe into spring.
What I don't think I've ever read in my research on potatoes is, do you plant the sprouted seed potatoes with the sprouts up or down? Are the sprouts the vines or the roots?
Ok, I checked the soil. I've got a great meat thermometer that is designed to clip on a shirt for cooks. I took it outside and it was reading the air temp at just under 50. I poked it into the ground in my Build-As-You-Grow bins and the soil temp averaged 42 degrees. Not quite the 45 that Mel suggests. If I were a betting man I'd plant anyway, but we've still got a week or two before our LSF, and I don't want to worry about frost with my potatoes also!
While I had the probe out there, I checked my beds, and they were the same soil temp, about 43. However, I still had the coldframe over the spinach and cauliflower, so I checked under the window. There's condensation, but I didn't expect almost 50 degrees soil temp.
Not bad for an unsealed coldframe (I turned it to fit the "creative" angle of the beds).
The spinach really likes the coldframe, the stems straightened up overnight. I'm not sure if I'll remove the duct tape that I put on to keep them from shattering when we yanked them out. Kinda seems like a good idea when I throw them around.
On the topic of my raccoons, I called Sky Nursery and they have predator urine. It works on dear, raccoons and armadillos, hehe. The guy on the phone (you'd be crazy not to let your fingers do the walking with gas prices this high... I digress) gave me a good tip on predator urine. Once you use up a 20 oz container, switch brands. That way they don't get used to the sent. I guess you can cycle through them every so often. I'll pick it up and see if it works. Not sure if I could tell, other than the absense of paw prints in my dirt.