How to Plant Potatoes

Plant potatoes in fall or early fall for best outcomes in winter. Potatoes are another name in the list that belongs to the Solanum Tuberosum plant and is well-known worldwide for its tasty edible roots. Planting potatoes is straightforward and productive.

Potatoes are widely cultivated vegetables worldwide, and their organic, nutritious nature makes them an important crop. Potato is the most common vegetable as it is a cheap source of food that can be afforded by any class and one of the primary reasons that it is the most grown crops worldwide as compared to any other crop. It is relatively easy to grow potatoes for the gardener; only the right amount of knowledge is required to get crop’s successful

Plant Potatoes

Potatoes can be well grown in the soil rich in organic matters and provide a balanced pH with the area fully brightened with sunshine or lightly shaded areas. 

The most acceptable way to grow potatoes is to use it as a seed. A one-eyed sprout potato can be planted to produce a healthy crop. The seed potato experiences sprouting if exposed to warmth up to 65° to 70°F.

The seed potato must be set to bright place two to three weeks before plantation. Seed the potato into 4 inches deep hole and cover it with the 2 inches of soil. Plant the potato 12 to 18 inches apart, and space rows 24 to 36 inches apart. Once the seedling emerges, add more soil to cover the plant. Stack the soil around the plant as it grows.

A fertilizer that contains the right amount of potassium and phosphate should be added to the soil to help potatoes’ healthy growth. The well-rotted manure is also another active factor that leads to the successful development of the crop. The best part of the potato is that it can be nurtured in any soil except alkaline soil.  

Care

Regular watering is required for potatoes for a healthy root system. Make sure you will not do waterlogging during plant potatoes, else they become the best place for pests. The appearance of flowers on the plants indicates the creation of the tubers. Too much moist causes the rot of tubers. The moisture is equally essential for growth before the soil dries up. However, the fluctuation of the state of soil can result in knobby tubers. Regular weeding and control the soil temperature are the two primary sources to nurture the crop successfully. Mulch is suggested if the moisture of the soil needs to retain

Fertilizers can be mixed with water and given to the plants for a good start. Phosphoric acid and ammonium nitrate are preferable; however, massive nitrogen fertilizer should not be used. Spray-mist foliage with compost tea to avoid the poor soil condition.

Use herbicides to kill weeds if no mulch is used in plant potatoes. 

Harvest

The potato is a crop that usually takes two months or 70-120 days to mature. The time between sowing and harvesting is 6-8 weeks. The best way to identify when to harvest the potato tuber is when the stem and leaves change its colour into brown, and flowers wear away. Usually, harvesting time varies for the different kinds of potatoes.

Tubers, once mature, can be harvested at any time, but the tubers that are harvested earlier than the maturity signs are known as a new potato. The skin of new potatoes is easy to peel than the skin of mature potatoes with problematic skin.

Use a spading fork or bare hands to gently ease it out of the ground to avoid skin damage and bruising. The potatoes can be left for a long time in the ground after maturity, but it gradually loses nutrition.

Storage

Potatoes can be stored in a more relaxed and drier place that can easily preserve vegetables for 3-8 weeks. A favourable condition for maintaining potato in a cellar can give it a long life that includes adequate ventilation and away from the sunlight.

To store the potato in the refrigerator, make sure not to wash it; only clean the soil on the top of the potato skin. The maximum temperature to keep the potatoes storage is around 40°. Before storing the potato, get rid of all the loose and soft potatoes, which can harm the other potatoes.

Tips

  • Add fertilizer enriched with an adequate amount of potassium and phosphate to prepare the seedbed before transplantation.
  • Avoid excessively dry soil and prefer moist soil but keep it away from waterlogging.
  • Potatoes will lose nutrition level if it is not harvested after its maturity.
  • The maintenance of temperature, i.e., 60°or thereabouts, helps in smooth germination.
  • For long time preservation and avoiding bruising, store potato in a cold and ventilated place.
  • The ideal pH of the soil is 5.3-6.0 to avoid swollen roots.
  • Regular spray plants with compost after every two weeks reduce the harmful effects of blights.

Problems faced

Potatoes are the most comfortable vegetable to grow and well-suited to the novice gardener, but gardeners face some issues. Potatoes are afflicted with the problems that can cause significant harm to the crop even after the ideal condition for the growth. The most common problems can be diseases and pests.

Diseases

Potatoes are prone to scab and blight. Hence, the disease scab does not affect the vegetable’s taste, but it causes the skin to change into dark brown color. To prevent the loss, avoid waterlogging, and balance the pH of soil.

The warm temperature of soil triggers the fungal infection Fusarium wilt that can destroy the soil. To prevent the ground, remove dead and infected plants.

Witches bloom is a virus disease that causes spindly cylindrical stem and many small tubers. It can be avoided if the disease-free seed has been used.

Pests

Wireworms are the soil larvae that stunted the plant’s growth and turned the leaves yellow and brown. The soil check before the plantation and removal of infected leaves reduce the effect of wireworms.

Leaf-hoppers leave the plant with scorched and wilted and suck the juice of the plants. Using insecticidal spray prevents the plant from the attack of leaf-hoppers.

Potato aphids leave the plant with small shiny specks and produce honeydew that turns the plant into the sooty mold. Using insecticidal spray and blast of water wash prevents the plant from the potato aphids. 

Russet is a kind of starchy potatoes and is commonly used in baking worldwide. It takes the longest time to harvest, and it might be the one reason it is prone to potato diseases.

Types of Potatoes

Red gold potatoes are small size potatoes and are sweet. It takes the 100-110 days to harvest 

Yukon gold potatoes are potatoes with golden flesh and brown skin. It takes the 80-85 days to harvest.

Conclusion

Potatoes are enriched with Vitamin C and Vitamin B6. Potatoes are used in every house on daily bases in many different ways. They are used for food purposes like soup, salad, fries, sandwiches, etc. Along with this, potatoes are used for other purposes, too, like skincare. 

As potatoes are easy to grow and high in demand for their beneficial properties, they prove economically advantageous to the farmers.

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