If you’re a fan of potatoes, you might already know that this versatile plant has an interesting history and comes in a wide range of varieties. The potato, or Solanum tuberosum, is a member of the nightshade family and is believed to have originated in the Andes region of South America.
Today, there are over 4,000 potato varieties, with many different shapes, sizes, and colors. While most people are familiar with the classic white or yellow potato, there are also red, blue, and purple varieties, as well as fingerling and heirloom types.
Common potato varieties:
- new potatoes
- kennebec potatoes
- red bliss potatoes
- russet potatoes
- german butterball potatoes
Potatoes are a versatile and delicious crop that can be grown in your own backyard. If you’re thinking of growing potatoes, it’s important to know how to care for them to ensure a successful harvest. But don’t worry, caring for potato plants isn’t too difficult.
- Soil: The soil should be well-draining, loose, and have an acidic pH between 5.0 and 6.0.
- Light: make sure to plant your potatoes in a location that receives at least six to eight hours of sunlight per day.
- Water: Be sure to water your potato plants regularly, especially during flowering, and mulch around them to retain moisture.
- Temperature: Temperature is also important, as potatoes prefer cooler soil temperatures of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Growing potatoes in your garden is a great way to have a fresh and delicious crop.
- Start by planting seed potato pieces in mid to late spring in cold-climate areas, or in late summer or late winter in warm climates.
- Plant them with the cut-side down and eyes facing up in a hole or trench that’s 6 inches deep and 12 inches apart. Add a low-nitrogen, high-phosphorous fertilizer and cover it with 2 inches of soil, then water well.
To successfully grow potatoes, choose early and late-season varieties and buy certified disease-free seed potatoes. Avoid planting potatoes where tomatoes or eggplants were grown in the previous year as they can attract similar pests and problems.
You can plant potatoes using the trench-and-hill method or the scatter method, depending on your preference. The trench method involves hilling soil around the plants as they grow, while the scatter method involves laying the seed potatoes on the soil and covering them with mulch. With these basic guidelines, growing potatoes in your garden is easy and rewarding.
The common pests of potatoes are listed below.
- vegetable weevils
- white grubs
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a potato plant called?
The part of the potato plant that grows beneath the soil and gives us those delicious tubers we love to eat is commonly known as the “root system” or “root crop”. On the other hand, the part of the plant that grows above the ground, such as the stems, leaves, and flowers, is referred to as the “foliage”.
Will potatoes grow from cuttings?
To grow a potato plant from a cutting, first, dip the ends of the stalks in fertilizer or rooting hormone. Then, place the cutting inside the hole in your potato. Afterward, plant the potato and cutting in the ground outdoors, making sure to cover the potato and the first bit of the stem with enough soil to keep it upright.
Can you root potato plant in water?
It’s true! All you have to do is take a potato cutting or seed and suspend it in a container of water with at least one sprouting eye facing up. The submerged portion of the potato will absorb water and act as a nutrient source for the growing plant, eventually developing roots under the water as well. It’s a fun and easy way to grow potatoes, and you can even do it indoors!