The potato is a member of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family. Potato is a versatile, carbohydraterich food highly popular worldwide and prepared and served in a variety of ways. Freshly harvested, it contains about 80 percent water and 20 percent dry matter. About 60 to 80 percent of the dry matter is starch. On a dry weight basis, the protein content of potato is similar to that of cereals and is very high in comparison with other roots and tubers. In addition, the potato is low in fat.
They are a great source of vitamin C, potassium, fiber and protein, all with no fat! Potatoes, along with any other vegetables, can be prepared as part of a healthy diet. Luckily, potatoes are versatile and are easy to prepare. Whether baked, boiled, roasted or fried they are a delicious addition to any meal.
Scientific Name: Solanum tuberosum
Common Name: Potato
How to grow and maintain Potato:
While potato seeds may be planted whole, usually they are cut into smaller chunks called “sets’”. When you cut the chunk, each piece should have 2-3 eyes on it. It is preferable if the eyes have strong shoots (sprouts) on them when planted – these are the start of the haulms. Before planting the sets, many gardeners let them air out a day or two in a dry place so the freshly cut areas can dry up a bit. When planting the sets, the cut side should face-down into the soil. Potatoes should be planted in full sun; that’s an area that gets at least 8 hours of sun per day.
• Trench Method: A conventional potato planting strategy includes burrowing at least one shallow trenches, around 6″ profound. You’ll need to space trenches around 1 meter (3 feet) separated. Put the seed potatoes in the trench, eyes confronting up. You then cover the potatoes with two or three creeps of soil. As the potato plant develops, soil is ceaselessly hilled up at the edges of the plants. This keeps the dirt around the creating tubers free and shields the surface tubers from being presented to daylight, which will turn them green and fairly harmful. Slope soil at whatever point the plants reach around 4-6″ in stature.
• Scatter Method: Some nursery workers like to just lay the seed potatoes appropriate on the dirt and afterward cover them with a couple creeps of mulch. You can keep laying mulch as the plants develop. In the event that you have a rat issue, this strategy is presumably not your best decision.
• Container Method: Potatoes are so natural to develop that they can be planted in sacks, boxes, crate, waste jars and tire stacks. The holder technique makes hilling simple and consumes up less room. Plant 3 – 4 seed potatoes in the base of the holder, similar to a spotless rubbish can. Put around 6″ of soil in the base to start with, then spread out your seed potatoes. Continue including soil as the plants get taller – this will guarantee ‘n bigger reap of tubers later on when reap time arrives.
As the plants develop, soil, straw or leaves ought to be hilled up around the developing stems. The base part of the plants and any tubers need to remain secured to maintain a strategic distance from introduction to the sun.
You can grow potatoes in your home, outside, in a greenhouse, or start off inside and move them outside as the weather gets warmer.
Inside: Place the container somewhere with as much light as possible. Turn the bucket regularly so the plant grows straight, and keep the soil moist.
Outside: Grow your plants in full or partial sunlight – if frost is forecast, bring the plants inside or protect them with plastic, a blanket or straw.
Potatoes are very sensitive to soil moisture and do best with a consistent soil moisture level. Even soil moisture levels throughout the root zone should be maintained, though over‐wet and saturated conditions should be avoided. In general, 1 inch of water per week from rainfall or irrigation is adequate. As much as 2 inches per week may be required on sandy soils with low organic matter. Dry soil alternating with periods of saturated soil can result in poor quality tubers with defects such as knobs, growth cracks, hollow heart and internal browning. Long periods of excess moisture, particularly near maturity, may lead to decreased yields and poor quality tubers.
Pests and diseases:
If the leaves of your plants look mouldy, they could have a bacterial or fungal infection. If you think a plant is infected, dispose of it either by putting it securely in a garbage bag or by burying it. Be on the lookout for the Colorado Potato Beetle – a brightly coloured yellowish pest often found on potato plants. Check the plants very often for signs of these beetles and dispose of them as soon as possible.
Supposed “new potatoes” are little, youthful potatoes. You can collect a couple of these without damage to the plant, by delicately searching in the dirt close to the plant once the plant comes to about a foot in stature (about a month or so subsequent to planting), expelling the greatest tubers from the dirt and cover the roots move down again with soil. The whole product is prepared to reap once the highest points of the plants cease to exist, ordinarily in around 3 – 4 months after rise of the main plants. You can leave the potatoes in the ground for fourteen days longer, the length of the ground is not excessively wet.
Store your potatoes on a shelf in a cool, dark, well-ventilated, dry place. Properly dried and stored potatoes keep well for up to six months.