GrowIn' Potato

Family name: Potato family (Solanaceae)

potato

Vegetables that belong to this family are tomato, aubergine, peppers and potato. This family is part of the bigger deadly nightshade family. Potato is poisonous when eaten raw or green. The potato is a staple diet and is high in vitamin C.

Varieties of potato

Earlies have a shorter growing season, whereas main crop take much longer.   

Soil, sowing and planting

Potatoes prefer an acidic soil (pH 5.5 – 6.5), and a rich compost of manure.

To grow potatoes you can either use the tire method (watch the video on www.ayudh.org/growin) or trenches. Make sure the trenches are 30 cm apart. Add compost to your trench, then place a potato every 30 cm along the trench. Fill the trenches with some soil and as soon as plants have grown 20 cm above the filled in trench, start earthing up the plants again with the remaining soil. As the plants get bigger dig in between and earth up the soil around them even more. Leave the top of the plant sticking out. Keep doing this until you have nice ridges.

Earthing up is easiest done in the morning and evening, as plant leaves fold up together at these times, making it easier to put soil around the stem. Earthing up has to be done four times a year. You are “forcing” the potato to grow higher: just as in the tire method, potatoes send out side shoots in different layers as they are growing upwards.

Both the earlies and the main crop are sown at the same time, after the last frost, around May.

Harvest

Earlies are ready for harvest in June/July. Main crop can be harvested in September/October, and is usually stored in winter.

Pests and diseases

The most serious disease for this vegetable family is potato blight. It cannot be cured. To prevent it, spray during warm humid weather with a natural antifungal, like Horsetail, copper sulfate or Thyme.

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