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Do you like potatoes? Crispy, roasted, cooked, combined with other vegetables? Want to plant organic potatoes in your garden from potatoes (seeds) that won’t be treated with any chemical agents? We’ll show you how!
To be able to grow eco potatoes from potatoes (seeds) you need to have:
- one fertile billet
- eco compost
- eco potato seeds
- one pick
- one spade
- one rake
- plenty of sunshine
- enough rain
- full of love
Organic potato growing
It is best to plant potatoes in a sunny spot. The minimum temperature for planting potatoes is 43 – 46 °F. The optimum temperature for growing potatoes is 63 – 68 °F. At higher temperatures, the yield of potatoes decreases, and at temperatures above 86 °F the growth of potatoes completely ceases. The time of bearing the fruit, from its planting is two to four months.
Potatoes are not very demanding in terms of heat but are therefore very demanding when it comes to water, especially at the time of potato planting. Drought and high temperatures stress potato, so yield is lower.
As for the cultivation of each plant, potatoes require fertile soil enriched with quality organic fertilizer. Dig the billet in late fall or early winter. Feed the dug billet with good compost.
Digging up the billet and replenishing it will prevent weeds from developing and moisture loss in the soil. Leave the soil so cultivated and fed for the winter. In the spring, before planting the potatoes, re-dig the soil to chop it, and replenish the surface layer of the billets.
Potato seeds are not really seeds, but real potatoes that sprouted. You can plant the whole potato or you can cut it into several pieces so that each part has one or two sprouts. For planting potatoes, choose quality, eco-friendly seed potatoes.
When you have bought the potatoes you choose to plant, or have grown your own, put it in wooden casks and arrange it in rows so that the pink ends – which have the most “ounces” are the uppermost. Keep the pulp in a bright, cool, dry, and airy room or greenhouse where, after four or five weeks, the potatoes will sprout and be ready for planting. Discard all that look sick.
In sheltered areas, mid-March is the best time to plant, and in frosty and open areas, planting should be postponed until later, until the end of April. With a pick, dig a straight trench for each row of potatoes, about 4 inches deep in light soil or about 6 inches deep in heavy soil. Position the trenches at intervals of about 24 inches.
Lay the seed potatoes with germs facing up at the bottom of each trench every 12 inches. Lightly put soil over potatoes. Do not step on it with your feet. By putting the soil over, we protect the fruits from sunlight because it would cause the fruits to remain green. When the shoots break out of the ground, stack more ground on them. Put the soil over it until the plant reaches a height of 4 to 6 inches. If young leaves appear and there is a risk of frost, cover them with dry straw.
Caring about potatoes
Healthy fruits need to be nourished in order to maximize yield. The potatoes are nourished by hilling, putting soil over them, and fertilizing. If you have problems with drought, irrigate the soil regularly because potatoes love water. When the plants grow to about 9 inches, start putting soil over them. Break the crust of the soil that has formed between the rows and afterward disperse the organic nutrient.
Then dig in and loosen the soil sprinkled with organic nutrients to fold a steep mound above each row. The mound should be about 6 inches high with a tip width of about 5 inches and a foot width of about 8 inches. A week later, pile more earth on the mound to raise it by an inch. Three weeks later, when the plants grow at least 12 inches, lift the mound another inch.
Feeding it achieves better soil structure, better storage, and water binding, and provides a balanced diet for plants in the soil. However, do not overdo it because the potatoes do not like too much soil. By plowing, feeding, and fertilizing, you will protect the plants from weeds, pests, and diseases, and your potatoes will give you back with a rich yield. By applying manure in the autumn fertilization, the soil heats up faster and earlier planting of potatoes is possible.
Disease and pest control
Birds, bugs, mice, and snails will lurk in your garden. Be prepared for adequate protection. You will protect your plants with regular weeding, removing old and infected plants, and planting them with a slightly larger spacing when planting.
Potato beetle is a pest that primarily attacks potatoes. It begins to emerge from the soil when the temperature increases to 58 °F at a depth of 4 inches. After leaving the ground, the potato beetle can live for ten days, after feeding it begins mating. The egg is laid by the female on the inside of the potato leaf.
The potato beetle has few natural enemies. It is eaten by some types of turkeys and ducks, and eggs are attacked by some parasites. Mottled shieldbug is their natural enemy. The best way to defend against potato beetle is to “guard” over your flowerbed from the start.
As soon as you spot the first eggs, you mechanically destroy them and collect the already grown specimens by hand and take them away where they cannot do any harm to your potatoes. You will also often find a ladybug on a potato. Don’t kill her because she is a very useful bug in the bio. The natural enemies of potatoes are snails and mole crickets. They attack the potatoes underground.
You can also get rid of snails with the help of coffee grounds. Specifically, snails do not like it because it is toxic in higher concentrations. Water the infested plants with a coffee sludge, which will not only drive away from the snails but will also slightly fertilize the soil and drive the plant to fly away. Be moderate in watering the soil with a coffee sludge as it raises the acidity of the soil.
You can sprinkle the soil around the plants that the snails are attacking with ash or rock flour. To keep snails away from your plants, repeat this process after each rain. Snails are also repelled by some herbs such as garden nasturtium, sage, thyme, and Ricinus. If you plant one of these plants along the edge of the flowerbed, snails will not attack your plant.
Mole cricket is one of the common ground pests. Its favorite treats are tubers and roots. Mole cricket is a nocturnal animal and only goes out to the surface of the earth at night. Its trench is not deep in the ground, so it will be easier to catch it if you dig a pot of water into the ground and place planks on the side that point it into the pot.
The mole is a useful animal because it destroys mole crickets, caterpillars, and worms, but at the same time makes moles that impair the aesthetic appearance of the garden. The easiest way to get rid of a mole is to bury an empty bottle in the ground so that the top of the bottle is buried in the opening of its trench, being careful not to clog the bottle’s throat. The sounds made by the wind and the empty bottle moles can’t stand for long, so they leave.
To reduce the possibility of pest infestation and attacks, plant chamomile, calendula, and spurges with potatoes. Never plant potatoes on the flowerbed you used to plant tomatoes on because they use the same ingredients from the soil. Never plant potatoes next to tomatoes, because they have potato beetle as the common enemy.
Natural potato spray agents
The first agent that can be applied in early spring is the elderberry leaves. The scent of elderberry masks the smell of potatoes, so the potato beetle in search of food can not smell it. They are also rejected by horseradish, from which you make soup by soaking horseradish in rainwater for three to five hours. Spray the plants regularly with this soup. You can also make nettle soup that is equally effective against pest control.
The time to harvest the potatoes is when the tubers have completed their development and the aboveground plant is dying. To keep the potatoes fresh and quality for as long as possible, it must be removed from the ground only after the stem has completely dried.
It has to be removed during dry weather to keep as little soil and moisture as possible. Potatoes can be harvested even before maturity, in which case we are talking about young potatoes. Young potatoes do not need to be harvested until you want to eat them. They grow quickly and can double in weight within two weeks. Before the final picking, cut the stem off with the leaves, then take the garden forks, stick them further away from the plant and push them deep enough so you don’t hurt the potatoes.
The ideal temperature for storing potatoes is 40 – 41 °F with occasional ventilation. The potatoes should be carefully stored and kept away from rot and germination to keep their appearance and taste unchanged. To keep the potatoes from germinating and rotting, place them on sand that will absorb excess moisture. If you decide to keep the potatoes in bags, you will keep them from germinating by placing an apple in the bag.
Interesting things about potatoes
Potatoes are an annual herbaceous plant and one of the most widely distributed foods in the world. It was brought by Spanish sailors just over 400 years ago from the hilly regions of Peru. Potatoes have a high nutritional value because they are rich in starch, high protein, vitamins, and minerals.
The energy value of potatoes is only 86 kcal per 100 g of cooked potatoes. 100 grams of raw potatoes contain 80.96% water, 0.14 g fat, 1.89 g protein, 15.90 g carbohydrates (13.35 g starch; 1 g sugar) and 1.7 g fiber.
The same amount of potatoes contains 2.5 times fewer carbohydrates than bread, making it an ideal food for weight loss. Potatoes are a valuable source of vitamins and minerals: Vitamin C, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic acid, Thiamine, Folate, Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Iron, and Manganese.
During the heat treatment of foods, vitamin C is mostly destroyed, while with potatoes it only gets destroyed if potatoes are cooked peeled. When potatoes are cooked in the crust, a third of Vitamin C is preserved, and if roasted in the crust it loses it slightly.
Vitamins and minerals are found in the skin of the potato and just below it, which is why it is advisable to peel only a thin layer or boil it and cook unpeeled. Young potatoes contain more sugar, vitamin C, and water, while old potatoes contain more starch.