Potatoes are a great source of carbohydrate. You will find some vital food nutrients like vitamin c, vitamin B6, potassium, and fiber in potatoes.
Being rich in carbohydrate it will give you the energy for the whole day! If growing Potatoes in a container is a good idea and how hard it is to grow them in pots are just two of the interesting things, that I will be talking about in this article. So let´s start by looking at the best soil for potatoes!
What Kind Of Soil Is Best For A Potato Plant?
The best soil for potatoes should be able to hold water and nutrients. So, that the plant can absorb water whenever it needs it. However, the soil should not retain too much or too less water. Both extremes can be harmful to the plant.
Potato plants grow best in well-drained loam soil.
Loam soil can retain the right amount of nutrients and water for potatoes. The pH of the soil is also very important. The pH level is important for any plant to grow.
For potato plants, the pH level of 5.0 to 5.5 is just right.
If you keep the pH level at the right level, then your plant will be growing healthier and it will also be less likely to suffer from diseases.
How Can You Determine The pH Level Of Soil?
You can determine the pH level of soil with a soil test, that you can get at any general store, that sells plants or you can order one online.
There are even ways to raise or lower the pH of the soil to get the right conditions for your potato-plant
Apart from the type of soil that is used to grow potatoes, compost is essential too.
A good way to prepare the soil for planting is to put 4 inches of compost above 6 inches of soil. This will keep the plant from drying out and the potatoes can grow unhindered and healthy.
How To Achieve The Right Moisture In The Soil?
The right moisture of the soil depends on a number of factors.
The weather conditions could affect soil moisture and the amount of water consumed by the plant too.
If you combine organic compost with soil, it retains the moisture well for the plants and you don´t have to water as frequently.
But in dry seasons, it could still dry out. You will need to water plants a little more often to make sure they get enough moisture to grow.
Make sure you water the potato plant once or twice a week to grow healthy potatoes in your home.
How Do I Fertilize The Potato Plant?
Along with compost and soil, you will need fertilizers to help your potatoes grow.
Plants don’t only need water, they need some minerals and nutrients for growth. Fertilizers contain the nutrients that the soil cannot supply to the potato plant if the plant is in a pot.
The main nutrients that a potato plant needs for growth are potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus.
When you are applying the fertilizers, you will need to apply 1.5 pounds per 50 square feet of bed for the plant.
You can apply a second round of fertilizers, 1 pound per 50 foot row making it reach 6 inch height.
Disperse fertilizers 6inches around the plant. Water the soil after application so, it gets soaked in the nutrient.
Then the plant will be able to take up the nutrients from the soil.
Remember to apply fertilizers once a month to make sure your potatoes are getting enough nutrition to grow.
How Do I Plant Potatoes?
In order to start planting potatoes, you need to select the type of potatoes to plant.
Small fingerling potatoes can be planted whole, on the other hand, if you have large seed potatoes you need to cut them into smaller pieces if you want to plant them.
Leave the cut part open to the air for 24 hours before planting them.
A 15-gallon container should be sufficient for planting potatoes. However, bigger is always better.
How To Prepare The Container For Planting?
At first, take 3 to 4 inches of soil and mix it with a handful of fertilizer.
Settle the potatoes on top of the mixture. Cover them with few more inches of fertilizer.
Push the potatoes gently into the mixture. Water them well and let them rest. Wait until green leaves start to sprout out of them.
After the green leaves have started to grow, you will need to do hilling.
New potatoes grow above the seed potatoes. Hence, hilling is done to provide enough nutrients to the fresh potatoes. As a result, new potatoes get a supply of nutrients, so they can grow properly.
What Is Hilling?
When it comes to potato planting, hilling is very vital.
After the green leaves began sprouting, add more soil on top of them.
Make sure that only 3 inches of the plant is exposed to the air. Also add fertilizers, to make sure your plants are well fed.
Similarly, continue on putting layers of soil and fertilizers as the plant grows. New potatoes grow under the soil as the layers stack up with time.
In this way, you can fill up the container until the point where you think that water won´t be able to reach the bottom layer of potatoes anymore.
What Types Of Potatoes Are There?
There are over 200 potato species, that excludes many wild potatoes that not edile.
However, to make the list a bit shorter and easier to keep the overview all the 200 edible potatoes are classified into seven groups.
It simplifies the answer and makes it easier to understand the potato species.
These are the most common potatoes we see in the kitchen. They are brown in color and are oval in shape. Russet potatoes are light and fluffy. The skin is soft and thin. In the kitchen, russet potatoes are used to make mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes or baked potatoes.
The name of the potato comes from its whitish appearance of the skin and flesh. It also has a thin and pale skin. The potato contains medium starch. In the culinary practice, white potato is again a good choice for mashed potato. Additionally, it can be used to makes fries, salad, steamed potato, and boiled potato.
As can be seen from the name, fingerling came from the word finger. It is because the potatoes are shaped like fingers and are a few inches in size. They are found in different red, white, purple skin. The skin has a waxy texture. It is harder than the rest of the potato species. As it is for the skin, their flesh can have different colors. The flesh color is red, white, yellow and purple. Since they are different in size and appearance, fingerling potatoes are mostly roasted or pan-fried for eating.
Another potato that is waxy in texture. You can cut them smoothly, and like wax, they will not break like other nonwaxy potato species. Having this type of texture the potato keeps its shape when cut, boiled, or cooked. Red potatoes are small, round and smooth, along with its waxy texture it makes them valuable in decorating food and presenting them. The potato skin is red in color giving it, its name. The thin red skin has a moist, creamy texture which is sweet in taste. For this reason, this potato is popular in salad, stews, soups, and roasting where the waxy texture is necessary.
Similar to red potato, purple potatoes are also firm and waxy. Their taste and flesh are not so similar though. It has thin purple skin. When the skin is peeled it will reveal its inner lavender flesh. It has a little sweet flavor. Purple potatoes have a taste similar to nuts. Its flavor and appearance make it suitable for roasted, baking and grilling dish.
Yellow potatoes are large in size. It has a buttery flavor with a hint of sweetness. The skin of the potato is crispy. The texture of the potato is velvet, and creamy. Along with its buttery flavor makes it desirable in culinary practices to enhance the buttery flavor of dishes. It makes a good replacement for butter in battery and hence plays an important role in making healthy cuisines. Yellow potatoes are mostly roasted and grilled to serve for a course.
The tiniest member in the potato family is the petite potato. The petite family is formed from the smallest potatoes of other potato families. The other families are larger in size and the flavor found in them are found stronger in the large forms. As it is with the parent potato family, petite potatoes can likewise be used to make roasted potato, salads, fried potatoes, etc.
How To Choose The Right Container For Your Potato Plant?
If you want to grow potatoes in a container you need to choose a variety, that matures quickly.
Select a potato species that matures in 70 to 90 days after planting.
When you are selecting a container for potatoes, you have to keep in mind that the container needs to be able to drain water. If the container is porous, it can easily diffuse the water.
If the container is plastic, then you might need to make some holes in it before you start planting to ensure, that the excess water has a way out.
What Type Of Pests Threaten Potato Plants?
Whenever it comes to planting and harvesting you must consider protecting your plant from pests. You must know that there are many insects that feed on your plants. So, you have to be careful, and protect your plant from these insects.
If you are willing to grow potatoes you have to protect them from pests that eat them and pests that could damage them. There are many pests that you will need to take care of if you want healthy potatoes.
First, you will need to deal with soil pests. Pests such as wireworms, potato tuberworms, white grubs, and flea beetles feed on the potato tubers.
These insects feed on grass as well. If the soil is taken from somewhere where grass is growing, it is likely that the soil contains these insects. Before you start planting you need to get rid of the insects. Hence, when you are preparing the soil for planting potato, its best to apply pesticides and make the soil free from this pest and then start the process of planting.
Some beetles and cutworms tend to take off the potato leaves and feed on them. After this, your potato cannot grow healthy in the garden. It may also die if it is not able to absorb sunlight with the help of leaves.
There are two types of pests with two types of treatment. First, if you want to get rid of cutworms try and attract predators to keep them off your potato. Second, the beetles can be traped in a shallow trench near the potato. If these insects are found it is wiser to change the planting container and prevent the pests from returning to the new container.
There is another type of insects that suck on the leaf sap. It is difficult to notice this insect since it is green in color, it perfectly camouflages itself. If you want to protect your potato plants from hopperburn, you will need to look for brown leaves. The insects have a tendency to hide at the lower side of the leave. Either remove the insect or kill the insect using sprays. Do not spray all over the plant. Spray only in places where there the insect is seen.
After reading all the above if you think there are only a few species of insects that can harm your potatoes, think again. There are many other species such as aphids, psyllid, whitefly that eats on potato leaves.
You need to protect your potatoes from all of them. In order to understand that, these insects are attacking your potatoes, you will need to look for leaves discoloring to yellow. There can also be defragmentation which is a sign that your leaves are being eaten.
Use sprays to get rid of the insects. It is wise to use soapy water sprays or water at high pressure to get rid of these pests.
Potato plants can be difficult to grow. you will need to care for them and check them often to make sure they are growing right. They must be planted with the right fertilizer and with the right environment. You will often need to check on them to see if they are attacked by pests. But if you can grow them right it can be a rewarding experience.