How to plant, care for and grow seed potatoes
|Name derived from||In Latin it is a reference to a plant in the nightshade family.|
|Common name||Nightshade, potato|
|Frost Tolerance||Moderate – low|
|Predators||Nematodes, slugs and blight.|
Fun fact: potatoes are associated with fertility, abundance and regeneration.
The potato’s botanical name is Solanum tuberosum and it is a tuber. There are more than 900 species and it originated in the Andes mountains. The potato is a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre, they are also used to make vodka.
They were first cultivated 5000 years ago and have reached their success because they can tolerate harsher conditions than most other plants.
Seasons and planting
Potatoes can tolerate a wide variety of soils provided they have organic matter. After planting the potatoes, you should mound up the soil over the different tubers.
Potatoes should be watered regularly. They grow in five different stages: sprouting; spreading leaves; tuber formation/flowering – cannot occur if temperature is above 27°C; bulking up of tubers and maturation.
Age, exposure to light, and damage to the potato can increase the presence of glycoalkaloids which is poisonous to humans and animals. If the potato tuber is green, do not eat it. Potatoes should be stored in a dry well-ventilated and cool place. The lowest temperature a plant can tolerate is 0°C.
A potato can be cut into different sections which can be replanted for growth, provided that each section contains at least one growth point or ‘eye’.