Are you interested in growing purple potatoes? These beautiful potatoes not only add a pop of color to your dishes, but they’re also high in antioxidants and vitamins. Growing purple potatoes can be a fun and rewarding experience, but there are a few things you need to know before planting them. In this article, we’ll share tips for successful harvesting of purple potatoes, from selecting the right variety to soil preparation and watering.
Choosing the Right Variety
The first step for growing purple potatoes is to select the right variety that will grow well in your area. There are a few popular varieties of purple potatoes, including Purple Majesty, All Blue, and Amey. These varieties are known for their rich purple color and their ability to grow well in most regions. Before choosing a variety, consider your growing zone and the amount of space you have available. Some varieties may need more room to grow than others, so make sure you have enough space in your garden.
Purple potatoes grow best in well-drained, fertile soil. Before planting, prepare the soil by digging and loosening it to a depth of at least 12 inches. Remove any large rocks or debris, and add compost or well-rotted manure to improve the soil’s fertility. You can also add a balanced fertilizer to provide nutrients for your plants. Make sure the soil pH is between 5.0 and 7.0, slightly acidic to neutral.
Planting and Spacing
Plant your purple potatoes during the early spring, about two weeks before the last frost. Before planting, cut your seed potatoes into small pieces, each piece should have at least two eyes. Plant them about three to four inches deep in the soil, with the eyes facing upward. Make sure to space each seed potato about 12 inches apart, and keep rows about 30 inches apart.
Watering and Fertilizing
Once your potatoes have sprouted, keep the soil moist by watering regularly. As with any plant, too much or too little water can cause problems. Be sure to water deeply, allowing the water to soak into the soil, and avoid getting water on the leaves. It’s also important to fertilize your purple potatoes regularly. You can use a balanced fertilizer or compost tea every four to six weeks to provide the necessary nutrients.
Pest and Disease Control
Purple potatoes are vulnerable to a range of pests and diseases, including aphids, potato beetles, and late blight. To control pests, use organic insecticides or remove infected plants. To prevent diseases, rotate your crops and avoid planting potatoes in the same area for more than two years. You can also use a copper-based fungicide to protect your plants.
Harvesting and Storage
You’ll know it’s time to harvest your purple potatoes when the plant foliage turns yellow and begins to wilt. This usually occurs in late summer or early fall, around 100-120 days after planting. Use a shovel or a fork to gently dig around the plant and remove the potatoes. Be careful not to damage the potatoes or accidentally slice them with the shovel or fork.
After harvesting, clean your potatoes with a soft brush or cloth and store them in a cool, dark place. Do not wash them until just prior to cooking. If stored properly, purple potatoes can last for several months.
Tips for Growing Healthy Plants
Aside from the steps mentioned above, there are several other tips to follow when growing purple potatoes. By following these tips, you’ll increase your chances of success and harvest a healthy, abundant crop.
Provide Adequate Sunlight
Purple potatoes require at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. Make sure the planting location receives enough sunlight, especially in the morning hours.
Control Soil Temperature
Purple potatoes prefer cool soil temperatures, around 60-70°F. To keep the soil cool, mulch around the plants to keep the soil consistently moist and to suppress weeds.
Keep the Soil Fertile
Purple potatoes require a lot of nutrients to grow properly. Use a balanced fertilizer or add compost to the soil to keep it fertile throughout the growing season.
Provide Adequate Drainage
Purple potatoes do not like to sit in waterlogged soil. Make sure the soil has good drainage by preparing it properly and adding organic material to improve its structure.
Practice Crop Rotation
As mentioned earlier, purple potatoes are vulnerable to pests and diseases. To prevent these problems, rotate your crops and avoid planting potatoes in the same area for more than two years.
Remove Diseased Plants
If you notice any signs of disease or pest infestation, remove the infected plants immediately to prevent further damage to your crop.
If you have any questions about growing purple potatoes, here are some of the most common questions and their answers:
- Q: How do I know when my purple potatoes are ready to harvest?
- A: You can tell when your purple potatoes are ready to harvest when the plant foliage turns yellow and starts to wilt. This usually occurs in late summer or early fall, around 100-120 days after planting.
- Q: What varieties of purple potatoes can I grow?
- A: There are a few popular varieties of purple potatoes, including Purple Majesty, All Blue, and Amey. These varieties are known for their rich purple color and their ability to grow well in most regions.
- Q: How deep should I plant my purple potatoes?
- A: Plant your purple potatoes about three to four inches deep in the soil, with the eyes facing upward.
- Q: How often should I water my purple potatoes?
- A: Water your purple potatoes regularly, keeping the soil moist, but not waterlogged.
- Q: What pests and diseases are common in purple potatoes?
- A: Common pests and diseases of purple potatoes include aphids, potato beetles, and late blight.
Purple potatoes are not only beautiful, but also high in antioxidants and vitamins. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can successfully grow purple potatoes in your own garden. Remember to choose the right variety, prepare the soil, water and fertilize regularly, and control pests and diseases. With a little patience and care, you’ll be able to harvest a healthy crop of delicious purple potatoes.
- Dickson, M. H., & Kamprath, E. J. (1986). Acid soil tolerance of eight potato cultivars: chemical analyses at harvest and yields. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 50(1), 94-97.
- Navarre, D. A., & Shakya, R. (2013). Purple potatoes as a dietary source of anthocyanins: a review. Journal of Berry Research, 3(2), 117-127.
- Zotarelli, L., Dittmar, P. J., Scholberg, J. M., & Simonne, E. H. (2008). Potato production in Florida. EDIS Publication HS1152. University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/HS/HS115200.pdf