Potatoes are very easy to grow, and remain the nations favourite vegetable. They are an essential ingredient for many meals in one form or another- mashed, baked, chipped, boiled. People spend a lot of money going out and buying a bag of potatoes, from overpriced supermarkets. Keep on reading and ill tell you how to grow your own potatoes and be a little more self-sustainable.
Varieties Of Potatoes
There are more than 4,000 varieties of native potatoes, mostly found in the Andes. They come in many sizes and shapes. There are also over 180 wild potato species. Here are some recommended potato varieties to grow:
‘Daisy Gold‘- A perfect all-rounder, produces yellow, virus-resistant, potatoes with flaky, moist flesh. Grows in 80 days after planting, and are ideal for boiling, baking, and mashing.
‘Magic Molly‘- This unusually looking variety produces deep purple both inside, and outside potatoes. Grows in 95-100 days after planting, and are ideal for grilling on the barbeque.
‘Swedish Peanut Fingerling‘- Produces waxy potatoes with firm yellow flesh, and a rich flavour. Grows in 90 days after planting, and are ideal for pan-frying, and roasting.
‘Yukon Gold‘- Very popular, produces golden/yellow potatoes. Grow in 65 days after planting, but require full sun, and are perfect for mash, boiling, and roasting.
How To Grow Potatoes
Grow your own potatoes from ‘seed potatoes’, which are small potatoes just like the ones you buy from a supermarket, but they are certified virus-free. You can buy seed potatoes from late winter onwards. Old potatoes from the veg rack, won’t produce reliable crops, although they can be grown, and experimented with.
To start off you need to ‘chit‘ your potatoes(letting the potatoes grow shoots) which will give you bigger crops. Place seed potatoes in trays and wait till the shoots are 2-3cm, rub off the weakest shoots, leaving four per tuber(potato).
Home-grown potatoes do well in all types of soil, but if you want to improve your soil for better results, dig in plenty of well-rotted organic matter, such as garden compost. An open funny site is best. Potatoes can also grow in containers, if very limited space.
Plant earlies and salad potatoes in March, 12cm deep, and 30 cm apart. Plant maincrop potatoes later, in April, 12cm deep, and 38cm apart, plant potatoes with the shoots facing upwards. Water potatoes regularly, keep the soil moist, and weed-free. Harvest the earlies, and the salad potatoes when the plants are still flowering. Leave the maincrop potatoes in the ground until the leaves turn yellow, and die down. Depending on the variety you’ll have crops from May to October.
Nutrients And Health Benefits
Potatoes are not only delicious, and almost go with any meal, they’re also packed with nutrients, including vitamin– C, B-6, B-9, B-3. Minerals– Potassium, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus.
They contain antioxidants, that protect your cells against free radicals, which may play a role in heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. May improve blood sugar control, improve digestion health, and are very filling, which will stop you from overeating and gaining weight.
How To Add To Your Diet
Potatoes are used in hundreds of recipes, they’re super easy to add to your diet. I will give you some ideas of creative ways to add potatoes to your diet. Roasted sweet potatoes, cheesy bacon ranch potatoes, cheesy vegan mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, baked potatoes, jacket potato. Chips/fries/wedges, cheesy potato casserole, potato lasagne, crisps, steak/beef/turkey/chicken/lamb with potatoes, etc.