All about potato

All about potato

Where does the potato come from?

The potato is native to South America, and if found spontaneously in the Andes and Chile, it was the Spanish who first brought it back from South America in the 16th century . It is to Parmentier that we owe the culture of the potato in France. This little plump has saved us many famines in the past.

Among all the varieties offered, how to choose?

It is possible to choose a variety for its yield, for its precocity, its resistance to mildew, its shelf life, and finally, and it is often the case, because it lends itself better to such or such culinary use. (taste, firmness, resistance to cooking). In general, try to choose different varieties so as to spread the harvest over a longer period and take advantage of varied flavors.

What is the yield of the potato?

There is no standard yield. The yield depends on the variety chosen, the fertility of the soil and the vagaries of the weather! Potatoes can be classified according to their yield compared to a reference variety. For the variety "Bintje" often cited as a reference, you can harvest up to 1 kilogram of succulent flesh in prosperous years!

What are the diseases that threaten the potato and how can it be prevented?

The varieties of potatoes we know are all relatively new. The degeneration of potatoes over time is no longer to be proven. Viruses and diseases are transmitted from year to year, weakening yields and resistance to disease. This is why there are constantly crossovers and new references. Downy mildew, a disease characterized by microscopic fungi caused by excessive humidity and recurrent heat, is the main danger facing the potato. There is not much to do in prevention, except to space the plants as much as possible and uproot immediately the affected subjects and then burn them.
Another enemy of the potato, the Colorado potato beetle and its larvae which gnaws the foliage, causing the reduction of the size of the tubers and therefore a loss of yield. If the attack has started, the most environmentally friendly and inexpensive solution is to remove the larvae and specimens manually every day. You can also choose to spray pyrethrum on the larvae before they sink into the ground. We can also cite scabies, rhizoctonia, filosity, decay to which are added ringworm, the caterpillar of the sphinx, hepial. Certainly, the potato has no shortage of enemies! Note that the potato should never be planted two consecutive years in the same place: the soil has become depleted and the possible remains of uncollected potatoes can promote the appearance of diseases the following year. Think of the Colorado potato beetles that have taken up residence in the area while waiting for the next harvest ...

How to choose your plants?

If you buy your plants just before the planting date, opt for pre-germinated plants. Before this date, you will find in the garden center non-germinated plants which you will expose for several weeks during the daylight, away from frost and sun, so as to develop the germs. It is a less expensive solution.

When can we plant the potatoes?

Potatoes are extremely sensitive to frost, so wait until the frosts are over. Some recommend sowing after the "Ice Saints" which corresponds to mid-May. Others to the flowering of lilac, which seems a better indicator since its flowering is intimately linked to local weather conditions. Everything therefore depends on the region and its climate. In general, wait until the soil is well dried and slightly warmed.

How to prepare the culture of the potato?

The potato likes rich soils. A fertilizer rich in nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potash (K), natural of animal or vegetable origin will be welcome. You can buy the specific NPK fertilizer in a garden center, or do it yourself, using ripe compost, decomposed manure, planting phacelia, buckwheat, mustard ... all the recipes are good. It is often talked about beneficial associations with other plants to deter predators, such as flax, garlic, marigold, horseradish which, planted on the edge or between rows, would prevent Colorado potato beetles from finding host plants. If this is not proven, it remains interesting to do it to introduce biodiversity to the garden and for the pleasure of the eyes!

Why do we knock potatoes?

The main reason is to prevent the tubers from greening in the light as they become toxic. It is also a question of maintaining a loose soil so that the tubers develop there without constraint. Mounding also has the advantage of facilitating the flow of water during precipitation so that it does not stagnate, thus avoiding the harmful cocktail of water + heat favorable to mildew.

When to harvest potatoes?

The harvest date depends on the variety grown. Early varieties will be picked when the plants are in bloom. For later varieties, harvesting is usually done after the foliage is dead, that is to say lying and yellowed. In case of doubt, it is always possible to take a plant to check the diameter of the potatoes. Our practical gardening videos