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Plant description:

Potatoes can be grown in most soils, other than heavy clay. Dig in well-rotted compost and/or manure during winter if possible. Do not plant in soil where other members of the Solanum family (such as tomatoes, brinjals and sweet peppers) have recently been grown. Potatotes are warmseason plants and will be damaged by frost.

Family: Solanaceae

Botanical Pronunciation: so-LAY-num too-bur-OH-sum;

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Botanical name

Solanum tuberosum

Plant Care

Categories

Common name(s)

Potatoes

Origin

Planting instructions

Do not plant in soil where other members of the Solanum family (such as tomatoes, brinjals and sweet peppers) have recently been grown. The soil should be just moist when the tubers are planted. Plant tubers with the shoots, or eyes, pointing upwards; space them 300mm apart in rows 600mm apart, and cover with 75mm soil.

Maintenance

Shoots should start to emerge after three to four weeks. As the tops grow, earth them up by drawing soil up around them so that by the time they are harvested, the plants are growing out of quite a mound of soil. Water regularly until the tops start to turn yellow, indicating that the tubers are maturing, then gradually reduce the amount of water given. Dig in well-rotted compost and/or manure during winter if possible.

Soil conditions

Do not plant in soil where other members of the Solanum family (such as tomatoes, brinjals and sweet peppers) have recently been grown. Potatoes can be grown in most soils, other than heavy clay.

Uses

Potatoes go well with just about any dish and can be prepared in many different ways.
Medicinal – It is rich in vitamins C and B3, folic acid and potassium, it is an energy booster, strengthener and a muscle toner.

Interesting planting ideas

Potatoes do well planted near beans, green peppers, horseradish, marigolds, mealies, mustard, peas and strawberries. Planted in proximity, it will keep companions from beetle and aphid attacks. Don't plant potatoes near Pumpkins, raspberries, sunflowers and tomatoes, as they dislike each other and stunt one another's growth. 

Interesting info

It is best to buy certified seed potatoes which should be free of nematodes (eelworm), late blight, viral diseases and tuber moth. Potatoes are warm season plants and will be damaged by frost.
The potato is one of the best known member's of the Solanum genus, consisting of over 1400 species, which include trees, vines, shrubs, perennials and vegetables, most of which are poisonous. Potatoes, brinjals and fruit salad plant are a few examples of the solanum genus used for culinary purposes and loved all around the world.

Common pests and diseases

Cutworms, leaf beetles, tuber moth, snails, slugs. Early and late blight in warm, humid weather conditions.

Harvest

Tubers are ready when the plants begin to die and the skins of the tubers do not come off readily. Push a garden fork into the ground vertically, some distance away from the plant, lift the entire plant, then drop it back onto the ground and remove the tubers. After clearing the ground of tubers, dig it over again for any tubers you might have missed. Do not leave the tubers lying in the sun as they quickly become green and should not then be eaten. New or baby potatoes are simply harvested early, while they are still small.

Yield

Thirty plants should be enough to feed a family of four.

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