Growing fresh and delicious potatoes is not only easy but very rewarding. In today’s episode we will show you how to grow purple potatoes which are very healthy and rich in anthocyanins. They are also known as Russian blue potatoes and is an easy variety to grow in your organic home garden.
We started our plants from store bought potatoes that were sitting in the pantry and had started sprouting. We examined the seed potatoes and handpicked a few that looked fresh and were not rotting. We planted the seed potatoes in December, during planting we added some bone meal to the raised beds. Bone meal is rich in phosphorus and is a very good fertilizer for growing potatoes. Potatoes grow well in both containers and in raised beds. We dug the planting area a little bit to loosen up the soil, the soil already contains a lot of rich organic matter, and worm castings so all we did was add a handful of bone meal to each planting hole and mixed it in well before planting the seed potatoes. We planted them about four to six inches deep and added a layer of compost on the top. In SoCal mid-December to January are the perfect time to plant seed potatoes.
About 28 days since planting, you can see the seed potatoes would have sent out shoots that are growing quite well. If you didn’t add fertilizer during planting now is a good time to add some bone meal or an all-purpose fertilizer to your soil. At 43 days since planting the plants have grown quite a lot and they look lush green.
At 74 days since planting, we added compost on the top so we don’t leave any potatoes that are forming exposed to air. If potatoes grow over the soil, they can turn green and toxic. Water your plants thoroughly, compost will not only provide nutrients to your potato plants but also encourage root development which will result in many potatoes being formed. At 89 days you can see that the stem has become thicker, and you may notice dark brown spots also known as rust on the leaves. You can spray the leaves with Neem Oil which will get rid of rust and kill pests.
Around 137 days since planting, the leaves are wilted and we are ready to harvest the potatoes. The purple color on these potatoes is due to the presence of anthocyanins which is a type of antioxidant just like the ones found in blueberries. They are healthier than the white potatoes and have a lower glycemic index so you can better control your blood sugar by eating these potatoes. On an average you can expect to get a yield of about five to six potatoes per plant. Once you harvest the potatoes you can either wash them if you plan to consume them right away, or leave the dirt on and store them in a cool dry place.
Growing potatoes is truly a miracle to behold.
“Your faith should be like a farmer growing potatoes. It is not like maize that you can see, all he does is believe when it is time for harvesting, there will be something there to feed. – Abena Kwabuah”
Watch the purple potato growing guide video at Planting & Growing Purple Potatoes – A Complete Potato Growing Guide