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Potatoes


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Potatoes



Potatoes

CULTURE: All potatoes are Certified Potato Seed Grade. Well-drained soils of a wide pH range are suitable.
PREPARING SEED TUBERS: Cut the tubers into pieces roughly 1 1/2-2 oz. (1-1 1/4" diameter), with at least one "eye" on each piece. It is best to cut seed potatoes at least a day ahead of planting to allow the cut surfaces to dry. We try to supply "B" size tubers, intentionally graded on the small side for seed use, as they do not need cutting. Potatoes are tolerant of cool soil and moderate frost. In early to midspring, plant cut or whole seed pieces 2-3" deep, 12" apart, in rows 30-36" apart. Plants will emerge 2-3 weeks later, sooner in warmer soil. When the plants are about a foot tall, hill them with a continuous 6-8" high mound of soil by hoeing from each side of the row. (Some growers hill a second time 2-3 weeks later.) Hilling insures protection from sunlight which causes "greening".
INSECT PESTS: Row covers (see Index) work great to exclude potato beetles! Otherwise, scout for yellow potato beetle eggs on leaf undersides and crush them. Control potato beetle larvae up to 3/16" long with special BT insecticide, combined with 5% rotenone or pyrethrin for larger larvae and adults (refer to Index for "Insecticides").
DISEASES: The best disease control is fertile soil and plenty of water when needed. Scab (scabby patches on potatoes) is largely avoided if soil is not allowed to become dry.
HARVEST: Young, small, "new" potatoes can be harvested beginning about 7-8 weeks after planting. In fall, after foliage is dry or when tubers have reached full size, dig the entire crop, allowing surfaces to dry before storing. Store in a cool but not freezing, ideally 35-45F/2-7C, dark place.
AVG. PLANTING RATE: 10 lb./80-100' at 12" spacing; 110 lb./1,000'; 1,600 lb./acre in rows 36" apart.
SEED SPECS: TUBER PIECES/LB.: avg. 8-10 pieces/lb. Fingerling type: avg. 20 pieces/lb., plants 20'.


Potatoes


THE BENEFITS OF POTATOES

Potatoes are one of the most popular vegetables because they are nutritious, easy to prepare, and very versatile. They're rich in complex carbohydrates that can supply energy, but not all that high in calories. One medium-sized potato (about 3 inches in diameter) has about 150 calories. That same potato has about 5 grams of fiber, which is important for a healthy digestive tract. They're also a healthy source of vitamins and minerals.

Potatoes contain more potassium than any other fresh vegetable in the produce department - even more than bananas. One potato has almost 900 milligrams, which is about 20% of what you need every day. Potassium is important for body growth and cell maintenance. It's also necessary for nervous function and for normal muscle contraction - including the heart muscle. Potassium is also an electrolyte that helps to balance the fluids in your body, which is important for healthy blood pressure.

Potatoes also contain substantial amounts of vitamins C and B6, which are vital for blood clotting, wound healing, a strong immune system, normal nervous system function and for converting the food you eat to energy. There's also a substance called kukoamine found in potatoes that may help to lower blood pressure, although more research is necessary to know for sure.