Potatoes Cultural Notes - NewGipps Vegetable Flower Herb seeds and Bulbs


Help and Information

POTATOES (Solanum tuberosum)

 

An easily grown plant that suits many areas of Australia. Popular and versatile, different varieties are best suited to particular uses.

VARIETIES

Coliban: Best for baking and roasting.

Desiree: Best for boiling, roasting and salads.

Nicola: Ideal for all uses except for fries.

Pontiac: Excellent all round but not fries.

Sebago: Very good all round variety.

Soils and Preparation

Best in well drained friable soil to which has been added a high phosphorus complete fertiliser to satisfy the demand for phosphorous during the early stages of growth. Apply before planting by digging in thoroughly through the bed, using between 75 and 120 grams to each metre of row.

Planting Time

In frosty areas ensure that tubers are not planted until after the last frost. In general cold area sowing should be from September to December, while in warm areas this can be extended into February. Tropical areas are best planted from July to September and again from January to March. Early plantings in cool areas is best when the tubers have begun to sprout. Tubers exposed to light will produce short sturdy sprouts which will not be easily damaged.

Spacing

Tubers should be spaced 20 to 30 cm. apart.

Depth

Place tubers in a trench 10 cm. below soil level.

Row Spacing

Space rows 60 cm apart.

During growth

Hill around the plants keeping the soil well above any tubers that form. This prevents green tubers as well as reducing the incidence of Potato Moth attack.. Constant moisture is required for best crops, but avoid over watering, particularly as plants mature and begin to die off.

Harvesting

Tubers can be used at any time once they reach a suitable size. Feel around in the soil next to the plants and gently remove the first tubers. The main harvest is usually carried out once the plants begin to die down. Potatoes harvested while the skin can be easily rubbed off are known as “new potatoes”. It is best to dig all tubers as soon as practical after all tops have died off, storing in a cool dark place.

Pests and Diseases

The main problem experienced is the larvae of the Potato Moth which bores holes through the tubers. This is mainly a problem in hot and dry conditions. Ensuring the plants are well hilled up will greatly reduce the incidence of the problem. Leaf blights, causing rapid and severe dieback of the foliage, particularly in humid conditions, can be controlled with copper sprays, (eg Kocide or Bordeaux mix). Aphids may occasionally need controlling.

Seed Tuber storage

Keep cool in a well ventilated area from receipt until planting. Tubers can be safely exposed to light to keep any sprouting prior to planting from being long and delicate.