Let us talk about purple potatoes. What are they? They are natural varieties with deep purple skins and flesh, high in antioxidants which makes them extra healthful to eat. Sound yummy doesn’t it? Trust me it is.
Purple potatoes differ in size and are kind of round in shape. Their average size is 10-15 centimeters in diameter, which depends on the variety as well though.
Purple Potatoes are easily identified by their vibrant, glowing surface. They usually have a smooth to rusted texture, which is somewhat uniform to indented prof.
When cooked, Purple potatoes are dense with a pronounced earthy, sweet, and nutty flavour. Purple potatoes are available throughout the year, usually in peak throughout fall.
They are an excellent source of potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and much more! Purple potatoes have been valued in South America for a long time. In their culture, it is known as the “food of gods” for centuries.
These potatoes have recently gained popularity in Western culture as well due to its uniqueness and health benefits. In 2017, purple potatoes really gained popularity in the United States with viewers sharing pictures on social media about their heal benefits.
The rise in sudden information sharing means that purple potatoes are not only found in restaurants but are also being used in healthy home cooking to create dishes to impress and entertain.
Purple Potato Varieties To Grow In Containers:
There are many varieties of purple potatoes. Let us take a look at them.
1: The purple Peruvian is purple throughout and produces well late in the season. Purple Fiesta is a mid-season speciality potato which retains its colour when cooked.
2: The Purple Viking has a glowing purple skin with pink-red splashes and snow-white flesh which gets sweeter during storage.
3: The Purple Majesty is perhaps the darkest purple variety.
However, today we are talking about how we can grow purple potatoes in containers.
Now you must be thinking, why grow anything in a container? Well, there are obvious reasons. Let us go through them:
1: Not everyone has gardens:
Well let’s face it, not everyone has a garden to plant crops and vegetables. The next best solution is containers, which everyone can easily afford. Containers can be easily placed anywhere where you have space in your house. Which basically means that you don’t have to have gardens in your house to grow purple potatoes.
2: Cheap Option:
It is a relatively cheap option. Containers are really cheap and anyone can afford them. They are also made from durable materials which makes them long-lasting.
3: Growing your own vegetables is cheaper:
Well hardly a surprise, things in the market are more expensive. You can save a lot of money by growing your own purple potatoes in your home. You can also plant the optimal quantity and get them ready in time. You won’t even have any concerns about the quality.
4: Purple Potatoes Grow All-Season:
Yes, you read that right! Purple potatoes to grow throughout the year. They especially bloom in the fall. They are a great choice because they aren’t picky about the season and will grow with you with minimal efforts.
Let us focus now on how we can grow purple potatoes in containers.
1. Choose and Prepare a Container:
Let me be very clear on this, almost any container will do with these criteria being met: It should be well-draining, make sure it isn’t toxic, preferably a tall one rather than a squat one.
When you have picked your container to give it a good clean and add any extra holes it needs, as sufficient drainage is probably one the most important factors in a healthy yield.
2. Choose Seed Potatoes:
You get a lot of leverage while choosing your seeds. There are a lot of varieties which you can choose from. Potatoes come in a lot of different colours as well.
It varies where you can find the seeds but usually, you can find seed potatoes at the local nursery, gardening places, or organic gardening places. You can even order them online.
If the only option you have left is the grocery store, you can even use them with these specifications being filled. They should be organic, as some grocery store potatoes have been treated so they won’t grow as you expect.
Try to choose new potatoes. Once you have them, wash them carefully. Not to damage their eyes as those are where their roots will be growing.
3. Cut and Cure:
Now that you have your potatoes you will need to chit them. Which is for just getting them to sprout eyes. You can put them in an egg carton or paper bag for some days and it should do the job.
You can plant potatoes whole or cut up, that is up to you. While it is something personal, I do recommend cutting them in half. Make sure each piece has at least one eye and leave them overnight for the cuts to heal.
4. Using Cultivars:
A really essential step with garden potatoes, you want to choose cultivars known to do well in your area. Don’t buy from shanty places. Even if it is expensive (worth it in the long run) buy from nurseries with good reputations and local growers.
The reason I say this is because almost all grocery store potatoes have been treated with tuber inhibitors and as you can predict you will not get much of a crop.
Sometimes they work(somehow) but they carry diseases and can infect your other crops, or your neighbour’s crops even! Something which everyone knows is that early and mid-season potatoes do best in containers. So, it is important to keep them disease-free.
You want to start by filling your container with a few inches of soil and then compost. Secondly, place the potato pieces on top of the soil. You will need to cover them with another six inches of soil and then water, but do it a loose manner.
Six hours a sun per day will do the trick for potatoes, more sunlight will be even more welcome. You can plant potatoes along with other vegetables as well.
They are great companions to beans, cabbage and corn etc. They are also better off growing away from sunflowers, tomatoes and raspberries.
6. Water and Add More Soil:
Purple potatoes will start to grow quickly. Keep an eye on them as they grow. Roughly add more soil around the plants. I will give you a rough estimate, for example; if you observe 6 inches or more growth every two weeks than add a shovel full or so.
Keep the soil moist and don’t allow it to drain out. This is where the drainage comes in. Good drainage is very important as it keeps the moil optimum. If the soil gets too moist then it will destroy the potato.
Harvesting happens after like 2-4 months. It depends if you planted them early, mid or late season. Regardless, the variety of leaves will turn brown and die.
There is nothing wrong with this, this is how you know the harvesting period is here! If you are good, use your hands, if not then a pitchfork. Or maybe use a trowel, it can really pluck the tender new potatoes and cut into their skins.
You can teach your kids on growing potatoes as well, planting, growing and harvesting potatoes are all great activities for kids. You can hardly get anything wrong. Planting and harvesting them is really easy. When they harvest, you feel the delight of your hard work. It is like finding the treasure!
7. Eating Time:
You have done the hard work. Now is the time to eat! Fresh potatoes from the containers are something else. You can use them on pizzas; or in soups, as a simple side dish or in a summer potato salad. A great and healthy way to spend time with your family as well.
8. Tips and Tricks:
Choose a container for early harvest potatoes. Some examples are Dark Red Norland or White Rose beginning. Plant them in March or April as soon as conditions allow so that you can have fingerling and baby potatoes for use in July.
A common question often heard is that is container growing as productive as growing them in the garden? There was recently a head-to-head contest conducted by the University of California Master Gardeners of San Mateo and San Francisco.
The result will definitely surprise you as it did a lot of people. They concluded that growing potatoes in containers is worth it. I don’t think you need any other valuation than that!
As always make sure that you have the proper tools to grow the potatoes. If at any point you feel something is wrong, contact your local nursery instead of jumping to conclusions yourself. Don’t try something new by yourself as it can cause you harm. Other than that, happy harvesting!
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