Potatoes are nutritious, carbohydrate, and delicious tubers and are a great source of potassium, fiber, protein, vitamins C and B6, as well as iron. There are so many ways to eat potatoes, but fresh potatoes are always tastier, especially ones that are grown at home. Growing potatoes is actually not difficult. However, potatoes should be planted in acidic soil, and get plenty of sun and water. In addition, potatoes will be better planted in cool temperatures.
Part 1 of 4: Planting Potatoes
Step 1. Determine the right time to plant
Potatoes are plants that thrive in cool temperatures. Therefore, in Indonesia, potatoes are suitable for planting in the highlands with a temperature of 14-22 degrees Celsius.. In addition, potatoes are also susceptible to scorching heat and high rainfall, making them more suitable for planting in the dry season.
High temperatures prevent potatoes from forming tubers, while high rainfall can cause potato tubers to rot
Step 2. Choose a place that gets a lot of sunlight
Although potatoes prefer a cool environment, these plants also love sunlight and will thrive in a place that gets a few hours of sun each day. You can plant potatoes anywhere you like, such as directly in the ground or in a plant tub.
Step 3. Prepare the land
The best soil for growing potatoes is loose and slightly acidic soil. The ideal soil pH for growing potatoes is 5.0-7.0. You can increase the acidity of the soil by applying manure, compost, or high potassium fertilizer.
Cultivating the land will make it more loose, making it suitable for planting potatoes
Step 4. Sow potato seeds
Potatoes will grow faster once they are sown from seed and begin to sprout. Two weeks before planting potatoes, place the potato seeds in a place that gets lots of light with a temperature between 15-21 degrees Celsius. Leave the potato seeds in the light until they begin to sprout and are ready to plant.
- Use small, but healthy potato tubers as seeds.
- If the potato seeds are larger than the chicken eggs, you can split them into two or three. There should be at least two eyes or buds on each side of the potato seed.
- You can grow any potato variety you like. Just make sure you use potato tubers that haven't been sprayed with a shoot inhibitor. This product will inhibit the formation of shoots so you will not get new plants from bulbs like this.
Step 5. Make a row of kerf on the land
Once the potatoes have sprouted and are ready to be planted, use a shovel or rake to make a 10 cm deep trench in the plant tub. These kerf lines should be deep enough for the potatoes and about 90 cm apart from each other.
Potatoes planted in the kerf lane will produce a good harvest as long as the quality of the land is also good
Step 6. Plant potato seeds
Place the potato seeds directly on the kerf by pointing the shoots upwards. Give the distance between the seeds as far as 30 cm. After filling a row of kerf with potato seeds, cover the surface with 10 cm of soil.
Part 2 of 4: Caring for Potatoes
Step 1. Water the potatoes regularly to keep the soil moist
Potatoes like a lot of water. So make sure you keep the soil moist while the potatoes are growing, but don't let it get waterlogged. Make sure the potatoes get about 5 cm of water each week, especially during flowering.
You can stop watering potatoes only when the leaves turn yellow and wilt. This is a sign that potatoes can soon be harvested
Step 2. Add additional soil around the base of the plant while the potatoes are growing
Once the potatoes have grown to a height of 15 cm, apply more soil at the base. This mound will prevent the potatoes from getting sunburnt while also supporting the plant's growth in height. Add another mound of soil each time the potatoes grow 15 cm in height.
Potatoes exposed to sunlight will produce a toxic compound called solanine in the form of a green coating on the outside of the tuber
Step 3. Get rid of weeds in the potato garden regularly
Potatoes will thrive if they don't have to compete with weeds. Pull out or pull weeds that grow in the plant tub so the potatoes can get all the nutrients they need.
Part 3 of 4: Coping with Plant Diseases and Pests
Step 1. Purchase disease-resistant varieties of potatoes
To reduce the chances of your potatoes getting diseased, buy disease-resistant varieties like Agria, King Edward, or Winston.
Step 2. Avoid late blight by rotating the potato planting site annually
Be sure to wait 3 years before planting potatoes in the same place. Planting potatoes too tightly can also be a problem. So, make sure to leave enough space.
Step 3. Lower the soil pH to treat scurvy or scab
This disease commonly attacks potatoes and is characterized by a dotted tuber skin. The potatoes you plant can get this disease if the soil pH is too high. You can add sulfur to the soil to lower its pH.
Step 4. Get rid of pests manually or with water
The potato beetle should be able to be removed by hand. Meanwhile, the aphids can be expelled with a water spray. Alternatively, use natural insecticides such as neem oil sold at your local gardening store to repel pests.
Part 4 of 4: Harvesting and Storing Potatoes
Step 1. Harvest new potatoes after they stop flowering
New potatoes are tubers that are taken before they are fully grown. After about 10 weeks, the potatoes will begin to flower. When the potatoes stop flowering, wait another 2 weeks and then harvest new potatoes by digging the tubers out of the soil.
New potatoes are smaller and have a smoother skin than mature potatoes. People often harvest new potatoes to make room for other potatoes to grow
Step 2. Prune off any leaves that turn brown as they begin to die
As the potato plant matures, the leaves will begin to turn yellow and die near the end of their life cycle. When this happens, trim the brown leaves with garden shears. After the potato leaves die, wait 2 weeks before harvesting the tubers.
Step 3. Dig the potatoes out of the soil
After all the potato leaves have died and you have waited 2 weeks for the potatoes to mature, you can dig up the tubers. Use a small hoe or shovel to dig up the ground and slowly remove the potatoes so they don't puncture or bump them.
Potatoes are ready to be harvested between 60-100 days after planting, depending on the variety
Step 4. Spread the potatoes for preservation in a cool, dry place
After digging up the potatoes, move them all to a garage, shaded veranda, or other place that is cool, dry, shady, and well ventilated. Leave the potatoes there for a minimum of 3 days to 2 weeks to preserve. This will allow the skins to ripen and the potatoes can be stored longer.
- The ideal temperature for preserving potatoes is 7-15.5 degrees Celsius.
- Do not preserve new potatoes as they must be eaten within a few days of harvesting.
Step 5. Remove any dirt from the potatoes after they have been cured
After the potatoes have been left and preserved, use a rag or plant brush to remove any soil residue from the potato skins. Don't use water to wash potatoes, as this can make them rot faster.
Do not wash the potatoes until they are ready to eat
Step 6. Store potatoes in a cool, dry and dark place
Once cured and cleaned, put the potatoes in a sack or paper bag for storage. Place the potatoes in a cellar or other place protected from light, heat, and moisture.
- The ideal temperature for storing potatoes is 2-4°C.
- Potatoes stored like this should last for several months.