Vegetables

Potato cultivation

Features solanum tuberosum

The potato (Solanum tuberosum) is a herbaceous plant belonging to the Solanaceae family, native to South America, characterized by edible tubers that form at the apex of the underground stolons. The tubers are storage organs for the plant, which stores the reserve starches there. The aerial part of the plant is characterized by stems that become prostrate during the season when erect, and leaves composed of 7-9 alternate leaflets with a serrated or smooth edge depending on the case.

The bell-shaped flowers gathered in a corymb are white with five petals and showy yellow stamens. They do not always develop, nor is it said that they will be able to ripen, but when this happens, fruits are formed, that is, berries similar to small green, purple, brown or yellow cherry tomatoes, containing numerous flat kidney-shaped seeds.

Among the varieties we mention «Climax» and «Desirè» semi-early and compact, «Cleopatra» and «Sieglinde» early and compact, «Draga», «Tonda di Berlino», «Renska» and «Spunta» semi-early and compact even after cooking , Late “Majestic” and “Kennebec” with floury pulp, “Saska” and “Rosara” with red skin. From a culinary point of view, potatoes are classified into yellow and firm, white and floury (from mashed potatoes or gnocchi), usually red with firm flesh, the new ones harvested in spring before complete ripeness, those enriched with selenium, and the so-called » for all uses «.

Sow potatoes


Organic potato cultivation is not too different from traditional potato cultivation and produces much tastier tubers, which is why it would be good to consider it as a first choice. It provides for the pre-germination of seed chips (to obtain plants with a faster development) which should come from organic farming.

If you do not have them, buy them in an organic farm that also produces seed potatoes or at least in a supermarket where they sell natural products (but keep in mind that the chips must be as healthy as possible to obtain good results). To make them germinate just put them with the majority of the «eyes» facing upwards in a wooden box placed in a warm and bright place. Planting varies from late March to April, or even May, depending on the climate. The soil must be at a temperature of at least 7 ° C. Furrows are traced 50 cm or 75 cm apart if you want to make a sister crop, and the chips are planted at a depth of 5 cm, with 30-50 cm distance in the row. Then the ripe mixture is added and the furrow is closed gently so as not to break the shoots.

The sowing for the traditional technique involves the use of chips of 30 gr each, buried at 15 cm deep, 30 cm from each other and along rows 60 cm apart in the case of early varieties, at 40 cm on the row and 60 -75 between the rows in the case of late ones. It then proceeds to the reinforcement forming reliefs about 15 cm high. The reinforcement must be repeated every 2-3 weeks. To obtain new potatoes, very early varieties are planted in greenhouses at 7-10 ° C (no more or only many leaves are produced) in January to obtain a harvest as early as March or April. If the greenhouse is small, it is possible to try to grow potatoes in pots, in containers of at least 30 cm in diameter (two tubers per pot) filled with good garden compost.

Ground


The ideal soil for organic potato cultivation is that of a spacious flowerbed, in the first turn of the rotation, soft and rich in humus, prepared in autumn with compost and possibly well-ripened manure or horn-blood-bone meal. The traditional cultivation of potatoes provides a soil in an open position but sheltered from frost, fertile, deep and well drained, with a pH between 5 and 6, in which in autumn voluminous manure or compost is incorporated and in spring 130-140 gr per meter balanced fertilizer framework.

Alternatively, a phosphorus and potassium-based fertilization can be provided during the preparation in autumn (superphosphate and sulphate respectively) postponing the nitrogen fertilization to the moment of sowing, and subsequently. In any case, and despite being an adaptable plant within certain limits, alkaline soils do not give good results, as well as those that are too heavy.

Potato fertilization


Organic farming that produces very tasty vegetables involves fertilizing with compost only. The traditional potato cultivation, on the other hand, provides, in addition to the administration of potassium and phosphorus in autumn, that of nitrogen which must be divided before sowing, at the time of the same and subsequently, but without exaggerating since an excess of nitrogen causes poor development of the tubers. This will provide all the necessary nutrients and elements that will allow the best development of the tubers.

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