Potatoes

The violet potato crop: the blue and violet potato varieties

For many hobby gardeners, the charm of growing unique varieties of fruits and vegetables is undeniable. Inheritances and hybrids offer growers a multitude of options when planning the garden for each season. Adding these crops is an exciting way not only to introduce new foods to the kitchen, but also to reap the many health benefits of locally grown foods. One of these crops, the purple potato, will brighten your plate and diversify your family garden.

What are purple potatoes?

The purple potato, sometimes called the blue potato, is a type of potato native to South America. Although they look a lot like the white potatoes in grocery stores, these potatoes have a beautiful purple skin and flesh. Inherited and hybrid varieties of purple potatoes range from solid purple to a mixture of purple and white.

Although an interesting addition to the garden, the nutritional benefits of the blue potato are numerous. Regardless of cultivar, both purple and blue potato varieties contain the valuable antioxidant called anthocyanin. Anthocyanin is of course responsible for the purple colour of the plants.

Growing purple potatoes

Fortunately for growers, the process of growing the purple potato is very similar to that of any other variety. First of all, growers must choose a growing site and begin to prepare the soil. Planting sites should have good drainage and be slightly acidic. A well-modified vegetable bed will ensure the availability of nutrients as the plants grow throughout the season.

Because seed potatoes do not grow like seed, the most reliable method of growing potatoes is to plant tubers. Tubers will produce plants that are identical to the potato plant. In recent years, purple potato varieties have gained popularity. This means that these tubers can be found in local garden centres. However, if the tubers are difficult to locate, many online retailers carry these types of potatoes. When buying seed potatoes, always make sure you only buy them from reputable sources to ensure that the tubers are disease-free.

Gardeners use many different methods to grow potatoes. Because of their compact nature, many choose to grow potatoes in containers or cloth bags. They simply plant the tubers in an equal mixture of compost and potting soil. Other methods of planting potatoes are direct planting in furrows or using the Ruth Stout method.

Regardless of the planting method, seed potatoes require frequent “piling” or accumulation of soil around the stems as the season progresses. This can be done using soil or mulch. This will prevent potatoes that form underground from turning green from exposure to the sun.

Apart from the occasional washing, the potato growing process is generally carefree. Often the combination of mulch and dense top growth prevents weeds from invading the potato garden bed. With frequent and constant watering, even novice gardeners can achieve abundant harvests of purple potatoes.

Blue-violet potato varieties

Here are some popular varieties of blue or purple garden potato plants:

  • Adirondack Blue
  • All in blue
  • Magic Molly
  • Purple Majesty

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