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To grow all blue potatoes of the Solanaceae family you have to mindful of the factors such as keeping the soil’s pH between 4.5 to 5.5. There are other elements involved like humidity which is ideal at 60-70% for this plant. There are also other similar points that you will need to cover for successful yield and that are exactly what we are going to cover in this guide.
All blue potatoes of the Solanum genus are a wonderful 100-year-old heirloom that is known by many names like Purple Peruvian, Fenton Blue, Adirondack Blue, and Vitelotte.
There are many cultivars of these potatoes, but all have deep blue skin and inked flesh. These potatoes are high in antioxidants and can be used in several ways. While they are not as common as other potato varieties, this unique variety will add color to your garden!
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All Blue Potatoes Care
As soon as you have these potatoes, it is time to start caring for them. Remember these care requirements while planting and growing these all blue potato plants:
These growing potatoes need at least one inch of water per week. Be sure to water more frequently during hot, dry weather. When watering, soak the ground around the potato plants to a depth of six to eight inches. This will help encourage deep rooting and prevent drought stress.
These potatoes, need more light than others to grow well. When planning your garden, be sure to choose a spot that gets plenty of sunlight. This means they need direct sunlight for a minimum of six hours each day. If you are located in a place where summer days are long, your potatoes will do best in a location that receives full sun all day.
These potatoes require well-drained, loose soil with a pH of 4.5 and 5.5 to thrive. It is also essential to ensure that the soil is not too wet or too dry; the potato plants will not do well if the soil is too waterlogged or parched. If you are unsure about the moisture levels in your soil, it is best to take a sample to your local county extension office for testing.
As with any plant, it requires a specific range of temperatures to thrive. The ideal temperature range is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. However, they can also tolerate cooler temperatures down to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Nonetheless, if the temperature gets too hot, the potato plant will wilt, and the leaves will turn brown.
The ideal relative humidity for these plants is between 60 and 70 percent. If the air is too dry, the plant leaves will begin to turn brown and wilt. To increase the humidity around the potato plant, you can try growing your potato plant with other humidity-loving plants.
You must feed these certified seed potatoes with a high-quality, well-balanced fertilizer. These potato plants should be fertilized once every two weeks during the growing season. However, it is essential to fertilize more frequently if the plants show signs of stress or are not growing as vigorously as they should be.
If you’re lucky to have this potato plant in your garden, you know how fun it is to harvest these beautiful blue vegetables. Knowing some facts about the harvesting of these unique potatoes will help you to be more confident:
- You can harvest blue seed potatoes in the summer or fall after the plant has flowered.
- These potatoes must be harvested right before the first frost.
- The time to harvest is in the morning after the dew has evaporated but before the sun gets too hot. This will ensure your potatoes are nice and crisp.
Steps to Harvest:
- To harvest these potatoes, dig around the base of the plant with a shovel to loosen the soil.
- Gently pull the plant out of the ground, careful not to damage the potatoes.
- Once you see that the plant is out of the ground, shake off any excess dirt and remove any damaged or small potatoes.
These potato plants are susceptible to various problems, including pests and diseases. Some of the most common issues include:
- Potato Bugs: These pests are small, black, and brown beetles that feast on the leaves of potato plants, causing extensive damage. A potato bug infestation can quickly decimate an entire crop.
- Aphids: They suck the sap out of the plant, which can cause it to wilt and die. They also spread diseases, which can further damage the plant. If you see aphids on your potato plants, simply blast them off with a strong stream of water from a hose.
- Psyllids: Psyllids are small, soft-bodied insects that pierce plant tissue to feed on sap. They are related to aphids and whiteflies and are sometimes called plant lice. The first sign of psyllid feeding is usually the cupping or rolling of new leaves. Psyllids insert their long, slender mouthparts into the leaf tissue and feed on sap.
- Black Scurf: This fungal disease affects the tubers of potatoes and can cause them to rot. The affected tubers will have black spots and may also be covered in a black mold. Black scurf is most common in humid conditions, so keeping your potato plants well-ventilated is essential.
- Verticillium Wilt: Verticillium wilt is a fungal disease that can affect any potato plant. The fungus enters the plant through the roots and then spreads throughout the plant, causing the leaves to turn yellow and eventually die.