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POTATO, Maris Piper – Solanum tuberosum
FULL SUN Native to the tropical mountainsides of western South America, the potato along with corn (maize) are the two most important food crops discovered in the New World. Brought to Europe in the early 1500s, the potato slowly was accepted and became the food of the masses. An Irish-English heirloom. Unbelievable mashed potatoes and good fried. Yellow Skin-Yellow Flesh
Plant potatoes 1-4 weeks before the last spring frost. Potatoes like cool weather but will rot in excessively cold, wet weather. Cut the potatoes into chunks with 2-3 eyes per chunk. Allow the chunks to dry for 24-48 hours. Dig a trench 10-15 in. deep and 4 in. wide. Trenches should be 30-36 in. apart. Place the chunks in the trench – 10 in. between chunks. Cover with 2-3 in. of soil. As the plants emerge cover them with soil until the trench is filled. Potato plants do not need fertilizer or rich soil, but can be fertilized with fish emulsion before flowering. Do not fertilize once the plant has begun to flower.
Harvest ‘new potatoes’ 2 weeks after the flowers have died by digging up the plants. Begin to harvest mature potatoes 2 weeks after the plant has died back in the fall. Continue to harvest until the ground freezes.
|Type||Spacing||Planting Depth||Days to Germination||Maturity|
|Yellow||10 in.||15 in.||14-21||100-120|
Potatoes are members of the Nightshade family of plants which also include the Tomato and the Eggplant. The potato is native to the Andes mountain regions of Chile and Peru. Archaeologists believe that the potato was being cultivated by pre-Columbian farmers as early as 5000 B.C. Remains of potatoes have been found at Incan burial sites which date to 500 B.C. In 1540, the potato was discovered by Spanish explorers who eventually introduced the plant into Europe around 1560. The potato was not popular in the United States until the mid-19th century. Many people thought that the tubers were poisonous and others did not like the yellowish color of the flesh. Today, the potato is one of the most popular vegetables known. It has been accepted by most of the cultures on earth as a staple of their diets.
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