Starting a Potato Farm
You may have a land waiting to be tilled and you are wondering what kind of crop to grow. Growing potatoes can be the answer you are looking for. This article will guide you what you need to know to start your own potato farm.
Potatoes are one of the most popular and versatile vegetables today. They are great for baking, frying, roasting, mashing and for salads.
In the US, Idaho is the largest producer of potatoes, contributing to one-third of the country’s total potato harvest.
There are more than 400 varieties of potatoes that you can choose from. In starting your own potato farm, you need to decide which variety you want to grow. Best way to find out the best variety for you is to conduct a research among potato farmers in your area. Ask them what works well in their soil and what they like to grow. Remember that different varieties grow better in a specific area than others.
You may also want to research what varieties are best for what purpose like boiling, baking or roasting. It will help if you know where you will market your produce after harvest. Example, if you intend to supply French fries vendors, it is best to choose among King Edward, Maris Piper and Sante.
The two main types of potatoes are waxy and floury. Waxy potatoes do great for salads or any dish where you want to keep their shape once cooked. Examples are Charlotte and Maris Peer. Floury potatoes, on the other hand, works better for if you want fluffy potato dishes like mashed potatoes. The popular varieties are King Edward, Estima, Maris Piper and Desiree.
There are also three types of potatoes depending on the length of time it will take you from planting and harvesting your crop. These are first earlies, which are usually ready in about 10 weeks, second earlies in about 13 weeks and maincrop in more than 20 weeks.
Potatoes are grown from small potato tubers called seed potatoes. Farming practices include setting aside around five to fifteen percent from their potato harvest for re-planting. However, one can buy certified seed potatoes from commercial suppliers.
To establish your potato farm, you need a well-drained land. The process it takes to grow potatoes includes clearing and preparing the land, purchasing of seeds and planting them, application of fertilizers, herbicide and insecticides, and harvesting.
Guide to Growing Potatoes
Potatoes prefer a moist, slightly acidic soil. They are greedy feeders though, which means you have to put a good amount of manure or compost in your farm to help feed them and improve soil texture. You can use some comfrey leaves to fertilize your soil. You can wilt them for a day and place them at the bottom of the trench and cover them with a little layer of soil.
Another factor that contributes to successful potato farming is the effective management of diseases and insect infestations using chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and fungicides. Potato growers apply pesticides after planting to prevent pests like late blight and potato beetle. Blight is a fungus appearing in high humidity conditions that spreads over potato leaves causing it to die. Large-scale potato farmers apply pesticides through sprinkler irrigation systems or aerial spraying while taking careful steps not to contaminate groundwater.
Potatoes love lots of water and needs a full sun that is why potato farmers also need to determine the amount of moisture in the soil as well as monitor and maintain moisture levels. The traditional test they use to know if they need to irrigate their crops is to throw a clump of soil up into the air to see if it breaks apart or not. Irrigation systems are used to control soil moisture and temperature more accurately. The irrigation system is often used on soil that is medium to light textured.
You will know that your potatoes are ready for harvesting when the potato plants begin to brown and wither after a few weeks of flowering. Take note that you must dig them before a hard freeze. If you are storing the potatoes, dig them up after two to three weeks from the day the plant dies. Lay them out for two to three days under the sun but not rain. This way, the potatoes will dry out and mature the skin, and protecting them during storage.
Q. What you use for seedlings in potato farming?
A: Potatoes usually grow from the extra pieces cut from seed potatoes, this is called eyes of potato.
Q. What is the soil requirement for potato farming?
A: Normally the soil required for potato farming is loose, deep, light and well-drained. Potato trees are aggressive in rooting so light and loose soil is a huge advantage. These plants are grown through hilling process. You should add more compost at the time of digging.
Q. What is the best time for potato harvesting?
A: The best time to harvest potatoes is early summer to late fall but mid november to december is the best time to prepare soil.
Q. What are the common threats for potato plants?
A: Insect, pests and potato late blight are main concern for potato plants.
- Organic Potato Farming Tips
There is no doubt in it that growing organic potato farming is a thorough and systematic process. Thorough research and preparation is very important to grow organic potatoes and to make best use of them.
- Steps to Start a Potato Chip Business
The potato chip business will click any season of the year because of its mouth-watering appeal to people from all walks of life. With this, you can earn big!
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