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The best way to Plant Candy Potatoes in Your Yard, Based on Specialists



Candy potatoes have been a staple crop for millennia, and with good motive. These wholesome root greens are stuffed with antioxidants and are comparatively simple to develop—all you want is a while and slightly know-how. To study extra, we requested specialists to interrupt down precisely what you must know to plant, develop, and harvest your individual candy potatoes.

The best way to Plant Candy Potatoes 

Candy potatoes aren’t grown from seeds however from sprouts (generally known as slips) that come from mature candy potatoes. “Begin by deciding on wholesome, natural candy potatoes,” says Charmaine Peters, farm director at Arden. “Search for agency ones with none indicators of harm or illness.”

Contemplate sourcing a candy potato from a close-by farm, nursery, or native grocery retailer. Then observe these directions to begin your greatest candy potato crop. 

Step 1: Prep Your Soil

Candy potatoes like an acidic surroundings, so you might need to check your soil earlier than planting. Additionally they require good drainage and full daylight. “Chances are you’ll need to contemplate planting in raised beds in case your soil isn’t ultimate, as they permit for higher management of soil high quality and drainage,” Peters says.

Step 2: Propagate Slips

When you’ve chosen a wholesome candy potato to propagate, Peters suggests putting it horizontally in a jar full of water. Use toothpicks round its center to droop the potato in order that its backside half is submerged, then place the jar in a heat location with oblique daylight. Change the water each few days to maintain it recent. 

Inside two to 4 weeks, slips will emerge from the candy potato and develop into vines. “As soon as these attain about 6 to eight inches in size, rigorously twist them off the candy potato,” Peters says. “Every slip ought to have a small cluster of roots at its base.”

Step 3: Plant Slips

Candy potatoes develop greatest when they’re spaced 12 to 18 inches aside. Mariah Henry, director of city agriculture at Carolina Farm Belief, suggests the next steps for planting:

  1. Dig a gap 4 to six inches deep. 
  2. Place one slip within the gap with the leaves above floor. 
  3. Fill within the gap with soil, ensuring all of the roots are absolutely coated. 
  4. Proceed with all remaining slips. 
  5. Give every plant a wholesome drink of water after transplanting. 

Step 4: Hill Your Crop

When your plant reaches about 6 inches tall, Henry recommends “hilling” the potatoes. “Soil is gathered and piled on prime of the bottom of the candy potato plant,” she says. “This course of encourages tuber development, which produces potatoes.”

Hold the slips nicely irrigated to advertise development and manufacturing, and modify the watering frequency as wanted. 

Caring for Candy Potatoes

Whereas candy potatoes are thought-about a comparatively simple crop, they require a couple of particular circumstances with the intention to thrive.

Daylight

Candy potatoes require at the very least six to eight hours of direct daylight per day. “In case you develop candy potatoes in partial shade, their development can decelerate, and their leaves could fade or look much less vibrant,” says Peters. 

Temperature

Candy potato slips ought to be planted exterior about two to 4 weeks after your final frost date has handed, says Luay Ghafari, creator and recipe developer at City Farm and Kitchen. “However a extra necessary indicator is soil temperature,” he says. “The soil temperature ought to be at the very least 65 levels Fahrenheit, and I like to recommend utilizing a soil thermometer.”

Heat soil helps candy potatoes develop shortly and develop robust, wholesome roots. They’re delicate to frost, so present safety if temperatures drop under 50 levels. 

Soil

Peters encourages planting candy potatoes in well-draining sandy or loamy soil.  “Keep away from utilizing poorly drained, heavy, clay soil as a result of it will probably make your candy potatoes smaller, longer, or misshapen,” she says. “Heavy soils can retain an excessive amount of moisture, resulting in root rot and different fungal illnesses.”

Fertilizer

As soon as the soil reaches the optimum temperature, Ghafari recommends a excessive phosphorus modification. “Phosphate helps promote root development, which is strictly what we would like as candy potatoes develop underground,” he says. “All through the season, candy potato vines may be fertilized with a liquid fertilizer greater in phosphate and potassium than nitrogen. In case you use a high-nitrogen fertilizer, it’ll promote the expansion of inexperienced foliage, not roots.”

Candy Potato Varieties

The most well-liked candy potato varieties in the US embrace Beauregard, jewel, and garnet, in accordance with Peters.

  • Beauregard is understood for its dependable yields and adaptableness to totally different rising circumstances. “My favourite is Beauregard,” says Peters, “as a result of they’re the simplest selection to search out in supermarkets, they usually can reliably produce giant, scrumptious tubers with minimal effort in my backyard.”
  • Jewel additionally produces excessive yields and is famend for illness resistance.
  • Garnet normally grows constant in measurement and form, in order that they usually have extra attraction for culinary makes use of.
  • Luminance options vibrant purple pores and skin and a creamy white inside.
  • Purple Majesty has a uninteresting purple exterior and deep purple inside.
  • Georgia Jet is a red-skinned selection that matures in 90 days, which Ghafari says is ideal for northern gardeners. 

“When selecting which varieties to develop at dwelling, it’s crucial to know the times to maturity,” Ghafari says. “Some candy potatoes will probably be prepared to reap inside 100 days, and others might have as much as 120 days or extra. The size of your season ought to assist decide the varieties you select to develop in your house backyard.”

Widespread Pests and Illnesses 

Numerous illnesses can infect candy potatoes, together with tender rot and black rot. Some fungi that trigger storage rots can infect roots within the subject or enter by wounds throughout harvest or dealing with. 

As well as, pests like weevils, whiteflies, and root-knot nematodes are additionally frequent issues in candy potato farming. “Weevils lay eggs on vines and bore into tubers, inflicting injury,” she says. “Whiteflies sap leaves, weakening vegetation, and spreading viruses. Nematodes type galls on the roots. These are irregular growths or swellings, disrupting nutrient and water uptake, leading to stunted development and decrease yields.” 

Harvesting Candy Potatoes 

Candy potatoes are prepared for harvest when the vines flip yellow and start to die again—normally in late summer time or early fall, about three to 4 months after planting. Gently dig across the base of the plant if you happen to’re uncertain whether or not your tubers are prepared for harvest.

When prepared, observe these steps for harvesting:

  1. Lower off the vines a couple of days earlier than to toughen up the pores and skin. Scale back irrigation to let the soil dry out. 
  2. On the day of harvest, frivolously water the soil to melt it and scale back injury to the potatoes. 
  3. Use a backyard fork or shovel to rigorously raise the soil across the mattress edges to keep away from damaging the potatoes throughout extraction. 
  4. Gently raise the plant from the soil and permit extra soil to fall off.

As soon as harvested, Peters stresses the significance of avoiding bruising, scraping, dropping, and washing the candy potatoes. In any other case, they gained’t retailer nicely. “The advantage of rising candy potatoes at house is that you just don’t want to drag them . Harvest what you want,” Ghafari says. “Nevertheless, be sure to reap your complete crop earlier than the primary frost.”

“You should definitely harvest potatoes earlier than they get too large,” Henry says, “as a result of bigger potatoes are liable to cracking.”

Curing and Storing Candy Potatoes

Freshly harvested candy potatoes can be utilized straight away, however Ghafari recommends curing for long-term storage. “Curing candy potatoes permits them to type a more durable pores and skin, which makes them hold for longer,” he says. “It additionally offers them a sweeter style.”

Treatment harvested candy potatoes by putting them in a heat place, corresponding to a coated porch, shed, or storage, for 10 to 14 days. Lay them out on a flat floor in order that they don’t contact. “You possibly can wrap them in newspaper to soak up extra moisture and forestall them from touching one another, which reduces the chance of rot and extends their freshness,” says Peters. “Don’t refrigerate them, because the chilly can have an effect on their style and texture. Additionally, verify them often for spoilage and take away any which can be tender, shriveled, or sprouting to maintain the remainder recent for months.”

Candy potatoes ought to final a number of months if saved in a cool area, roughly 50 to 60 levels Fahrenheit.



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