Tips on Growing and Harvesting Purple Potatoes

Purple potatoes are not just visually pleasing with vivid colors and unique flavors. They offer nutritional benefits as well. If you’re a passionate gardener considering growing your purple potatoes yourself, this article is right for you. This comprehensive guide provides tips and insights to help you grow and harvest your purple potatoes successfully, resulting in a satisfying and bountiful harvest.

Choosing the Right Variety

Before beginning the cultivation process, you must choose the best purple potato. Purple Majesty and Purple Viking All Blue Congo are popular purple potato types. Consider factors such as climate suitability or disease resistance and your preferences to choose the best potato variety.

Preparing Soil

  • Composition of Soil: Purple potatoes are best grown in soils that drain well and have a pH of 5.0 – 6.5. Use organic matter like compost or manure that has been well-rotted to amend the soil and improve its fertility.
  • Sunlight Requirements: Purple potatoes require full exposure to the sun to grow and develop tubers. Choose a location that receives between six and eight hours of direct sunshine daily.
  • Soil Preparation: Clear the designated area from debris, rocks, or weeds. The soil should be loosened with a garden rake or tiller. This will allow you to work the soil to 8 to 10 inches. Remove any large lumps and crumble the soil, giving it a loose and friable consistency.

Planting Purple Potatoes

  • Timing: Purple potatoes are usually planted in the early spring when soil temperatures have reached 50-55degF (10-13degC). Consult local gardening services or cooperative extension programs to find the perfect planting window.
  • Seed potatoes: Only purchase certified seeds from a reputable provider. Store-bought spuds may have been treated or are susceptible to diseases. The larger seed potatoes should be cut into smaller pieces. Ensure that each piece contains one or more eyes or buds.
  • Spacing: Plant seed potatoes at a distance of approximately 2 to 4 feet. To allow for proper airflow and prevent disease, keep the spacing adequate.
  • Planting Depth: Dig small furrows or trenches around 4 to 8 inches deep in the soil. Place seed potato pieces with eyes facing upward into the trenches. Cover the potatoes with dirt, leaving an indentation to assist in watering.

Caring for Purple Potatoes

  • Watering: Purple potatoes need to be watered regularly throughout the growing period. Try to provide 1 to 1,5 inches of water every week, whether through rainfall or additional irrigation. Avoid overwatering. Too much moisture can cause fungal diseases and rot.
  • Mulching: Apply a mulch of organic material around the potato plant, like straw or shredded leaves. Mulching helps to conserve moisture. It can also suppress weeds and regulate soil temperature.
  • Fertilization: Incorporate a balanced, organic fertilizer in the soil before planting. Follow package instructions. During the development of tubers, use additional fertilizer with high phosphorus and potash. Monitor soil nutrients regularly and adjust the fertilizer accordingly.
  • Hilling: As the purple potato grows, hilling will encourage tuber growth. When the plants reach 6-8 inches tall, mound dirt around the base and lower stems and repeat the hilling process for a few weeks to promote underground growth.