Potatoes are Special!
Don’t you love the crispy fries and mashed potatoes? Or, baked and roasted potatoes with herbs! Potatoes are mouthwatering and yummy in every way!
I love potatoes in every way possible! We had potatoes growing in our grandfather’s farm, and my grandmother could churn out all kinds of delicious dishes with them. But, this kept me wondering, “ How many potatoes per plant yield?”
Potatoes are also one of the most nutritious foods that we can have! Unfortunately, most people associate potatoes with only carbohydrates and weight gain! This is not correct.
They pack a punch of nutrients and, if cooked in the right way, add to our daily nutrition. The great thing is that they don’t need much care or attention if you are planning to plant them. Some basic measures can give you a good yield of potatoes.
Types of Potatoes
How do you decide which variety of potato to grow? There are a large number of varieties of potatoes available. You should keep in mind the following things while choosing the variety to grow.
- How much land you have
- What do you want to do with the harvest
- Number of days to reach maturity
Starch and sugar in potatoes differ from variety to variety. It is the level of starch which will determine the uses of it. Some varieties like Daisy Gold and Kennebec are all-rounders and can be used in several ways.
How Many Potatoes Per Plant?
Generally, a seed potato is used to grow potatoes. A great thing about growing potatoes is that it yields harvest in large quantities! Under ideal conditions, a potato plant may produce between 6 to 10 potatoes.
It will depend mainly on the type of potato variety and how you care for the plant. You can see 2 pounds of seed potatoes give you about 50 pounds of potatoes.
There are many other factors like disease & weather conditions which you cannot do much about. In such cases, you will see that the number of potatoes per plant may go down to between 3 and 5 or so.
The size also changes with adverse conditions and may become smaller.
How Many Plants to Plant?
When it comes to agriculture, it is not possible to have an exact number of fruit or vegetable one can harvest. However, you can work on some rough estimates.
Starting with about forty plants should be enough for a family of four. It will allow you to include potatoes in your meals twice or thrice in a week and that too for up to six months.
After the first crop, you will know if 40 plants are too much or too little and decide how many plants to plant the next year.
Do You Want to Increase the Yield?
When you start to grow potatoes, you want to get good returns! It may put you off to find only a few potatoes after putting in all the effort. There are a few things that you can do to increase the yield.
- Too much or too little water can reduce the yield
- Check the soil to find out how much water is required
- Buy high-quality seeds from a reputable shop
- Keep them pests and diseases free, especially in their early growing days.
Proper Potato Care
There are 5 things which are essential in growing potatoes and getting a good yield.
Cultivating here means getting the soil ready! You need to loosen the soil to help the potato roots to grow well.
There should be proper aeration, and roots should get enough quantities of air and water. Don’t let the soil turn crusty and immediately use a rake to turn it.
This is the process where you need to pull up the soil around the stalks of the plants. New potatoes form near the surface, and this process protects them and does not let them turn green with direct sunlight.
It also helps in getting more potatoes. You can use a hoe or a tiller for the hilling process.
Potato plants require medium watering; not too much, not too little! The best way to water is deep watering. You need the water to reach all the potatoes which are attached to the roots. Too much or too little water will result in lesser yields and bad quality potatoes.
If you want a good quality of potatoes in the right size and quantity, then you must prepare the soil well. For growing potatoes, the soil should have high amounts of potassium and nitrogen.
After a few weeks, they need fertilizers to ensure the correct formation of the spuds. How much fertilizer to use will depend on the soil quality! You can use fertilizers in different ways.
- For growing completely, organic potatoes choose to cover crops like soybean and cereals. When grown right before the potatoes, they can fix the nitrogen levels in the soil.
- You can use organic fertilizers like manure or compost. It can fill the soil with a lot of nutrients.
- Chemical fertilizers that are humanmade are quite reliable and effective if used correctly. If you use too much or don’t follow the instructions correctly, you may burn or damage the potatoes. You can use these before planting the potatoes.
- Some specific fertilizers are used after potato planting is over. This will increase the levels of potassium, phosphorus, nitrogen, and maintain soil acidity at the right level.
You can also use a fertilizer when you notice that the plants are turning yellow or fading. It means that there is a nutritional deficiency. Fewer amounts of magnesium or sulfur can cause this problem. Use the fertilizer which is explicitly going to solve the problem.
5. Correct Spacing
While planting the seed potatoes, you have to maintain proper spacing. The right way to do it is by burying the seeds about one foot apart.
This should be done in neat rows, and the rows themselves should be about two to three feet from each other. Cover the seed potatoes with about 3 to 4 inches of soil.
Pests & Diseases Which Can Affect the Yield
Many types of beetles, like leaf hoppers and potato beetles, can attack potatoes. You should pick them manually when you see them, both larvae and adult beetles.
You have to keep a close watch once you notice one or two. This usually means that they are present in large numbers and feasting on the plants.
Potatoes also fall easily to diseases like blight and scab. Compost mixture can be sprayed every two weeks for blight. Scabs are not so bad. They turn the skins of potatoes turn rough, but the quality of potatoes remains the same.
When to Harvest?
So, you have done everything correctly and are now waiting to harvest your precious potatoes. Are you sure that it is the right time? Well, let me give you some tips regarding harvesting.
- When potatoes mature, the stems and leaves of the plant start turning brown and flowers fade.
- You can harvest potatoes at any size. If you take them out when they are small and not mature, then they are called new potatoes.
- The skin of a mature potato will be hard and rough. The skin of new potatoes will easily come off when you rub it. You need to use the new potatoes right away. You cannot store them.
- Generally, a plant may produce 4 to 6 regular size potatoes and a few small ones.
- Use a fork to dig up the potatoes. Handle them gently and avoid damaging their skins. You can harvest them with your hands!
- You can leave the potatoes in the ground even after they are mature, but they lose some nutrition
- Don’t leave harvested potatoes in the sunlight. They may turn green and produce a bitter chemical called solanine. It can cause stomach problems if ingested in large quantities.
- Store the potatoes at about 40 degrees to keep them for a long time.
- Keep some good potatoes aside for planting in the next season. Use only healthy and tasty quality potatoes for the subsequent cultivation.
If you are still wondering about how many potatoes per plant, then let me remind you that it depends on a lot of factors! However, what you can do is to give it the best nutrition, care, and look after the plants to maximize the yield.
After reading the information I have shared with you, I am sure you know how to increase the yield with the right measures like spacing, soil testing, watering, fertilizing, and making sure all conditions are perfect for an abundant yield.
If you still have any doubts, please feel free to write to us. We are always happy to hear from you. Share your opinions and suggestions if you have any.
If you find the information useful, then do share it with others who can use it for their potato cultivation. Potatoes are a great addition to any meal and so easy to grow!