Irish potatoes are starchy tuber crops which are mainly grown in cool highland areas as food crops as well as a staple food in some regions. Potatoes are world’s most widely grown tuber crop and the fourth largest crops in terms of fresh produce. Irish potatoes occur in six varieties which are Irish cobbler, viking which is a red skinned potato, chieftan, Elba, Rosa and sebago.
Irish Potato Farming Tips
If you want to venture in to irish potatoes farming business, you need to start right. Below are some irish potato farming tips that you can apply.
Irish potato will do well in sandy-loamy soils that are well drained and have adequate organic matter content. Your soils should also be slightly acidic with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.0. The temperature range for your Irish potatoes should be 10 to 24degrees Celsius and rainfall amounts of 900-1,400mm per annum.
When planting your Irish potatoes you should ensure that your farm is clean and free of weeds. Potato seeds can be obtained from a certified source or from potatoes present from a previous harvest. The potato seeds can be pieces of whole potato or a small whole potato with two buds or eyes. If you are cutting up potato parts for planting you should do it a day or two days prior to planting to give them a chance to form a protective layer for moisture retention and rot resistance.
In your farm make trenches which are four inch deep and plant your potatoes in the trenches one foot apart with the buds facing up. After this cover your potato seeds with some soil. Apply pesticides to control pests and diseases.
After some time your potatoes will sprout and thus weeding will be necessary. First weeding should be done when the crop is 10cm high while second weeding is necessary when your crop is 20 to 25cm high. These two weeding processes can be referred to as hilling as they involve piling up soil around the base of the plant offering support and covering the roots to prevent sunburn which results into green potatoes which have a bitter taste. Weeding reduces yield loss and competition of nutrients and light between potatoes and weeds. You should do early weeding in your potato farm to reduce plant contact thus controlling virus spread in your farm.
Your Irish potatoes begin to turn brown and wither a few weeks after flowering. This shows that your potatoes are ready for harvesting which should be done two weeks from when the vines die. It is advisable to harvest your Irish potatoes on a dry day as the soil is easy to dig. You should avoid harvesting when the soil is wet to prevent fungal diseases. Scoop soil at a distance of 1.5 feet from the potato plant to avoid cutting the stem tubers. You should make heaps of potatoes at different distances for easy collection and to avoid unnecessary losses. Brush off soil clinging on potatoes and store them in a cool dry place. Avoid washing your potatoes unless you are using them after washing as this will shorten their storage life. Periodically check your tubers and remove the damaged, rotten or spoilt potatoes.