Potato 'Desiree' - Tuber
In March the tubers of Solanum tuberosum ‘Desiree’ can be set in boxes with a little peat or potting soil. Place the boxes in a sunny spot at 10-15˚ C. Cut large potatoes into 3 pieces, each piece must have at least three shoots. The best planting time is early April. Before planting out let the potatoes become acclimatized to the outside. Prepare the soil by working it loose and plant the potatoes in rows. The distance between the rows should be about 70 cm and 30 cm between the potatoes. Protect the young shoots from frost by covering with fleece or a temporary tunnel liner. Fertilise the soil in winter with a mixed organic fertilizer, cow manure pellets or old garden manure. Sprinkle the plant with 45 grams of potassium per square metre. Potatoes can be grown in a spot in full sun or partial shade.
Solanum tuberosum ‘Desiree’ is a red-skinned potato. It is a versatile variety in the kitchen, great for making chips and baking. The flesh is waxy to floury. The potato originated in South America where it has been eaten for thousands of years. We have been associated with it in Europe since the late 18th century. Nowadays this staple food tuber is number 1 in the Europe cuisine! Potatoes are high in starch, potassium and vitamin C. The small green fruits that can be found between the leaves are highly toxic.Crop rotation
Potatoes should not be cultivated on the same piece of land more than once every four years in order to prevent diseases. Viruses and nematodes can be a problem so always buy new seeds of resistant varieties and make sure you keep up with crop rotation. Potatoes should have a rotation cycle when planted at home as root crops under Group A (leafy vegetables, cabbages, courgettes, etc.). After the potatoes are produced, endive, lettuce and onions can grow on the same plot.
By mid-June, it is important not to let the potato tubers turn green, to avoid this, place additional soil around the plant until the plants reach 20 cm high. Mulching, by using straw or black plastic, stops the soil from drying out and prevents weed growth. Give the plant extra water during dry periods. Potatoes should not be cultivated on the same piece of land more than once every four years in order to prevent diseases. Viruses and nematodes can be a problem so always buy new seeds of resistant varieties and make sure you keep up with crop rotation.Harvesting the potatoes
Potatoes ‘Desiree’ can be harvested when the flowers are fully open which is an indication that the tubers are swelling. This depends on the weather, but it is usually from late July. Carefully remove soil from the hill, using a grubbing fork with blunt teeth. When the potatoes have been lifted leave them for a few hours to dry off. Potatoes can be stored well in a dark cellar or in a frost-free shed.