Potato 'Mona Lisa' - Tuber
In March the tubers of Solanum tuberosum ‘Mona Lisa’ can be cultivated in boxes with a layer of peat or potting soil. Place the boxes in a sunny spot at 10-15˚ C. Cut large tubers into pieces, each piece must have at least three shoots. The best planting time is late April, the young shoots are then less likely to freeze. Before planting out let the potatoes become acclimatised to the outdoor temperatures. 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 fertiliser, granulated cow manure or old garden/farmyard manure. Before planting add 45 grams of potassium per square metre. Potatoes can be grown in a spot in full sun or partial shade.
Solanum tuberosum ‘Mona Lisa’ is an oval shaped potato with yellow skin. It is an early variety, a wonderful table potato which gives a high yield. This Solanum variety is quite waxy and has a refined taste. 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 early June, it is important not to let the potato tubers turn green, to avoid this, place additional soil around the plants until they reach 20 cm high. Using straw or black plastic as a mulch will stop the soil from drying out and prevent weed growth. Give the plant extra water during dry periods.Harvesting the potatoes
Potatoes ‘Mona Lisa’ 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 June. 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. Early potatoes are not really suitable for storing.