Potatoes are the leading food crop along with wheat and rice. It is the staple food for many countries and it is grown all over the globe. Potatoes are grown as a commercial crop and also by gardeners who like to grow different varieties of potatoes which may not be readily available in the modern markets.
There are many varieties to choose from, and if you grow potatoes every season, it might be a good idea to try out varieties you have not grown previously. Instead of the usual kinds, you can opt for heritage potatoes.
You can choose from over a hundred different types of potatoes available in the market. They come in every possible color, size and shape. These are potatoes which were grown traditionally before the advent of mass crops and commercialization of farms. Most varieties that were found before 1950 are known as the heritage varieties.
Fortyfold is one of the oldest varieties and has been around since the 1800s. The heritage varieties have survived despite the onslaught of modern farming techniques, simply because of their ardent lovers who crave for them for their flavor and texture.
Some of these varieties were not so readily available a few years ago, but their demand is growing, thanks to the rave reviews of chefs and celebrities. The older varieties are not only more nutritious but also behave differently while cooking.
Some popular heritage varieties are Roseval, Fortyfold, Duke of York, King Edward, International Kidney, Arran Pilot, Pink Fir Apple, Salad Blue, Shetland Black, Beauty of Bute etc. Some of these are available in colors as different as red, pink, blue and even black.
Some of the heritage potatoes are available as minitubers too. The popular ones include Fortyfolde, Vitelotte, Victoran Highland Burgundy Red and Mr Little’s yetholm.
Potatoes are generally planted about a month before the expected day of last frost, if the weather is not too cold. Potatoes can survive frost but not freeze. When you plant the seed make sure that the soil is neither too wet nor too cold or the potato pieces will rot.
Potatoes need to be planted where they can receive sunlight up to ten hours. The soil should be well tilled and drained. Potato seed pieces are tuber pieces with an eye that will sprout when planted. Do not use store bought potatoes as they will usually not sprout easily, since they are sprayed with anti sprouting chemicals. Look for high quality potato seed pieces that will give a good yield.