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How To Profitably Earn From Growing Irish Potatoes

Irish potatoes is one of the crops that can easily make one a millionaire-only if they do the right thing. In Uganda, Irish potato growing is increasingly becoming commercial, thanks to the growing demand resulting from the increase in townships, population and hospitality industry.

For farmers looking to venture into the business of growing Irish potatoes, below are the steps that will help you earn big from the crop.

Step 1: Choose Seed Potatoes
Start with organic, certified disease-free seed potatoes obtained from a catalog or farm store. (Supermarket potatoes that have been treated with a sprout-retardant are not suitable for planting).

If you buy from a farm store, try to select tubers which have already sprouted. Otherwise, pre-sprout them by simply laying them out on your kitchen counter. Pre-sprouted potatoes can be harvested a few weeks earlier than their non-sprouted kin.

Step 2: Separate the Eyes
Only small, golf ball-sized potatoes should be planted whole.
Cut large tubers into pieces so that each segment has two or three “eyes”, the little bumps from which sprouts emerge. The reason for cutting the potatoes is because the many eyes on a large potato will create a crowded, multi-stemmed plant, with each stem competing for food and moisture, and in the end, bearing only small potatoes.

Step 3: Cure the Cut Pieces
Next, “cure” the cut pieces. Either set them out in the sun, or place them on a table or counter in a warm (about 70°F), moderately lit room for three to five days. This step permits the cuts to become calloused. Calloused seed potatoes will help prevent rot.

Step 4: Plant Your Potatoes
Plant each potato segment cut-side down (eyes up) in a 6-inch-deep hole or trench. Space each segment 12-inches apart on all sides.
Between each segment, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of a low-nitrogen, high-phosphorous fertilizer. Then cover both potatoes and fertilizer with 2-inches of soil, and water the soil well.
When should you plant potatoes? This will vary depending on where you live. Gardeners in warm climates often plant around Valentine’s Day, while those in cooler areas may get them into the ground near Easter. A good rule of thumb is to aim for 3-4 weeks prior to your last frost date.

Step 5: Hill Around the Stems
Because new potatoes form on lateral stems, or “stolons” above the seed potato, it’s necessary to “hill” the vines. When the green sprouts achieve 8 inches in height, bury all but their top 4 inches with soil, chopped straw, or shredded leaves. Hill again when vines grow another 8 inches. The more you hill, the more prolific your harvest is likely to be. Usually hill yours to achieve a height of 18 inches. Stop hilling when the vines flower.
Potato tubers, like vampires, need to live in darkness. In fact, they will turn green if exposed to light. And a green potato can cause sickness if consumed. Therefore it is absolutely essential to keep the tubers covered with soil or mulch.

Step 6: Harvest Your Potatoes
Two weeks after the vines have flowered, you can, if you wish, reach into the soil or mulch and retrieve a few baby potatoes. Otherwise, wait until the vines die back. Dead vines signal that the tubers have reached maturity. Now reach into the soil with your hands and pull the tubers up.
How long do potatoes take to grow? Small new potatoes can be ready as early as ten weeks. However, full sized potatoes take about 80-100 days to reach maturity.

Step 7: Store Your Potatoes
Since your potatoes are grown for storage, leave them in the ground until cool weather arrives. Why? Because potatoes will only store well if they are placed somewhere cold, but not freezing. The closet in your mudroom doesn’t cool off until the outside temperatures plunges to 45° at night. So harvest time for you is usually a sunny day in late October.
After digging the tubers, let them sit on top of the raised beds for a few hours to dry, as illustrated. This brief drying-period toughens their skin, and prepares them for storage. Then gently brush off any loose soil from the tubers, and place them in double thicknesses of paper bags.

Preventing Potato Blight
The dreaded fungal disease known as the “potato blight” (Phytophthora infestans) was responsible for the Irish potato famine and can destroy your entire crop, too. To reduce the chance of infection, never plant potatoes (or tomatoes and other members of the nightshade family, such as eggplants or chili peppers) in the same patch of land without leaving an interval of at least three years. Also, promptly remove any volunteer potatoes that emerge in your garden. The disease overwinters in tubers left behind during the previous year’s harvest.

Sourced from Ministry of Agriculture

 

 

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Taddewo William Senyonyi
https://www.facebook.com/senyonyi.taddewo
William is a seasoned business and finance journalist. He is also an agripreneur and a coffee enthusiast.

15 thoughts on “How To Profitably Earn From Growing Irish Potatoes

  1. Thanks for this incredible article

  2. Natamba

    Good information

  3. Bukenya Abasi

    Ilike this business of growing Irish ootatoes

    • barnahaven

      i want to start growing Irish potatoes
      for selling.
      I’m requesting for guideline and capital required on how to begin farming a 1 acre farm.

  4. musuni Jeremy

    I want help.in getting market for lrish potatoes

  5. Roy

    Learnt alot and looking forward to making it big .

  6. Richard Kaplelach

    1. Where can i get certified seeds from?
    2. what chemical is used to treat bacterial disease apart from blight?

  7. abel kikomeko

    iam planning to start growing the irish potatoes commercially on my land next season.this information will truli help me.but where can i buy good genuine seeds

  8. Nelson Maku

    I really like your explanation and teaching

  9. Your article if very informational. Thank you for that. My concern here is how to acquire the organic seeds for replant.

    I live in Nigeria and planning to go into full agriculture(Commercial Irish Potato farming) and I am wondering if you I order for the organic seeds, do you ship internationally?

    Your response will greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time as I wait for your reply.

    Victor Ugwu

  10. Nsubuga Moses

    Iam planning on starting an Irish potato plantation and surely this information will help me

  11. Aryantungisa Ben

    Am in Irish potato farming kyangwali but I want quality seed for this season.

  12. Ahabyona Amos

    Thank you for the good information.
    How can I treat my field after harvesting another blacknight shade crop?becouse the three years are far.
    Thank you

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