How to Plant a Blue Potato

A blue potato is more than a garden novelty — its vivid blue-purple coloring adds nutrients into the starchy tuber. The blue coloring of the spuds doesn’t alter their taste, but it will not add anthocyanin, a flavonoid with antioxidant properties accountable for purple, blue and red hues in fruits and vegetables. These specialty potatoes are available in cultivars which have blue to purple skin and white or yellowish flesh, blue all the way through or with blue skin and a marbled blue and white interior. The planting procedure is no different than for regular potatoes: simply keep in mind that blue potato varieties often produce fewer tubers than traditional white potatoes.

Remove weeds and stone from an area of the garden in full sun with loose soil and good drainage in early spring or late summer. All these are a cool-season crop and you can work in a second crop where there is not any frost for 70 to 120 days after planting, depending on whether the blue potatoes you plant are early, mid-season or late maturing. Clear enough room to allow 6 to 10 inches between plants and 3 feet between rows.

Spread a two- to 3-inch layer of compost across each planting row and sprinkle 10-10-5 fertilizer across the ground at a rate of 3 pounds per 100 square feet of planting row. The numbers indicate the proportions of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium from the item.

Dig the fluid and compost into the ground at least 6 inches deep, loosening the ground and breaking up any clumps as you go.

Dig a 3-inch-deep trench down the center of each row.

Cut blue seed potatoes into pieces which each have at least one eye — the small bud-like indentation where shoots grow — and are at least 1 inch round. Let the pieces sit uncovered for one to two days before the cuts dry slightly. This prevents decay when the bits are from the ground.

Set the bits 6 to 10 inches apart from the bottom of the furrow and cover them with 3 inches of soil.

Water once or twice weekly if there is no rain to maintain the soil consistently moist, but not soggy, since the shallow-rooted plants grow.

Draw any weeds and hill 3 inches of soil above any new increase in four to six weeks so the seed pieces are buried 6 inches deep. Potato tubers develop above the seed bits.

Water plants, enough to moisten soil 8 to 10 inches deep, once the plants are 6 to 10 weeks old and tubers are growing.

Hill up more soil in between the rows above and about the developing plants with a hoe at about the 10-week mark. After this moment “hilling up” only ensure any tubers near the top of the mound are covered with soil or mulch.

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