Potatoes are a taste sensation and are very easy to cultivate in Western Australia. Growing potatoes in Perth is perfect for the budget conscious gardener, as they are a super cost efficient crop to grow. A kilo of seed potato produces approximately 10 kilos of eating potato and they are so easy to grow! You’ll never go back to supermarket potatoes once you have tried your own and your kids will have great fun rummaging under the straw to find their own spuds for dinner. So, if you’ve been looking for information on how to grow potatoes in Perth look no further.
When to plant potatoes:
People often ask when to plant potatoes in Perth. Thankfully, potatoes can be grown for most of the year in WA, except in areas prone to frost. For optimum results the soil should be between about 10°C and 30°C so autumn is a fantastic time to plant. Potatoes prefer full sun and some water to establish but too much water can cause diseases, so it is important to monitor soil moisture carefully.
The most common varieties include ‘Desiree’, ‘Delaware’ or ‘Royal Blue’. Although there are many varieties available listed below.
West Australian potato varieties:
Desiree Potatoes: Firm pale yellow flesh. Great for boiling, mashing, roasting or microwaving. Medium to late maturing in WA and relatively vigorous, medium sized plant.
Delaware Potatoes: All round firm potato perfect for microwaving, boiling or roasting. Great tasting. Matures relatively early and plant is extremely vigorous.
Eureka Potatoes: Better tasting than Delaware and good for frying and roasting but not a good potato for mashing. Matures later than most other potatoes but has some good disease resistance.
Kestrel Potatoes: Excellent for roasting and frying and is very good for all other forms of cooking. Medium maturing potato that has become very popular.
Mondial Potatoes: Very good taste and suitable for boiling, mashing and microwaving. Not the best for chips. Matures relatively early and is perfect for growing through winter. Produces high yields and has improved resistance to viruses.
Desiree Potatoes: Excellent all-purpose potato that is suitable for just about any type of cooking. Matures relatively early. Keep an eye on them around harvesting time as skin finish can suffer if left too long.
Royal Blue Potatoes: Excellent all-purpose potato that is suitable for just about any type of cooking. Matures relatively early. Keep an eye on them around harvesting time as skin finish can suffer if left too long.
Ruby Lou Potatoes: Very good flavour and a great potato for just about everything. Matures slightly later than Delaware but should be harvested as soon as crop is mature.
How to plant potatoes:
Growing potatoes in the veggie patch couldn’t be easier, and it is also easy to locate seed potatoes in Perth. Dig a mix of compost and sheep manure into the soil and let it settle for 2 or 3 weeks. Make a shallow trench about 20cm deep and plant the seed potatoes with the main eye pointing upwards. Use a rake to back-fill. If the soil is very acidic, add a little lime to the surface.
Once your potato plants are about 15cm tall, mound some soil around the stem of the plant. Do not bury too much of the plant at any one time as this will inhibit the growth. The larger the mound of dirt you end up with the taller your plants the more potatoes will be able to grow. Lupin Mulch, and straw are also fantastic to use to mound up in between each layer of soil.
After 20 weeks the potatoes will be ready to harvest. You should have potato mounds that are about 30cm high. Not all potatoes flower so don’t rely on that being an indicator. The best way of knowing is to dig a couple of tubers up and check their size.
Table potatoes should be kept in a cool, dark place. Do not refrigerate as temperatures below 10°C can cause them to blacken when cooked.
Before planting, make sure you buy certified seed potatoes (small potatoes specially for planting) from a nursery or reputable source to ensure they’re virus and disease free.
Make sure your potatoes are covered at all times during the growing process. Any exposure to sunlight can turn them green. Green potatoes are toxic so make sure you throw them out when you are harvesting.
If you have any tips on growing potatoes in Perth then share them in comments section below.
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