Cool Potato Facts
- Potatoes are pollinated by insects and bugs
- Potatoes were the main crop in Ireland for many years. Horrible weather for several years caused the “Great Potato Famine” in Ireland in the 1840s and early 1850s
- The potato famine in Ireland caused almost 1 MILLION deaths due to starvation
- Potatoes are full of potassium which is a very important mineral for our bodies
- Potatoes are low in calories.
- Potatoes are grown all over the world
- China grows more potatoes than any other country
- The Inca Indians used potatoes to treat cuts and scrapes
- Potatoes were the first vegetable to be taken into space
- The largest potato ever grown weighed over 8 pounds
- The most nutritious part of the potato is the flesh…not the skin
How to grow potatoes
- They are a root crop. This means that the edible part of the plant is the part that grows under the dirt. In fact, it is VERY dangerous to eat the green tops of the potato plant or potato skins that are green. These things contain chemicals that are poisonous and toxic.
- They need lots of sunshine. One reason they need the sun is because the soil needs to be warm for them to grow their very best.
- They also need loose soil that isn’t too wet or too dry. They need loose soil because the potato cannot grow as big if the soil is packed tight.
- They need moisture too—not too much, though. If the ground is too wet, the potatoes will rot in the ground.
- Potatoes plants are started from the buds or ‘eyes’ of an existing potato. You can cut the potato into pieces and plant them with the bud or ‘eye’ facing up.
It takes about 100 days after planting for potatoes to be ready to harvest. You harvest potatoes by digging them out of the ground with a potato fork (a shovel that looks like a big fork). Potatoes are ready to dig about two weeks after the green tops have turned brown and wilted away.