Purple potatoes, also known as Peruvian purple potatoes, have naturally purple or deep blue skin and flesh, and are unusually high in antioxidants which makes them super healthful. Their unique colors come from natural anthocyanin pigments; some Peruvian potatoes are naturally purple, while others are bred for deeper shades.
They are an excellent source of potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and much more! Purple potatoes have been valued in South America for a long time. In their culture, it is known as the “food of gods” for centuries.
Purple Potato Varieties
Purple Peruvian is purple throughout and produces well late in the season. Purple Fiesta is a mid-season specialty potato which retains its color when cooked. Purple Viking has a true purple skin with pink-red splashes, and snow white flesh which gets sweeter during storage. Purple Majesty is perhaps the most intense dark purple variety. The small Purple Pelisse is a fingerling potato that has been altered to produce a deep violet color.
Because there is only the slightest difference in shades of deep blue and purple, many of the best purple potatoes have blue in their name. One of the most common is Adirondack Blue, large and oblong with deep blue skin and purplish flesh. Unlike some others, it keeps its colors when boiled.
All Blue potato, also known as Russian Blue, Blue Marker, Congo, and several other names, is a heritage potato with a characteristic deep purple skin and a purple flesh streaked with white. Midnight Moon has nearly purple skin and a moist, golden yellow flesh.
Growing Purple Potatoes in Containers
1. Choose and Prepare a Container:
Let me be very clear on this, almost any container will do with these criteria being met: It should be well-draining, make sure it isn’t toxic, preferably a tall one rather than a squat one.
When you have picked your container to give it a good clean and add any extra holes it needs, as sufficient drainage is probably one the most important factors in a healthy yield.
2. Choose Seed Potatoes:
You get a lot of leverage while choosing your seeds. There are a lot of varieties which you can choose from. Potatoes come in a lot of different colours as well.
It varies where you can find the seeds but usually, you can find seed potatoes at the local nursery, gardening places, or organic gardening places. You can even order them online.
If the only option you have left is the grocery store, you can even use them with these specifications being filled. They should be organic, as some grocery store potatoes have been treated so they won’t grow as you expect.
Try to choose new potatoes. Once you have them, wash them carefully. Not to damage their eyes as those are where their roots will be growing.
3. Cut and Cure:
Now that you have your potatoes you will need to chit them. Which is for just getting them to sprout eyes. You can put them in an egg carton or paper bag for some days and it should do the job.
You can plant potatoes whole or cut up, that is up to you. While it is something personal, I do recommend cutting them in half. Make sure each piece has at least one eye and leave them overnight for the cuts to heal.
4. Using Cultivars:
A really essential step with garden potatoes, you want to choose cultivars known to do well in your area. Don’t buy from shanty places. Even if it is expensive (worth it in the long run) buy from nurseries with good reputations and local growers.
The reason I say this is because almost all grocery store potatoes have been treated with tuber inhibitors and as you can predict you will not get much of a crop.
Sometimes they work(somehow) but they carry diseases and can infect your other crops, or your neighbour’s crops even! Something which everyone knows is that early and mid-season potatoes do best in containers. So, it is important to keep them disease-free.
You want to start by filling your container with a few inches of soil and then compost. Secondly, place the potato pieces on top of the soil. You will need to cover them with another six inches of soil and then water, but do it a loose manner.
Six hours a sun per day will do the trick for potatoes, more sunlight will be even more welcome. You can plant potatoes along with other vegetables as well.
They are great companions to beans, cabbage and corn etc. They are also better off growing away from sunflowers, tomatoes and raspberries.
6. Water and Add More Soil:
Purple potatoes will start to grow quickly. Keep an eye on them as they grow. Roughly add more soil around the plants. I will give you a rough estimate, for example; if you observe 6 inches or more growth every two weeks than add a shovel full or so.
Keep the soil moist and don’t allow it to drain out. This is where the drainage comes in. Good drainage is very important as it keeps the moil optimum. If the soil gets too moist then it will destroy the potato.
7. Harvesting Potatoes
Small or “new” purple potatoes can be harvested about three months after planting, but for larger, mature tubers wait until plants turn yellow, or cut the mature plants down about four months after planting and then dig the tubers. Dig gently to avoid cuts and bruises; do not wash, just brush off soil.