Potatoes are a staple crop in Zambia, and they are grown on a large scale. The Zambian market for Irish potatoes is growing tremendously. Irish potatoes are a starchy tuber crop from the perennial solanaceae plant solamun tubersum. They are primarily grown as a food crop and a vegetable.
If you’re looking to add some Irish potatoes to your farm, here are a few things you need to know about growing them in Zambia. Prepare land for Irish Potato Farming, acquire best varieties, seed preparation, planting methods, Irrigation and weed and disease control, and harvesting.
With a little care and effort, following the steps outlined and discussed in this material on how to grow Irish potatoes, you can successfully grow Irish potatoes in Zambia!
How To Grow Irish Potatoes In Zambia PDF
Growing Irish potatoes in Zambia is a process that can be done in a few simple steps.
Step 1 – Soil Requirement
Irish potatoes need cool climate conditions, and adequate rainfall, with temperatures ranging from 10 – 23. So, make sure to plant them in a location that meets these requirements. Best, you can get land in the western province, central, and or Northern provinces.
The soil requirement includes well-drained soil and slightly acidic loamy soil. So be sure to add some organic matter to your soil before planting.
Avoid heavy clay soils, which drain poorly and make cultivation difficult. Virgin soil with a high organic matter content is suitable, provided it has been properly plowed and brought to a fine tilth.
Step 2 – Prepare Land for Irish Potato Farming
The next step is to prepare the soil. You must clear the land of all bush and tree trunks before beginning Irish potato farming.
The soil must then be tilled and deep plowed. Dig the soil again two weeks before the rains begin to loosen it and remove all weeds. Manure should also be added to enrich soil nutrients.
Make farm beds that are 2 to 3 inches high to provide enough room for the potato plant since they are a root crop and will burrow deep into the soil.
Step 3 – Acquire Best Varieties
There are different varieties of Irish potatoes, but not all can thrive in Zambia. The best varieties you should go for are Valor, Georgina, Rumba, Madison, and Jelly because all of these varieties performed very well under Zambian growing conditions
Make sure you visit a reliable farmer or sales vendor to get your quality varieties.
Step 4 – Seed Preparation
Potato tubers are used to grow Irish potatoes. So, choose mature disease-free tubers with no damage. For pest control, mix the tubers with herbs such as neem leaves or lantana camara. After that, place them in the shade until they sprout before planting.
You can also place the potato tubers out in the field or a warm place for 15 to 20 days before planting. Allow them to sprout for 10 – 15 days at a temperature of 15 – 20oC. In extreme temperatures, diseased potato tubers decompose. Remove the rotten potatoes and properly dispose of them, and carefully select the healthy sprouted potatoes as planting materials.
Step 5 – Planting Methods
There are two main methods for planting Irish Potatoes after the soil has been prepared and your seeds are well prepared and ready for planting. You can plant them in the field and plant in sacks.
Planting in the Field
It is critical to observe the season when planting in the field. If it’s raining, make sure the potato plants aren’t submerged in water for more than an hour after heavy rain.
The tubers should be planted on raised farm beds that are about 30cm high and 80 to 100cm apart. Later, the farm beds can be raised even higher.
Planting in Sack
Once you have a bag to plant your potatoes, fill with soil and compost mix of 5cm. Then plant the tuber, a minimum of two in a bag, and fill again with just enough soil to cover the tops of the tubers.
Maintain balanced soil mix moisture and cover the sprouted potato greens with a compost mix as they emerge. Cover them with burlap and unroll it as the soil level rises.
Step 6 – Irrigation and Fertilizer Application
After planting, water the seeds well. The Irish potatoes will need to be watered regularly, especially during dry periods.
When the plants start to flower, you will need to add some nitrogen-rich fertilizer to encourage fruiting. To prevent rot, the seed piece shouldn’t come into contact with the fertilizer. Flatten the beds to a height of 6 to 8 inches and a width of 10 to 12 inches before spreading the fertilizer.
It is best to contact an expert to help analyze your soil and recommend the best fertilizer and application process for optimal results.
Step 7 – Weed and Disease Control
Weed control helps to reduce yield loss caused by competition for moisture, nutrients, and light. Because of this, weed when the crop is approximately 10 cm high and again when it is 20–25 cm high. It is preferable to weed early to lessen plant contact and prevent the spread of viruses like the potato virus.
Potato plants can be susceptible to pests and diseases, so it’s important to keep an eye out for any problems. If you spot anything, talk to your local agricultural extension office for advice on how to deal with it.
Step 8 – Harvesting
The tubers are mature and ready for harvest within 3 to 4 months when the growing season is over and the foliage is dead. Harvesting can be done manually with the use of hoes, spades, and gardeners, the tubers can be lifted by hand, or lifting machines can be used mechanically.
What is the best time to plant Irish potatoes in Zambia?
The best time to plant Irish Potatoes in Zambia is just after the rains have started to avoid seed damage.
How many months do Irish potatoes take to mature?
Potatoes grow to maturity within 3 to 4 months.
How do you prepare Irish potatoes for planting?
Place the potato tubers in the field in a warm, sunny area for 15 to 20 days before planting. the warmth will allow them to sprout normally within 10 to 15 days if exposed to a temperature of 15 to 20 °C.
How many bags of Irish potatoes can an acre produce?
You will be able to get within 30 bags, at most 100 bags per acre depending on how effective your planting method is and how you care for the plants.
When should I fertilize my potatoes?
It is best to fertilize Irish potatoes adequately in the early season growing season, especially when the plant starts to flower.
How many potatoes do you get per acre?
You will get at least 10 tons of potatoes per acre.
How many potatoes do you get per plant?
You can get a minimum of 3 or 4 pounds of tomatoes per plant.
How many days does the Irish potato take to grow?
Irish potatoes grow to maturity in just 90 to 120 days.
How do you care for Irish potatoes?
You care for Irish potatoes by
- Watering regularly
- Weeding to remove unwanted plants
- Fertilizer application
- Watch out for pests and diseases
Do I cut my potatoes before planting?
Yes, you can cut potatoes into pieces before planting. Each part ought to have a minimum of one “eye”—a bud that will grow into a new plant.
What to do with potatoes before planting?
The tubers must first be cut into 1.5 to 2-ounce pieces. That means you need to divide a large potato into six pieces, or four pieces for an average-sized potato. After that, keep the cut seed somewhere warm and humid for a couple of days to give the freshly cut surface time to “heal.” By doing this, the seed piece won’t rot when planted.
Which soil is best for potatoes?
A fertile sandy loam soil, which drains well is the best soil for potatoes.
How many bags of fertilizer do you need per acre of potatoes?
You will need at least four 50 kg bags of fertilizer per acre of an Irish potato farm.
How profitable is Irish potato farming?
Irish potato farming is profitable with much profit made from sales considering its high demand. Irish potato farmers earn enough money with a minimum of 25% of ROI.
How much water does an acre of potatoes need?
An acre of potatoes needs between 1-2 inches of water per week. This can be provided through irrigation or rainfall
How much is a sack of potatoes in Zambia?
In Zambia, a kilo of potatoes costs about $2.70.
How do you prepare the soil for potatoes?
It is best to prepare the soil a month or two before planting. After removing the soil of weeds, dig straight trenches 12 cm deep and 60 cm apart. Plant seed potatoes in the spring, spacing them out 30 cm, and cover them with dirt to fill the trench.
How long do potatoes take to grow in Zambia?
It takes 3 to 4 months for potatoes to grow in Zambia.
How many potatoes can you grow in a container?
The number of potatoes to be grown in a container depends on the container size. For instance, a container that is 20 inches wide can contain four small seed potatoes.
Do potatoes need full sun?
Potatoes need a sunny location with a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.
How do you know when Irish potatoes are ready to harvest?
The potatoes have reached their full size and are prepared for harvest when the tops of the vines have completely died.
Potato Farming PDF
Here is the Irish potato farming guide pdf. Knowledge is key in farming. you must learn the ropes and know all the requirements needed to establish a successful potato farming. You can go through a series of Potato farming PDFs containing all the needed information and guidelines for potato farming.
Potato Farming Requirements
Requirements for potato farming include:
- Sunny location with 6 hours of sunlight
- Fertile loose well-drained soil
- Soil that is slightly acidic
How to Grow Potatoes in Rainy Season
To plant potatoes in the rainy season, the potato plants are not submerged in water for even an hour after heavy rainfall. To avoid any issue that can hamper affect the seeds, make farm beds that are about 30cm high and 80 to 100cm apart. The beds can be raised further raised higher.
Irish Potato Yield Per Hectare in Zambia
Irish potato yield per hectare in Zambia is 250,957
Fertilizer for Potatoes in Zambia
A high phosphorus or Ammonium Nitrate is the main fertilizer for potatoes in Zambia. Others make use of manure as well.
How many bags of Irish potatoes per Acre
Per acre of potato farmland, you will get between 30 to 100 bags of Irish potatoes.
Potato seeds in Zambia
Potato seeds in Zambia are used to plant Irish potatoes to get more products at the end of harvest. You can purchase potato seeds from Buya Bamba at https://www.buyabamba.com/
How long does it take to grow Irish potatoes
It takes 3 to 4 months to grow Irish potatoes.
If you are here, it means you have read through this material on how to grow Irish potatoes in Zambia PDF and you are now knowledgeable regarding the process and methods involved in growing Irish potatoes.