‘Royal Gem’, also known as ‘Early Ohio’, ‘Early Illinois’, and ‘Prize’, is an heirloom variety potato introduced to the U.S. in the late 1800’s. The tubers are round and vaguely apple-shaped with papery skin and pinkish patches. Some of the larger specimens of this type weight 12 ounces. Potatoes are perennials grown as annuals. They are related to eggplant, tomatoes and peppers. Potatoes need a frost free growing season of 90 to 120 days. They are a cool weather crop and grow best in areas with a cool summer. Ideal potato growing temperature is between 60 and 70 degrees F. Hot weather reduces tuber production. Traditionally, potatoes are grown in the summer in the North and during fall and winter in the South.Potatoes are grown from whole potatoes or pieces called seed. Each seed must have at least one eye. Potatoes must have well-drained, fertile soil that is higher in organic matter and having a pH between 5.0 and 5.5. Plant in full sun, 4 inches deep nad 18 inches apart in rows that are 3 feet apart. Potatoes are usually planted on hills or raised rows, to allow for drainage. Fertilize again around midseason. Even moisture and a good thick layer of mulch will result in a better crop. Harvet time ranges from 75 to 130 days after planting. Dig up new potatoes after the plant blooms, or if it doesn’t bloom, after the leaves start to yellow. Potatoes that are sold in grocery stores are usually dug two weeks after the vines have died in the fall. Rotate crops to prevent pest build-up in the soil.Important Info : Green skin and shoots of the potato are toxic!
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CharacteristicsCultivar: Royal Gem
Size: Height: 0 ft. to 0 ft.
Width: 0 ft. to 0 ft.
Plant Category: annuals and biennials, vegetables,
Foliage Characteristics: medium leaves,
Flower Color: whites,
Bloomtime Range: not applicable
USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 to 9
AHS Heat Zone: Not defined for this plant
Light Range: Sun to Full Sun
pH Range: 6.5 to 8
Soil Range: Some Sand to Clay Loam
Water Range: Normal to Normal
FertilizingHow-to : Fertilization for Annuals and Perennials
Annuals and perennials may be fertilized using: 1.water-soluble, quick release fertilizers; 2. temperature controlled slow-release fertilizers; or 3. organic fertilizers such as fish emulsion. Water soluble fertilizers are generally used every two weeks during the growing season or per label instructions. Controlled, slow-release fertilizers are worked into the soil ususally only once during the growing season or per label directions. For organic fertilizers such as fish emulsion, follow label directions as they may vary per product.
LightConditions : Full Sun
Full Sun is defined as exposure to more than 6 hours of continuous, direct sun per day.
WateringConditions : Moist and Well Drained
Moist and well drained means exactly what it sounds like. Soil is moist without being soggy because the texture of the soil allows excess moisture to drain away. Most plants like about 1 inch of water per week. Amending your soil with compost will help improve texture and water holding or draining capacity. A 3 inch layer of mulch will help to maintain soil moisture and studies have shown that mulched plants grow faster than non-mulched plants.
Conditions : Outdoor Watering
Plants are almost completely made up of water so it is important to supply them with adequate water to maintain good plant health. Not enough water and roots will wither and the plant will wilt and die. Too much water applied too frequently deprives roots of oxygen leading to plant diseases such as root and stem rots. The type of plant, plant age, light level, soil type and container size all will impact when a plant needs to be watered. Follow these tips to ensure successful watering:
* The key to watering is water deeply and less frequently. When watering, water well, i.e. provide enough water to thoroughly saturate the root ball. With in-ground plants, this means thoroughly soaking the soil until water has penetrated to a depth of 6 to 7 inches (1' being better). With container grown plants, apply enough water to allow water to flow through the drainage holes.
* Try to water plants early in the day or later in the afternoon to conserve water and cut down on plant stress. Do water early enough so that water has had a chance to dry from plant leaves prior to night fall. This is paramount if you have had fungus problems.
* Don't wait to water until plants wilt. Although some plants will recover from this, all plants will die if they wilt too much (when they reach the permanent wilting point).
* Consider water conservation methods such as drip irrigation, mulching, and xeriscaping. Drip systems which slowly drip moisture directly on the root system can be purchased at your local home and garden center. Mulches can significantly cool the root zone and conserve moisture.
* Consider adding water-saving gels to the root zone which will hold a reserve of water for the plant. These can make a world of difference especially under stressful conditions. Be certain to follow label directions for their use.
Conditions : Normal Watering for Outdoor Plants
Normal watering means that soil should be kept evenly moist and watered regularly, as conditions require. Most plants like 1 inch of water a week during the growing season, but take care not to over water. The first two years after a plant is installed, regular watering is important for establishment. The first year is critical. It is better to water once a week and water deeply, than to water frequently for a few minutes.
PlantingHow-to : Preparing Garden Beds
Use a soil testing kit to determine the acidity or alkalinity of the soil before beginning any garden bed preparation. This will help you determine which plants are best suited for your site. Check soil drainage and correct drainage where standing water remains. Clear weeds and debris from planting areas and continue to remove weeds as soon as they come up.
A week to 10 days before planting, add 2 to 4 inches of aged manure or compost and work into the planting site to improve fertility and increase water retention and drainage. If soil composition is weak, a layer of topsoil should be considered as well. No matter if your soil is sand or clay, it can be improved by adding the same thing: organic matter. The more, the better; work deep into the soil. Prepare beds to an 18 inch deep for perennials. This will seem like a tremendous amount of work now, but will greatly pay off later. Besides, this is not something that is easily done later, once plants have been established.
How-to : Preparing Containers
Containers are excellent when used as an ornamental feature, a planting option when there is little or no soil to plant in, or for plants that require a soil type not found in the garden or when soil drainage in the garden is inferior. If growing more than one plant in a container, make sure that all have similar cultural requirements. Choose a container that is deep and large enough to allow root development and growth as well as proportional balance between the fully developed plant and the container. Plant large containers in the place you intend them to stay. All containers should have drainage holes. A mesh screen, broken clay pot pieces(crock) or a paper coffee filter placed over the hole will keep soil from washing out. The potting soil you select should be an appropriate mix for the plants you have chosen. Quality soils (or soil-less medias) absorb moisture readily and evenly when wet. If water runs off soil upon initial wetting, this is an indicator that your soil may not be as good as you think.
Prior to filling a container with soil, wet potting soil in the bag or place in a tub or wheelbarrow so that it is evenly moist. Fill container about halfway full or to a level that will allow plants, when planted, to be just below the rim of the pot. Rootballs should be level with soil line when project is complete. Water well.
ProblemsDiseases : Blight
Blights are cause by fungi or bacteria that kill plant tissue. Symptoms often show up as the rapid spotting or wilting of foliage. There are many different blights, specific to various plants, each requiring a varied method of control.
Pest : Colorado Potato Beetle
Colorado Potato Beetle is 1/3 inch long, has black and yellow striped wing covers, and a distinguishing darker yellow thorax, or ""vest"", with black spots. Grubs, which are about 1/4 the size of the adult, are reddish-brown with small, black spots. Adults and larvae feed on leaves and stems, leaving behind black excrement. Their voracious feeding habits can be devastating.
Problems begin in the spring when adult beetles emerge from the soil to feed and lay hundreds of eggs on the undersides of leaves. There can be up to 3 generations per year.
Prevention and Management: Thick mulch or floating row covers can prevent pests from reaching plants. Marigold, catnip, and tansy seem to deter beetles as well, because of their strong fragrance. Handpicking adults is another option. Insecticides that are labelled to control Colorado Potato Beetle can be used. Follow the label to a tee.
MiscellaneousConditions : Slope Tolerant
Slope tolerant plants are those that have a fibrous root system and are often plants that prefer good soil drainage. These plants assist in erosion control by stabilizing/holding the soil on slopes intact.
Glossary : Annual
An annual is any plant that completes its life cycle in one growing season.
Glossary : Edibles
An edible is a plant that has a part or all of it that can be safely consumed in some way.
Glossary : Fertilize
Fertilize just before new growth begins with a complete fertilizer.