" Blog da Horta Biológica: Potato: Benefits, Cultivation and Harvesting

Potato: Benefits, Cultivation and Harvesting

Today we're going to talk about one of the most beloved (and currently controversial) foods: potato! We'll tell you about its origins, health benefits, and show you through a video how to grow and harvest this food as old as humanity.


The potato is a horticultural crop of the Solanaceae family (the same as tomato, pepper, and eggplant) originating from the Andes. Its cultivation has been done for thousands of years and was brought to Europe by the Spaniards in the 16th century. It is the fourth most cultivated crop in the world. Thirdly we have the rice, secondly the wheat and in first place the corn. For centuries potato has been the food base of many peoples even outside its region of origin.


Nowadays there's a lot of controversy about certain foods. Foods that have gone from dunce to genius and foods that have gone from genius to dunce. Unfortunately the potato is one of the latter! A food that has been consumed and appreciated in the world for centuries is now considered bad and dangerous. In order to demystify things, we researched and were surprised to find that potatoes have even more benefits than we thought. Get to know them:

Nutritional Values of Potato

Besides tasty, potato is also highly nutritious. Although many people consider it a caloric food, potato has little fat and is rich in essential nutrients to the health, which are also indicated for those who want to lose weight.

Minerals: rich in Potassium, but also Iron, Phosphorus, Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, and Zinc.

Vitamins: contain vitamins. Super rich in Vitamin C! Vitamin K increases elasticity of arteries, preventing strokes.

Water and Fiber: high content of both.

Quercetin: a powerful flavonoid. It is antioxidant, anticancer and has the capacity to decrease the incidence of myocardial infarction and cataracts in diabetics!

Tryptophan: is an amino acid that is essential to nutrition and is the substance responsible for the sense of well-being, which helps fighting depression.

Carbohydrates: rich in starch (we'll talk about it below in this post) used as a source of glucose.

Nowadays, the potato is considered bad and sweet potato is considered good, but by analyzing the two, we can see that the characteristics and benefits are very similar. The sweet potato is actually even more caloric and has more sugar than the normal potato.

Tables: Wikipedia


Want to know the benefits of potatoes in a fun way? See here in our infographic!

But what about starch?! What about diabetes?!

We also have family members who suffer from diabetes, which led us to research about starch and its effects on health. What we discovered was something quite pleasant compared to the controversy that has been generated in recent times about this carbohydrate.

In a simple way, starch is a carbohydrate made up of glucose, which is used by the cells as an energy source. It is the most common carbohydrate in food and is found in various foods other than potatoes, such as cereals and legumes.

The pancreas of diabetics does not produce insulin, the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar, which causes the body to not use glucose properly, thereby causing hyperglycemia.

It is well known that anyone who is diabetic has to closely control the diet and the level of sugar ingested. However, if there can't be too much sugar, there can't be lack of it either.  In case you don't know, when providing first aid to a diabetic any situation is treated as if it was hypoglycemia. Conscious or unconscious, the procedure is always to give a good amount of sugar. If conscious you should give him/her 2 sugar packets and a snack of high-sugar foods. If unconscious you should make a sugar porridge and place it in the mouth. This is the procedure according to the rules of first aid in the European Union. The procedure is likely to be similar outside the EU.

Many years ago, when there was little or no information about healthy eating, one of our relatives who was non-diabetic was hospitalized for unknown reasons. Diagnosis? Drop in sugar! We all need sugar as long as it is balanced.

The diabetic diet is considered the healthiest one because it contemplates all foods in moderate doses and avoids too much sugar, refined foods and alcohol.

To maintain a healthy life the diabetic (and non-diabetic) diet must include with adequate amounts:

  • Fiber, minerals and vitamins, which can be found in vegetables and fruits.
  • Proteins, calcium and iron, which can be found in eggs, lean meats and products.
  • Carbohydrates, which can be found in bread, cereals and tubers.

These nutrients are not in order of importance. All are necessary and, as you can see, the diabetic diet is the same for those who do not suffer from the disease, but want to eat a balanced and healthy diet.

Unless you have some sort of allergy or intolerance, starch is definitely part of a healthy diet. As with all foods, what is consumed in excess is bad. Glucose and, consequently, starch are necessary for health and well-being. It all boils down to balance!

Keep this wise sentence:

"Everything is poisonous, nothing is poisonous, it is all a matter of dose."


After all starch is not the bogeyman that is talked about today! Good news, isn't it? :)

Potato From Cultivation to Harvesting

Potatoes are sown in the winter and harvested in the summer. In certain regions, as long as there's no frost, there's the possibility to harvest twice or more in a year. To show you how the potato is produced organically we have made a video filmed over the months from cultivation to harvesting.

The video does not contemplate treatments against pests and diseases, because our plantation didn't have those. If you plant potatoes and do the triennial rotation, they are most likely to stay healthy. If you need to apply treatments, Bordeaux mixture is the most used in organic farming for most diseases.

So, let's see how to do it?

Video - Potato: From Cultivation to Harvesting

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