Tomatos That I Grow

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Gardeners Delght seedlngs sown on the 23-02-18 seed bought from Wilkos

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Image of the aluminium greenhouse where I grow my tomato’s the greenhouse is very old and I have been using it for about fifteen years

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I was preparing the tomato’s for the coming season and you can see I have got about half of the greenhouse planted out the seedling are in the background amongst the chaos I have created

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The tomato’s in this image have been planted in their grow pots for about two weeks

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Notice the grape vine growing on the right hand side

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Close up of the tomato’s which have been planted in their grow pots for about two weeks

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The tomato variety shown in this image are my favourite Gardeners Delight which to grow very well and are not suspetable to many growing problems or diseases

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The tomatos look happy enough and seem to be growing well in their grow pots I always use grow bags as the base component for gowing them in

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Notice the grape vine which is a strawbery tasting type in the back ground its looking really healthy and the main thing it tastes great and there are no pips

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It normally takes about a week to get all the tomato plants into their grow pots and the other containers I use

The Blue Bell Hendon

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Notice the new houses on the right of the Blue Bell these where built in the 1970s and are privately owned

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The roof of The Blue Bell was once a beautiful tiled structure but over many years of neglect sadly it is now nothing like it was in its hey day notice the attic window and the chimney pots and the TV mast

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The Blue Bell was situated in Zion Street Hendon Sunderland which was a street in the Jewish quarter of Hendon

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The Blue Bell looks very sad in its derelict condition and was pulled down shortly after I took these images

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My white Berlingo van can be seen on the left of the image

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Holy Trinity church can be seen in the background the church was opened in 1719 for the growing population of Sunderland as the ship building industry grew

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The attic window of The Blue Bell I wonder what history it can tell us about the pub

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Close up of the Blue Bells attic window now sadly looking very delapitdated after the pub closed shortly after the Blue Bell was pulled down and made into a car park

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Notice the broken windows the drain pipes and the Sky antenna on the wall

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Close up of the broken windows and the drain pipes and the size of the bricks these were the old style a lot smaller than the ones used for building these days

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This was the main door of The Blue Bell the windows are now sadly boarded up with chip board

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Grass and weeds are now growing freely around The Blue Bells main door and on the pavement

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The licence sign of The Blue Bell sadly now looking rather tired and old

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The front of The Blue Bell you can see Holy Trinity Church clock tower on the right of the image

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Notice the broken windows and the curtains hanging out they look vey old

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There is even an original Sky mast next to the drain pipe

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Me and my father Billy Bell often had a drink in The Blue Bell on an afternoon

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The windows of the attic and the first floor are all broken now and the pub now looks a shadow of its former self

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The Zion Street sign looks tattered and weary now is as if to say I have had enough

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In this image you can see nearly all of the boarded up front of The Blue Bell

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The chimney and the attic window can be seen clearly in this image and notice the seagull perched on the attic window

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This image shows The Blue Bells rear extension in Moor Street not quite sure what the function of the extension was but it has been suggested that it could have been the pubs kitchen

Asparagus That I Grow

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This image is of an asparagus plantlet called Sweet Purple I purchased about a dozen of these plantlets of a guy called Keith Wheeler in May 2018
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The roots of the asparagus plantlets can be seen just before I repotted them into larger plant pots

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I use different size pots when transplanting the asparagus seedlings and always mix perlite with the compost I use for transplanting the asparagus

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These images of are of asparagus UC 157 F2 the one of the most popular varieties grown in the world and was developed in the early eighties

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A view of the asparagus plantlets ferns they are looking very healthy and green all these plantlets were grown from seed in my unheated conservatory

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More images of the asparagus plantlets after they had been repotted by me in the conservatory on the allotment

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Image of the ferns of asparagus Sweet Purple planlets which are about seven months old I grew the plantlets from seed in my unheated conservatory

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Friday, 22 March 2019
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Gray Road Hendon

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This a bit of a blured image of the front room of 33 Gray Road in the image you can see a photograph of my late mam and dad celebrating their wedding anniversary also an image of my oldest daughter Lisa

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The fire side in the front room of 33 Gray Road when we were children this was a coal fire but in my mam and dads later life was replaced by an electric fire

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The famous green phone which all of my family hated but my dad loved

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The bay window was a typical type used in the mid seventies on property in Hendon and Sunderland

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Billy Bell my father better known as Hendons historian because of his slide shows and his knowledge of Hendon and Sunderlands history

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David Bell outside 33 Gray Road visiting his father Billy Bell at 33 Gray Road this was just after my Mam had died

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Notice my Berlingo van parked on Gray Road the new buildings on the left was once an old vicarage

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These houses were buitl in the late eighties and were typical of the houses built in Hendon and Sunderland at that time they where well built and looked good

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Image show the repairing of the gable end of the house after wind damage on a house in Gray Road Hendon

Sportsmans Arms

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The Sportsman’s Arms now Known as the Scullery

The Sportsman’s Arms closed on the 05-02-2010 when it closed it was left empty for a few years until a plumbing business opened up a showroom and office in the premises the company owners decided as they were not using all of the building so decided to rent out the old lounge at the rear of the pub

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The Sportsmans Arms Silksworth was once one of the most important buildings in Silksworth

Images taken by Dave Bell

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I took these images from the bottom of High Newport Allotments in May 2010 when the Sportsman’s Arms sadly closed and ended one of the last places that was used and built for the miners and their families of Silksworth very little remains of the miners heritage in Silksworth nowadays

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The once proud sign of the Sportsman’s Arms now looks tired and weary

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Notice the boarded up windows and The Sportsmans Arms sign still swinging as if everything was ok image taken on a wet and windy very cold day

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Close up of the sign on the rear wall of The Sportsmans Arms which closed in May 2010 because of lost revenue caused by very few local people using the public house

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The Sportsmans Arms puplic house built for the miners of Silksworth in 1871 as Silksworth Colliery grew new houses were built for the miners and their families and not forgetting why The Sportsmans Arms built for the miners when they had finished their shifts and to socialise when not working

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Silksworth Colliery shaft was sunk in 1869 In 1871, according to the Census there were approx 800 people living in the Silksworth and Tunstall areas, the local area was mainly farmland and where most people worked on the land.

Potato Onions

Another very rare and unsual vegtable I grown on my allotment the potato onion

This is how the potato onions arrived neatly packaged and very healthy please note there were also everlasting onions included in the package 
Neatly packaged  Well packed and very healthy  These potao onions come from the West coast of Scotland 
Potato onions growing well in their containers     20180521 094411 


The potato onion (Allium cepa var. aggregatum) is a member of the onion family that reproduces primarily by division of bulbs, rather than by seed. This makes it more similar in form to garlic than to standard onions. They were once a mainstay of northern garden plots, where they were easier to grow than standard onions from seed. They are also known as nesting onions or multiplier onions.

Potato onions are closely related to shallots, which are also A. cepa var. aggregatum. Shallots are generally better known than potato onions. Although potato onions and shallots have just enough differences to represent two families of cultivars, the exact dividing line between the two is hard to place. Potato onions are larger, divide into fewer bulbs, and remain enclosed within the skin of the seed bulb longer (Fritsch 2002). Shallots typically have milder flavor and poor storage characteristics, while potato onions typically have a sharper flavor and store much better.

potato-onion-clusterPotato onions are more commonly grown by replanting the bulbs than by starting from seed. This distinguishes them from conventional biennial onions, which must be started from seed. Nesting bulbs should not be confused with sets that are used to start biennial onions. Sets are actually small onions that somebody else started from seed; this is different than the propagation of potato onions, which directly produce bulbs that can be used to propagate the plant.

The individual bulbs are smaller than most conventional onions. Potato onions range from about half an inch to two inches (1.2 to 5 cm) in diameter, although some newer varieties produce larger bulbs.

Potato onions can be replanted indefinitely and harvested annually, which makes them easier to manage than biennial onions that must be grown from seed each year.


The origin of shallots and potato onions is uncertain. The earliest clear records of their use come from 12th century France (Fritsch 2003).

Potato onions were once a popular crop in North America, but fell out of favor in the early twentieth century, along with many other staples of the home garden. One possible reason for this is the additional labor involved in harvesting potato onions. Because they grow in a nest that must be divided, they are not as suitable for mechanical harvest as individual standard onions. The storage of bulbs for propagation can also be expensive on a large scale.

Potato onions are grown as a home or small farm product in Europe, North America, and parts of Russia and central Asia. They are grown commercially in Brazil and India (Fritsch 2003). They were grown in Finland commonly until the middle of the twentieth century and 22 varieties have been identified there (Heinonen 2014). Potato onions were reportedly once grown from seed in Russia, which may account for the rich diversity in Northern Europe, where seed production is rare (Leino 2014).


I haven’t turned up any nutritional analyses of potato onions, but they are probably very similar to biennial storage onions.

Cooking and Eating

All parts are edible. You can snip the new leaves as green onions. The bulbs substitute well in recipes calling for storage type (not sweet) onions. Try incorporating them into soups or baked into breads.


Climate Tolerance

Onions of all types are pretty hardy plants that originated in cold climates. They can handle climates as cold as USDA zone 4 and perhaps colder if there is some snow cover or if a thick mulch is applied.


Onions are perhaps the most familiar vegetable with photoperiod dependencies. Some require long days, some require short days, and some are day neutral: they will form bulbs at any time of year.

Most potato onions are long day plants that only bulb well north of 37N latitude (or south of 37S). There are a few short day or day neutral varieties grown in the South.

Soil Requirements

Potato onions are tolerant of a wide range of conditions, but prefer mildly acidic to neutral pH and will do best in organically rich, well drained soil.

Propagule Care


Onions keep best at cool, but not cold temperatures. 50 to 60° F (10 to 16 C) and low humidity is a good combination for storing onion bulbs.


Onion seeds have a short storage life; germination declines quickly after a year when they are held at room temperature. Stored below 40° F (4 C), they retain good germination out to at least three years. They have no dormancy, so they can be sown as soon as they are harvested.



Much like any other northern onion, you can choose to plant in fall or spring (or winter in mild climates). Fall planting gives a bit of a head start but, in some cases, can trigger flowering. Fall planted potato onions may mature as much as a month earlier. Spring planting also works very well and may be a better choice in wet climates, since bulbs may rot in consistently wet soil.

Bulb dormancy can be broken with two weeks of vernalization at 50° F (10 C) (Sumanaratne 2002). Perhaps for the same reason, fall planting increases the number of plants that bolt to seed in spring in some climates (maritime climates, in particular). This can be useful if you want to produce seed, but the flower stalks are best removed if you don’t want seed, as they tend to reduce bulb size.

Heat treatment can be used to prevent varieties from flowering. The bulbs are warmed in 104 to 107° F (40 to 42 C) water for one hour (Heinonen 2014) before planting. This also helps to break dormancy.

In mild climates, where the plants will grow through the winter, plant the bulb with the tip just at the surface of the soil. In colder climates, where most of the growth will occur in spring, it is probably better to plant with the top below the surface of the soil for greater protection (Winter 2011).


Starting potato onion seed is no different than starting other onion seeds. If you live in a mild winter climate and are a bit of a gambler, you can direct seed in early autumn. Otherwise, start seeds indoors about two months before your last frost.

Potato onion seeds forming

Scatter seeds and press into the surface of the soil. Provide strong light. Keep the soil moist until the seeds have germinated. Germination takes up to three weeks and is not as regular as that of standard onions. Plan for 60% germination at best. Harden off and transplant when the plant reaches about three inches (7.5 cm) in height.


Onions are heavy feeders and will benefit from a boost of high nitrogen fertilizer early in spring when they start forming new leaves. Keep them well weeded as they don’t compete well with tough weeds. Otherwise, onions require very little care.

Companion Planting

Because they take up such a small area of ground, potato onions make good companion plants. They are also pretty when they flower and can be incorporated into ornamental beds. Potato onions combine well with plants that do not have to be dug for their roots. Bush beans and peas work well planted among onions. Carrots, parsnips, root parsley, and other tap rooted plants work well, especially in their second year when you are saving a seed crop.

Growing as a Perennial

Potato onions help you to live the dream of a care free food forest. They are well behaved, propagate themselves, and provide some kind of harvestable product at all times of the year in mild climates. I like to let them grow in a bed for several years, harvesting as needed, and thinning a little whenever I pull a plant. Eventually, conditions will get crowded and yields will go down; then, you have to renovate the bed. If you have the space, that is a good time to move the plants into new ground, which may help to prevent accumulation of pests and diseases.

Container Growing

Potato onions grow very nicely in containers. A gallon (4 l) pot will grow a single plant and the yield should be nearly as good as growing in the ground, as long as you keep the plants well watered.


Green onions (new leaves) can be harvested fall, winter, and spring. Snip a few leaves from different plants to spread the damage. As long as you don’t cut more than ten percent, the effect on yield is minimal.

Bulbs are usually harvested in July and August, much the same as other onion varieties. This is when they are at their best, but you don’t have to harvest them all. Once the onions have bulbed, you can harvest them at any time. Usually, they will sprout in the fall, but the bulb quality remains pretty good all the way through the winter.


Potato onion flower

Like standard storage onions, potato onions keep best at cool, but not cold temperatures. Temperatures of 50 to 60° F (10 to 16 C) and low humidity is a good combination for storing onion bulbs. Don’t store your onions in colder conditions, particularly not in the refrigerator. Quality degrades rapidly at low temperatures and they tend to rot before planting time.


Onions are typically either dried or pickled. Potato onions are great for pickling, as the range of sizes is very convenient. Overall, though, one of the main benefits of potato onions is that they store really well and don’t require much effort to preserve. Potato onions will often store for more than a year in an open box in a cool pantry.


Potato onions can be planted from bulbs, which is the usual practice, or from seeds. All varieties are hybrids, so they will not grow true from seed. Instead, you get new varieties to evaluate.

Vegetative Propagation

Replanting couldn’t be easier. When harvesting, remove one bulb from the nest and replant. It is best not to plant in the same place for too long. I maintain a perennial patch of potato onions in the same place for three or four years and then relocate.

The dormancy period of potato onions is eight to ten weeks, although this can be extended substantially with cool, dry storage conditions.

There is not an easy way to propagate potato onions by cuttings.

Sexual Propagation

Potato onions are able to produce true seed, although it may take some work to convince them to do so. The most reliable way to force potato onions to go to seed is by planting them in early fall and allowing them to overwinter. Getting good early growth is important. If your potato onions are about a foot (30 cm) tall by the time freezing weather arrives, you should have a good chance of producing seed. Bulb size also plays a significant role in flowering, with bulbs of 1.2 inch (3 cm) diameter or larger flowering at more than four times the rate of smaller bulbs (Sumanaratne 2002).

A selection of potato onion bulblets grown from seed

Onions are insect pollinated and a reasonably pure crop requires isolation from other flowering onions at a distance of at least 100 feet (30 m), and preferably more. Some crossing will still occur at this distance, but I’m assuming that ninety percent purity is sufficient. For that matter, crossing with other types of onions may produce very interesting results. If you isolate a single variety of shallot or potato onion, the seeds will produce a very similar variety, although seed set will often be poor.

If you allow different varieties of potato onions to cross, then you will obtain new varieties with new characteristics. If you allow potato onions and shallots to cross, then you will generally still produce nesting onions, but they may have a wider range of characteristics. If you allow potato onions to cross with other kinds of onions, the progeny may not all be nesting types, although some probably will be, and you may get some really interesting new traits.

In short, you can get lots of different types of both annual and perennial onions by allowing wide crossing between types. Eat the annuals and propagate the perennials. You may find that you get something really good.

I see a lot of pollinator interest in potato onions, mostly honey bees and hover flies. Still, they seem to be more efficient with the flowers on the top side of each flower head. You can improve seed set by cutting a few flower heads and brushing them against the undersides.



Onions are happily a pretty pest free plant. Onion fly can be a problem, but is typically only a serious threat to seedlings. Plants grown from bulbs can be cosmetically damaged, but usually survive to produce a normal yield. Slugs sometimes show some interest in potato onions, but if you keep the soil hilled up to protect the bulb, they can’t do any serious harm.


Onions are vulnerable to a lot of viral diseases that usually don’t kill the plant but do reduce yield. This is a common problem with clonally propagated crops like potato onion. You may notice that the size of your onions decreases over time. This is often a result of virus burden. If your potato onions flower, you might try collecting some seed to grow new plants. If you keep them isolated from other onion varieties, any seeds that you collect should produce plants that are reasonably similar to the variety that you started with, but the onions will often be larger because they lack the accumulated viruses of the parent plant.


Bulblets forming among potato onion flowers

Potato onions have a lot of interesting reproductive defects. You may see some plants that flower normally and set seed, some that cannot be persuaded to flower at all, some that produce rare bulblets among the flowers, or even varieties that replace flowers entirely with bulblets. It may be possible to select new top set type onions from potato onions that produce bulblets, although these are not “true” top set onions, because they are a different species.

Crop Development

Shallots and potato onions are closely related and interfertile, so there is good potential for crossing the two in order to bring improved flavor and strong storage characteristics closer together. Also, breeding either of them against annual onions has the potential for introducing new traits (such as improved size) while retaining perenniality. I think that there is a lot of exciting potential here. Big agriculture may have little use for perennial onions, but they are fantastic for home growers.

Potatos That I grow On My Allotment

I grow various types of potatos on my allotment I try to grow varieties that are resistant to blight and other diseases for the last ten years I have grown potatos in containers or large pots and had various amounts of success with this method this year I decided to grow them directly into the ground and to be quite honest  I have had a better crop with very little of the tubers affected by blight or other problems
The potatos are growing very well and the tops look very healthy  The potatos are growing very well and the tops look very healthy 
Potato tops that have just been lifted 
Sarpo Mira  Sarpo Mira a red skinned variety of potato from Hungary 
Sarpo Mira a red skinned variety of potato from Hugary 
The images of the potatos been lifted  are Sarpo Mira a red variety resistant to blight and other diseases 
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I had just washed the potatos  I had just washed the potatos 
Notice my garden shoes in the image 
The next potatos I lifed were Sarpo Blue Danube I grew this variety because my daughter liked the colour and the taste and I must admit I agree with her
Sarpro Blue Danube  20180830 171351  Sarpo Blue Danube 


The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial nightshade Solanum tuberosum. Potato may be applied to both the plant and the edible tuber.Common or slang terms for the potato include tater and spud. Potatoes have become a staple food in many parts of the world and an integral part of much of the world's food supply. Potatoes are the world's fourth-largest food crop, following maize (corn), wheat, and rice.
In the Andes region of South America, where the species is indigenous, some other closely related species are cultivated. Potatoes were introduced to Europe in the second half of the 16th century by the Spanish. Wild potato species can be found throughout the Americas from the United States to southern Chile.The potato was originally believed to have been domesticated independently in multiple locations, but later genetic testing of the wide variety of cultivars and wild species proved a single origin for potatoes in the area of present-day southern Peru and extreme northwestern Bolivia (from a species in the Solanum brevicaule complex), where they were domesticated approximately 7,000–10,000 years ago. Following millennia of selective breeding, there are now over a thousand different types of potatoes. Over 99% of the presently cultivated potatoes worldwide descended from varieties that originated in the lowlands of south-central Chile, which have displaced formerly popular varieties from the Andes.
The local importance of the potato is variable and changing rapidly. It remains an essential crop in Europe (especially eastern and central Europe), where per capita production is still the highest in the world, but the most rapid expansion over the past few decades has occurred in southern and eastern Asia.
Being a nightshade similar to tomatoes, the vegetative and fruiting parts of the potato plant contain the toxin solanine and are not fit for human consumption. Normal potato tubers grown and stored properly produce glycoalkaloids in amounts small enough to be negligible. But if green sections of the plant (namely sprouts and skins) are exposed to light, the tuber can accumulate a high enough concentration of glycoalkaloids to affect human health if consume

The English word potato comes from Spanish patata (the name used in Spain). The Spanish Royal Academy says the Spanish word is a hybrid of the Taíno batata (sweet potato) and the Quechua papa (potato) The name originally referred to the sweet potato although the two plants are not closely related. The 16th-century English herbalist John Gerard referred to sweet potatoes as "common potatoes", and used the terms "bastard potatoes" and "Virginia potatoes" for the species we now call "potato".In many of the chronicles detailing agriculture and plants, no distinction is made between the two.[16] Potatoes are occasionally referred to as "Irish potatoes" or "white potatoes" in the United States, to distinguish them from sweet potatoes.
The name spud for a small potato comes from the digging of soil (or a hole) prior to the planting of potatoes. The word has an unknown origin and was originally (c. 1440) used as a term for a short knife or dagger, probably related to the Latin "spad-" a word root meaning "sword"; cf. Spanish "espada", English "spade" and "spadroon". It subsequently transferred over to a variety of digging tools. Around 1845, the name transferred to the tuber itself, the first record of this usage being in New Zealand English.The origin of the word "spud" has erroneously been attributed to an 18th-century activist group dedicated to keeping the potato out of Britain, calling itself The Society for the Prevention of Unwholesome Diet (S.P.U.D.). It was Mario Pei's 1949 The Story of Language that can be blamed for the word's false origin. Pei writes, "the potato, for its part, was in disrepute some centuries ago. Some Englishmen who did not fancy potatoes formed a Society for the Prevention of Unwholesome Diet. The initials of the main words in this title gave rise to spud." Like most other pre-20th century acronymic origins, this is false, and there is no evidence that a Society for the Prevention of Unwholesome Diet ever existed. 

Russet potatoes
Potato plants are herbaceous perennials that grow about 60 cm (24 in) high, depending on variety, with the leaves dying back after flowering, fruiting and tuber formation. They bear white, pink, red, blue, or purple flowers with yellow stamens. In general, the tubers of varieties with white flowers have white skins, while those of varieties with colored flowers tend to have pinkish skins.[19] Potatoes are mostly cross-pollinated by insects such as bumblebees, which carry pollen from other potato plants, though a substantial amount of self-fertilizing occurs as well. Tubers form in response to decreasing day length, although this tendency has been minimized in commercial varieties.

Potato plants
After flowering, potato plants produce small green fruits that resemble green cherry tomatoes, each containing about 300 seeds. Like all parts of the plant except the tubers, the fruit contain the toxic alkaloid solanine and are therefore unsuitable for consumption. All new potato varieties are grown from seeds, also called "true potato seed", "TPS" or "botanical seed" to distinguish it from seed tubers. New varieties grown from seed can be propagated vegetatively by planting tubers, pieces of tubers cut to include at least one or two eyes, or cuttings, a practice used in greenhouses for the production of healthy seed tubers. Plants propagated from tubers are clones of the parent, whereas those propagated from seed produce a range of different varieties.
There are about 5,000 potato varieties worldwide. Three thousand of them are found in the Andes alone, mainly in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, and Colombia. They belong to eight or nine species, depending on the taxonomic school. Apart from the 5,000 cultivated varieties, there are about 200 wild species and subspecies, many of which can be cross-bred with cultivated varieties. Cross-breeding has been done repeatedly to transfer resistances to certain pests and diseases from the gene pool of wild species to the gene pool of cultivated potato species. Genetically modified varieties have met public resistance in the United States and in the European Union.
The major species grown worldwide is Solanum tuberosum (a tetraploid with 48 chromosomes), and modern varieties of this species are the most widely cultivated. There are also four diploid species (with 24 chromosomes): S. stenotomum, S. phureja, S. goniocalyx, and S. ajanhuiri. There are two triploid species (with 36 chromosomes): S. chaucha and S. juzepczukii. There is one pentaploid cultivated species (with 60 chromosomes): S. curtilobum. There are two major subspecies of Solanum tuberosum: andigena, or Andean; and tuberosum, or Chilean.[23] The Andean potato is adapted to the short-day conditions prevalent in the mountainous equatorial and tropical regions where it originated; the Chilean potato, however, native to the Chiloé Archipelago, is adapted to the long-day conditions prevalent in the higher latitude region of southern Chile.
The International Potato Center, based in Lima, Peru, holds an ISO-accredited collection of potato germplasm.The international Potato Genome Sequencing Consortium announced in 2009 that they had achieved a draft sequence of the potato genome.The potato genome contains 12 chromosomes and 860 million base pairs, making it a medium-sized plant genome. More than 99 percent of all current varieties of potatoes currently grown are direct descendants of a subspecies that once grew in the lowlands of south-central Chile.Nonetheless, genetic testing of the wide variety of cultivars and wild species affirms that all potato subspecies derive from a single origin in the area of present-day southern Peru and extreme Northwestern Bolivia (from a species in the Solanum brevicaule complex)The wild Crop Wild Relatives Prebreeding project encourages the use of wild relatives in breeding programs. Enriching and preserving the gene bank collection to make potatoes adaptive to diverse environmental conditions is seen as a pressing issue due to climate change. 
Most modern potatoes grown in North America arrived through European settlement and not independently from the South American sources, although at least one wild potato species, Solanum fendleri, naturally ranges from Peru into Texas, where it is used in breeding for resistance to a nematode species that attacks cultivated potatoes. A secondary center of genetic variability of the potato is Mexico, where important wild species that have been used extensively in modern breeding are found, such as the hexaploid Solanum demissum, as a source of resistance to the devastating late blight disease.[30] Another relative native to this region, Solanum bulbocastanum, has been used to genetically engineer the potato to resist potato blight.
Potatoes yield abundantly with little effort, and adapt readily to diverse climates as long as the climate is cool and moist enough for the plants to gather sufficient water from the soil to form the starchy tubers. Potatoes do not keep very well in storage and are vulnerable to moulds that feed on the stored tubers and quickly turn them rotten, whereas crops such as grain can be stored for several years with a low risk of rot. The yield of Calories per acre (about 9.2 million) is higher than that of maize (7.5 million), rice (7.4 million), wheat (3 million), or soybean (2.8 million).
Main article: History of the potato
The potato was first domesticated in the region of modern-day southern Peru and extreme northwestern Bolivia[6] between 8000 and 5000 BC.It has since spread around the world and become a staple crop in many countries.
The earliest archaeologically verified potato tuber remains have been found at the coastal site of Ancon (central Peru), dating to 2500 BC. The most widely cultivated variety, Solanum tuberosum tuberosum, is indigenous to the Chiloé Archipelago, and has been cultivated by the local indigenous people since before the Spanish conquest.

Global production of potatoes in 2008
According to conservative estimates, the introduction of the potato was responsible for a quarter of the growth in Old World population and urbanization between 1700 and 1900.Following the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire, the Spanish introduced the potato to Europe in the second half of the 16th century, part of the Columbian exchange. The staple was subsequently conveyed by European mariners to territories and ports throughout the world. The potato was slow to be adopted by European farmers, but soon enough it became an important food staple and field crop that played a major role in the European 19th century population boom.[8] However, lack of genetic diversity, due to the very limited number of varieties initially introduced, left the crop vulnerable to disease. In 1845, a plant disease known as late blight, caused by the fungus-like oomycete Phytophthora infestans, spread rapidly through the poorer communities of western Ireland as well as parts of the Scottish Highlands, resulting in the crop failures that led to the Great Irish Famine.[Thousands of varieties still persist in the Andes however, where over 100 cultivars might be found in a single valley, and a dozen or more might be maintained by a single agricultural household
In 2014, world production of potatoes was 382 million tonnes, an increase of 4% over 2013 amounts and led by China with 25% of the world total (table). Other major producers were India, Russia, Ukraine and the United States. However, the local importance of potato is variable and rapidly changing. It remains an essential crop in Europe (especially eastern and central Europe), where per capita production is still the highest in the world, but the most rapid expansion over the past few decades has occurred in southern and eastern Asia.
A raw potato is 79% water, 17% carbohydrates (88% is starch), 2% protein, and contains negligible fat (see table). In an amount measuring 100 grams (3.5 oz), raw potato provides 322 kilojoules (77 kilocalories) of energy and is a rich source of vitamin B6 and vitamin C (23% and 24% of the Daily Value, respectively), with no other vitamins or minerals in significant amount (see table). The potato is rarely eaten raw because raw potato starch is poorly digested by humans.[40] When a potato is baked, its contents of vitamin B6 and vitamin C decline notably, while there is little significant change in the amount of other nutrients.
Potatoes are often broadly classified as having a high glycemic index (GI) and so are often excluded from the diets of individuals trying to follow a low-GI diet. The GI of potatoes can vary considerably depending on the cultivar or cultivar category (such as "red", russet, "white", or King Edward), growing conditions and storage, preparation methods (by cooking method, whether it is eaten hot or cold, whether it is mashed or cubed or consumed whole), and accompanying foods consumed (especially the addition of various high-fat or high-protein toppings).[42] In particular, consuming reheated or cooled potatoes that were previously cooked may yield a lower GI effect. 
In the UK, potatoes are not considered by the National Health Service (NHS) as counting or contributing towards the recommended daily five portions of fruit and vegetables, the 5-A-Day program.