How to get big potato crops.
No matter what we plant on the site, no matter what exotic grows, potatoes will remain the most important. But how much do we know about this culture? Most often, we take seeds from the cellar or in the market, and germinate them into the pits. Weeded, spudded, at best watered and waiting for the harvest. At this point, disappointment often sets in, because the result is not at all what we expected. What to do to grow crops to the envy of neighbors — we will tell in this article.
A high yield is great! But in order to get this high yield, you first need healthy potato tubers. Secondly, we will grow crops in one place for no more than three years — in the fourth year we are looking for a new site. The land where melons and gourds grew is best suited. They do not have common pests and diseases with potatoes. The worst predecessor would be tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, corn and sunflowers. Everything is so simple, but what if there is no other site? There are only three ways to save the situation:
- Twice a season we process the site with Fitosporin.
- Every three years we buy new healthy seeds.
- In a critical situation, we leave black steam for one year. This is enough to get rid of all pathogens.
Choosing a potato variety
We do not just want to get a good potato harvest, we need it to be tasty, or well stored, or crumbly, or very large, but rather all at once. To get what you want, let’s look at the varieties.
- Super early. Even a short summer is enough to get two crops. Varieties such as Krista, Orla, Explosive give a harvest in 30-50 days, they will generously bestow in June, when young potatoes are the most expensive, the second harvest will be in September.
- Mid-early. The convenience of these varieties is the ability to grow a really big crop, excellent taste and full maturation of tubers for storage. Typical representatives of this series are Galla, Ilsky, Surprise.
- Mid-season and late-season. Excellent varieties for warm climates. They will need from 95 to 150 days to fully mature, but the result will be magnificent. Blue, Beauty, Miami are considered the best in this group.
How to get an early potato harvest? Buy for breeding super-early varieties that will yield a crop in the first half of summer.
Soil preparation for potatoes
The most budgetary and relatively simple way to increase the potato yield is to pre-sow green manure. White mustard is best. Its seeds can be embedded in the soil in early spring, when the snow melts. Sprinkle the surface abundantly with seeds, and go through with a rake or cultivator to a minimum depth. Ready. At this time, there is enough moisture, shoots will appear quickly. In May, you can safely plow, the earth will become much more nutritious, and essential oils will kill pathogens. If the soil is far from perfect, we apply mineral fertilizers under the plow. Fortunately, special complexes for potatoes are now being sold, you don’t need to invent anything.
Preparing and planting seeds
In about two to three weeks, we begin to warm the seeds. Our goal is to wait for the appearance of small sprouts and roots on the tubers. We inspect each root crop, if there are spots of rot and other signs of illness, we throw it away. Only healthy specimens should get into the seeds. Selected potatoes are treated with a solution of copper sulfate, left in a bright, warm place in boxes. You do not need to wait for too large sprouts, they can break when planting. The tubers on which the eyes did not wake up are disposed of.
Let’s start landing. How deep to plant potatoes for a good harvest? From 5 to 10 cm. This figure depends on the humidity of the site. We bury the seeds 5 cm on the raw one, 10 cm on the dry one. In the first case, the tubers are not closed, in the second they will receive enough moisture.
In addition to the usual method of landing under a shovel on a flat area, there are many options, some of which only create additional problems. Two options are clearly worth considering:
- In too damp areas, we do not bury the tubers, but lay them on the surface of the earth with a distance of 70 cm between rows and 30 cm between tubers. Chopper sprinkle them with earth from the aisles. With each hilling, the ditches between the rows become deeper, the potatoes do not get wet.
- For too dry areas with sandy soil, the opposite measures are needed. We plant potatoes deeper, leaving small «hills» between the rows. During rain or irrigation, water gets under the roots of potatoes. If the area is small, we mulch the beds with potatoes after the first hilling. This will protect against weeds and retain moisture for a long time.
Care and watering for a good potato harvest
We water depending on the weather. In no case should water stagnate on the site. Young tubers quickly absorb moisture, crack. This leads not only to a decrease in the quality of the crop, but also to infection of the tubers. Pathogens enter through the wound.
The soil must not be allowed to dry out. If the plants, due to lack of moisture, managed to lower the leaves and tops of the stems, there is a high risk of double tubers. In dry weather, water often and moderately, on sandy soil abundantly.
There is a lot of controversy about hilling, someone grows potatoes without this method of agricultural technology, someone necessarily hills twice a season, both opinions are correct, but there are some nuances.
When hilling, new roots and tubers begin to grow on the stem. They will be located at the same depth from the surface (knoll) as without hilling. Rain, watering and wind can move the top layer, so green tubers will come across anyway, but the number of tubers in hilled bushes is greater.
Important! It is strictly forbidden to use fresh manure for feeding potatoes! It is a source of infection with late blight and scab.
The remaining organic fertilizers for potatoes are only good. Of course, in a reasonable amount. Wood ash, humus, compost, weed infusion, especially nettle, bird droppings infusion. Under digging, we introduce bulk fertilizers, water with liquid fertilizers during the flowering period.
Fertilizing potatoes with mineral complexes is necessary, but we do this strictly at certain periods:
- After the emergence of seedlings, we apply nitrogen fertilizers (ammonium nitrate).
- Before flowering, we give wood ash and potassium sulfate.
- After flowering, superphosphate or complex fertilizers, which include phosphorus.
We follow the instructions and consumption rates, otherwise the tops may begin to fatten, and the tubers will stop growing.
We dig potatoes only in dry weather, when the tubers are ripe. We pre-mow the tops, remove from the site. It may contain spores of fungal diseases. Many people use a potato digger on a walk-behind tractor, this is convenient, but impractical when selecting seeds. Medium-sized tubers can be from weak bushes. For the selection of seed potatoes, a hole method is needed. We choose bushes where there are no tubers affected by diseases, quite productive with even large root crops. This is the only way to get good planting material for an excellent potato harvest next year.
Finally, I would like to remind you that in order to get a good harvest, potato vernalization is necessary — an additional procedure for preparing tubers, which is necessary to speed up the process of crop ripening. The complex of agrotechnical methods includes selection, sorting, processing of planting material before planting. Why potato vernalization is needed and how to carry it out is described in detail in our article.