Video: Planting Potatoes Upside Down Will Speed Up And Increase Yields
A bush planted with sprouts down and the harvest from it
For several years of communication with amateur potato growers in the Omsk club of potato growers, I had to answer many questions. Most often, gardeners were interested in tuber planting schemes.
They asked: “What is the best aisle width? How often should you place tubers in a row? " These questions are very important for any crop and, of course, for potatoes too. After all, these parameters determine the degree of illumination of plants, the intensity of photosynthesis, and, therefore, the yield.
But it was very rare to hear a question about the depth of planting of potatoes. This is taken for granted. Well, what is there to think? I dug with a shovel - that's the depth. This is what most potato growers do. However, planting depth also matters. The correct planting depth of tubers ensures fast germination of tubers. Plants develop with a larger number of stems and a more powerful root system, which contributes to the accumulation of yield, creates better conditions for planting maintenance and harvesting.
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So, how deep do you need to plant tubers to get the maximum yield?
Many studies have been devoted to the depth of planting potatoes, but there is no consensus on what depth it is more expedient to plant potatoes.
Typically, the planting depth can be 5 to 15 cm from the top of the tuber to the soil surface. It depends on the timing of planting, moisture availability, soil structure and other factors:
- with early planting in unheated soil, the tuber should be closer to the surface, since the surface layer of the soil warms up earlier, and the potatoes do not experience a lack of heat here;
- with dry spring and the impossibility of watering the plants in the initial period, planting should be as deep as possible, otherwise the plants will develop slowly due to lack of moisture;
- on light sandy and sandy loamy soils, planting can be deeper than on loamy and clayey soils. This is due to the presence of air in the soil - sand and sandy loam are usually more aerated.
- with shallow planting, a potato nest will form close to the soil surface, which will lead to a large number of green tubers crawling out to the surface. Shallow planting of tubers makes the subsequent hilling of potatoes necessary.
- with deep planting of seed tubers, it takes a lot of time for the sprouts to come to the surface. The faster the potatoes rise, the higher the yield will be. In addition, in this case, the number of plants suffering from rhizoctoniosis increases, due to which the seedlings are thinned and weakened. Planting too deep can lead to a decrease in yield, increasing the yield of small tubers. The tubers often become ugly. Tubers and roots need a lot of air, and at depth it may not be enough. In addition, deep planting makes it difficult to harvest potatoes.
In any case, you should try to plant the tubers at the same depth to ensure that the seedlings are leveled. In the future, this will avoid oppression of some potato plants by others.
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With this method of planting tubers are easy to dig up
We have peculiar weather conditions in the south of the Omsk region. The short growing season, spring-summer dryness and high temperatures in July, as well as heavy loams in my area, make their own adjustments to the choice of potato planting depth.
Lack of spring moisture (insufficient thickness of the snow cover) and precipitation in summer requires a deeper planting - the topsoil dries quickly. The July heat (up to 40 degrees) also suggests a deeper planting - when the soil warms up above 28 degrees, the potatoes stop filling the tubers.
On the other hand, deep planting is not desirable for us: a short growing season requires the potatoes to emerge earlier. On heavy loams, potatoes at depths give a low yield of small and often ugly tubers - the soil is too dense and poorly aerated.
For the last eight years, I have not used plowing and digging in my garden. All crops grow in narrow beds with mulched aisles. At first, this only exacerbated the contradictions with the landing depth. The very planting and harvesting of potatoes disrupted the soil structure. Over time, I found a way to plant tubers without burying them in the soil more than 5 cm from the surface. For this I began to use mulching - as mulch I used straw, hay, foliage, and other organic residues. I have already talked about this in my articles.
With this my method of planting, it becomes impossible to huddle the bushes, and this reduces the potential yield of tubers. After all, stolons appear only on a white section of the stem, closed from light. Additional roots only form in a moist substrate. The question arose: how to increase the length of the stem under the soil surface without deepening the tubers? And the answer turned out to be very simple. You just need to germinate the tubers to a sprout length of 2-3 cm (see photo), and then plant the seed material down the sprouts. More precisely, I place the sprouted potatoes in the soil so that their sprouts are below the tuber and are in maximum contact with the soil.
Tubers for sprouting down
The reason is simple. The roots do not grow from the tuber, but from the sprouts. And since the tubers are not buried, then you need to make sure that the roots go into the soil faster. Under the loose, organic-rich layer, there is a dense, non-dug layer. The density of this layer provides a powerful capillary rise of moisture from the underlying layers. The structure of this layer is not disturbed by the intervention of a shovel, and it remains like a sponge, with an abundance of pores from the tunnels of worms and decayed roots. These pores are filled with air and provide good aeration to the potato roots.
In addition, with such a planting, the length of the etiolated (unpainted) section of the stems greatly increases. Roots and stolons are actively growing on this site. There is a kind of hilling effect, without hilling. Moreover, the stolons are located in a loose substrate, which is very important for potatoes. In dense soil, up to 50% of stolons do not form tubers of normal size.
Another advantage of planting sprouts down is that the bush forms wider than when planting sprouts up. Bending around the uterine tuber, the sprouts diverge to the sides. Some removal of the trunks in the bush contributes to better illumination of the seedlings, which means better photosynthesis - the development of plants in the initial, very important period.
Potatoes respond to this planting with a high yield. In the photo you can see the selection from the Bars hybrid population, the average yield from a bush is 3 kilograms. The maximum is 5, 6 kg. 700 kg (17.5 bags) were collected from a hundred. Digging potatoes with this planting is much easier than with deep planting upside down - the tubers are all under mulch.
While examining the development of sprouted down potatoes, I noticed another unexpected effect of sprouting down - active tillering of the sprout. But it does not always appear. In my experiments, this happened on 15% of tubers. Later I found a way to get all the shoots to bush. To do this, pinch the tip of the sprout. This technique allows you to get a multi-stem bush with the development of 1-2 shoots at the top of the tuber (apical dominance).
Moreover, the tubers in such bushes are all large. I explain this by the lack of competition within the bush. In a typical multi-stem bush, each stem is a separate plant. And they compete with each other for light and nutrient solutions. As a result, 1-2 large or many small tubers are formed on each plant stem. On a plant that has grown from one sprout branched underground, the tubers are large. And due to the increased etiolated area, there are many tubers.
Anyone who decides to plant tubers sprouting downwards should be prepared for the fact that the potatoes will sprout later than from tubers planted sprouting upwards. With a no-till planting method, like mine, this is not a problem. It rises a little longer, but you can also plant it earlier - the top layer warms up faster, and I don't need to bury the tubers.
When planting potatoes upside down, you can build up the same length of the underground part of the stems by hilling. By simply planting the sprouts down, this time-consuming and delaying operation is avoided.
If you want to get fresh tubers earlier, you can also use sprouting down. I am doing this successfully. Tubers with sprouts 1-2 cm long I stir down the sprouts in a box and completely cover them with dry sawdust. In a dry substrate, roots are not formed, but the shoots change the direction of growth and rise to the surface. By the time of planting, many thick, juicy shoots have formed on the tuber, which are already aimed at developing to the soil surface, you can see this in the photo.
With any choice of planting method - up sprouts or downwards - you should remember that potato tubers will form on branches - stolons that come from the stem of the plant, i.e. over the uterine tuber.