Table of contents:

Preparation And Planting Of Potato Tubers
Preparation And Planting Of Potato Tubers

← Read part 1. Purchase and disinfection of potato planting material

How to grow a good harvest of delicious potatoes. Part 2

Potato tubers for planting
Potato tubers for planting

Potato tubers for planting

Preparing tubers for planting

In the second half of March, we take out the boxes with planting material from the caisson of the basement and put them on a bright, but not sunny place on the second floor of the veranda. There the tubers are vernalized - they sprout and turn green.

They should not be placed in the sun, otherwise the tubers will shrivel, losing moisture, which is undesirable for good planting material. If the tubers germinate for a long time, then I spray them with HB-101 solution (1 drop per liter of water). By mid-May, sprouts with green leaves at least 5 cm long appear on such planting material, and this is what you need.

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Spring pre-sowing soil preparation for planting potatoes

2-3 days before planting potatoes for the prevention of late blight, I spray the soil with Abiga-Peak solution (according to the instructions) or spill the entire area under the potatoes with Ordan solution (according to the instructions). Ordan is much cheaper than Abiga Peak, that's why I shed the soil with it. I pour 200 liters of such a solution onto the site. I dissolve it in a barrel with a capacity of 200 liters, stir it well, lower the "Kid" pump there and spill soil from a hose with a shower head. The father helps to move the hose and controls the level of the solution in the barrel. The next day after such soil cultivation, we scatter incompletely decomposed compost over the site, and the father cultivates the site with a walk-behind tractor.

We plant potatoes no earlier than May 15, on the root day according to the lunar sowing calendar. Blooming bird cherry serves as a signal for planting. Before planting, I sprinkle the tubers with Bisolbifit powder or dip each tuber in the Abiga-Peak solution (if the soil was not sprayed with it, but spilled with Ordan).

Planting tubers

After we have increased the fertility of the soil on our site for more than two decades, we calmly plant potatoes under a shovel. My father lifts a layer of earth with it, and I throw a tuber into the hole. I choose only those tubers with a lot of good eyes. That is why from autumn it is necessary to leave the number of tubers with a margin - some will be culled.

We plant on the rope. We place the rows from north to south. I number each row and write down in a notebook which variety it is planted where. The distance between the rows is 70-80 cm, between the plants in a row at least 30 cm. Some varieties creep far from the center of the plant, so we plant such varieties at a distance of 40 cm from each other. We begin to plant from right to left along the site - it's more convenient. We move along the left side of the row of arable land, and the row of planted potatoes from us to our right.

Where we pass with our feet, we trample the ground. At this point there will be the next row - here we will dig a hole for planting, which means we will loosen the trampled place. After we plant one row, the father evens out the landing site with a rake. As a result, by the end of planting potatoes, the entire area looks well-groomed.

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Plant care

5-7 days after planting potatoes, always in sunny weather, the father harrows the soil with a rake. At this time, annual weeds begin to sprout. With a rake, their father cuts or turns them out of the ground, and they die in the sun. Therefore, subsequently, we do not have to weed the planting of potatoes. Harrowing is easier than weeding, and it takes less time, and most importantly, less effort is spent on leaving.

After another 5-7 days, also in sunny weather, the father harrows the soil again. The potatoes have already sprung up, and you can clearly see where you can step in with your foot. If the weather is cold and the potatoes are growing slowly, you can make it with the third harrow.

When the potato shoots reach a height of 10 cm, I sprinkle a mixture of fertilizers (potassium magnesium, superphosphate and Bisolbifit powder) around each plant, and my father spuds the bushes. Potatoes require a large amount of potassium for the normal formation of tubers. If it is not enough, the quality of the crop will decrease: when cooking, the potatoes will turn black. Phosphorus is also needed, because the soils of the Northwest are poor in it. I don't use nitrogen fertilizers for plants - there is enough of it in the soil from the compost.

The second hilling is done as the plants grow. If we have time, then we spud the third time. We huddle so that mounds form along the edges to the right and left of the bushes. In hot weather in July, I water the potatoes, and the water should not drain into the furrow.

Before flowering, I water the newly acquired potato varieties with a liquid solution of manure: a mixture of horse and chicken with sapropel (one bag per 200 liters), always with the addition of Extrasol or Baikal EM-1 (I insist one to two days). If you have enough time and energy, then I water all the potatoes with this infusion. I water after rain or after using a hose with water in the center of the plants. One plant receives at least three liters of such a solution.

This increased attention to new varieties is explained by the fact that I want to know their maximum yield, which I will later consider as the standard for this variety, and therefore I create a high level of agricultural technology for them. The practice of the past years has shown that not all varieties with the declared high yield, even under ideal conditions, showed it. But most of the other varieties gave a higher yield than stated in the catalog. For example, the varieties Aurora and Zenith annually produce over thirty full-weight tubers per bush.

Potato blooms
Potato blooms

Potato blooms

During the flowering of potatoes, be sure to water it with a dark pink solution of potassium permanganate. I noticed that from this there is no scab on the tubers, and the plants really like this feeding.

I must remove flowers from plants so that they do not take away the power. Of course, potato plants look more elegant with flowers. I put even the most beautiful flowers in a small vase. I noticed that flowers are of different varieties and smell differently: from a pleasant smell to a sharp and disgusting one.

In hot and dry weather, be sure to spill potatoes abundantly from the hose at least twice a week. The water is cold from the well, so I water it at 16 o'clock so that the soil has time to warm up. Top dressing with liquid manure solution and watering in hot and dry weather give a tangible increase in yield. Some gardeners may say that they do not have excess water to water their potato plantings. But a well appeared on our site not so long ago.

However, before I tried to water the plantings. Two buckets of plain water were enough for me to thoroughly spray all the foliage of the potatoes from a knapsack sprayer. Only this should be done in the evening, when the heat subsides, so that moisture does not instantly evaporate from the tops. There will be benefits from such watering, you can be sure. This has been proven by practice.

In books on plant growing it is written that the optimal temperature for potato growth is around + 20˚C, but in the hot and dry summer seasons of 2010-2011. with our technology, we reaped huge yields of potatoes, while many gardeners complained of crop failures. Therefore, even if the summer turns out to be hot and dry, I am sure that we will again have a huge harvest.

Potato harvest
Potato harvest

Potato harvest

Mulching plantings

Whether it is necessary to mulch the furrows with potatoes is up to the gardeners themselves. Not everyone has hay or grass cuttings available. In hot and dry weather, if the furrows are covered with hay, the soil does not overheat and moisture is retained in it. There are many worms in the mulched soil that eat plant residues and fertilize the soil with their waste products, and also loosen it, delivering oxygen to the roots.

In a cold and rainy summer, on the contrary, it will be better if the soil begins to warm up, and for this, fresh cut grass is suitable, which begins to rot, emitting a lot of heat. It also gives off carbon dioxide, which is essential for better plant growth. If we find mowed grass near neighboring mansions and cottages (where only lawns are grown), then, of course, we collect it. Here I am guided by the weather: if the weather is cold, I mulch the soil with such grass cut from the lawn, if the weather is hot in summer, I mulch it with hay, if there is one.

First harvest

We plant early potatoes in order to get tasty early tubers. But we are not digging up the entire bush completely. At this time, not all tubers had time to ripen yet. Our soil is loose, so I put my hand into the nest, feel for a large potato and pull it out, while the small one remains to ripen. I level the earth, leaving everything as it was before. Thanks to such a gentle digging, the yield of the bushes does not decrease.

Read part 3. Diseases and pests of potatoes →

"How to Grow a Good Harvest of Delicious Potatoes"

  • Part 1. Purchase and disinfection of potato planting material
  • Part 2. Preparation and planting of potato tubers
  • Part 3. Diseases and pests of potatoes
  • Part 4. Potato harvest by June
  • Part 5. Analysis of potato varieties at the end of the summer

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