Three secrets of productive potato tubers
Boris Romanov on growing potatoes
By trial and error
Potatoes are one of the most important foods for humans. I happened to read the opinion of scientists that in the 21st century the problem of providing the population with food will be solved with the help of potatoes.
"Antoshka, Antoshka, let's go dig potatoes ..." - each of us has known this song since childhood. But does everyone know what needs to be done in order to dig up the amount of tasty, healthy and large potatoes necessary to meet the needs of the family and at the same time get some part of it? earlier? I think that only the most experienced gardeners can cope with such a task. I'll tell you about how our family does it on their site.
In our opinion, success is possible if three problems are solved. Firstly, it is necessary to provide good soil for planting, and secondly, to apply normal agricultural techniques, i.e. monitor plantings throughout the growing season. Third, have good planting material... Taking into account all these requirements, you can get a decent harvest of delicious potatoes.
For 19 years of work on the earth, we have tried various methods and methods, selected the best every year and tried to learn from our mistakes. The main goal that we have set and are still setting when growing this crop is to get very high-quality potatoes: healthy, even, tasty. Taste has always come first. We have achieved this goal.
At the second stage of mastering potato farming techniques, we wanted to achieve even more in terms of the amount of yield, but without compromising quality. We have already achieved some success here, and there are still reserves and ideas in store for the implementation of our plans.
We have tried many ways to find our way in growing potatoes. For example, early potatoes were grown under plastic. To do this, we used a high box with a size of 2x3.5 m with biofuel, which served as hay and all plant waste - weeds, only without seeds and roots, residues from flower beds (just not fresh manure). Everything was laid in three layers. In March, the soil was warmed up in this box, covering it with foil; at the beginning of April, they planted potatoes and made mini-greenhouses above the box with a height of 40 cm at the edge. We planted sprouted tubers and in June they received an early harvest. The film had to be rolled up during the daytime in warm weather, it was removed completely after the end of the frost. This method has proven to be very time consuming.
They also grew potatoes with seedlings, for this they germinated them in cups, which were placed in a greenhouse covered in early spring; tried to germinate in moistened sawdust. Potato seedlings were planted in early May in the depressions from the ridges, so that it was possible to huddle the tops from frost. We have always had ridges for potatoes in high places. With this method, we also achieved early harvests. Already in the second decade of June, there were young potatoes with dill on the table. But even these methods turned out to be very laborious and unprofitable.
A tall warm bed is the key to success
Since we have a close location of groundwater on our site, we use growing potatoes in boxes... This method has two goals: raising the level of the ground on the site and increasing the fertile layer, as well as at the same time obtaining a very good harvest with high taste.
Near our site, neighbors suffer in their beds, not even collecting an average harvest on them. We convince them by our own example. The best way out of this situation is high ridges.
We have the same technology for growing potatoes with all methods. We put one or two layers of hay and vegetable waste in the boxes, depending on the height of the box. Places where water stagnates are unacceptable for potatoes, they cannot be planted in low-lying and damp places, even temporary flooding of plantings leads to the death of roots and stems and to a loss of taste. We place the boxes from north to south, making sure that the areas that are shaded on the east and south sides are also unacceptable for potatoes. For example, we had two boxes of potatoes in the shade of the house: one on the east side, the other on the south side. In the shaded areas, the stems were stretched, the yield there was obtained later and much less, although the same potato variety in the illuminated area gave a higher yield.
We were convinced by experience that the best dimensions of the boxes are 1.8-2 m wide, the length can be arbitrary.
This width allows the tubers to be planted in three rows and to achieve maximum sun exposure to the foliage. The outer rows of potato tops fall behind the bed onto the paths (their width is 80 cm), the middle one grows on the bed - we get the maximum illumination of the plantings. Planting potatoes in warm beds and proper care give us bushy plants with widely spread thick-stemmed tops.
We prepare the summer harvest in the fall
So, we have fulfilled the initial conditions for our potato planting: there are high ridges, good illumination of the site for planting and high-quality cultivated soil. We start preparing the ridges for planting in the fall, because at this time more time can be allocated for such work, in the spring there are a lot of other important things. The last layer of hay and earth, if we do not have time in the fall, can be laid in the spring. In late April - early May, we make ridges - depressions, we fold the earth taken out of the furrow along the edge of the ditch, we get ridges and three rows - depressions.
Sprinkle the bottom of the depression with ash mixed with superphosphate, sprinkle it with earth a little. Ash value the fact that potassium is in it without chlorine, there are many trace elements in it, and it increases the resistance of potato plantings to frost, this all has a good effect on the quality of potatoes. Phosphorus has a very positive effect on the development of roots and tuberization, without it, a delay in plant development may occur.
At the bottom of the depressions we lay out the germinated seed tubers at a distance of 30 cm from each other and sprinkle it on top with earth from the ridge, approximately with a layer of 5 cm. Sprinkle some mineral fertilizers (Kemira or azofosk) on the sprinkled potatoes. They are needed for quick initial development (as we say, for the "first push"). These fertilizers contain many nutrients in an accessible form and provide food for the potato early in its development. In the second phase of development, our potatoes are fed from organic fertilizerlaid in the fall inside the box.
Planting tubers in depressions-ridges gives us the opportunity to more often sprinkle sprouting potatoes with warmed soil from the ridges, in this regard, the zone of tuberization increases. This method is also good because in the case of recurrent frosts, it is possible to protect potato seedlings from the cold by hilling.
Be sure to focus on the weather conditions when planting potatoes. It is with their consideration that we can have a landing date both in the first days of May and in the second decade of the month. For example, in 2000 on May 15 it was still cold, the weather was rainy, sometimes it was hail, and then the weather was good, and we planted the first tubers only on May 18. In 2001, at the end of April, the weather was summer, although by May 1 it became cool, but we planted the first potatoes on May 4.
So the weather must be taken into account when landing. Many are guided by folk signs: a birch leaf should be on the trees for a pretty penny, or when the bird cherry blossoms.
Now about watering. If the weather is dry for a long time, then the plantings must be shed 1-2 times. Be sure to water once when the potatoes sprout en masse.
As the potatoes grow, we huddle the planting 2-3 times: loosening the soil is very useful for this crop - its air regime improves. With our method of cultivation, there are practically no weeds on the plantings, because all the time we add a heated layer of soil from the ridges, which is very good for growing tubers. Hilling is best done after watering or rains. After this procedure, the stems of potatoes form new adventitious roots, which means additional tubers. It is necessary to huddle carefully, not breaking shoots and not breaking off leaves, in general, without injuring the plants.
Not always, but if we have time, then during the growing season of potatoes we carry out foliar dressing 1-2 times along the tops with a solution of microelements. Such spraying really has a positive effect on the quality and yield of potatoes, its tops after treatments last longer healthy, which means that tubers from healthy tops receive additional nutrition. As far as possible, we also cut off flowers and buds, since we believe that this also leads to an outflow of nutrients.
The appearance of buds, the overgrown crown of the tops is evidence that further soil cultivation must be stopped, since the stems can be damaged, and feed to the tubers through them, you can also spoil the tubers in the upper layers of the soil.
Another secret of the harvest is full-fledged seeds. We believe that high-quality planting material should be purchased only from organizations that specialize in its production, or from seed shops. Tubers intended for planting must not have fungal diseases and viruses... It is better if the planting material is zoned in our region of the variety. Different varieties give different yields in different years. We have tried many varieties on our site: Vesna, Pushkinets, Nevsky, Ostara, Elizaveta, Charodey, Petersburg, Borodyansky, etc. You can find kind words for each variety. For example, in the late 90s we planted the Ostara variety. He gave us a very large harvest in the first year, and the tubers were all very large. It was a Finnish seed potato.
Every year we plant several different varieties on the site. Neighbors ask: which variety is the most productive and the most delicious. It is very difficult to single out the best variety, one is more productive, the other tastes good.
True, there are such adjustments: another variety behaves better in a cool summer, another - in a dry one. Therefore, we always plant 5 to 7 different varieties.
Last year, for example, the following varieties were planted: for an early harvest - the Baltic variety Early yellow, the tubers were smooth, large, the taste was good. They began to dig in early potatoes already in the middle of summer, we could have started earlier, but we still had a supply of last year's tubers.
On other beds, we poured potato tubers of the varieties Kholmogorsky, Inspiration, Skarb, Russian Beauty, Latona and Naiada. Probably, we were lucky last year, the potatoes in all the beds grew excellent, the tubers were all even, clean, large, oval in shape. There were very, very few small ones.
The yield of potatoes of the Naiad variety turned out to be a little worse, but we planted it in less quality land than other varieties. In addition, he also grew shaded. But a year ago the same variety gave us an excellent harvest.
Last year, according to the taste and quality of tubers, we singled out the variety Russian Beauty - it is mid-season, the tubers are oval with pink skin, the taste was great.
The Kholmogorsky variety pleased with its ripening time, it also has oval tubers with red skin, there were from 10 to 12 tubers in the nest, and in terms of taste it turned out to be at its best.
We constantly purchase planting material, since we do not have conditions for reliable storage of seed tubers.
The purchased seed material must be germinated before planting. We start doing this in late March - early April. We lay out the planting tubers in boxes in one row and keep them at room temperature in diffused light. Do not forget to turn them over regularly. In this case, care must be taken so that the sprouts do not break off. Then, before planting, we keep the sprouted potatoes in a cooler place in the same boxes.
Previously, planting tubers were treated with micro- and macroelements: they made the desired solution and dipped the tubers into it. This procedure was performed the day before planting. All this also leads to higher yields, but now we do not have enough time for this.
Get away from phytophthora
All gardeners are very afraid of planting defeat late blight... After all, all our fields and gardens are infected with this disease. To be honest, we do not spray our potato plantings with remedies for this disease. We try to protect ourselves from it with the correct agricultural technology. To do this, we use the following techniques: knowing that the disease is transmitted through the soil, we try not to plant potatoes in one place for more than two years, i.e. alternating cultures. The second method is planting potatoes early, which means that at an earlier date, our tubers are ready for harvesting - before the onset of the rainy season. Also, depending on the weather, we remove the tops two weeks before digging the tubers, preventing it from being affected by the disease. Some gardeners often see potato plantings affected by late blight, and they pull off the harvest, not understanding the simple truth that potatoes no longer grow without tops. And their tops are already all black.
Without foliage, potatoes only form a thicker skin, but this is provided if they are healthy in the ground. And what can potatoes get from infected tops? Only a disease that spreads to the soil and tubers. What kind of harvest to expect from this field next year, and how will these tubers behave during storage? Therefore, we harvest potatoes in mid-August, but this, again, pay attention, depending on weather conditions.
Of course, we have an expensive option for growing potatoes, because we purchase new planting material every year, and now it is not cheap. But even with all this, we remain a winner, we always collect a consistently high and high-quality crop, we do not waste precious time on bulkhead tubers, they are very well stored with us, there is never any waste.
Of course, it is desirable to have your planting material, but after all, it is necessary to be able to select and preserve it correctly, especially since potatoes can pick up diseases from the contaminated soil, and this will result in losses in the yield. Therefore, we still prefer to buy planting tubers from serious companies. And we plant 5-7 varieties, knowing that some variety will certainly not fail with our diligent care.
With our method of growing, the costs of planting material are minimal. The total area under the boxes with potato plantings is about one hundred square meters, we planted 270 pieces of small fraction planting tubers, 5 of them did not sprout on this area. We got a harvest of about 500 kg of large potatoes, there were very few small tubers. Why do we allocate only one hundred square meters of land for potatoes? And because only such an area can we properly prepare. But even from one hundred square meters we get a harvest, which is quite enough for our family.
And if more potatoes need to be obtained from this area, then we will apply more intensive care, we still have such developments in stock. But our main desire is to get high-quality tubers, therefore we dig out the potatoes before the main August rains, dry them well before storing them.
Boris Romanov, gardener, competition winner "Summer Season - 2006"
Method 2. Growing mini-potato tubers from a large tuber
This method is based on the cloning of potato tubers. The cells of the grown potatoes are used to form a new plant. This "scientific experiment" will require large potato tubers, from which we will grow small ones. They must be selected in the spring and lowered for the whole summer in a cool basement or cellar.
Throughout the summer season, tubers need high air humidity, spraying and low indoor temperatures.By about October-November, a strong root system with small potatoes will be formed on the potato tubers. It is an excellent planting material that is protected from all diseases.
All mini-tubers must be harvested, dried well and stored until the next planting season. Already next year, you will get an excellent harvest of the super super elite.
How to deal with scab on potatoes
Potatoes of all vegetable crops are more susceptible to this disease. It becomes infected with scab through the soil, especially sandy and sandy loam. Brown deposits form on the potatoes, which can subsequently lead to the complete unusability of the tubers.
Effective scab control requires a careful approach to the selection of planting material. It is necessary to check all tubers intended for planting because some types of this disease can appear several months after harvesting in storage. Choose varieties resistant to scab, for example: Elizabeth, Charodey and others.
Before planting, potato tubers are treated with a light solution of potassium permanganate. This will prevent the spread of the fungal disease. It is also necessary to regularly change the places of planting potatoes in the garden - it is better to do this at least once every two to three years.
During the growth and flowering of potatoes, use scab chemicals such as Fitosporin. Spray in accordance with the instructions.
After harvesting the potatoes, collect the tops, grass and remove them from the infield or burn them.
Scab is a very common fungal disease and affects almost all types of fruit and vegetable crops in your garden. Therefore, it is necessary on time and correctly to carry out all preventive measures aimed at combating it, and then your harvest will be of the highest quality.
Whether to mow the tops before harvesting or not
The principle of the golden mean is well applicable to determining the timing of harvesting, in addition, an adjustment must be made for the variety (late, early), resistance to late blight, site location, soil characteristics and, of course, for the weather forecast.
Regular morning fogs and abundant dew are the soil for the late blight epidemic. Massive damage to potatoes occurs when the night temperature drops below + 10 ° C.
At the first signs of late blight of potatoes, it is necessary to mow the tops, leaving the stems without leaves in height. The mowed tops must be removed off-site and disposed of (ideally burned). When mowing, the growth of tubers stops, but the skin continues to thicken.
Experienced potato growers recommend mowing the tops, even if there are no signs of late blight three days before harvesting. It is believed that when mowing tops from each square meter, up to 100 grams of potatoes are added per day, that is, up to 10 kg per hundred square meters. At the same time, losses are minimal, and the peel thickens faster than usual.
If the tops were destroyed by freezing, you should not be afraid for the condition of the tubers - they do not suffer from wilting of the tops, on the contrary, the outflow of nutrients to maintain the aerial part of the plant stops.
Depending on the purpose of use, potatoes are:
- Dining room - the percentage of starch up to 20%. They are used in food in the form of various dishes. Contains many beneficial substances.
- Technical - used for the production of starch and alcohol.
- Stern - intended for animal feed, as it promotes rapid growth.
- Universal - can be used in all previously listed areas.
They contain a large amount of protein and dry matter, perfectly substitute for other feed. Early maturing and high-yielding forage varieties:
- tuber size is very large
- unattractive appearance
- the shape of the vegetable is irregular, angular
- taste insipid, watery
Nutritional value per 100 grams:
- frost and drought resistance
- unpretentious care
- resistance to many fungal diseases
- early maturity and high productivity.
Fodder large potatoes
Technical potatoes have a high starch content - more than 20% and very little protein. This type of vegetable does not darken when peeled.
The technical ones include mid-ripening and late-ripening varieties:
- resistant to mechanical harvesting
- growing season up to 130 days
- eyes are very small
- used for the production of starch and alcohol.
Table potatoes make up the main human diet
The most popular table varieties:
- usually medium-sized tubers
- few eyes
- taste great.
Depending on the types of culinary dishes, the following are used:
- BUT) For salads - the fruits are dense and not boiled.
- B) For cooking - tubers with medium density, slightly watery.
- IN) For frying - slightly boiled, the pulp is a little mealy.
- D) For mashed potatoes - very soft.
Nutritional value per 100 grams:
- Calorie content - 80 kcal
- Starch - 12%
- Carbohydrates - 20%
- Proteins - 1-2%
- Fat - 0.15%
- Vitamin C - 20%
Universal are used for food, technical and feed needs.
Such varieties are distinguished by: good yield, long-term storage.
Three hundred square meters is 30 square meters. For some, this is not enough, but for some it will seem immense spaces when it will be necessary to dig the ground, water, loosen, weed the beds.
If you got a virgin, never cultivated area, it will be covered with grass that has grown freely there for many years. There are several ways to get rid of it. If you are not afraid of "chemistry", then pour the area with herbicides (Roundup, Ground, Killer, etc.), in a few days the grass will dry out and die. But in the same year, you cannot plant vegetables here, it is better to wait until the next.
The second method is also designed for 2 years. Use a cultivator to dig up the land that will be set aside for the garden, picking weeds if possible. They need to be dried and burned, and the ash used as fertilizer. Plant potatoes in this area. It will give a good harvest, since the vegetables in this area have not yet grown, which means that there are many nutrients in this soil, and there are few pests. When you harvest in early September, you will be surprised how loose, crumbly the earth has become and how few weeds there are. You can already put anything in this one. Start planting trees, shrubs, strawberries immediately after harvesting potatoes.
7. In the mounds
If there are no fences and walls in the garden, but you really want to try the previous method, you can plant potatoes in the mounds.
How to plant?
- Dig up and fertilize the ground, spread the seed potatoes in a circle with a diameter of up to 2 meters, at a distance of 20-30 cm. Tread a little with soil.
- Add soil gradually, creating mounds 40-50 cm high. At the top, make a recess where water will drain during watering.
Inside the earthen mounds, optimal conditions are created for the development of root crops, which increases the yield.
Landings look sloppy and violate the aesthetics of the dacha.
Is it worth experimenting and using unusual methods of planting potatoes? Until you try, you won't know! We advise you to test several methods at once, and then compare the yield and choose the best for yourself.