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Potato Fertilizer and Growing Guide

Okay, so chances are there will never be another event like the 1845-1852 Great Hunger. And to be quite honest, a bucket of Organic Potato Fertilizer isn’t going to do much of anything to prevent phytophthora infestans from destroying an entire nation’s food supply. However, it will make your plants healthier, and healthy plants are more resistant to blight. In this two part article, we are going to go over some of the basics of potato care. If you are a more experienced farmer, go ahead and skip down to part two where we discuss specific application rates of Natural Fertilizers.

Seed Potato Preparation

Before site preparation, you should go ahead and get your seed potatoes ready to plant a few days in advance. Cut larger potatoes into smaller pieces, being sure to include at least 1-2 eyes on each section. I recommend a light dusting of sulfur to prevent rot before placing them in a cool, dark place to encourage green growth. A brown paper bag with a few ventilation holes usually does the trick. Just be sure they do not get too damp or it might cause rot in the places you cut.

Soil Preparation and Planting your Potato Crop

Potatoes are going to need a lot of loose soil to spread out and develop tubers underground. Thoroughly till the soil and create mounds to plant in. Later on, you will probably want to practice hilling, which is simply piling more soil around the growing plants. Hilling converts the stems you bury into roots and allows the plant to send out more tubers into the new soil. It’s a great way to increase yields over a long season. Hilling also helps with your weed control by burying new sprouts and denying them the sunlight necessary to survive. Follow your supplier’s planting guide, or simply plant your starter pieces every 12 inches in rows about three inches deep.

Sprouting and Growing your Potato Crop

Why is there a picture of blueberries? Keep reading! Give your potatoes about two weeks to send up stems and leaves before hilling. Hill up 2-3 inches every two weeks until harvest. In addition to all the aforementioned benefits, hilling will prevent your tubers from getting damaged by the sun.

potato fertilizer | be careful not to burn plants with too much sulfur!
Beware of potato scab which mostly happens in a soil pH above 5.2 because potatoes like acidic soil. Remember the sulfur dust I mentioned earlier? You can use that a few months before planting to increase soil acidity in an area, but be careful with application! Sulfur can be deceptive because it must be converted over to sulfuric acid in the soil before it will actually lower pH. This process can take a few months, which is why it is important to amend well and apply a good potato fertilizer in advance of planting.

Do not make the same mistake I made with my blueberries one year. I added sulfur to the soil expecting the pH to drop. When it didn’t drop, I added more. Three months later and all my blueberries were dead. That’s right. You see those nice blueberries on this page? Gone! There was so much acid that you could stick two wires in the ground to jump start your car! Lesson learned. Be cautious applying sulfur!

Healthy Potatoes ready for baking! Use a great potato fertilizer for outstanding results.

Potato Fertilizer Guide

Potatoes respond to organic fertilizers when they are applied in banded applications at planting and as foliar applications after emergence. Here’s some more specifics on application rates and times:

Banded Application of Organic Fertilizer for Potato Crops

Banded Applications Per-acre mix ratio: 2 gallons Liquid Natural Fertilizer and 20 gallons of water. Apply near the seed at planting. The addition of 1 gallon Liquid Bonemeal may be beneficial; especially when soil phosphorus levels are below 40 ppm.
Foliar Applications Per-acre mix ratio: 1 gallon Natural Fertilizer and 25 gallons of water. Apply as a fine mist with enough solution to thoroughly cover the leaves. Increase spray volume as canopy develops to ensure thorough coverage. Perform foliar applications at 10,  40 and 60 days after emergence. Rates vary according to soil fertility and other inputs used. Lower dilution rates are more effective than higher dilution rates. Two or three lighter applications may be more effective than one heavy application. If other constraints allow only one trip over the field, do not exceed a 4 percent dilution rate (4 gallons liquid organic fertilizers to 96 gallons water). To reduce susceptibility to attack of insects and disease-causing organisms, apply a per-acre mixture of 1 gallon Liquid Natural Fertilizer and 25 gallons of water when signs of infestation become apparent. Substitute 2 quarts Kelp Fertilizer for Natural Fertilizer late in the season when additional nitrogen is not necessary.

Soil Application of Liquid Organic Fertilizer for Potato Crops

Soil applications Per-acre mix ratio: 3 gallons Natural Fertilizer and 30 gallons of water. Apply directly to soil in spring and fall if soil is hard and low in organic matter.
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