Fertilizing Potatoes...how much, what kind???

Discussion in 'Fruit and Veg Gardening' started by carolyn, May 4, 2012.

  1. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    Do you fertilize your potatoes? I used compost and manure the last time, which I found was a huge mistake. Experience or advice please. I bought a bag of 0-0-60...for root crops. Do you use anything like this? I haven't had much success growing them, yet.
     
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  3. mart

    mart Strong Ash

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    Since we are in sand we typically use 17-17-17 commercial fert. and side dress !! We add manure to the garden early and plow it in but its not enough for potatoes !! What happened to yours with what you used ??
     
  4. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    Mart, I used composted horse manure and they were scabby. Not any of them weren't affected. Ugly is a nice word :scheming: but I found out after that that horse manure is a no-no on the potato area. So this year I put them where we had strawberries last year and they are starting to come up, but I wasn't sure if I should be doing anything extra to them. This garden is recycled pond muck and the old compost pile and has been there about 3 years.
     
  5. mart

    mart Strong Ash

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    We use horse manure on everything with no problems. Who told you its a no-no ?? You can grow potatoes in dry horse manure alone without a problem. Only way there could be a problem is with the feed that goes into the horse or a soil problem. Keeping in mind that what goes in must eventually come out. It sounds like a soil problem to me. But yes,,you need to side dress or top dress the potatoes at least two or three times during the growing period. Always make sure that when you do,, water it in well. Before a rain is better.
     



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  6. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Hiyah Carolyn--You know, maybe it wasn't the fact that using the horse manure wasn't good, but rather that it might have been too fresh. I use horse manure every year on my spuds. Fresh rather than well-rotted manure will indeed cause scabbing. Ach, but you know--scabbing is not a big deal--you can eat the potatos anyway without noticing the scabbing;however, for a professional grower/marketeer I can imagine that because of their un-attractiveness that your customers may not want to buy them.
    I find things like bone meal, potassium (in some form), a little bit of phosphorus and some dried cow manure pellets helpful. The potassium can work against the scab formation a little but if you can keep the pH of your soil lowish, the influence shouldn't be too bad.
    The manure I use very early in getting the soil in shape for planting(between ~5 months and 1½ months before planting).
    Then when it is time to actually plant the potatos, I use the elements mentioned above.
    Ashes, seaweed, matches and the like will contain the needed elements, but of course one can buy commercial fertilizers as well (this may be more feasible in your operation there).

    One thing that we have not discussed here is HOW you do your planting. Just out of curiosity, do you just stick yours in holes in the ground?...or... do you plough furrows and plant them in that and then mound them up?
    I am always interested to hear how folks plant their spuds, corn and so forth and to hear how their success rate is per plant.
     
  7. mart

    mart Strong Ash

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    Sjoerd, I didn`t think about it possibly being green. That would be a no-no.
     
  8. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    Since the manure came off my compost pile...There could have been the possibility that the manure was not aged enough. I could have easily missed my sister coming and adding to the pile from her horses or thought the pile was aged enough. I know it is supposed to be at least 3 months old and maybe I didn't realize that it wasn't.

    Sjoerd, they were very scabby, not marketable at all. Yes, we ate them, but not very many. They were too hard to peel.

    When I planted the potatoes I hoed a furrow and then mounded them up after planting them. After that I will only mulch them. I don't mound them any more. I think it is way too much work and I don't see the big potato farmers in the next county hilling them, ever. So I figure if they aren't doing it, I may be wasting my time, which I don't want to spend doing this anyway. What I really want is the nice fields they have with all those rocks removed from the potato pickers or what ever they are called, after they harvest the potatoes. Fields as smooth as silt.
     
  9. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Thanks for your reply, Carolyn. I was imagining that you wouldn't be putting too much work into your spuds because you have so many other things that you grow in great numbers.

    Most of the gardners here just loosen the ground and then sink a hole and drop the seed potato in...cover it and that's it.
    I do it differently, and of course they declare me as officially crazy. hahaha. That is because, workwise--I do a lot more. I like having my spuds in hills and I earthen-up the plants at least twice during the growing season. "All that extra work", they say shaking their heads.
    But in the end, I am pleased with my results because I get 1/3 to 1/4 more spuds per plant that they do. I am well chuffed.

    All the extra work is possible because I garden on a small scale (spuds are rotated in 1/3rds in a "field" that is 100²m). The time and care that I put into growing potatos can only be done on a small scale. For folks that have a couple hundred plants or more-- it is just not feasible time and work-wise.

    I always have three or four spuds that are scabby, so I must that the pH and the rest pretty spot-on...but I just rat them and have not noticed that they were particularly hard. Of course they are unsightly and not marketable in your case.

    I find the nitty-gritty of potato growing, and the growing of all things; actually, so very interesting that I allow myself the luxury of getting deeply involved in many aspects of the growing process of veg and flowers (in a sort of investigative way). It is for me, part of the hobby.

    You mentioned that when using horse manure it ought to be at least three months old. I did not know that the limit was three months. I always use manure that is at least nine months old. I just don't trust it younger.
     
  10. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    Sjoerd and Mart, Thanks for your input. I appreciate the information.
    S, I was thinking the aged of the manure in relation to how the produce farmers spread the fields here. Usually there is a 3 month gap between spreading and tilling it under and then planting the field. 9 months is probably a better guide than thinking the 3 should be ok. Live and learn. I also planted 50# and I have 20 more to get in the ground.( which is approximately 31 kilograms?) so, no I really don't have that much time to re hill them on occasion. It's all I can do to keep up with the weeding :eek: :rolleyes: So do you think the 0-0-60 is an ok additive for the potatoes...I hope so since I put it on the rows yesterday.

    I also have nano-prilled chicken manure that I can put on them also... any thoughts on that? I know I need to use that sparingly, but is it an ok side dressing to use do you all think?
     
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  11. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    "nano-prilled"-- I had to look that one up. :) chuckle. I have never heard the term, "prill". At any rate, I've got that now.

    Yes, you do indeed need to be careful with chicken manure.It can be quite strong, even when aged and dried...but you know that.

    About the use of chicken manure: It contains potassium and other trace elements as well as being high in Nitrogen...that is the thing that sends up the red flags. The nitrogen content can indeed "burn" up crops and garden plants if used with a heavy hand.
    I cannot get hold of chicken manure, so for the crops that I grow which require some degree of nitrogen, I use blood meal.

    Some years a give a super light sprinkling of nitrogen and other years not. To be truthful, I do not actually see the need for extra nitrogen.To supplement your potatos with nitrogen technically you are supposed to do a spoil analysis and then calculate the wished for yield (and how much N per square foot or so) and the the existing residual nitrogen content of your soil must then be subtracted from what you want to add as supplement. It's esoteric and interesting to me, but I do not have time for it.

    When I do use use it, I do not notice that there is a direct effect on the spuds per plant harvest numbers.
    I have had some quite bushy plants though. This is a quality that I do not want to foster, as I already have so little room and when the plants are too bushy, I feel that the air circulation is diminished and a ideal condition for the presence and development of Phytophthora will exist.

    In such a moist country, that is something that I want to avoid at all costs, especially in view of the fact that I have toms close-ish by in the other allotment. I am tending to move away from its use in the potato field.
    So my take on chicken pellets for this crop is a definite 'maybe'. hahaha. I personally would not use it on the spuds as a side dressing. I would use other things.

    What I do feel is important to add initially as well as for a side dressing and when I earthen-up is some form of phosphate...phosphorus. As we know, Phosphate aids in root stimulation and production, and potatos are root tubers. This logic is acceptable for me.

    Now meid, that NPK of 0-0-6 that you asked about: You could just as well say, pure Potassium perhaps (the N and the P are missing). I have never added it this way. I use bone meal which has the K++ in it, and it is slow-releasing.
    Is the 0-0-60 typical for what the farmers use there where you live? I do not even know what commercial farmers here use when growing potatos in their fields. Most of the gardeners on our gardening complex use handfuls of broadcasted multi-purpose (12-10-18 ) fertilizer which they buy at a reduced cost from the gardening club to which we belong.
    So, in view of my relative ignorance--my answer to your question about using a K-value of 60, is I just don't know. It seems excessive to me. When I think of potatos, I do not think of flower production. I do use and think of K with toms, however, as where the flower pollination sets you will get a fruit. Naturally giving an opinion now that your field is already sprinkled, is superfluous. heh heh heh. Ummm what would you do then, go back out to the field and sift the soil with a sieve to recover some of the K++? chortle. Just spoofin' ya.

    At any rate, I find this thread interesting and helpful to read. It is always good to hear your ideas and opinions as well as to learn how you do things over there.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2016
  12. mart

    mart Strong Ash

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    As far as horse manure,, I use it as soon as its dry. I am lucky if it sits a month. It does not have to be aged at all,, but it does have to be thoroughly dry. In our Texas sun,, that doesn`t take long. If you use chicken manure to get the best benefit it should be worked into the soil at least six months prior to planting. Chicken manure is so hot you just can`t use it as a side dressing and it will cause you to get more top growth rather than potatoes. Make sure everything in your compost pile is dry before adding it to your vegetables. Just spread it on something,, a plastic sheet maybe or turn it several times before adding it. Then use a even amt across like our 17-17-17 fertilizer Or if you know that your soil is lacking in one of those then vary it !! It sounds like your garden is fairly rich so maybe a 13-13-13 is enough for your soil.
     
  13. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    Sjoerd, In regards to the 0-0-60 I have no idea if it is what the farmers use here. I picked up a bag of it for the asparagus and other root crops. Potatoes is one of the listed plants so I tossed it on at the rate of 1 cup per 100 ft of row. I do notice that the spuds are up much higher than they were yesterday, but I don't think it is because of the fert. I put on them, the only other thing I did was to rake up and disturb the soil since there was a fine new crop of weeds already germinating. Imagine that! weeds!

    Mart, the manure would take all summer to dry out here if it ever did. Although I have not heard of drying it out and using it immediately, either. interesting.
    Now chicken manure, I have that in abundance right now. I think that will be a fall addition to the garden, though. We used the nano-prilled manure in the high tunnel for a broadcast spread for the strawberries and the tomatoes we grow in there. :eek: :eek: :eek: You would not believe the yield of the berries. We picked strawberries for the second time in there this week and some of the plants had a pint of berries on them. The man who told us this method also told us we wouldn't believe the difference in the production. We are impressed to say the least.
     
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  14. mart

    mart Strong Ash

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    One Cup ? 100 ft ? I use that much on two plants. Carolyn considering its already 90 degrees here all we do is rake it out of the stalls and wait a few days and its ready. We don`t do anything to dry it ourselves. I have 6 horses and the boy has two that he stalls at night.
     
  15. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    Mart, that was the 0-0-60 fertilizer, sorry if I wasn't clear on the type of fertilizer I was referring to. The prilled chicken manure I am not sure I would use any more than that either, but good old horse manure is not as potent as the chicken fertilizer, but it adds much more humus to the garden than the chicken manure.
     
  16. mart

    mart Strong Ash

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    I looked up that 0-0-60 and thats straight potassium or potash for lime poor soils. Said it most used for corn.
     

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