What is Correct Fertilizer for Planting Potatoes

Discussion in 'Fruit and Veg Gardening' started by fouriron4, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. fouriron4

    fouriron4 New Seed

    Jan 12, 2013
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    I am tired of eating the same small variety of potatoes sold at the local supermarket so I have purchased the following organic seed potatoes for planting this spring:

    1. Mountain Rose
    2. Purple Viking
    3. Adirondack Blue
    4. Dark Red Norland
    5. Purple Majesty
    6. Yellow Finn

    My question is what is the best ratio combination N-P-K fertilizer that would insure a bountiful crop. Any feedback and tips from you potato growing experts is much appreciated.
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  3. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

    Apr 13, 2011
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    Hi and welcome fouriron4,

    Potatoes are an easy crop. I dig a trench and drop a "seed" every foot or so. Cover with a layer of soil and a sprinkle a thin layer of compost fertilizer , bunny manure or composted chicken manure. I also use a bag of 0-0-60 for the tuber support/growth. Follow the directions if you use it. As the green part grows, hill the soil up around the stem to support the top of the plant keeping it upright. Some will flower and set seed and some will not flower for you. do not worry either way. Some people save the seeds and grow them out, but that is a whole new and different project. I side dress a couple times, but did not get too worried over how much fertilizer to apply. If you are growing organically the choices for n-p-k are much lower and will not burn the plants, conventionally you will need to follow the bag instructions, don't over fertilize with a n-p-k formula.

    I grew Yukon Gold last year, planted about 3# in 3 50' rows yielding about 3 brown grocery bags full of potatoes, some were huge (over a pound) others were minute, about or smaller than a seed potato.

    Mart grows potatoes on here too, she may have more/different instructions. Glean what you think will work for you or what you have to work with.
    Good luck. I hope you have a great season.
  4. fouriron4

    fouriron4 New Seed

    Jan 12, 2013
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    Thanks for your feedback. I so look forward to planting these different varieties and apppreciate all the help in starting off on the right direction.

    I want to go organic all the way, so I will be on the lookout for bunny, chicken and compost fertilizer.

    Thanks Again !!!!!
  5. marlingardener

    marlingardener Strong Ash

    Aug 23, 2010
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    Central Texas, zone 8
    Fouriron4, welcome to the forum! As Carolyn said, potatoes are fairly easy to grow. The only advice I could add is don't plant them in the same spot next year--rotate your potato patch with something else.
    I don't know where you are, but if you have a county extension agent, he/she can put you in touch with 4H members who raise rabbits and poultry (and steers) for fair exhibit. Those kids will let you have manure, or will sell it at a very low price.
    Rabbit manure you can use straight from the source, poultry and steer manure needs to be composted. Poultry for at least 8-9 months, and steer for 6 months if you are in a warm climate with temps above 60 degrees for that amount of time.
    Enjoy your potatoes--home-grown are so much better tasting!

  6. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

    Apr 11, 2006
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    I reckon that everyone grows their spuds differently.

    You inquired specifically about what NPK ratios one should use for the best result when planting potatos. Well, I am another one that doesn't use fertilizers in a bag with specific NPK values. I use green manures, partially composted cow or horse manure and bone meel.
    Thus, I cannot answer your question directly, but I can tell you a little bit about how I do it with my potatos.

    ---My potato growing actually begins the preceding season, just as soon as that year's crop has been harvested.

    ---First of all, I choose the new bed (rotation, as MG has said is very important) which will be used the following season.

    ---This plot is cleaned, raked and planted with a green manure.

    ---Towards the end of the summer, the green manure is removed, the ground is min-tilled and aged cow or horse manure is spread over the plot...and the lifted green manure is then re-spread over the plot.

    ---The following spring, I chit my spuds, and toward the end of march-beginning april, I remove any green manure that has not disintegrated and set that aside to use to mulch the strawberry plants with.
    I make a trench and in the bottom of that trench, I use a tulip bulb planter to make a hole.

    ---Before planting anything, I sprinkle some bone meal down the trench (into) and onto the berms of soil that had pushed-up when I made the trench.

    ---I then lower my chitted seed potato into the hole and fill the trench with that soil that had piled-up on either side of the trench when I dug it.

    ---I when the leaves show themselves above the soil, I cover them (to avoid frost damage)
    When I have covered them, 2-3 times, I then let them grow taller and then I sprinkle more bone meal and then earth them up.

    ---I will earth them up perhaps two times and with one of the earth-ups I will use a small amount of dried cow pellets.

    The rest is up to the weather and the plant's own development which comes out of the seed potato.

    I have discussions here with fellow gardeners that take issue with the earthing-up and fertilizing. My philosophy is that by knowing how the potato plant grows and produces tubers, I can create more underground plant stem length by earthing-up. The plant will produce more tubers along the stem that is under the soil level.--More stem length = more root/tuber production.
    I have typically 17-26 sizeable spuds per plant, and my neighbours have 6-9.

    I only mention all this extra stuff because growing spuds is more than just fertilizing, in my view. It seem to me that the extra work is in fact more important than the fertilization. Thus if you get the fertilization right, then it is a factor that just adds to the benefits of prep work... and the result ought to be what one wants. The weather is the only "wild card" that is not predictable and can work to your benefit or throw a spanner in the works.

    Good luck with your spuds, mate!
    Frank and Donna S like this.
  7. mart

    mart Hardy Maple

    Mar 31, 2010
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    NE Texas
    Well I probably do everything that others here will tell you not to do and still have a bumper crop. I plant the same rows year after year, right next to my broccoli and cabbage. I do not add soil to my potatoes during the growing process because no one has been able to prove to me that it helps anything. And its just too much trouble to me. Best advice I can give for potatoes is to start now building up and loosening your soil. I recommend horse manure for organic growers. Cow manure is good too if the cow has not been fed with feed that has had antibiotics ect added. It needs to dry and age a bit, horse manure can be used as soon as its dry. I have grown some things in straight horse manure. Potatoes need a well drained,loose,fertile soil to do well. They don`t do well in heavy clay soils.
    I add horse manure to my garden each year but I also use a 17-17-17 commercial fertilizer. I like to eat too well to do organics.

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