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Potato plants are up...now what?

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Potato plants are up...now what? Empty Potato plants are up...now what?

Post  WendySue67 on 5/23/2011, 4:51 pm

After weeks of waiting (I'm not patient enough for underground growing--can't see progress Very Happy) my potato plants are peeking out. I know I'm supposed to now cover the plants with more MM but I'm not sure when. Do I let them grow a little or cover them as soon as they peek out? And should I toss more MM on the plants as they come up or wait until all of them are up and do the whole box at the same time? The first plant to come out is now getting a little big, but there are about 8 more that are barely coming in. Also, how much MM should I add? I am planning on about 3 inches... too much or too little?

Thanks!
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Post  Hoggar on 5/23/2011, 5:30 pm

Earthing up potatoes is an important part of the growing process.
It involves drawing mounds of soil up around the plant to prevent
new tubers from growing and turning green and poisonous.

Earthing up is the process of covering growing tubers with soil.
This will help prevent the greening of tubers, and blight infection.
Begin earthing up once the shoots of your plant reached approximately 6".

draw soil into mounds around the stems of your potato plants.
Use enough soil so that just 2" of stem are left visible above the mound.
This will ensure enough foliage is left to allow the plant to carry on growing
strongly, but will starve the developing tubers of light so that they are
prevented from turning green and poisonous. Whilst doing this, take the
opportunity to remove any weeds or debris that may have returned since planting.

Keep an eye on your potatoes over the coming weeks in case the soil has
been washed away by heavy rain. To avoid this occurring, do not make the
mounds too steep. As the plant continues to grow, repeat the process every
time it reaches 4" - 5" of new growth above ground. This could mean
repeating the process 3 or 4 times per season.

Originally posted by Tom Cole, Capel Manor College, London.
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Post  walshevak on 5/23/2011, 5:40 pm


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Post  MikeP on 5/24/2011, 11:18 am

Just a thought... I've read that some folks use straw instead of soil to mound up around the stem, as the purpose is mainly to protect the developing tubers from the sun.

So far I've been using Mel's Mix diluted with some extra peat to mound up, but with all of the tubs of potatoes I've added recently I think it's going to get mighty expensive. I have 3 17 gal tubs and 3 5 gal buckets plus all of the bags I had started earlier in the year (and mounded up with the above-mentioned Mel's Mix diluted with peat).

Has anyone considered mounding up with Mel's Mix combined with straw (to stretch out the mix)? I'm not 100% on the idea of using only straw, but the various composts I've been buying start at $9 a bag (not counting manures). I have no problem using compost or Mel's Mix for the bottom 4"-6" of the tubs/buckets though...

Thoughts?
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Post  Ha-v-v on 5/24/2011, 11:29 am

@MikeP wrote:Just a thought... I've read that some folks use straw instead of soil to mound up around the stem, as the purpose is mainly to protect the developing tubers from the sun.

So far I've been using Mel's Mix diluted with some extra peat to mound up, but with all of the tubs of potatoes I've added recently I think it's going to get mighty expensive. I have 3 17 gal tubs and 3 5 gal buckets plus all of the bags I had started earlier in the year (and mounded up with the above-mentioned Mel's Mix diluted with peat).

Has anyone considered mounding up with Mel's Mix combined with straw (to stretch out the mix)? I'm not 100% on the idea of using only straw, but the various composts I've been buying start at $9 a bag (not counting manures). I have no problem using compost or Mel's Mix for the bottom 4"-6" of the tubs/buckets though...

Thoughts?

I am using straw now exclusively, my compost is too precious to use it in the amounts Im doing. I have one tote bucket with my compost only. I wanted to be able to experiment with different mediums.

Potatoes in the tote, older picture they are topped out with soil now. This picture only shows 3 tall.
Potato plants are up...now what? 100_1916

The potatoes behind it are in 2x8 foot boxes 4 high now with straw.
Potato plants are up...now what? 100_1917

Im hoping this works for me Smile We will see.
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Post  HieronRemade on 5/24/2011, 8:35 pm

I read somewhere that for early varieties (such as the Yukon Golds I'm growing) that it's pointless to continually cover the plants since only the later varieties will continue to grow new tubers...does that jive with what you pros know about potatoes? This is my first year doing them so confirmation would be great.
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Post  Ha-v-v on 5/24/2011, 8:45 pm

@HieronRemade wrote:I read somewhere that for early varieties (such as the Yukon Golds I'm growing) that it's pointless to continually cover the plants since only the later varieties will continue to grow new tubers...does that jive with what you pros know about potatoes? This is my first year doing them so confirmation would be great.

I too am growing Yukon Golds, the tallest plant is almost 36 inches, the boxes they are in are a total of 32 inches, 4 boxes 2x8 made with 2x8 boards. I have them covered with hay as they went up. Its a large scale experiment Smile If this doesnt work out I have new beds for a bigger garden next year. If it does work they will last a long time, only the bottom one on the soil will rot faster. Not sure if its going to help a lot in production, but I like the idea of faking em out and growing more potatoes. I also dont have blossoms yet on the Yukons, I see them on my Russets though.
I hope someone that has grown Yukons before chimes in for us Smile
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