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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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Potato confusion

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Windmere
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Potato confusion Empty Potato confusion

Post  AtlantaMarie 3/24/2014, 8:12 pm

ML got my potato box ready today.  But now we're a little confused.

ANSFG2 pgs 235-237 says, "remove about 5" of your soil in that sqft, place 4 seed pieces at the proper spacing...."

BUT

SFGAB pg 13 (Q6) says, "place 4" of MM in a square, w/ 2" of pure compost on top.  Plant the potatoes in the compost layer..."

So which is it?  1" from the bottom or 1" from the top?
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Post  boffer 3/24/2014, 8:56 pm

Generally, the new potatoes will grow at or above the level of the seed potato.  Plant them near the bottom.
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Post  sanderson 3/24/2014, 10:45 pm

I wrapped my potato buckets and will be adding a little cow manure and then 2-3" of compost.  Sun or shade?  What should I do now? We are getting hot now. 81* still at 7:45 PM! Any advice welcomed.

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Post  Marc Iverson 3/24/2014, 11:02 pm

What's the cardboard for? To insulate the bucket from the sun a bit?
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Post  sanderson 3/25/2014, 12:30 am

Marc, Yes, for the roots. If I understand correctly, sunlight on the potatoes makes or keeps them green. White buckets let in sunlight.

I'm hoping someone will confirm?  Very Happy 
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Post  AtlantaMarie 3/25/2014, 9:06 am

Thanks Boffer!  Will do!  With lots of compost!

Sanderson - I know once they come out of the ground it's important to keep them in the dark.  Not sure about during growth...
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Post  Windmere 3/25/2014, 12:52 pm

sanderson wrote:Marc,  Yes, for the roots.  If I understand correctly, sunlight on the potatoes makes or keeps them green.  White buckets let in sunlight.

I'm hoping someone will confirm?   Very Happy 
I have planted seed potatoes in yellow containers... and I am also wondering if I should put cardboard around them.

Also, I read somewhere (I cannot for the life of me find the reference right now), that potatoes grown in containers grow better if they are "air pruned."  As I understand it, air pruning can be done by drilling some holes into the sides of the planting containers.  This process is supposed to stimulate root growth.

I drilled some holes into the sides of my containers based on the air pruning concept.  Has anyone heard of air pruning?

I probably should have asked about this here before planting.  I've got some German butterball, purple majesty and cherry red potatoes going and I really don't want to mess up with them.
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 3/25/2014, 1:10 pm

I don't know the answer on the white buckets, but it certainly won't hurt having the cardboard. Heck, in our summer heat, perhaps it would even help them to be a little more insulated from the temps?

You could try an experiment and leave one uncovered if you wanted to take the risk.
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Post  boffer 3/25/2014, 1:11 pm

I thought air pruning pots were to prevent roots from encircling themselves.  I've never heard of that being a problem with potatoes.

I have no idea how much light is sufficient light to turn a potato green.  In any case, only the part of the potato that is touching the pot will be at risk.  The rest of the potato will still be in darkness provided by the surrounding growing medium.

If you get a little green on an end of a potato, just cut it off, no big deal.  One would have to eat a lot of green potato to get sick.
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Post  camprn 3/25/2014, 1:19 pm

Yes please, Windmere post a link to this thing you read about air pruning potato roots.

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Potato confusion Empty Air pruning references

Post  Windmere 3/25/2014, 1:56 pm

Ahh me, I am having a hard time finding the reference I originally saw about potatoes and air pruning.  I think it may have been in a general YouTube video about growing potatoes.  The video would not have been titled with a direct reference to air pruning.

I did find the following website, but the reference to air pruning is linked with a product called "Island Grow Pots."

http://www.container-gardening-for-you.com/how-to-grow-potatoes.html

Here's the relevant text from this site:

Growing potatoes in containers is popular in Europe. It is a brilliant alternative to customary planting. Traditional plastic pots can damage the roots of your plants, as they tend to develop large, singular roots. This is caused by limited oxygen intake of the roots from the soil - a common case found in root bound plants.


Want to know how to grow potatoes successfully like this? One sure way to grow your plants healthily is by air-pruning. This method is efficient in propagating seedlings or potted plants for restoration. During the process, the roots are exposed to air without high humidity, causing the roots to burn off; producing new and healthy branching roots constantly.

I wish I could find a more specific reference.  I bookmarked the site where I originally saw this information, but a couple months ago our computer crashed, burned and died (it was about six years old, so it was probably time).
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Post  AtlantaMarie 4/7/2014, 1:20 pm

Okay...  the potatoes are about ready to go in the ground. 

I THOUGHT I read on here somewhere about a couple inches of compost AND using pine straw to add more acid & get more production.  But now I can't find it...

Help? 

Should the pine straw go under the compost or on top?  How many inches of each?  Anything else I should know?

Thanks, guys & gals...
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Post  Turan 4/7/2014, 2:03 pm

Make sure the compost is well matured. Potatoes DO NOT LIKE rich in nitrogen composts and are more susceptible to scabs then, especially with manures. Make the bottom of the pot with the richer soil mix, add a handful of bonemeal, that is what they like. For the hilling use straw, hay, pine needles, peat all do very well. I found straw was too good a home for the slugs but others have great luck using it. Peat is really nice but more expensive.

I have not noticed feeding roots above the seed potato? Can any one corroborate me on that?

A really good tool for a lot of such questions is to do an image search on Google. It is a quick way to see how lots of other people have come up with.

https://www.google.com/search?q=potato+tower+harvest&client=firefox-a&hs=vCa&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=wedCU-yEB-6uyAGj54CwDA&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAQ&biw=1234&bih=611

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Post  camprn 4/7/2014, 2:19 pm

AtlantaMarie wrote:Okay...  the potatoes are about ready to go in the ground. 

I THOUGHT I read on here somewhere about a couple inches of compost AND using pine straw to add more acid & get more production.  But now I can't find it...

Help? 

Should the pine straw go under the compost or on top?  How many inches of each?  Anything else I should know?

Thanks, guys & gals...
I do not recall any of this.

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Post  donnainzone5 4/7/2014, 2:26 pm

AtlantaMarie, 

Don't use the pine straw on the bottom.  A rich but aged compost blend should be on the bottom.  I then cover the seed potatoes with two to four inches of Mel's Mix.  For hilling, you can use any of the materials Turan mentions.

I've used pine straw, with good results, although I may experiment with peat moss this time, since potatoes like a slightly acidic environment.
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Post  Turan 4/7/2014, 2:36 pm

camprn wrote:
AtlantaMarie wrote:Okay...  the potatoes are about ready to go in the ground. 

I THOUGHT I read on here somewhere about a couple inches of compost AND using pine straw to add more acid & get more production.  But now I can't find it...

Help? 

Should the pine straw go under the compost or on top?  How many inches of each?  Anything else I should know?

Thanks, guys & gals...
I do not recall any of this.

Maybe this is the thread referred too?
https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t14847-potato-question

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