Planning for Potatoes

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by rocket, Nov 9, 2006.

  1. rocket

    rocket Well-Known Member

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    I've seen a number of posts here about growing potatoes within some sort of form (old tires, wooden bins, etc) and then covering the vines as they grow so that you get a longer section of the plant producing potatoes. I've also read how important it is to keep the pH down to prevent scab.

    So my question is: does the material used to cover the vines also need to have a low pH? I'm planning on trying this next spring with an old 4' x 4' wooden compost bin. I have hay to use to cover up the vines, but I'm wondering if I need to mix it with something to get the pH right. Maybe peat moss or pine needles?

    And how about watering? Can I lay drip irrigation down on the soil and just leave the built-up mulch material dry? If the covering material stays dry, maybe it's pH doesn't matter?
     
  2. Abe R Crombie

    Abe R Crombie Well-Known Member

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    Hi Rocket,
    The soil your seed is planted in should be all right ,unless abnormaly high or low in PH.Your mulch will slowly breakdown but should not change PH.Potatoes like moisture and the mulch will help keep the moisture in.I grow mine in a raised bed approx. 3' x 40',it's only about 10" high.I added sea weed,straw and mulched leaves as the plants grew.It was a fairly good season with a harvest of approx. 150 lbs.for 70-75 plants.(Russets)
    Hope this helps,
    Abe
     

  3. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    If soil is used to cover the vine, that is the only important area for pH. Doesn't matter if the potato plant is growing in highly alkaline soil as long as the tubers are forming in very acidic soil. Scab only lives in soil, not hay or pine needles. If hay or pine needles is used, scab is a non-issue.

    The tubers need a certain amount of moisture in order to develop. If the soil remains reasonably damp, normal evaporation should keep mulch damp enough for tuber production.

    Martin
     
  4. Pouncer

    Pouncer Well-Known Member

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    Another tip-scab will form on spuds planted directly in to manure. If your compost doesn't have a whole lot of this, you shouldn't have any unsightly blemishes.

    I know folks who plant the seed spuds directly into old hay bales, with some success.
     
  5. rocket

    rocket Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the help, everybody. I can't wait for spring! :)
     
  6. omnicat

    omnicat Well-Known Member

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    I do the old tire thing. One tire, seed potatos in. Then as it grows, I add another tire, and more earth until it's about four tires high. My soil is close to 7.0, but I've never had any trouble with my potatos as all.
     
  7. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

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    I tried the deep mulch thing with some of my potatoes this year. I used straw and piled it on, and as the vines grew I piled on some more. My tubers still all grew in the soil and at the surface of the soil. They didn't really grow in the straw.

    Mice burrowed all in the straw and ate the tubers growing at the surface of the soil.

    It was a bummer of an experiment. I'm going to try again though before calling it a waste.