potato planting question

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Steph in MT, Apr 25, 2005.

  1. Steph in MT

    Steph in MT Well-Known Member

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    Montana
    Hello all~
    Getting ready to plant my taters and was wondering if I could use old pine needles for mulch rather than straw or leaves? Got lots of pines and was hoping I could get some use out of the needles. Anyone ever try this?
    Thanks & take care~
    Steph
     
  2. hollym

    hollym Well-Known Member

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    Don't they prefer acid mediums? I am using whatever is at hand and this weekend it was oak leaves!

    hollym
     

  3. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Potatoes indeed love acid soil although they will be just as happy with alkaline soil. However, common scab also loves alkaline soil. An oldtimer trick is to mix pine needles with the soil when back-filling the trenches. That creates a temporary acidic barrier and prevents having scabby potatoes. If you have plenty on hand, work some into the soil as well as later using them for mulch.

    In my area, I have mainly maple and oak leaves available. This does not prevent me from obtaining lots of pine needles for the potato patch. When used Christmas trees were set out for collection in January, I rescued about 15 of them. As soon as it warmed up, I stripped the boughs off and ran then through a shredder several times. Then again through a bagging mower until there were only about 40 gallons of tiny bits. Those were spread on the potato patch and worked into the soil during planting. That soil was already acidic and now will have an even lower pH. For certain, I should have 100% scab-free potatoes this year.

    Martin
     
  4. Steph in MT

    Steph in MT Well-Known Member

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    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montana
    Thanks for the info! :) Now I have another project for today! woo hoo!
    Yesterday I made a raised bed and planted 165 onion sets. One of my dear sweet dogs has already jumped the little fence and begun to harvest them...GRR! Now all my hand-turned fluffy soil looks like craters of the moon with little onions lying all over the surface. She was also a big help harvesting my garlic the day after I planted it. She's sure lucky she's cute...
    Off to collect pine needles! :)
    Steph