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Do you like potatoes? Crispy, roasted, cooked, combined with other vegetables? Want to plant potatoes in your garden that won’t be treated with any chemical agents? We’ll show you how to grow organic potatoes.
Organic potatoes are best planted in a sunny spot. The minimum temperature for planting potatoes is 43-46°F. The optimal temperature for tuber growth is 63-68°F. At higher temperatures the yield of potatoes decreases. Potatoes are not demanding in terms of heat, but are very demanding when it comes to water, especially at the time of germination.
The ingredients you need to grow organic potatoes:
- one fertile flowerbed
- eco compost
- eco potato seeds
- one pick
- one spade
- one rake
- plenty of sunshine
- enough rain
- a lot of love
How to Grow Organic Potatoes
It is best to plant potatoes in a sunny spot. The minimum temperature for planting potatoes is 43-46 °F. The optimum temperature for growing tubers is 63-68 °F. At higher temperatures, the yield of potatoes decreases, and at temperatures above 86 °F the growth of tubers completely ceases. The time of bearing the yield, from its planting is two to four months.
Potatoes are not very demanding in terms of heat but are therefore very demanding when it comes to water, especially at the time of potato planting. Drought and high temperatures stress potato stress, so yield is lower.
As for the cultivation of each plant, potatoes require fertile soil enriched with quality organic fertilizer. Dig the soil in late fall or early winter. Feed the dug soil with good compost.
Digging up the flowerbed and replanting it will prevent weeds from developing and losing moisture in the soil. Leave the soil so cultivated and fed for the winter. In the spring, before planting the potatoes, re-dig the soil to chop it, and replenish the topsoil.
Potatoes from seedlings
Potato seeds are not really seeds, but real potatoes that sprouted. You can plant the whole potato or you can cut it into several pieces so that each part has one or two sprouts. For planting potatoes, choose quality, eco-friendly seed potatoes.
When you have bought the potatoes you choose to plant, or have grown your own, put it in wooden casks and arrange it in rows so that the pink ends – which have the most “ounces” will be the uppermost. Keep the pulp in a bright, cool, dry and airy room or greenhouse where, after four or five weeks, the potatoes will sprout and be ready for planting. Discard any that look sick.
Planting organic potatoes
In sheltered areas, mid-March is the best time to plant, and in frosty and open areas, planting should be delayed until later, until the end of April. With a hoe, dig a straight trench for each row of potatoes, about 4 inches deep in light soil or about 6 inches deep in heavy earth. Position the trenches at intervals of about 23 inches.
Lay the seed potatoes with germs facing up at the bottom of each trench every 12 inches. Lightly cover the potatoes with a mound of earth. Do not step on it with your feet. By tilting the soil, we protect the yield from sunlight because it would cause it to remain green. When the shoots break out of the ground, stack more ground on them. Wrap the ground until the plant reaches a height of 4 to 6 inches. If young leaves appear and there is a risk of frost, cover them with dry straw.
Organic potato care
Healthy fruits need to be nourished in order to maximize yield. The potatoes are nourished by hoeing, nibbling and fertilizing. If you have problems with drought, irrigate the soil regularly because potatoes love water. When the plants grow to about 9 inches, start lightly covering them with soil. Break up the crust of the earth that has formed between the rows and afterwards dissipate the eco-nutrient.
Then dig in and loosen the soil sprinkled with eco-nutrients to fold the steep mound above each row. The mound should be about 6 inches high with a peak width of about 5 inches and a foot wide about 8 inches. A week later, pile more earth on the mound to raise it by an inch. Three weeks later, when the plants are at least 12 inches tall, raise the mound another inch.
By supplementing them we achieve better soil structure, better soil storage, and water binding, and provide a balanced diet for plants in the soil. However, do not overdo it because potatoes do not like too much soil. By plowing, nourishing and fertilizing you will protect the plants from weeds, pests, and diseases, and your potatoes will be invested back with a rich yield. By applying manure in the autumn fertilization, the soil heats up faster and earlier planting of potatoes is possible.
Disease and pest control
Birds, bugs, mice, and snails will lurk in your garden. Be prepared for adequate protection. You will protect your plants by regularly weeding, removing old and infected plants, and planting them with slightly larger spacing.
Potato beetle is a pest that primarily attacks potatoes. It begins to emerge from the soil when the temperature increases to 58 °F at a depth of 4 inches. After leaving the ground, potato beetle can live for ten days, after feeding begins mating. The egg is laid by the female on the inside of the potato leaf. The beetle has few natural enemies in our climate. It is eaten by some types of turkeys and ducks, and eggs are attacked by some parasites. Stink bugs are their natural enemies. The best way to defend yourself against potato bugs is to “guard” over your yield from the start.
As soon as you spot the first eggs, you mechanically destroy them and collect the already grown specimens by hand and take them away where they cannot do your organic potatoes any harm. You will also often find a ladybug on a potato. Do not kill her because she is a very useful bug in the bio. The natural enemies of potatoes are snails and mole cricket as well. They attack the potatoes from the underground.
You can also get rid of snails with the help of coffee grounds. Specifically, snails do not like it because it is toxic in higher concentration. Water the infested plants with a coffee sludge, which will not only drive away the snails but will also slightly fertilize the soil and drive the plant flies at the same time. Be moderate in watering the soil with a coffee sludge as it raises the acidity of the soil.
You can sprinkle the soil around the plants that the snails are attacking with ash or stone flour. To keep snails away from your plants, repeat this process after each rain. Snails also repel some herbs such as jeweler, sage, thyme, and castor. If you plant one of these plants along the edge of the flowerbed, snails will not attack your plant.
Mole cricket is one of the common ground pests. His favorite treat is tubers and roots. Cricket is a nocturnal animal and only goes out to the surface of the earth at night. Its trench is not deep in the ground, so it will be easier to catch it if you dig a pot of water into the ground and place planks on the side that point it into the pot.
The mole is a useful animal because it destroys crickets, caterpillars, and worms, but at the same time makes molehills that impair the aesthetic appearance of the garden. The easiest way to get a mole off is to bury an empty bottle in the ground so that the top of the bottle is buried in the opening of its trench, being careful not to clog the bottle’s throat. The sounds made by the wind and the empty bottle moles can’t stand for long, so they leave.
To reduce the possibility of pest infestation and attacks, plant chamomile, calendula and milkweed with potatoes. Never plant potatoes on the flowerbed you used to plant tomatoes on because they use the same ingredients from the soil. Never plant potatoes next to tomatoes, because they have potato beetle as a common enemy.
Natural potato spray agents
The first remedy that can be applied in early spring is the soup from the leaves of the elderberry. The scent of elderberry masks the smell of potatoes, so potato bugs in search of food can not smell it. They are also rejected by horseradish, from which you make soup by soaking horseradish in rainwater for three to five hours. Spray the plants regularly with this soup. You can also make nettle soup that is equally effective against pest control.
The time to harvest the potatoes is when the tubers have completed their development and the above-ground plant is dying out. In order to maintain freshness and quality for as long as possible, the potatoes need to be removed from the ground only after the stem has completely dried to allow the cuticle to harden.
It needs to be removed during the dry weather to keep as little soil and moisture as possible. Potatoes can be harvested even before maturity, in which case we are talking about young potatoes. Young potatoes do not need to be harvested until you want to eat them. It grows quickly and can double in weight within two weeks. Before the final picking, cut the stem off with the leaves, then take the garden forks, remove them from the plant and push them deep enough so that the potatoes do not hurt.
If you want to find more about potatoes and growing them we have an article about everything you need to know.