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potatoes are not that easy to grow

 
Posts: 27
Location: Northwestern Ohio, US
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Well, I simply planted my Russet potatoes in a small raised bed and they grew just find. However, I live in northwestern Ohio so I don't have to deal with tropical humidity.
You added in compost, right? I used some good quality mixed soil along with some manure mixed in with decayed plant material. Then completely covered the potatoes with the soil.

My Raised Bed Of Potatoes
http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a381/candylove_56/DSCF1063.jpg
 
Posts: 257
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
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Nice, but aren't you supposed to cover the plants with soil as they grow?
As far as the compost, I'm confused. Some people use it as fertilizer, some say it's just to boost the MO count, because all the Nitrogen is gone. In the case of potatoes, they say that fertilizing them makes them grow too many leaves and not too many spuds. I don't really know of any fertilizer that increases the root system. Meanwhile the potatoes are growing in pure decaying straw (but they're sitting on aged manure, can't really call it compost, because we are always in a hurry).
Now, I'm thinking of that guy in Alaska who grows GINORMOUS vegetables with his aerated compost tea rich in volcanic ashes and what not, and he counted 40 potatoes out of one plant.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXGqJbFZzCo

If I get less, but I'm not supposed to fertilize, then I'm a little confused.
 
            
Posts: 177
Location: California
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After you cut the potatoes into individual eye-chunks, did you let the chunks harden off for a few days? If they cure and dry out a bit they'll be a lot less susceptible to mold/rot/fungus.

With heat, humidity and rain like you have there, all that compost and bananna mulch is just gonna go swampy and smother your tubers. You'd have better luck planting them in a sandbox.
 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 257
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
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I planted small potatoes with eyes just to avoid risks of infection. I think I'll try with sand, but will just leave sand and straw, what about fertilization? Everybody says potatoes do well without fertilizer because otherwise they'll be all leaves, then what causes some plants to yield more than others?
 
Posts: 254
Location: Virginia
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SergioSantoro wrote:
I planted small potatoes with eyes just to avoid risks of infection. I think I'll try with sand, but will just leave sand and straw, what about fertilization? Everybody says potatoes do well without fertilizer because otherwise they'll be all leaves, then what causes some plants to yield more than others?



i say you have to have some type of fertilizer.  my family would compost heavily,  and then put regular fertilizer on it.  and we would eat potatoes all winter long and run out just in time for the next harvest.  we had an underground root celler. 

now w/o the regular type fertilizer, id say you have to put some type of compost on them.  or manure.  just age it.  as mentioned my beds had green manure in them,  beautiful plants,  but i havent dug them yet to see whats  underground. 

you did right putting whole potatoes in the ground.  its said cutting them into smaller portions will add to the disease risk.  who knows.  but it does make sense to me.
 
            
Posts: 177
Location: California
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I was more exaggerating than advocating that you grow your potatoes in a sandbox.. just implying that you need well-drained soil and less moisture.
 
gardener
Posts: 965
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
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I've had decent yields using nothing but old hay, and also nothing but semi composted woodchips, burying the plants to all but the top leaves once per month or so. So no, you don't need fertilizer but I can't say that it wouldn't improve yield. I've never tried.

I have heard that adding wood ash to potato plantings can cause scab, though I have not seen this with my own eyes.

 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 257
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
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What do you mean by decent yield, and if you bury the plants every month, what happens to the leaves that have grown in that time? They decompose on a living plant?
Hmmm... I don't know why I was freaking out about this fact. Come to think of it, there are quite a few plants that can be partially buried alive and they don't get diseases, but grow right back.
 
Travis Philp
gardener
Posts: 965
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
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I usually get 5-10 medium to large potatoes per plant, and several small ones as well. Not the best yield but for the amount of effort I put in, and the ease of harvest, I think its worth it. I think that if I added a base layer of manure I'd get better yield but my crap is needed elsewhere.

When you bury the plant in mulch...Theoretically the leaves rot off, and the spot on the main stem then sprouts roots, and you may even gget more potatoes if the season has enough time left. I've been growing this way for 4 years and have never had a plant suffer because of this practice.

 
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