Potatoes are such a diverse plant. It acts as a staple food in many regions of the world. It is daily in use in the form of chips, roasties, mash, wedges, crips, and boiled potatoes. So you can easily grow potatoes in your garden to fulfill the daily needs. Today most of the growers get less harvest then actual yield. The main cause of low harvest is not select the appropriate soil and site for the cultivation of potato. They cannot grow in ordinary soil otherwise it affects the harvest and quality of potato.
In this article, I will guide you about the kind of soil which potato-like to grow and also important characteristics of the soil which is more appropriate for good and quality harvest. There are following characteristics of soil which should ensure before the cultivation of potato.
Best Soil Quality:
Here is a certain parameter of soil that you have to take into account while selecting the appropriate soil for potato cultivation.
Types of soil:
There are many types of soil present in the world. Always choose well-drained loamy soil which is best for potato cultivation. Do not rely on heavy soil for potato cultivation because it retains an excessive amount of moisture in the soil and tends to become harder upon drying. When heavy soil becomes dry it becomes a hurdle in the absorption of water and also causes difficulty in the growth of tubers. Side by side sandy soil also drains too quickly which ultimately leads to a water stress condition, for such soil you required more irrigation for the retention of appropriate moisture in the soil which is also too hectic.
Soil potato having a pH between 5.0 and 5.5 is more appropriate for the potato cultivation. Such soils provide the healthiest potatoes because it lowers the chances of soil born disease known as potato scab. This disease cannot survive when the pH is maintained. For better harvest always perform the soil test by soil experts or with a home testing kit. Which provides you a detailed analysis of soil. If the pH of the soil is more than 5.5 then treat your soil with appropriate acid and if the soil is acidic then apply gypsum to maintain the appropriate moisture.
Organic matter in soil:
After the selection of appropriate quality soil then the next step to ensure the micro and macronutrient in the soil. Here are the following ways to enrich your soil with appropriate nutrients.
Organic matter is the best way to enrich the soil with essential nutrients. Side by side they do not have any side effect on the health of human and beneficial insects and microorganisms. There are two forms of organic matter like compost and farmyard manure are used to enrich the soil.
Compost used to enrich potato soil:
A well-aged compost is used to improve the quality of the soil. You have to place 2 to 4 inches of compost at the top 6 to 8 inches of soil. It used to improve moisture retention in the soil because it is good for the quality of the potato. Compost has quality that, it does not dry out quickly but it still drains excess of water well. It also consists of nutrient which may further use as feed to potatoes and also help in a good harvest and healthy growth. Good loam soil may only need a 2-inch amendment but adding 4 inches or more clay soil can help in loosen it and also stop compaction.
You can also form compost at its own or can also buy from the market. To form a good quality compost, you have to dig a pit in the garden and fill it with dry leaves, peels of fruits, organic waste of kitchen, grass cuttings, dry branches and twigs along with the soil and then cover it properly and leaves them for 2 weeks after decomposition these things convert into a good quality compost which you can use in soil to enrich it with essential nutrients.
Farmyard manure to enrich potato soil:
You can also enrich your soil by adding farmyard manure. While using farmyard one key thing to remember is, always use farmyard manure which is at least 2 years older because if you use fresh manure then upon applying for its releases toxic gasses upon decomposition which will ultimately burn your plants. After 2 years due to decomposition toxic gasses release and they did not affect your plants’ growth.
Fertilizer supplies any nutrient lacking within the soil. A 5:10:5 blend of N-P-K provides excess nutrition when applied at the speed of 1 ½ pound per fifty square feet of bed before you plant potato. The most nutrient required by potatoes is nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. N-P-K the primary number on the fertilizer label is that the percentage of nitrogen which is followed by the phosphorus and potassium percentages. First, apply nitrogen fertilizer because it is essential for the vegetative growth of the potato. As the plant grows best vegetative growth then it became a source of food that got ready in leaves and ultimately deposit in the roots of the plant in the form of potato tubers. The second application of fertilizer is about one pound and it applied per 50-foot row, made after the potatoes reach at a height of 4-6 inches and also provides the rest of the nutrients needed. At this stage, nitrogen fertilizer replaces with potassium which is good for the tuber growth of the growing potatoes. Always sprinkle this fertilizer on the soil at about 6 inches off from the plants and water immediately so it soaks in.
Proper soil moisture ensures healthy growth, but excess moisture or waterlogging condition may result in the form of rot problems. Good soil amended with compost or organic matter retains moisture well but it is going to still dry out during hot or dry weather. Deep irrigation prevents the soil from drying out quickly. Always provide about 1 inch of water weekly so it can penetrate a minimum of 6 inches into the soil. IF you cover the soil with 2-4 inches of straw mulch further retains soil moisture while also protecting potatoes that form near the top of the soil and protect them from direct sunshine.
Tips to improve the soil for potato growth:
Here are certain tips which you can adopt to improve the soil for potato cultivation.
- First, dig the plot to a depth of about 45cm. This includes double digging and it guarantees your potatoes have enough room to cultivate and this may also increase your site’s drainage. Eradicate perennial weed root as you go.
- Adding organic matter is that the most important step when growing potatoes. Organic matter offers nutrients but also enhances airflow and drainage of soils. Add a minimum of 4 inches of well-rotted farmyard manure over the highest of your soil and so work it into the lower layer with a garden fork.
- Do Groundwork before sowing includes making deep trenches and spacing the potatoes in these trenches. Your trench should be 10cm deep and potatoes should be spaced 45cm apart
- Add extra feed at the time of planting. Because farmyard manure is low infertility it is advised to feature a tiny low amount of general fertilizer when planting. Approx. 35 grams per m2 would be sufficient.
If your soil having above mention characteristics, then what are you waiting for? do cultural practices and grow potatoes otherwise follow the designed tips and enhance potato harvest and quality.
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