Russia got acquainted with potatoes under Peter I. The new vegetable took root long and hard, but then it was appreciated, deservedly proclaiming “second bread”. Now in garden plots it is grown everywhere, because the Russian climate is very suitable for culture. Vegetables are extremely unpretentious in care, but this does not mean that tubers can simply be thrown into holes and forgotten about them. Obtaining a plentiful harvest is impossible if they are not planted at the right time, it is also necessary to pre-prepare the garden and the planting material itself.
When is it better to plant potatoes?
The main factor determining the timing of planting potatoes in a particular region are weather and climatic conditions, as well as the group of varieties to which this variety belongs.
In central Russia and the Volga region, potatoes are usually planted in the first ten days of May. In the North and North-West region - at the junction of spring and summer. In the Urals and the Far East - on the 20th of May. In Siberia - at the very beginning of June. In the Black Sea region, Crimea, in the North Caucasus - in the first half of April.
Potato tubers are quite sensitive to soil temperature. With too early planting, their development slows down, seedlings appear late, they are even ahead of potatoes, planted a week or two later. Productivity is significantly reduced, on average by 15-20%.
At the same time, the predicted frosts are not an obstacle for landing. Tubers tolerate a drop in air temperature to -5ºС. Colds are dangerous only for seedlings reaching a height of 3-5 cm.
The very first planted early potatoes, ripening in 55-60 days. Do this no earlier than the soil at a depth of 7-8 cm warms up to 8ºС. To determine whether the time has come, folk signs will help - bird cherry blossoms, buds open on birches (leaves reach about the size of a penny coin), dandelions appear.
Another way to check is to take a lump of earth from a depth of 10-12 cm and throw it on the ground. If it is only deformed, the soil is still frozen. And when it breaks up into several fragments - the soil is ready for planting. If it crumbles into small crumbs, the substrate is already drying up, you need to plant immediately. The soil thaws faster if in the early spring to clear the bed of snow, sprinkle with humus or peat crumbs and tighten with black polyethylene.
Mid-early varieties are planted in early May. Harvest can be harvested after 65-80 days. But among gardeners, they are usually not very popular. Such potatoes are practically not stored, it is characterized by low starchiness and the absence of a pronounced taste.
Mid-ripening varieties (ripening period 80-85 days) are planted in the last decade of May. Gardeners appreciate them for their high productivity and good drought tolerance.
The deadline for planting medium-late varieties (95-110 days) is mid-June. Otherwise, in a moderate climate of the crop, you can not wait until the first frost. Late potatoes are planted around the same time. Its undoubted advantages are keeping quality, transportability and very good immunity.
In addition, many gardeners are guided by the lunar calendar, which annually indicates the days that are most favorable and unfavorable for planting a particular crop. In 2019, it is recommended to plant potatoes:
- in May - 1, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 31;
- in June - 1, 18, 19, 23, 24, 28, 29.
And to refrain from this is better:
- in May - 5, 19;
- in June - the 3rd, 17th.
Of course, you can’t follow these recommendations blindly, not taking into account the weather on each specific day.
There are other signs that many gardeners follow. For example, they are not advised to plant potatoes on Palm Week - such tubers often rot. On Good Friday and Clean Thursday any landing work is generally prohibited. A potato planted on Wednesday or Saturday is very low keeping quality.
Choosing a place and preparing the garden
A place for potatoes in a garden plot in most cases is reserved for the residual principle. But this extremely unpretentious culture has its own requirements for growing conditions, which it is desirable to satisfy if possible.
At the same place, potatoes are grown for three years, no more. Then a break of the same duration is desired. The first things to consider are predecessors and neighbors. It is strongly recommended not to plant potatoes after and next to other plants from the Solanaceae family (tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, tobacco, physalis). Otherwise, you increase the risk of infection with late blight, fusariosis, and attacks of the Colorado potato beetle. Pumpkin (cucumbers, zucchini, squash) also suffer from late blight, so it is also advisable to place them away. And the presence of a nearby garden bed with strawberries makes the invasion of wireworms and nematodes almost inevitable.
The neighborhood with any legumes, especially bush beans, has a very positive effect on potatoes. These plants saturate the soil with nitrogen, which the Colorado potato beetle and wireworm really dislike. Beans and peas are best planted along the perimeter of the bed, and not in the aisles, so that they do not take away nutrients from the potato.
A good option and Cruciferous (all types of cabbage, radish, turnip, swede, radish). Leaf mustard, one of the best siderates, belongs to the same family. Other root crops (beets, carrots), spicy greens, as well as onions and garlic do not interfere with potatoes. The latter emit volatile, effectively repelling many pests.
Potato categorically does not tolerate any celery and parsley. Their presence next automatically means a sharp decrease in productivity. He himself has a similar effect on the apple tree - the fruits are much smaller, their taste is deteriorating. Potatoes are poorly planted in the neighborhood of raspberries, aronia, cherries, sea buckthorn.
Like many other garden crops, potatoes love warmth and sunlight. The place for a bed is chosen equal, open, if possible protected from drafts. The bed is oriented from north to south.
Soil culture prefers light, with good aeration, in which water does not stagnate. Potatoes will not grow in a saline, heavy clay substrate, any lowlands. Areas with groundwater close to the surface are also excluded. They can be determined by the sour smell coming from the soil, its bluish tint and the presence of a large amount of moss.
The most suitable soil for it is loam, sandy loam, forest sierozem, sod-podzolic soil and, of course, chernozem. The extent to which this substrate will suit potatoes can be judged by the weeds growing in this place. The soil of a similar quality is preferred by wheat grass, coltsfoot, dandelions, clover. If the acid-base balance is different from the neutral one, it is brought back to normal by adding dolomite flour, egg shell powder to the acid substrate, and peat, needles or fresh sawdust of coniferous trees in the alkaline substrate.
In the autumn, the future potato beds are dug up, in the spring about two weeks before planting, they are loosened to a depth of 12-15 cm. At the same time, in the process of digging, organic - 3-5 l of humus or rotted compost and mineral - 35-40 g each are added superphosphate and 15-20 g of potassium sulfate per 1 m² of fertilizer, and also get rid of all plant debris. Potassium contributes to an increase in the mass of tubers, phosphorus - their quantity.
Often, gardeners in the preparation of potato beds plant in late summer or early fall green manure. After about two months, they are mowed and planted with greenery in the ground. This is a natural fertilizer with other beneficial properties. For example, Legumes in combination with Asteraceae repel the nematode.
Video: preparing potato beds
Selection of tubers for planting
Most often, next year, gardeners plant potato tubers of this crop. But this practice leads to the fact that already after 5-7 years varietal signs “erode”, productivity decreases, as does the size of root crops. Planting material needs regular updating.
To ensure its best quality, during the period of active vegetation, the most powerful multi-stem bushes are noted. In the fall, they look at their productivity. If the number of tubers is the same or greater than typical of the variety, this is a suitable planting material. And it’s not necessary that they be very large.
New tubers are purchased exclusively from suppliers with a good reputation - in nurseries or specialty stores. They can provide the necessary documents confirming the quality of potatoes - certificates and licenses for the right to sell it. Shopping at various agricultural fairs, and even more so just by hand, is a big risk. It is impossible to guarantee that this is the desired variety. In addition, planting material may be infected.
The most suitable option for planting is tubers of regular round or ovoid shape weighing 50-90 g, not sluggish and not wrinkled. To the touch, they should be hard, and the skin should be smooth, uniform, without signs of peeling, signs of mold, rot and black speck. The latter may not be particles of adhering earth, but rhizoctonia. The presence of a large number of "eyes" is welcome, but it is not recommended to purchase already sprouted potatoes. Anyway, a significant part of the sprouts will break during transportation. If there is no choice, be sure to pay attention to the color of the sprouts - they should be mauve, lilac, lettuce green, but in no case black. In healthy tubers, sprouts are even, elastic. Their threadlike nature means defeat by viruses.
In addition to appearance, you need to pay attention to the description of the variety, its suitability for cultivation in a particular region. Species that produce equally good crops in both the northern and southern regions are extremely rare.
Agronomists claim that potato varieties bred in Russia and the CIS countries show better resistance to pathogenic fungi. And root crops of foreign selection are less likely to suffer from nematodes and viral diseases.
Preplanting processing of potato tubers
Before planting, potato tubers must undergo vernalization. This is a whole complex of agricultural practices, therefore, they begin to carry out activities in advance, about 30-40 days before the planned landing. If everything is done correctly, the yield increases by about 20-30%, root crops ripen faster.
Planting material is removed from the storage site and inspected. Shriveled tubers are dipped for 10-12 hours in water, heated to a temperature of 25-28ºС. Existing sprouts accurately break off. Tubers are treated with fungicides to prevent the development of fungal diseases. Preparations of biological origin that are harmless to human health and safe for the environment are best suited. This, for example, Gamair, Bactofit, Fitosporin-M, Agat-25K.
Then they are scattered on the floor in a room where a constant temperature of at least 20 ° C is maintained, laying a soft cloth, closer to the window. You can use artificial lighting, for example, fluorescent lamps, but then you need to cover the potatoes with paper or a light cloth. In the light, potatoes produce solanine, acquiring a greenish tint. This substance is toxic to many pests, it is also a natural fungicide. Once every 5-7 days, the tubers are turned over and moderately sprayed with water from a spray bottle. After about 10-15 days, the temperature is lowered to 15 ° C so that the "eyes" wake up.
If there is no suitable room, the potatoes can be laid out in bright plastic bags, making several ventilation holes in them, and hanging them from the walls or ceiling.
So-called wet vernalization is also practiced - germination of tubers in boxes or boxes filled with perlite, vermiculite, sand, peat crumbs or sawdust. The first two options are preferable - these substances absorb water well, the risk of rotting of tubers is minimal. The substrate is constantly maintained in a slightly wet state, the room temperature is at the level of 15ºС.
You can combine both methods. First, potatoes are planted, then sent for germination in containers filled with a suitable substrate.
About a week before planting, potatoes are sprayed with biostimulants - this has a positive effect on their immunity, increases adaptability to climatic and weather conditions that are far from optimal, and reduces the ripening of the crop. They use both store preparations - humate of potassium and sodium, Epin, Emistim-M, Zircon, and folk remedies - honey diluted with water, baking soda solution, succinic acid. If you add potassium fertilizers (3-5 g / l) to the solution, the "stress resistance" of the potato improves, the tubers develop faster.
Video: preparing potato tubers for planting
Planting potatoes manually and using special tools
Probably all were planting manually potatoes. Therefore, the procedure does not need a detailed description. Tubers are planted in separate holes or furrows, then falling asleep with earth. The interval between them is 25-40 cm (depending on the size of the root crop and the dimensions of the bush), the row spacing is 65-70 cm. The depth of the hole depends on the quality of the substrate - the lighter it is, the more they need to be deepened. Usually enough 8-10 cm. In addition to the tuber itself, a handful of humus, a little sifted wood ash and onion husk are put in it. Its smell repels many pests. At the end of the landing, the surface of the bed is leveled with a rake. When using the "grandfather" method, it is more convenient to work together. One digs holes, the second puts tubers in them. To make the rows even, you can pre-mark the bed, for example, using a cord, if there are reasonable doubts about your own eye.
Video: how to plant potatoes in a traditional way
When using the standard scheme on one hundredth (10 * 10 m), 14 rows can be planted, each containing at least 25 tubers. Accordingly, a total of 350 potatoes will be needed, the total mass of which is 25-28 kg. If you need to fill a hectare, then there will be 250 bushes in a row, and a total of 142 rows. The number of planted potatoes in this case is 35,500, their weight is about 2.85 tons. The average yield in the middle zone of Russia is 100-150 kg per hundred square meters. Subject to all the nuances of agricultural technology, this figure can be raised to 200-250 kg.
In addition to the traditional, there are other schemes for planting potatoes:
- Square-nested. The bed is turned into a "grate", with cells of 50-70 cm. Tubers are planted at the crossroads.
- Chess. The holes in two adjacent rows are staggered relative to each other.
- Two-line. The rows are arranged in pairs with an interval of not more than 30 cm. The distance between the double rows is about 1 m. The holes are staggered.
But recently, more and more gardeners prefer not to bother, mechanizing the process to the maximum. To do this, there are motoblocks with hills and special potato planters. The latter are used mainly for processing very large areas.
A standard walk-behind tractor consists of a hiller, who first loosens the soil, and then fills the furrows, “hopper” containers, where the tubers are filled, and a conveyor distributor that feeds the potatoes at regular intervals. The optimal gauge for landing with a walk-behind tractor is about 60 cm. Before you fill the furrows with tubers with earth, you need to change the lugging metal wheels to the usual rubber ones, leaving the track gauge the same.
Video: planting potatoes using a walk-behind tractor
The gardener does not always have enough planting material. Therefore, often not whole tubers are planted, but their individual parts. Here, too, there are nuances that you need to know in advance so as not to spoil the future crop.
The essence of the method is that the tubers are cut into several parts immediately before planting in the ground. Each must have one “eye” - a growth point. Exceptionally large, non-frozen, potatoes of the correct form are suitable for this without the slightest sign of disease and pest damage. There are few “eyes” on them, but they are large, well developed. The tubers are divided into parts by a sharpened, sanitized knife, which must be sterilized again after each cut. Slices immediately sprinkled with crushed chalk or sifted wood ash. "Eyes" in the furrows are placed sprouts up. The minimum weight of the "wedges" is 5-8 g.
In the preparation of planting material has its own specifics. Approximately 20 days before planting, selected tubers are sprayed daily with water with the addition of biostimulators in the store (0.5 L ampoule). This contributes to the formation of powerful developed germs.
In the future, seedlings from the "eyes" need higher doses of fertilizer. After all, usually everything they need is provided by a tuber.
Another option is to grow seedlings from the “eyes”. To do this, they are cut together with the pulp so that a cone is formed and planted in advance in a mixture of overripe sawdust and wet peat crumbs. Seedlings are transferred to the garden when 3-4 true leaves are formed.
Video: potatoes from the "eyes"
Rather old technology, it is rarely practiced now. In addition to saving tubers, this method allows you to breed expensive potatoes of elite varieties in a couple of seasons and update planting material, getting rid of diseases. There are also disadvantages - care for the bushes will have to be paid more attention, because they are initially weaker due to lack of nutrients. They also need a highly nutritious substrate.
Potatoes of medium early, mid-ripening and mid-late varieties are best suited for this. They necessarily germinate it in the light, but without direct sunlight. In place of each “eye”, 2-5 sprouts suitable for planting are formed.
When they reach a length of 10-15 cm, they are separated from the tuber, carefully twisted, and planted in small cups filled with wet sphagnum moss or coconut fiber, deepened by about 2/3. The room is maintained at a temperature of 16-20 ° C, the substrate is not allowed to dry out by spraying with a biostimulant solution. Seedlings with 4-5 leaves can already be planted in the ground.
Once used tubers can be sent back for germination. Thus, from each potato you can get 20-45 sprouts. To fill one hundred square meters, no more than 1 kg of planting material will leave.
You can plant sprouts directly in the garden, but you need to break them out on the same day, or at least the day before. Previously, they are immersed for 6-8 hours in a solution of any root stimulant (Heteroauxin, Kornevin). In this case, the tuber ripening takes 15-20 days more than indicated in the description of the variety.
The tubers from which the sprouts are broken are also suitable for planting, but the bushes will develop a little slower. They are placed separately from the sprouts, in no case mixed up. Otherwise, these bushes will simply "strangle" initially weaker plants.
Video: growing potatoes from sprouts
Mini-tubers are small potatoes grown in laboratory conditions from cell tissues. They are initially sterile, so it can be guaranteed that the planting material is not infected with anything. Their only drawback is the high cost. The first generation of tubers is the super elite, followed by the elite, the first reproduction, and so on.
The closer the potato is to the test tube, the higher its yield and the better the quality of the tubers. After about 6-8 years, varietal characters are largely lost, planting material again needs to be updated.
Mini-tubers should be purchased exclusively from well-known and reliable manufacturers. Very few gardeners in appearance can distinguish them from ordinary small potatoes.
The vernalization procedure and direct planting in the ground in this case is no different from that of standard sized tubers. The only caveat is that fungicide treatment can be excluded.
Recently, more and more gardeners have resorted to propagating potatoes by seeds. In addition to the low cost of planting material, the method has other undoubted advantages - seeds take up much less space than tubers, they cannot be infected with fungi or viruses. The experience of gardeners indicates that potatoes grown from seeds produce large yields, are less likely to be affected by late blight, and suffer less from the vagaries of the weather. Seeds can be purchased or harvested on their own by picking a few berries that look like miniature green tomatoes.
Not without a method and disadvantages. First of all, it can be noted the complexity and duration of cultivation, as well as low germination. Plants derived from seeds are very capricious, with the slightest deviation of the conditions from the optimal, it is very likely that diseases, especially the "black legs", will develop. Seedlings are extremely fragile, when transplanting you need to be as careful as possible.
The best time for sowing seeds is the end of March or the first decade of April. They are pre-tempered and allowed to hatch, wrapped in a damp cloth. They are planted in very loose and light soil, the tank must be turned into a "greenhouse", provide heat.
The emergence of seedlings will have to wait at least two weeks. In the phase of the second true leaf, seedlings dive. Their care consists in regular watering and treatment with biofungicides for the prevention of fungal diseases. Also, after diving, 1-2 fertilizing with mineral nitrogen fertilizers will be required.
Seedlings are transferred to the soil at the very end of May. During the first month, it is pulled in with white covering material on the arcs. During a season, at least two hills are carried out. Watered sparingly, but often, every 2-3 days, regularly loosen and weed. Fertilizers use exclusively mineral.
In the first season, the gardener will receive a crop of mini-tubers weighing 10-50 g, which vary greatly in shape, color of the skin and so on. Store them like ordinary potatoes. The best are selected from them, which are planted for next year, taking off a full-fledged crop.
Video: from planting potato seeds to harvesting
Planting potatoes in the winter
Many have noticed that potato tubers accidentally missed during harvest sprout next spring. Accordingly, they have very good frost resistance. This property can be used to obtain a super-early crop. Research by agronomists indicates that tubers planted to a depth of 10-15 cm tolerate freezing of the substrate to -10 ° C without problems. That is, the method is not suitable for regions with a sharply continental climate, but is successfully practiced in central Russia and to the south.
Absolutely healthy tubers weighing at least 150 g are selected for planting. It is desirable that the variety be early and cold-resistant. They must be kept in the light for 7-10 days, so that the skin is completely green. This will protect the landing from the bear and rodent.
The bed is prepared, as usual. The site is chosen so that it is definitely not flooded in the spring. Tubers are planted in the fall, when at night the substrate on the bed already freezes, and during the day it thaws. They are placed in a checkerboard pattern with an interval of 25-30 cm and a row spacing of 45-50 cm. The depth of the hole is 15-20 cm. In addition to potatoes sprinkled with ground red pepper (from mice), compost is placed in it (rotted manure attracts the bear), ash and onion peel.
From above, the bed is thrown with spruce branches, covered with straw mixed with a sheet pallet, creating a layer 25-30 cm thick. Then it is pulled with several layers of any breathable covering material.
In early spring, all the mulch is removed, the beds are again closed with covering material on the arches. Shoots with a height of 4-5 cm are watered with a solution of any biostimulant. When they extend up to 10-15 cm, the shelter is removed, the potatoes are spudded. Then take care, as usual. Such plants rarely suffer from late blight, and the Colorado potato beetle does not have time to attack them.
Cultivating potatoes in a greenhouse
As a rule, the greenhouse is reserved for other garden crops. Potatoes indoors are rarely grown. This makes sense only if there is a goal to get the crop out of hours. Only early-ripening varieties are suitable for cultivation in a greenhouse. If it is not heated, frost resistance of this variety is also important.
Potatoes are planted in heated greenhouses either at the end of summer to get a harvest for the New Year, or at the junction of winter and spring, then it ripens by the first of June. In the first case, the presence of artificial lighting is also mandatory, otherwise the plants develop very slowly.
Tubers for planting in the greenhouse should be slightly larger than for open ground (80-100 g). They must be landscaped. The process of vernalization takes place, as usual. They begin to heat the greenhouse about a week before planting.
Soil temperature at the time of planting should not be lower than 5ºС. Two schemes can be used - standard (row spacing is about 60 cm and the spacing between bushes is 25-30 cm) and with double rows (the spacing between them is about 30 cm, between pairs of rows up to 80 cm, potatoes are located 25-30 cm in staggered). The depth of the hole is 6-7 cm. Only whole tubers are planted, the smell of juice attracts rodents and other pests.
The temperature throughout the growing season is maintained at the level of 18-20ºС, increasing to 21-23ºС only for the time of flowering. It is watered 3-4 times, for the first time - when the seedlings reach 7-8 cm in height. The most suitable method is drip irrigation. Immediately after this, complex mineral fertilizers are applied. Before flowering, bushes spud or mulch.
Plants with the slightest suspicious signs, reminiscent of late blight, immediately dig and destroy. In the limited space of the greenhouse, this fungus spreads almost instantly.
If the greenhouse is unheated, potatoes can be planted exclusively in spring, not earlier than daylight hours of 10 hours or more. In the southern regions of Russia, this is the beginning of spring, in the Urals and Siberia - mid-April. It is desirable to orient the greenhouse itself from west to east and provide it with a gabled roof - this way it will warm up faster. After planting, the soil must be thrown with straw (layer 10-15 cm) and tightened with black spanbond, lutrasil, agril. Pre-tubers are landscaped, but in no case do they germinate. Humus is put in the hole, they are also filled with it.
Video: potato cultivation indoors
Almost all gardeners are engaged in growing potatoes. At first glance, its agricultural technology is very simple, but there are many nuances here. If you pre-prepare the garden and process the tubers, you can harvest a much more plentiful crop than usual. And existing along with traditional methods can save planting material. Tubers are characterized by very good frost resistance, they can be planted even before winter, thus obtaining a super-early harvest.