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Fertilizing Potatoes

Posted by Handsome54 6a (My Page) on
Sun, Apr 27, 14 at 22:20

Last soil test had my P & K much too high & my Ph @ 7.3........ Recommendation was for broadcasting & tilling in both sulfur (to lower the Ph) & Urea for fertilization at planting time, which I did......

That said, how should I fertilize my potatoes now that they've sprouted (ie, the ones that didn't rot in the ground)......... Would a side dressing of urea be OK at this juncture? I know excessive fertilization can add to leaf growth instead of tuber growth......


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Fertilizing Potatoes

First of, your pH is TOO high for potatoe for more than one reason.

Secondly; potatoes need a balanced fertilizer, rich in Potash. I would think that any general puprpose (1-1-1 ratio type) fertilizer is fine.

Thridly, you have to have a rich soil (already some fertilizers added to it) before planting.
REMEMBER that potato roots grow sideway and downward from the seeds you plant, NOT upward. So then that part of the soil should be fertilized NOT above it. The soil above the seed should be fluffy and well drained. That is where the stolons will grow . ONLY the roots draw nutrients and moisture from the soil. That is why fertilizing potato is different from, say its close cousin tomato.


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RE: Fertilizing Potatoes

Even fertilizer scratched into the surface gets carried down to roots by watering. That's why side-dressing works.

In this case, I see no reason to add fertilizer. Leave 'em alone - they'll be fine. After you've been growing spuds for a few years, you can start trying to tune in the fertilization.

Although with a soil pH like that, I don't think I'd bother with potatoes. Every rainfall with modify the pH away from where you want it to be.


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RE: Fertilizing Potatoes

Potatoes actually grow fine in slightly alkaline soil. It's the occurrence of scab that makes potato growth impractical in alkaline soil - the plants themselves grow fine. The scab organism thrives best between a pH of 6.5 and 8.0.


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RE: Fertilizing Potatoes

Isn't scab just a superficial problem? Aren't potatoes still good to eat with scab? I feel fuzzy on the subject, which is why I'm asking. Oh, and is it that scab decreases storagability?


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RE: Fertilizing Potatoes

Thanks folks for chiming in!

Well gee........ not sure I've made my OP clear..... My soil test showed very high levels of both Phosphate (370 with over 100 being high) & Potassium (640 with over 250 being high)..... The reason these two are so high is because I've added my (6-8) chicken's manure combined with pine shaving bedding. The pine shavings have very little N but lots of P & K sooo, there's not enough manure in the ratio.......

To correct this situation, I've tilled in prescribed amounts of Urea (no, I don't need a balanced fertilizer) as well as sulfur to lower my pH (by 1.5 points) before planting........

As for tilth...... After many years of adding organic matter, I've got some very mellow soil, but it's lacking proper nutrients (which I'm trying to correct).....

While scab is a big problem for commercial growers due to production concerns, it doesn't have the same impact for the home gardener........


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RE: Fertilizing Potatoes

sunnibel7 you are correct! As I stated in my previous post, scab isn't a deal breaker for the home gardener.....


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RE: Fertilizing Potatoes

I agree. I don't find scab a problem in 6.8 or so soil.

Handsome54 you sound like you know some of your stuff.


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RE: Fertilizing Potatoes

  • Posted by cugal 5b-6a NE Ks (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 29, 14 at 16:07

Thanks wayne_5! Although I've been a (sometimes successful) gardener for the bulk of my 60+ years, I wonder how I functioned without like minded folks here at GW!

OBTW........ Those spuds are looking pretty good & somewhere I read that a light side dressing of Urea should be applied just after they sprout & again before they flower...... I was hoping someone would concur......


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RE: Fertilizing Potatoes

I always sprinkle urea around the plants just before hilling.


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RE: Fertilizing Potatoes

You know I have the darnedest image in my head of men out in their gardens "sprinkling" a side dressing of "urea" on the potatoes... How fast would they have to move to get the whole row?? Sorry, it just popped into me head and I can't stop laughing...


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RE: Fertilizing Potatoes

Sunnibel, why just men? I see - because they drink more beer.


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RE: Fertilizing Potatoes

Ronigers suggests molassas.


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RE: Fertilizing Potatoes

Ah -- so if they drink more molasses they'll be able to easily hit the whole row with the urea?


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RE: Fertilizing Potatoes

Having no idea..........

Couldn't help but Google ltilton's Ronigers........ Interesting fact from their website.........

"Potatoes grow best in
a soil pH of 5.0 - 7.5"

Guess my pH level doesn't eliminate growing potatoes after all........ ;)


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