A comprehensive guide to soil testing: everything you need to know to get started
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Farmers, when choosing potatoes as an agricultural crop, must expect that fieldwork must be well thought out in terms of timing, type of terrain, and the method chosen. By learning the secrets of proper planting, i.e. when to plant potatoes and how potato planting should be done, we can increase our chances for a high yield.
For the cultivation of any crop, special knowledge and inherent practices are needed so that you can enjoy high yields. Seed potatoes need special preparation. A farmer who improperly prepares for this process can significantly impair the quality and size of his tubers.
Before going to work in the field, it is advisable to perform two procedures: potato stimulation and germinating.
A method designed to accelerate the development of light sprouts.
Before the stimulation procedure, it is worth treating the tubers with chemicals to make them more resistant to various diseases.
The course of the method itself is as follows: We carefully sort, and remove rotten and frozen potatoes, then place them loosely in a room with an air humidity of about 80% with little access to light, cover them and leave them for 2 to 3 weeks.
Correctly stimulated seed potatoes to have white sprouts 1-2 mm long.
This treatment is good for early potatoes, which are highly susceptible to diseases.
This method aims to accelerate yields and increase total yields by about 20%.
The process involves decent sorting of the potatoes, which are then stacked in wooden, openwork boxes in two layers. We stack the boxes on top of each other and keep them in conditions of 10 to 15 degrees Celsius, with a humidity of about 80%, and twelve hours of access to light per day.
By applying this treatment we can quickly see light sprouts with the buds of the first leaves.
The expected date for planting early potatoes is in late March and early April. The soil temperature should not be less than 6 degrees Celsius at 10 cm below the soil surface, and the seed potatoes should already germinate slightly.
Early potatoes should be planted at a shallow depth. Most often, when determining the optimal depth, add 1-2 cm to the diameter of the seed potatoes and measure from the soil surface before planting. A large depth can only aggravate and slow down the development of plants, which will result in yield losses. Depending on the size of the seed potatoes, the spacing in the field varies between 60-70 x 20-30 cm.
Once you have decided to grow potatoes, you should consider the fundamental question of when to plant potatoes. Planting should be done at the right time and taking into account atmospheric and soil differences in different regions of Poland.
Planting tubers too early will result in unstable growth with an increased likelihood of various fungal and bacterial diseases. At the same time, in the situation of taking too early a date, we can expect less resistance to frost. On the other hand, starting the work of planting potatoes too late will significantly reduce the starch content of potatoes, that is, negatively affecting nutrients.
Lower Silesian, Lublin, Lesser Poland, Opole, and Subcarpathian provinces should start planting between April 1 and 10.
In Lubuskie, Mazowieckie, Wielkopolskie, and Zachodniopomorskie provinces, the proper planting date begins on April 10 and lasts until April 20.
In Podlasie, Pomerania, and Warmian-Masurian regions, we plant potatoes between April 20 and 30.
In the northern part of Podlasie and Warmian-Masurian, it is best to plant potatoes from April 30 to May 10.
It is certainly important to know that the planting of potatoes is done at the ideal time, when it is not too warm and at the same time too cold. You should grow potatoes based on prior analysis, which includes a rational approach to cultivation.
Issues to pay special attention to our depth, use of fertilizers, spacing, variety, and a procedure called "potato ridging." Knowing all these factors will allow responsible cultivation.
Starting with depth - the principle of potato cultivation is quite simple, namely, we test the soil temperature at a depth of 10 cm. It should be 10 degrees Celsius.
Next, we must keep in mind that potatoes can not be planted deep. We determine the depth from the base of the seedling to the leveled soil surface before planting. It will be optimal if we add 2 cm to its lateral diameter of it.
Despite this rule, it is important to know that on dry soils the planting depth is greater, but further on it can not be too deep, as this could result in delayed emergence. Spacing is usually between 70 cm and 90 cm.
The distance of placement of seed potatoes depends on their size. Small seedlings are most often placed every 20 cm, while medium-sized ones are placed every 30 cm or so, and large ones are between 40 and 50 cm.
Vegetables such as potatoes are always worth fertilizing. Natural fertilizer, such as manure or compost, is most often recommended. You can supplement organic fertilizers, with mineral fertilization, such as peat-potash fertilization, and nitrogen fertilization, or when the soil is acidic, you can benefit from liming the field.
The next step is potato ridging, which is the creation of furrows in the soil, during which the plants are covered at the same time. Thanks to these actions, the potato ("surprised" by the backfilling) form larger tubers below the soil surface. This treatment simultaneously removes weeds and further loosens the soil between the rows.
Another important aspect is the cultivation of the field, which should be careful. Plowing is done in the autumn, and in the spring a spear, harrow, and cultivator are used. Potatoes are grown on light, warm and plump soils.
Potatoes planted on heavy, waterlogged, and cold soils will not produce abundant yields. Growth and development will be significantly slowed down, plus we can expect deformation of tubers. The pH of the soil itself should be 6.0. Too low, as well as too high pH will adversely affect seedlings.
When arranging crop rotation for potato cultivation, it is necessary to pay attention to the needs of the potato. The type of soil is as important as its condition, which is why it is advisable to grow potatoes on land after a crop of fava beans and after cereals. Lands after intercrops also contribute to great results, as they prepare the field equally well for cultivation.
Estimated potato harvesting occurs at different times depending on the planting period. Harvesting of early potatoes begins in late June and continues through July, medium-early potatoes are harvested in August, and late-planted potatoes are brought out in September.
To grow potatoes as you should, you need good preparation and sticking to certain principles, such as testing soil temperature applying mineral fertilizers, proper planting density, timeliness (when to plant potatoes), taking care of the right ph of the soil, and ensuring proper humidity and storage temperature.
It should also be borne in mind that specialized technologies are used in the cultivation of early potatoes. Potatoes are one of the most demanding crops Their cultivation must be properly planned and staggered and the final yield will depend on many factors. Finally, it is worth mentioning that potatoes can also be successfully grown in a home vegetable garden or on an allotment.
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