To improve the "health" of potatoes, you must use fertilizers. Sometimes gardeners are afraid to use them, considering that the roots will absorb a lot of "chemistry". But there are safe drugs that do not harm the crop, but rather increase it.
Potatoes are truly unique “inhabitants” of our gardens. It differs from other crops not only in its properties, but also in the special order of fertilizer application. In particular, the bulk of fertilizers are applied during the planting period of potatoes, because during the growth process they are assimilated worse and do not have a significant effect on the growth and development of plants. On this and other features of the application of fertilizing, we describe below.
Why do I need to fertilize potatoes
Many gardeners are accustomed to the fact that without fertilizers it is impossible to grow a single crop. Perhaps this applies to potatoes more than to all other cultures. It consumes nutrients very intensively, since its root system is rather weak, and the tubers are large. In addition, in the fall, when harvesting, most of the useful fertilizers are removed from the soil. Therefore, it is so important to compensate for losses during landing in the new season. Otherwise, the harvest every year will disappoint more and more.
A few weeks before planting potatoes, it is recommended to sow siderats (plants that improve the composition and structure of the soil). How to do it correctly, read our article.
Fertilizers are usually applied to the well, as the roots of the potatoes lie shallow and immediately receive the necessary nutrients
For several centuries, during which potatoes are cultivated, precise norms of fertilizers have been determined, allowing to obtain a bountiful harvest. For example, in order to produce 4 kg of tubers per 1 square meter, potatoes must receive 45 g of potassium chloride, 20 g of nitrogen, 10 g of phosphoric acid, 6 g of magnesium, and also some copper, zinc, manganese, and boron. For potatoes of early ripe varieties developed their own standards. Unfortunately, it is impossible to make the whole complex of fertilizers at the same time, because during different period of ripening the plants require different feeding.
Best of all, potatoes react to complex fertilizers - nitroammofosku and azofosku. However, the undisputed leader among fertilizing are organic fertilizers. They contain all the necessary nutrients and trace elements: calcium, potassium, phosphorus, sulfur, molybdenum, manganese, and especially nitrogen, which plants lack in spring. In addition, it is a simple and easy way to improve soil fertility. During the period of decomposition of fertilizers in the near-earth layer, the amount of carbon dioxide increases, which increases the growth of tubers.
Before planting potatoes in the grooves, it is recommended to apply fertilizers rich in manganese, copper and boric acid - this contributes to the production of vitamin C in tubers
For the full growth of potatoes, you can use the mix from several additives at once - the introduction of combined fertilizers is guaranteed to increase the yield several times. Here are some recipes recommended by experienced agronomists (all dosages are calculated per 1 sq. M):
- 20 g of ammonium nitrate + 20 g of potassium sulfate;
- 8 kg of humus + 3 tbsp. nitrophos + 1 cup of ash;
- 7-10 kg of humus + 20 g of ammonium nitrate + 20 g of potassium sulfate + 30-40 g of superphosphate + 450 g of dolomite flour;
- if there is no organic fertilizer, use nitrophospit (50 g per 1 square meter) or nitroammofosku (30 g per 1 square meter).
As an additional fertilizer make:
- chicken litter - it is very concentrated, but at the same time the most nutritious ingredient for potato tubers. In its pure form it is not used, so as not to burn the plant, usually litter is diluted with water in the ratio of 1:15 and insist for 2-3 days in a warm and dry place. For each bush make 1 liter of the resulting infusion;
- wood ash contains phosphorus, calcium and potassium, as well as a number of other beneficial trace elements. On one hundred parts usually make from 5 to 10 kg of fertilizer.
The classic scheme of feeding potatoes looks like this:
In late May, during the active expansion of the tops
Fertilizers with a predominance of nitrogen (ammonium nitrate, etc.)
Fertilizers with a predominance of potassium (ash, potassium sulfate, etc.)
Fertilizers with a predominance of phosphorus (superphosphate, etc.)
Additional feeding is usually carried out in the intervals between the three main ones.
And it is also useful to process the tubers before planting with fruit stimulants, such as, for example, Bud. This will allow to obtain earlier shoots, increase the immunity of plants, as well as accelerate the maturation of the crop for 5-7 days.
Of course, for each plot you need to calculate your rate of fertilizer application. The main factor is the level of soil fertility. Depending on him, and fertilizers are applied (the following shows the amount of fertilizer application per 1 hectare):
- fertile soil - 2-2.5 kg of compost or manure, 2 kg of superphosphate and 1.3-1.5 kg of potash fertilizers;
- medium soil - 2.5-3 kg of manure or compost, 2.5-3 kg of nitrogen fertilizers, 2.5 kg of potash fertilizers and 3-4 kg of superphosphate;
- depleted soil - up to 100 kg of humus, 1 kg of ammonium nitrate, 3 kg of superphosphate.
In the spring, manure, bird droppings and any fertilizer with a high nitrogen content should be applied.
When applying fertilizer, it is important to adhere to the "golden mean". If you “overfeed” young plants, then the future harvest will be small, tubers are tasteless and badly boiled soft, but the tops will look like a sunflower stalk. The most difficult thing is to limit the amount of potassium - in the soil it is usually abundant, but to exceed the required "dose" for potatoes.
After easy loosening and before hilling the bushes, fertilizer can also be applied. In this case, they will get to the roots of plants more quickly, especially if after fertilizing it is plentiful to water the plants. What substances are best suited for root dressings?
- Mineral fertilizers. These include various “agrochemicals”, such as ammonium nitrate solution (20 g per 10 liters of water). Also, a mixture of nitrogen, phosphate and potash fertilizers is sometimes introduced in a ratio of 1: 1: 2 (25 g per 10 l of water). Under one bush make 0.5-1 l of nutrient solution.
- Urea. In 10 liters of water dilute 1 tbsp. urea and watered with the resulting solution bushes under the root after easy loosening. Under one bush make 0.5 liters of the composition.
- Mullein infusion. 1 l of fresh cow dung is diluted in 10 l of water, infused for 1-2 days and watered between the rows.
- Bird droppings. Although it is a very aggressive fertilizer, it is sometimes used even fresh, diluted with water in a ratio of 1:10. Fertilizer is applied to the grooves between the rows of potatoes.
Plants need to be fed during the growing season. “Starting” top dressing at the beginning of the season is undoubtedly important, but over time some fertilizers dissipate. Therefore, after weeding potatoes, foliar feeding should be carried out. It is usually produced in the evening so as not to cause leaf burn.
It is best of all to make extra root top dressing of potatoes in the late afternoon, or - on the contrary, in the early morning
What types of foliar dressings exist:
- carbamide - 100 g of urea, 150 g of potassium monophosphate and 5 g of boric acid dissolve in 5 liters of water. If desired, add boron, manganese, copper, cobalt or zinc at the rate of 1 g per 10 l. The first spraying spend 2 weeks after germination. After two weeks of treatment, repeat. Subsequent feeding every two weeks. Continue processing until the flowering of potatoes;
- phosphoric - at the end of flowering, about a month before the harvest, apply foliar fertilizing with a solution of superphosphate. To do this, dissolve 100 g of the substance in 10 liters of water - this amount is enough for 10 sq.m.
- nettle infusion - the stalks and leaves of nettle contain a full range of substances necessary for potatoes: calcium, nitrogen, potassium, iron. In 3 liters of water, add 1 kg of nettle and 30 g of soap. Nettle chop and cover with water. Let the mixture stand for a day, strain it, add soap and start spraying.
If you are able to find the "middle ground" and properly "feed" the potatoes, it is guaranteed to give an excellent crop with an optimal shelf life and excellent culinary properties of tubers.