How to take care of soil after planting potatoes? For everyone who grows their own potatoes, they have and will always dominate the calendar of agricultural work. For many gardeners, planting and harvesting have become a ritual and a celebration.
But after one potato cycle ends, the next one begins. And when the long-awaited harvest is complete and the results of the season are tallied, it’s time to start thinking about next year. And most importantly, regarding the soil, potatoes consume more than any other root crop.
In order not to lose the fertility of the soil and get a good crop for next year, quite another crop, it is best not to put off taking care of the soil.
PROPER CROP ROTATION
Many people grow potatoes on the same plot for many years in a row, but ideally, the soil should rest from it for 2-3 years. At least 3 times in a row, no potatoes are planted in one place, and the soil is restored after digging with a stiffener.
Care of the soil after potato planting can be different:
- conventional: fertilization and digging with chemicals.
- Organic: sowing green manure.
After the current potato season even greens or early vegetables should not be sown, but “shifts” should be chosen, only for the next year. Only the use of nightshades is prohibited. Favorite peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes should not be on the bed; potatoes grew on the bed last year.
All beans, including peas, and all cereals can be used alternately with potatoes. But zucchini, squash, radishes, asparagus, cucumbers, cabbage (especially leafy greens), beets, garlic, onions, favorite early vegetables and table greens – turnips, spinach, parsley, and various salads (especially spicy ones – watercress, rocket, and leaf mustard) are equally suitable for sowing after potatoes. If this option is not enough, consider sowing celery or parsley.
WHEN TO CARE FOR POTATOES AFTER PLANTING?
Tilling the ground immediately after digging potatoes is one of the top tips for maintaining soil fertility. Even a few days of downtime, let alone months, can greatly affect the condition of the soil. And the sooner you take action, the better.
The quality of the soil can be greatly improved a few months before winter and you will have an excellent sown area the following year.
Of course, soil treatment can also be carried out in winter and early spring (before planting the crop) in case of emergency, but the effect of such measures will be lower.
Clean the bed thoroughly
After digging potato beds, a lot of waste is usually left behind. Before considering soil improvement strategies, the soil should be prepared. It is worth removing all weed roots and potato leaves from the soil. The area cleared of debris after potatoes must be level.
If severe nematodes and nematodes have occurred on the crop and any fungal diseases have spread on the potatoes, the entire soil should be treated for pests and fungal spores immediately after harvest.
Green manure: the main helper after digging potatoes.
Sowing grass seedlings after the potatoes not only restores the soil but also maintains its health for many years. After all, fertility is restored according to the laws of organic farming, and technical plants also play an important role in fighting toxins, pathogens, and weeds.
Green manure alone tackles three main tasks of soil treatment after potato digging:
- decontamination, elimination of potato and nightshade pests and diseases, and prevention of contamination of other plants.
- Increase the nutrient content of the soil.
- restoring the mechanical structure and texture of the soil.
And let’s not forget the additional “bonuses” of:
- restoring a healthy biosphere and ecological balance.
- Improves the air permeability and water permeability of the soil.
- Reduces excavation procedures and the amount of work required to cultivate the soil.
- Reduced costs and savings on organic and mineral fertilizers and special preparations.
Selection of Green manure
Potatoes, after restoring soil fertility, are actually suitable for any Green manure. but due to the large vegetative mass of potatoes, the specific growth of which consumes the soil in a specific way, and the high use of pest control for it, it is better to use green manure from leguminous and cruciferous crops.
First of all, you should pay attention to the typical “potatoes” Green manure – mustard, alfalfa, clover, lupine, phacelia, peas, vetch. It is precisely they that most quickly restore the phosphorus and nitrogen content of the soil and eliminate the negative consequences of planting nightshade.
It is advisable to use cereals when they are infested with earthworms and other soil pests, and when the plot shows signs of loss of brittleness or pH imbalance. The best results after potatoes are obtained with oats and rye.
The sowing density of potatoes for post-sowing soil conservation is very important. The sowing rate should be calculated and about 200 g of green manure seeds should be sown per 10 m2 plot. This avoids sowing too little seed or sowing too large an area where the green material cannot be effectively decomposed.
Autumn sowing is easier than spring sowing
The full sequence of sowing is not required in autumn. After the potatoes are harvested, it is enough to spread the green manure evenly over the cleared area. On top, cover the seeds lightly with soil (or with a rake) and cover with any mulching material – fleece, film, a layer of organic fertilizer, especially compost. After watering, they will quickly send out sprouts and begin to accumulate vegetative bodies.
The next process after the potatoes emerge takes place in 30-40 days. When the plants have grown to 6inch (15 cm) high (must be before the plants start to flower).
- The plants that have grown enough to grow are weeded.
- Cultivate the green masses into the soil, taking care not to loosen the soil too deeply, to a depth of a few inches (either with a rake or with a fork and shovel).
- In addition, microbial preparations and mature organic fertilizers (compost, humus, or manure) are applied to improve the effectiveness of these procedures.
If it is not possible to sow green manure immediately after potato harvest or if the weather forecast does not allow to get green manure masses in time, sowing can be postponed until the arrival of frost and carried out under winter. In this case, it is best to cover the plots with compost before sowing and to make a standard winter green manure sowing in late autumn.
Tender greens appear immediately after a snowfall and quickly form vegetation, which is incorporated into the soil before planting or sowing those crops that you have identified.
ALTERNATIVE STRATEGIES FOR LATE POTATO SOIL CONSERVATION
On poor soils in conventional farming techniques, allow double application of mineral fertilizers – after the potato harvest and before the new spring crop.
In addition to the use of special fertilizers and complexes for improving soil fertility (applied at the time of deep tillage), the following soil conservation methods can be used after potato harvest.
- application of fungicides and herbicides (for dominant weeds and diseases infecting potatoes in a given plot), followed by deep tillage of the soil and application of mineral fertilizers (standard dose of phosphorus and twice the standard dose of potash).
- Apply organic fertilizer (compost or humus, 1 bucket per m2) before the usual deep tillage of the soil.
- skip the season and the temporary “closing” of the planting area.
- use the beds in the next season for growing summer plants and pungent herbs with useful properties (mint, oregano, marigold, calendula, etc.).
Potatoes deplete the soil and lose soil structure – a problem that should be taken into account even before planning the harvest. The increased phosphorus and potassium requirements of potatoes make it difficult to restore the soil for the following crops without special measures and care