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How deep does the ground need to be loosened for potatoes?


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#1 Alc OFFLINE  

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Posted April 23, 2011 - 08:00 AM

I plowed the garden a few weeks ago . Then tilled it after that . This week I mounted a furrow maker (might have been from a Troy Built tiller ? ) I just put the potatoes at the bottom and cover with about 2" of soil. Now I'm wondering if I should have used the middle buster or sub soiler to loosen the ground deeper first ? The picture on the right shows before I planted the potatoes. 0421111656.jpg

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#2 caseguy OFFLINE  

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Posted April 23, 2011 - 08:17 AM

Hey Al! MH81's Dad has planted potatoes for years and I'm sure that he'll know the answer to your question. He is working today, but he may be on at lunchtime. Hopefully he'll see this post.
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#3 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted April 23, 2011 - 09:46 AM

You should be in great shape. I used to use a gilson Rear Tine tiller with a simular hiller/furrower.
Like you said I just dropped the potatoes in the furrow and covered with a couple inches of dirt.
As the leaves would come up I would run the tiller between the rows with the hiller and cover all but the few leaves in the crown.
My intention was to hill up the loose soil so there was little compaction to impede tuber growth.

The tiller I have now, a Troy-Bilt Super Bronco CRT does not have a hiller/furrower available for it,so I'll have to regroup.
Some people don't hill potatoes at all, after covering with a couple inches of dirt they heap straw,sawdust or some other kind of mulch.
That's something I would like to try. The idea of pulling the potatoes out of the mulch VS using a potato fork apeals to me.

#4 LPBolens ONLINE  

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Posted April 23, 2011 - 10:58 AM

You are fine as is. As the potato plants grow up to about 8" or so, hill them with soil from between the rows so only a little of the foliage remains clear, or heavily mulch them with straw to the same amount. Do this all the way through the growing season each time the top foliage gets back up to 8" or so.

#5 daytime dave ONLINE  

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Posted April 23, 2011 - 10:58 AM

Al, I remember dad planting them years ago. I think you should be fine how you did it. Perhaps dad will chime in.(nyabc)
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#6 Alc OFFLINE  

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Posted April 23, 2011 - 11:10 AM

Thanks all, I hoped that was deep enough. I never mulched potatoes but might try that after they get "hilled " . Also never fertilized them after planting and heard that something that I should have been doing.

#7 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted April 23, 2011 - 01:55 PM

Al, you're good. Just don't forget to hill them.

Fertilize a little, too much and they seem to stunt for a while. A little lime is sometimes good too, depending on soil.

As for the mulch etc, you will get more sunburning that way, but it is a little easier to dig and the mulch helps hold in some moisture.

I don't do it because of the loss due to sunburning, but it's like anything else; pros & cons / give & take.
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#8 nra1ifer OFFLINE  

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Posted April 24, 2011 - 09:38 AM

I think you did just fine! I would recommend hilling, never tried mulch but I hear it can be done. Like mentioned previously, be careful to not leave any of the taters exposed to the sun.... keep them covered.

Here are some pics of last year's crop..... planted 2"-3" and hilled:

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#9 Alc OFFLINE  

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Posted April 24, 2011 - 09:11 PM

Here are some pics of last year's crop..... planted 2"-3" and hilled:

I hope mine look that good !!! How did you pick them ?

#10 nra1ifer OFFLINE  

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Posted April 25, 2011 - 06:50 AM

I hope mine look that good !!! How did you pick them ?


I dug all of those with a tater fork. Probably could have used my Speedex with a furrower, but I didn't.
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#11 lyall ONLINE  

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Posted May 20, 2011 - 04:15 PM

my grandfather and aunt ( about 50 miles southeast of St Louis) did not put they in dirt just layed them on the ground a cover them with about 6 to 8 inches of wheat straw. they alway got a good crops. no dirty potatoes just lift the straw and get clean potatoes.
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#12 grnspot110 ONLINE  

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Posted May 20, 2011 - 04:53 PM

I till mine around 6" deep, then just press the potato "eye" into the ground with my fingers. Later, after they come up, I cover them with up to 5" of "aged", coarse sawdust. Once they're blooming, we start using the "new potatoes", I just dig them up with my fingers! ~~ grnspot

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