To maintain and improve soil quality in vegetable and potato systems is a difficult task. The use of heavy equipment can cause compaction, crop residues tend to be minimal in these rotations, and sandy soils generally have low organic matter levels.
Degraded soils can be revived by adding manure or compost. To reduce costs while improving organic inputs, a combination of manure and cover crops is recommended to restore soils.
Measurements used to provide an insight into the quality of manure to be used are; Nitrogen and phosphorus content, pH, and the amount of organic matter added. A fertilizer with higher potassium and phosphate levels than the nitrogen level should be chosen.
The 3 number codes on the bag of fertilizer should be paid attention to because these three numbers indicate the amount of nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium that are contained in that particular fertilizer, respectively.
For example, a 10-10-10 fertilizer contains 10% nitrogen, 10% phosphate and 10% potassium, a 5-10-10 bag would contain 5% nitrogen, 10% phosphate and 10% potassium. Nitrogen makes a plant produce more foliage, phosphate and potassium encourage more root development.
Because potatoes are root vegetables that grow below the surface of the soil, phosphate and potassium are more beneficial to the growth of potatoes.
Types Of Fertilizers For Potato
#1. Organic Fertilizer
When preparing the soil for most vegetable crops, fertilizer is blended into the soil. When the soil is top-dressed, the fertilizer sits on top of the soil. Compost helps the soil retain moisture, and well-rooted manure helps to lower the soil’s pH and adds nutrients. The manure and compost to be used can be mixed with bone meal, green sand, and kelp meal to take out the pre-planting fertilizer program.
#2. Non-Organic Fertilizer
Standard or non-organic fertilizers contain chemicals that may burn seed potatoes. So they need to be built-in into the soil before planting. A15 pounds of 15-15-15 fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of soil or 23 pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of soil is recommended for use.
Best Fertilizer Mix For Potatoes
Varieties of fertilizers are used during the growing season after potato seeds are planted. Making use of a mixture of cottonseed meal, bone meal, and green sand increases the soil’s acidity and provides nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous. A little amount of kelp meal combined in the mixture supplies trace minerals.
An all-purpose granular fertilizer with the appropriate levels of potassium and phosphate, usually 5-10-10 or 8-24-24 is chosen. The granules should be scattered on the ground around the plants and watered well. The manufacturer’s directions should be followed for the amount of fertilizer to be used.
It is generally applied at a rate of one and a half pounds per 100 square feet. Ensure not to allow the fertilizer to come in contact with the plant, as it may burn or have other adverse consequences.
The fertilizer typically is side dressed just after the seeds sprout. Some farmers choose to feed the foliage every two weeks with fish emulsion or kelp extract from the foliage’s appearance and until bloom.
A water-soluble fertilizer can be used and applied once a month when the plant is watered. A hose-end sprayer is often useful for this and the fertilizer should be mixed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Fertilizer that has more phosphate and potassium and less nitrogen should be considered.
Environmental Conditions For Growing Potato
Growing potatoes to become big requires proper preparation of the soil at the time of planting. Providing the seed potatoes with deep, loose, acidic soil with a pH ranging from 4.8 to 6.5, and adding lots of potassium and nitrogen, helps them get off to a strong start.
Later in the season, the potato plants would require an additional shot of fertilizer to enable it to form tubers. Potatoes grow best when temperatures are between 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.