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Potatoe Support

Is it common for potatoe plants to get big enough to start falling over? I hilled my spuds about 12 inchs and left about 6inchs exposed, now they and about 24-30 inchs above the hilled dirt and some are falling over, they have been in bloom for about 2 weeks now, and I can not decide weather I need to hill more dirt up around them for support or put in some stakes to tie them to...ANY advise is very welcome...Thank You
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luvthesnapper
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I've got one growing out of a potato bag that is easily 4 feet tall. I had to tie it up, because it fell over long ago. This was after adding probably 16 inches of soil, to the base. This is my first year with potatoes, and I'm not sure what exactly is going on either.

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SPierce
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Good question- will be watching this thread! I have a few stalks as well that have decided to fall over...

orgoveg
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I think it is most common to let them sprawl on the ground. I always have. They will take up some space. Maybe if you have reason to expect disease problems or lack of space, you could support them with two stakes at each end of the row and string from stake-to stake.

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rainbowgardener
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Potatoes are pretty closely related to tomatoes and both are sprawling vines. It is conventional to stake tomato vines up, because if tomato leaves touch the ground they can easily get soil borne diseases and if the fruit touch the ground, they will rot.

Since the part we eat of the potato is underground, it doesn't make as much difference to stake them up. I'm not sure about the disease susceptibility issue. So far my experience with two years of trying to grow potatoes is that even growing them in containers never touching any ground, they are quite susceptible to some kind of blight... That would be an argument for keeping them off the ground.
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2 Green Thumbs
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Thank you for the replies, I have decided to put stakes at the end of my row that had the falling plants and run two stings down each side, not so worried about them getting somthing from laying on the ground as I am worried about my little helpers at age 3 and 5 stepping on them. Staked them up and they look great again,

Another question: How often do you water full grown blooming otatoe plants? I have been doing every 3 days like I do my tomatoes when we have no rain I just don't give them the soaking I do my toms because I am worried about rotting the tubers or washing my hills away and exposing my tubers..

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GardenRN
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Interesting....

The let all of my potatoes sprawl out. Never stake them. The ones I grew in containers got some kind of blight or something and died. The ones that I am growing in the no-dig bed are sprawling out and thriving! Perhaps because they aren't touching, just sprawling over the top of the hay.

An added benefit to a no-dig potato bed?

The potatoes took a lot longer to sprout using this method, but so far I am convinced it's better. Unless my yields stink, I don't think I'll go back.
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Failure is only a fact when you give up.

thesnapman44
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Re: Potatoe Support

Potatoes are the one thing that i have been growing for years, and regarding watering, my potatoes flourish when i do this:
I find that deep watering is my best method.

Potatoes can take some periods of dry weather. However, if it's been very dry and the tubers are beginning to develop underground, water the plants. If you need to water, be sure you do a thorough job, applying enough to moisten the soil 8- to 10-inches below ground.
Also, as already mentioned, the potato is underground, so i have always let mine sprawl, with no harm to the potato underneath.

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