borderer1951
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potato problems

I am new to the forum but not to growing my own vegetables. This year (my second on a new plot) I have encountered a problem I've never seen before, After properly chitting my early potatoes I planted them out. The first shoots came through but then all growth stopped at about 4 to 6 inches and the foliage is now dying back. The man on the neighbouring plot has exactly the same problem, although his maincrops are doing well. The soil is clay but has had many years worth of very well rotted cow muck dug in. Other crops are doing well enough, although slugs have been numerous this year.

Any suggestions as to what might have happened?

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Gary350
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Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

Re: potato problems

Potatoes need a lot of potash. I sprinkle wood ash on my potatoes every evening after we cook dinner on the BBQ grill. My plants look good and are 2 feet tall, just have to wait another month to see if there is a good crop of potatoes. I pick up maple tree sticks in the yard for the BBQ grill. The garden center sells potash and high potash fertilizer.

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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: potato problems

Gary has some kind of knack. A lot of things seem to work for him that would not work for the rest of us.

Here's part of what cornell university says about potatoes:

"Unlike most vegetables, potatoes perform best in acid soil with pH 4.8 - 5.5. Use scab-resistant varieties with pH above 6.0. ...[ to prevent scab disease if you have had it in your garden] Lower soil pH to 5.2 with sulfur." https://www.gardening.cornell.edu/homega ... ec6be.html

Wood ash is very alkaline and consistently adding it to your soil will raise your soil pH considerably.

Gary is right that potatoes are high potassium users. But whether adding potassium actually makes any difference depends on the potassium levels in your soil already (you would have to send a soil sample to be tested, or just try adding it and see what happens). One agronomist found a significant increase in potato yield in fields that had added potassium. " However, research done in Washington State in the late 1990s showed little yield or quality response to potassium fertilization.The difference may lie in soil potassium test levels." In other words if your soil has adequate potassium levels already, adding more doesn't make much difference. https://westernfarmpress.com/vegetables/ ... d-potatoes

Sources of potassium that won't increase pH include kelp meal and other seaweed, greensand, sulfate of potash (helps lower pH). You can also bury lemon and orange rinds and banana peels in the soil in your potato patch. These are potassium sources that break down pretty quickly.

You didn't tell us where you are located. There are hardly any garden questions that can be discussed without regard to location/ climate. It makes a difference re what might have happened to your potatoes. If you are in a very hot area as I am, heat may have finished them off. Potatoes grow best when the nights stay cool. The ideal potato growing temperature is 45° to 80°F (with soil temperature not more than 70). Potatoes should be planted a month prior to your average last frost date as long as the soil is not too soggy.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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jal_ut
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Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: potato problems

"all growth stopped at about 4 to 6 inches and the foliage is now dying back."

Sounds like some disease to me.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: potato problems

along with telling us your location and weather conditions, pictures always help! :)
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

borderer1951
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Joined: Sun Jun 19, 2016 8:40 am

Re: potato problems

My plot is in the Midlands, UK, near the Shropshire/Wales border. It, or this particular bit of the it, was fallow for four years. It was double-dug last autumn and well-rotted cow manure was incorporated. The Ph was tested before planting and was just over 5. The problem is just on mine and the immediately adjoining plot and only with first-earlies. I have now dug up and destroyed the plants. The roots were malformed and there was no sign of any residue of the seed potatoes planted. My neighbour has done the same. His maincrops continue to do well.

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