How to fertilize potatoes – Common Potato Fertilizer Programs
Needless to say, you have to take into consideration the soil condition of your field through semiannual or annual soil testing, before applying any nutrition or tillage method. No two fields are the same, nor can anyone advise you on fertilization methods without taking into account your soil’s test data, tissue analysis and crop history of your field. However, we will list the most common potato fertlization schemes, used by a considerable number of farmers.
Potatoes plants generally require large quantities of nutrients in order to produce an acceptable production. Nowadays farmers make from 0 to 5 fertilizers applications throughout the 3-4 months development of the plants. Most farmers apply a Nitrogen- Phosphorus- Potassium 15-15-15 at the same time with planting (in most potato planting machines, we can add soil fertilization). This applies especially in fields where vegetables have been cultivated during the last six months. The potassium in 15-15-15 stimulates growth of strong stems and provides some disease and pest tolerance by increasing the thickness of the outer cell walls.
As a rule of thumb, potato plants have greater needs in Nitrogen (34-0-0) during the first two months (when the foliar part of the plant develops rapidly). From the second month until two weeks before harvest, the plants need more potassium (12-12-17 or 14-7-21) in order to create well shaped potatoes. To these, many farmers often add foliar fertilizer during the second or third month, especially in order to correct micronutrient deficiencies.
A common fertilization scheme demands 4 major fertilization applications, apart from adding well-rotted compost 2 months before planting: 30 days after planting we add 0,2 tons of 20-20-20 per hectare. 55 days from planting, we add 0,5 tons of 14-7-21+2MgO per hectare. 65 days from planting, we add 0,5 tons of 14-7-21+2Mgo per hectare. Finally, 80-90 days from planting (depending on the earliness of the variety), we add again 0,5 tons of 14-7-21+2Mg0 per hectare.
Another common fertilization scheme involves 4 major fertilization applications, the first at the same time with planting and the other 3 every 25-28 days. Under this scheme, farmers apply interchangeably 0,5 tons of 12-12-17+MgO per hectare and 0,5 tons of K2O per hectare.
Finally, some farmers add biostimulators, ie. Substances (mostly foliar) that improve flowering and fruit setting, promote production and help the plant to overcome stress situations.
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4. Potato Fertilization
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