When to plant potatoes

When to plant potatoes and choice of soil

The potato plant prefers a temperate climate but it is possible to operate at various temperatures and in different seasonal periods, choosing from the numerous varieties available on the market, however, in relation to the type of soil and the area of ​​cultivation. Particular attention should be paid to frosts to which plants and tubers are very sensitive, whose growth, for some varieties, is also hampered by excessive heat. In choosing when to plant potatoestherefore, the climate of the cultivation area affects, so if it is mainly cold, the spring period is indicated (March – April), immediately after the last frost while in the warmer areas of central – southern Italy it is more appropriate to choose the period autumnal. It is therefore necessary to evaluate carefully, obtaining detailed information on the characteristics of the seed potatoes that you buy, also taking into account the cultivation duration. Potato cultivation is favored by a soil with a light and crumbly mixture, rich in humus, phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen.

Soil preparation

The choice of when to plant potatoesit must be carried out well in advance as the land intended for its cultivation requires careful preparation, to be started in autumn if sowing is foreseen in the spring period, in spring for the autumn one. It should be remembered that the chosen soil must not have been used for the cultivation of potatoes for some years (at least three), to limit dangerous nutritional impoverishment and must have a good drainage system. First of all, a good working in depth must be carried out, therefore it is necessary to obtain a fair amount of mature manure, in direct proportion to the size of the surface to be treated (about 1.5 kg per square meter) or, alternatively, of composted earth to add and mix with the identified soil. Cultivation fears the presence of weeds therefore it is necessary to intervene with frequent and periodic weeding. Approaching the established period, the parallel rows are marked, about 50 cm apart, on which the channels of 10-15 cm are made. depth.

Planting of potatoes and crop care

It is necessary to obtain seed potatoes suitable for the climate, select the most suitable ones, of medium – small size or, alternatively, cut the larger ones into pieces making sure that each part has at least three buds (germination eyes), placing them in the channel at a distance of 45 cm. and covering them with earth. It is advisable to carry out the operation during the waning moon phase. Germination will be faster and more effective if a suitable technique is implemented to favor it, previously leaving the potatoes in a warm and humid environment with diffused light. The cultivation requires abundant watering especially in the presence of drought providing drainage actions to prevent water from stagnating, of tamping the soil on the collar of the plant (at least twice during the cultivation itself) and finally of weeding to eradicate the weeds. Cultivation benefits from favorable conditions, possibly associating it with those of beans, peas, broad beans or cabbages.

Contrasting adversity, harvesting of potatoes and their conservation

Some typical diseases may occur (downy mildew and alternariosis) and the presence of parasites (Colorado beetle and moth). Against downy mildew and alternariosis, treatments based on copper and calcium are effective. The Colorado beetle, a beetle that attacks the leaves, can be fought with treatments based on pyrethrum, the moth, a small butterfly whose larva attacks leaves and tubers, can be hindered with pheromone traps installed on the ground. Potato plants mature when the leaves wither. Harvest in a period of stable, sunny climate, during the waning moon phase. To easily extract the potatoes, use the fork to reduce the damage to the tubers, then leave them to dry on the ground for some time. Once dry, the potatoes must be kept in a cool place, dry and dark by stacking them and covering them with dry, absorbent and breathable materials, such as straw, sand or a combination of both. Particular attention must be paid to the brightness of the environment, which favors the germination of the eyes, with the production of a bitter and poisonous alkaloid substance.

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