Growing potatoes from seeds
Potatoes are the most common vegetable in the garden. Recently, the area under its planting has declined, although early varieties are still grown in almost every suburban area. Potatoes can be grown in one place for 6–9 years, but gradually, if not harvests, the quality of tubers will sharply decrease due to soil fatigue and the accumulation of pathogenic microflora. In this case, the change of potato varieties does not help much, because they consume the same elements to form the crop and often already carry pathogenic microflora in the planting material (unpleasant putrefactive smell, black circles on the tuber cut, etc.). Yes, and buying high-quality planting material, there are no guarantees of its quality.
The way out of this situation may be the technology of growing potatoes from biological seeds. They are formed by an apical friable brush with flowers of white-pink colors. The fruit is a berry, initially light green in color, with full ripening of dark brown and other flowers. The seeds are small brown.
Benefits of Potato Seed Propagation
- Potato seeds purchased in specialized stores do not contain pathogenic viruses and bacteria. They underwent special selection and processing. They are immune to diseases.
- They are resistant to changing environmental conditions. They quickly adapt to the climatic characteristics of the region and form high yields of healthy tubers within 5-7 years.
- The cost of potato seeds is several times cheaper than tubers, since there are no costs for transportation, storage, processing of tubers before planting in the field.
- Potato seeds retain their germination for 5-6 years.
Disadvantages of seed propagation of potatoes
- Attention and patience are required, especially when growing potato seedlings and leaving in the first weeks after planting in the ground (in the field, in a greenhouse, under shelter).
- The two-year growing period. In the first year, we get potato sowing (nodules 20-40 g), and the harvest of real tubers for table use is formed only from the second year from potato sowing.
Features of growing potatoes from biological seeds
Potato propagates vegetatively (whole tubers and their parts, cuttings, layering) and seed method. Until recent years, potatoes were propagated by tubers. An alternative to the current situation is the possibility of obtaining high quality yields of potato tubers by seed propagation, which can be carried out in seedless and seedling methods.
Reckless way to grow potatoes from biological seeds
In the southern regions, seed potatoes can be grown directly in the open field. Self-growing seeds has certain difficulties, so it’s easier to buy ready-made in specialized stores.
Potatoes are a light-loving culture and usually light areas are allocated for its placement. In the shade, the bushes stretch out, and the tubers form small.
The best precursors for potatoes are early-harvested legumes (peas), corn, beets, and vegetables (not nightshade). In the fall, after harvesting, we clear the designated area from weeds, dig a shovel on a bayonet. If the soil is subject to acidification, then under a digging we make a glass of lime, dolomite flour or 2-3 glasses of wood ash per square meter. m square. We grind the digging and sow green manure, which after 5-8 weeks can be planted in the soil (peas, barley, rye, mustard, rapeseed) and fully prepared for spring sowing.
In case of preparation without subsidies for autumn digging, we bring in sq. m 0.5-1.0 bucket of humus, compost. If there is no humus, then in the spring under 15 cm cultivation we introduce mineral fertilizers. The easiest way is to use a balanced mineral fertilizer nitrofos at the rate of 30-40 g / sq. The surface of the soil is leveled, freeing from the soil crust.
Preparation of potato seeds for sowing
To obtain faster seedlings, the potato seeds are awakened from rest by pre-sowing heating in a humid chamber at +40 .. + 42 ºС for no more than 15-20 minutes. You can additionally treat the seeds with micronutrients if they were not processed in the seed preparation center.
The dried potato seeds are dried at room temperature until flowability and sown dry in the soil or put on germination. In a saucer on a wet towel, sprinkle the seeds evenly, cover with a wet towel and place in a warm place. It is possible at the battery or on a warm windowsill. Constantly moisten wipes. After 3-5 days, the nailed potato seeds are ready for sowing.
Sowing potato seeds in open ground
In the first and second decades of May, when the soil in the 10 cm layer is warmed up to +14 .. + 16 ºС, the bed allocated for sowing potato seeds is loosened again and at a distance of 30-40 cm we prepare holes no more than 3-4 cm deep. We put 2-3 seeds in each well and mulch it with the same soil or small mulch by 0.5 cm.
Instead of holes for sowing, furrows can be used. Cut the furrows 4-5 cm deep, fill with water. After water is absorbed onto the soil surface, we sow the seeds and mulch for 0.5-1.0 cm. Potato seedlings appear on day 5-10. Seedlings can be sparse, so the sowing is thickened.
In phase 2 of these leaves, when the aboveground mass of seedlings begins to close, we thin out. Before thinning, we moisten the soil. Neatly pulled seedlings of potatoes can be planted as seedlings in separate rows or holes after 20-25 cm from each other.
Potato seedlings initially grow very slowly and suffer from weeds, soil compaction and drying out. Therefore, they need constant loosening of the soil, weeding and watering with an average norm of water.
After about a month, potato seedlings will form multi-stemmed bushes. Further care for them is the same as when planting tubers. Harvested in late September and early October, depending on the variety. The crop may be low (tubers 20-40 g).
We put potato seeds for storage as a vegetative seed, free of viruses and other pathologies for planting next year.
Seedling method of growing potatoes from biological seeds
Preparation of soil mixtures for sowing potato seeds
Soil for sowing potato seeds should be fertile, loose, water- and breathable. Composition of the soil mixture: add 2 parts of turf or 4 parts of peat and 1 part of sand to 2 parts of garden soil. All mix thoroughly and disinfect. Add 10-15 g of nitrofoski and biological preparations trichodermin or phytosporin (10 g / 10 l of water) for every 10 kg of prepared soil mixture to protect against fungal soil diseases (black leg, root rot).
The mixture is stirred and dried at room temperature. Processing soil mixtures with biological products is especially necessary if the soil mixture is not decontaminated. Biological products have the property of destroying pathogenic fungi and contribute to enhanced reproduction of beneficial microflora. With prepared soil mix we fill the container.
Potato seed preparation
To increase the cold tolerance of the culture, we harden the potato seeds, placing them overnight in a refrigerator, and during the day in a warm room. Before sowing, we process potato seeds with a root stimulant, a solution of epin or rootin. The treated seeds are germinated in the same way as for the seedling method of cultivation. For 3-5 days, nailed seeds can be sown in containers prepared for seedlings.
Sowing and caring for potato seedlings
For sowing we use boxes of 10 cm height or other containers (cups, cassettes, peat-humus pots). In the container, holes must be made in the bottom to drain excess water. Potato seedlings fall ill with root rot from supersaturation with moisture.
In the prepared container, after 10-12 cm we make furrows with a depth of 1.0-1.5 cm. We spread the potato seeds in the furrow after 5 cm. We mulch the sown seeds with the same soil mixture or dry sand and moisten with a spray gun. A moist substrate draws the seed deeper into the mix. Before the emergence of seedlings, we moisten the soil through a spray gun, so as not to wash the seeds from the soil with a jet of water and not to create an excessively moist environment, since seedlings are easily affected by root rot.
When sowing potato seeds in separate containers, place them in boxes to facilitate care.
We put containers with sown potato seeds on racks in a heated greenhouse. You can cover it in a living room with glass or film, create conditions for a mini-greenhouse, providing optimal humidity conditions and air temperature +18 .. + 22 ºС. The soil for increasing oxygen supply is systematically loosened.
Potato seedlings appear on the 8-10th day. In phase 2 of these leaves, we pick (if necessary), deepening the seedling to cotyledon leaves. Seedlings in individual containers (cups and other containers) do not dive. In order for the potato seedlings to be evenly lit, the containers with seedlings are systematically rotated by different sides to the light or illuminated.
For better formation of the root system, potato seedlings are watered one week after germination with a solution of ammonium nitrate or urea (1 g / 1 l of water at room temperature). After top dressing, seedlings must be washed with clean water.
The subsequent top dressing of potato seedlings before planting in open ground for a permanent period of time is carried out every 25-30 days with complex mineral fertilizer or one of the drugs that are recommended for top dressing seedlings: Kemira Lux, Agricola, Uniflor Growth, GUMI Kuznetsova, Baikal EM-1 and others. They stimulate the growth of the root system and aboveground mass, have fungicidal properties.
Hardening potato seedlings
10-12 days before planting potato seedlings in the soil we temper, placing containers with seedlings at the beginning for 2-6 hours, and a week before planting we stand around the clock in a cool room (glazed loggia, balcony, unheated corridor).
Planting potato seedlings in open ground
In the southern region, in the second or third decade of May (later in the middle and northern stripes of the Russian Federation), 40-55 day old seedlings of potatoes are planted in open ground or in a greenhouse.
On prepared garden beds of open ground, we make holes with a depth of 8-12 cm. The distance between the holes depends on the final goal. If we use the first year plantings to obtain potato seeds, then we prepare the holes in 25-30 cm. To obtain potato tubers (for taste), we increase the distance between the holes to 40-60 cm, depending on the variety. You can plant 2 seedlings in one hole.
If necessary and necessary, add 0.5 cups of mature humus to the wells, a couple of tablespoons of ash, mix with soil, water and after absorbing water, plant a seedling of potatoes. Potato seedlings usually lie down and break easily. Carefully lying down we put the seedlings in the hole and fill it with soil so that 2-3 top real leaves remain on the surface.
Planted seedlings of potatoes can be covered with lutrasil or spandbond from a sudden cooling or overheating by the rays of the spring sun. Over time, when the seedlings begin to form new leaves, we remove the shelter.
In the first month of irrigation with small doses, we carry out first in 2-3 days, and then we increase the water rate and switch to 1 time per week. The beds with plants are constantly loosened from the soil crust, weeds are removed. Before closing the bushes, we mulch the soil after watering. Monthly potato seedlings form multi-stemmed bushes, and caring for them is no different from caring for a crop planted with tubers.
Feeding potato seedlings
During the growing season, we feed the potatoes.
- Early varieties of potatoes 1 time a month after planting in the soil, the phase of the formation of tops. Combine top dressing with hilling.
- We feed medium and late potato varieties twice. The first time in the phase of growth of tops and the second - mass budding.
The need for the first feeding occurs when the height of the potato seedlings exceeds 10 cm. A mixture of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (non-chlorine forms) fat is prepared in a ratio of 1: 2: 1 or 1: 2: 1.5. You can make nitrofoska, nitroammophoska (30-35 g / bush) in the first top dressing.
Some gardeners advise adding a solution of organic fertilizers under the root of the potato. If humus was introduced under the basic preparation of the soil or when planting directly in the holes, then feeding organic matter with infusion is not necessary. Instead, it is better to use kemira at the rate of 10 g / sq. m. This fertilizer contains trace elements, so necessary for the formation of quantity and quality of tubers.
In the second top dressing, which coincides with the mass formation of buds, we exclude nitrogen and add potassium sulfate and phosphate fertilizers in a ratio of 1: 1.5. Potassium enhances tuberization and the delivery of nutrients to the organs of the plant (it is popularly called a cabman). During this period, it is good to add ash (1-2 glasses per sq. M) or kemir. Top dressing can also be made in the form of solutions (10 l of solution for 15-20 bushes).
The quantity and ratio of mineral fertilizers, both in the main application and in top dressing, depends on the type of soil, climatic conditions, and the variety of potatoes in each case. Therefore, in preparation for planting potatoes, read the recommendations of the district agronomists.
To stimulate the outflow of nutrients from tops to tubers at the end of flowering, the aerial mass of potatoes can be treated with a superphosphate solution. 20 g of superphosphate are dissolved in 10 l of water, insisted for 2 days, filtered and sprayed on tops.
Protection of potato seedlings from diseases and pests
When growing potatoes from seeds, the resulting planting material (potato seeds and tubers in subsequent years) is healthy, but the plants themselves, especially young seedlings, are susceptible to diseases and are damaged by pests, which are found in the soil. Therefore, it is necessary to protect potato plants when growing seedlings (especially if the soil for seedlings is not disinfected) and in the soil when it is planted permanently.
Of the diseases, potatoes are most often affected by fusarium, late blight, scab, tuber cancer, root and tuber rot and other diseases.
Of the pests, the Colorado potato beetle, bear cub, wireworm, aphid, potato scoop, quarantine pests, potato cyst nematode, potato moth and others are considered especially dangerous. Aphids, in addition to damage to potato tops, are also a carrier of viruses, against which there are no drugs yet.
The chemical industry offers a huge list of drugs to protect against both diseases and pests. But in your household it is unnecessary to use chemicals if you need environmentally friendly products. Recently, biological preparations have been intensively developed that are not harmful to humans, animals and beneficial insects (bees).
To combat potato diseases, the following biological products are offered: trichodermin, phytolavin, phytosporin, planriz. The latter can be treated plants 1-2 days before harvesting. For the destruction of pests from biological products, bicol, bitoxibacillin, phytoverin, acarin, boverin and others are recommended.Biological products can be used in tank mixtures according to the recommendations, which significantly reduces the load on plants by treatments and labor and time costs.
Harvesting and laying potato nodules for storage
Harvest intended for long-term storage, we remove after the tops are completely dry. Potato seeds are small, so you need to be careful when harvesting. Even 10 g of small things will provide a good harvest for next year. We spread the dug nodules in a dry place (barn, garage, other utility buildings), dry them for 3-5 days, sort them by fractions and put them in the basement for storage.
Potato varieties for seed propagation
- Early: Assol, Farmer, Triumph, Empress, Velina, Milena. The tuber crop is formed on 50-65 days.
- Medium: Ilona, Ballad, Revenge, Beauty, F1 hybrid Lada. Harvest medium varieties of potatoes removed after 80-95 days.
- Mid-late: Virgo forms a mature tuber harvest in 95-110 days.
Next year we plant the obtained tubers. Remember! For 7 years, you need to update the material. To do this, after 5-6 years, we again sow biological seeds and prepare a new virus-free planting material.