Which soil type is suitable for potato farming?
Potatoes will grow in just about any well drained soil, but they dislike soggy soil. Because they do all their growing underground, they can expand more easily in loose, loamy soil than in heavy, compacted, clay soil that keeps plant roots from getting the air and water they need.
Planting/Sowing time in Potato farming: – To secure high yields, it is essential to plant the potatoes at optimum time. The best time of planting is when the maximum and minimum temperatures are from 30ᵒC and 18ᵒC to 20ᵒC, respectively; the planting period for different potato growing regions is given.
1. Plant seed potatoes (pieces of whole potato or a small whole potato, with at least 2 eyes per piece) 0-2 weeks after last spring frost.
2. If you are cutting up potato pieces for planting, do so a 1-2 days ahead of time. This will give them the chance to form a protective layer, both for moisture retention and rot resistance.
3. You may start planting earlier, as soon as soil can be worked, but be aware that some crops will be ruined by a frost.
4. Spread and mix in rotted manure or organic compost in the bottom of the trench before planting.
5. Plant seed potatoes one foot apart in a 4-inch deep trench, eye side up.
6. Potatoes are best grown in rows. To begin with, dig a trench that is 6-8 inches deep. Plant each piece of potato (cut side down, with the eyes pointing up) every 12-15 inches, with the rows spaced 3 feet apart. If you space is limited or if you would like to grow only baby potatoes, you can decrease the spacing between plants. To begin with only fill the trench in with 4 inches of soil. Let the plants start to grow and then continue to fill in the trench and even mound the soil around the plants as they continue to grow. Prior to planting, always make sure to cultivate the soil one last time. This will remove any weeds and will loosen the soil and allow the plants to become established more quickly.
Planting and harvesting time for different regions of India:
SL No Region Crop Planting Harvesting
A Hills Summer January-Feb July-Aug
North-western Summer March-April Sept-Oct
North-Eastern a. Summer March-April Aug-Sept
Southern b. autumn Aug-Sept Dec-January
c. Spring Jan-Feb May-June
B Plains: Northern a. Autumn Sep-Oct Dec-January
b. Winter Oct-Nov Feb-March
c. Spring Dec-Jan March-Apr
C Plateau a. Kharif June Sept-Oct
b. Rabi Oct-Nov Feb-March
Irrigation/Water supply in Potato Farming: Keep your potato vines well watered throughout the summer, especially during the period when the plants are flowering and immediately following the flowering stage. During this flowering period the plants are creating their tubers and a steady water supply is crucial to good crop outcome.
Potatoes need consistent moisture, so water regular when tubers start to form Potatoes do well with 1-2 inches of water or rain per week. When the foliage turns yellow and begins to die back, discontinue watering. This will help start curing the potatoes for harvest time. Drip irrigation helps Indian farmers increase potato yield.
Crop Rotation in potato farming: – Crop rotation is very important in potato farming, so practice yearly crop rotation.
Common pests and care in Potato farming: –
2. Flea Beetles
3. Leaf hoppers
4. Early/Late Blight
5. Potato Scab
Most likely cause by soil with high PH. Remember: – Potatoes like acidic soil (do not plant in soil with ph higher than 5.2). Dust seed potatoes with sulfur before planting.
Manure application in potato farming: – Potatoes like a slightly acid soil, ph of around 5.0 but will grow in range from 5.0 to 6.5. Common potato scab (brown corky tissue on surface of tubers) can be a problem if the soil ph levels are on the alkaline or “sweet” side.
If you have access to animal manures, aged or composted manures are the best. Nutrient quality and quantities can vary a lot, with the age and storage method being two of the most important. No matter what the quality of the manure, there is still enormous value as far as providing the soil microbes with material they need to build fertility.
Manures are best added to the soil in the fall before planting to allow the soil microbes time to do their magic, breaking it down into usable nutrients. Spread the manure over the garden folding it into the top 6-8 inches (15-20cm) of soil with plough, rotary tiller-hoe or shovel.
Harvesting Potatoes: –
1. Baby potatoes typically can be harvested 2-3 weeks after the plants have finished flowering. Gently dig around the plants to remove potatoes for fresh eating, being careful not to be too intrusive. Try to remove the biggest new potatoes and leave the smaller ones in place so they can continue to grow.
2. The potato must be harvested at right stage of maturity when leaves turn yellow and dry.
3. If there is a demand in market slightly early harvesting may be done.
4. Irrigation is with held before harvesting and harvesting is done when soil becomes dry.
5. Cut the plants at ground level eight days prior to date of harvesting.
6. It is done with the help of kudali or potato digger or by ploughing with deshi plough.
7. Care should be taken to dugout the tubers without injury.
8. Collect the exposed tubes and cleaned off by removing soil, roots, stolons etc.
9. The damaged and diseased potatoes are sorted out and discarded.
10. Remaining potatoes graded according to size and stored in shade to avoid sun injury.
11. The diseases free, medium to big size potatoes are selected and stored separately for seed purpose.