Low Yield from Dying Potato Plants - Knowledgebase Question

Essex Junction, VT
Avatar for blomie
Question by blomie
November 23, 1997
This summer, I planted red and white potatoes, and neither crop had a very good yield. They were planted in a garden where potatoes were planted the year before, and produced more potatoes. The plants seemed to die early. There are also raspberry busheson one side of the potatoes. What could be the cause?

Thank you.

Answer from NGA
November 23, 1997
Most likely, your plants were suffering from some sort of disease. Potatoes are succeptible to many fungal and some bacterial diseases. To reduce the problem, rotate them to a different bed each year. After three years, you can safely plant them next to the raspberries again, so long as the raspberries don't crowd or shade the bed. Space hills far enough apart so air can circulate and keep the leaves dry, since fungal and bacterial diseases need moisture to grow. Mulch the soil with straw after hilling the potatoes to provide a barrier between soil-borne spores and leaves.

Although potatoes aren't heavy feeders, they may be lacking nutrients. Mix compost or balanced, slow release fertilizer (5-5-5) with the soil before planting, and for maximum yields, side-dress or foliar feed plants when they bloom. If you want to know which nutrients may be lacking, contact UVM Plant & Soil Science (656-2630) for a soil test kit. I hope this helps!

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