Potato Soil Requirements - Knowledgebase Question

Lincoln, NE
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Question by architex
March 29, 1998
As a new gardener I've been researching a variety of sources for gardening information. For the soil requirements for potatoes I found 2 exact opposites from what I thought were reliable sources. One said "potatoes thrive on rich, organic soil", one said "potatoes do not thrive on rich, organic soil." Since potatoes are the vegetable I enjoy most I'd like to get this one right. Which is it?

Answer from NGA
March 29, 1998
Potatoes thrive in well drained soils. They don't need a rich soil, but the biggest concern with fertility is the nitrogen in the soil. Too much nitrogen, especially in the form of fresh manures, can cause poor tuber formation. So if you are amendingyour soil with compost..., do so in the fall before planting. The pH should be between 6 and 6.5 which makes it easier for potato scab control. Other than that, as long as you add well rotted materials the fall before and till it in well, potatoes shouldgrow fine in most soils.

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