Vegetables and Fruit forum: Potato growers. . What do you do with the dirt?

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Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
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robynanne
Aug 17, 2016 4:23 AM CST
So you've bagged or hilled all summer, adding dirt along the way. Time to dig out your potatoes, but now you have all this dirt out on your tarp or whatever you used to dig out the potatoes. How do you store this dirt to use next year?
[Last edited by robynanne - Aug 17, 2016 7:27 AM (+)]
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Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Aug 17, 2016 7:26 AM CST
Robyn - all of my container soils go into a big heavy duty trash bag which is stored out on the patio over the winter. I'm not saving my soil from the potato grow bags as the plants developed some type of blight. Instead, I'll use it to top-dress some ornamental beds.
Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Herbs Enjoys or suffers cold winters Tomato Heads Garden Photography
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robynanne
Aug 17, 2016 7:31 AM CST
Thanks! I'm thinking bags is the way to go. I was going to get a big container, but from what I've read, they need to breath or it'll get gross. I actually found some 100 gallon composting bags which should not only do the trick, but might help turn the hay into dirt for next year.

I'm extremely nervous that I'm going to dump out all these bags and find mushy rotted potatoes... I've been having a hard time keeping the bags watered but not too watered. We'll see! The felt bags have about died back, Maybe this weekend I'll dump those out and see what I've got.

Do you do anything special to clean the potato bags after you use them? Esp with blight or any issues, you need to clean them out well, I'd imagine.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Aug 17, 2016 8:03 AM CST
Robyn - I've been wondering about cleaning the grow bags. Might have to do some research on that as I don't want the bags to break down after only one use. If I hadn't had the blight problems, I wouldn't bother. I do want to try potatoes again next year.
Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member Region: Indiana Dog Lover Container Gardener
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mom2goldens
Aug 18, 2016 7:15 PM CST
I grow potatoes in Smart pots every year. I store them (with their soil) in big trash bags over the winter and leave them outdoors. In the spring, I fluff, add extra soil and fertilizer as needed, then replant. That being said, I've not had disease issues that I've had to deal with.

But, the Smart pots hold up really well. Most of mine are now 5-6 years old, and showing no signs of breaking down.
Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
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robynanne
Aug 18, 2016 7:35 PM CST
mom2goldens said:I grow potatoes in Smart pots every year. I store them (with their soil) in big trash bags over the winter and leave them outdoors. In the spring, I fluff, add extra soil and fertilizer as needed, then replant. That being said, I've not had disease issues that I've had to deal with.

But, the Smart pots hold up really well. Most of mine are now 5-6 years old, and showing no signs of breaking down.

Do you have any pictures of the potatoes growing?
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
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Oberon46
Aug 19, 2016 9:48 AM CST
I also have smart pots which I emptied each fall. And I got potato scab the first year. Then stupidly planted in the same bags the next year with the same results. Duh. I decided to sell them as I wasn't impressed with the harvest after several years of trying different soil and amendments. I put them in the washing machine with bleach. Clogged up the machine and had water all over the floor. DH was really grumpy. Rolling on the floor laughing I should at least have beaten the bags out a bit to looses dirt. Anyway, I don't now if that cured the blight or not as haven't used them again. I have 4-5 of the super 18" 20 gallon ones with handles and 8 16" with no handles. Maybe next year I will give it another go. I know people who get wonderful harvests from them and can't figure out why I can't. Wrong mix or need fertilizer during the summer maybe??
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Aug 19, 2016 1:35 PM CST
Oberon46 said:I also have smart pots which I emptied each fall. And I got potato scab the first year. Then stupidly planted in the same bags the next year with the same results. Duh. I decided to sell them as I wasn't impressed with the harvest after several years of trying different soil and amendments. I put them in the washing machine with bleach. Clogged up the machine and had water all over the floor. DH was really grumpy. Rolling on the floor laughing I should at least have beaten the bags out a bit to looses dirt. Anyway, I don't now if that cured the blight or not as haven't used them again. I have 4-5 of the super 18" 20 gallon ones with handles and 8 16" with no handles. Maybe next year I will give it another go. I know people who get wonderful harvests from them and can't figure out why I can't. Wrong mix or need fertilizer during the summer maybe??


Potato scab
Treatment

All of the following control measures have been proven to be effective. However, in most cases a combination of techniques will be required.

Plant certified, disease-free seed potatoes and resistant varieties whenever possible. We suggest using the russet-skinned varieties, since they have more resistance to the disease.
Rotate root crops by planting in alternate locations to limit this disease.
Potato scab is most prevalent in dry, alkaline soils. Decrease soil pH by adding elemental sulfur. The disease is controlled or greatly suppressed at soil pH levels of 5.2 or lower. Simple and affordable soil test kits are available to check pH often.
Tilling in a cover crop prior to planting potatoes will help reduce infection by S. scabies.
Keeping soil moist during early tuber development may have a dramatic effect on common scab infection. Maintain proper soil moisture for about 2 weeks after the plants emerge from the soil. Avoid overwatering.



Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member Region: Indiana Dog Lover Container Gardener
Seed Starter Herbs Vegetable Grower Cut Flowers Butterflies Birds
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mom2goldens
Aug 19, 2016 3:28 PM CST
robynanne said:
Do you have any pictures of the potatoes growing?


I think I may have a couple of bags that still have pretty active greens. I've already harvested 1/2 my potatoes. Will try to get a photo this weekend. We're getting a monsoon right now, so no way am I going out there now Smiling

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