Fertilizing Potatoes for Maximum Yields

Fertilizing Potatoes for Maximum Yields - Potatoes are a root vegetable that grows below the surface of the soil. Choosing phosphate and potassium as a fertilizer is more beneficial to potato growth. Choose a fertilizer with potassium and phosphate levels that are higher than nitrogen levels. Pay attention to the 3 number code on the bag of fertilizer. These three numbers indicate the amount of nitrogen, phosphate and potassium that are contained in that particular fertilizer, respectively. For instance, a 10-10-10 fertilizer contains 10% nitrogen, 10% phosphate and 10% potassium. A 5-10-10 bag would contain 5% nitrogen, 10% phosphate and 10% potassium. Nitrogen encourages a plant to produce more foliage. Phosphate and potassium encourages more root development.

In other hand, if you have access to animal manures, aged or composted manures are the best for potatoes. Don't use fresh manure as a fertilizer on your potato patch, because it often contains scab-causing organisms. Old, thoroughly composted or decomposed barnyard manures are usually fine, though. Aged or composted manure has nutrient quality and quantities. The quality of the manure will provide the soil microbes with material they need to build fertility.

Another alternative is compost fertilizing. Potatoes are especially fond of rich organic soils so for those gardeners who don’t have access to animal manures the next best thing to add to the potato patch is compost

When to Fertilize

Potatoes go through five stages of growth namely sprouting, vegetative, tuber initiation, tuber bulking, and maturing. Begin fertilizing potatoes 2 weeks after planting is the most effective. Continue to apply fertilizer every 4 weeks. Stop fertilizing 2 weeks before harvest. Fertilizer needs to be watered in well to work properly. As you will not be watering your potato plants during the last 2 weeks before they are harvested, there is no need to fertilize.