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best fertilizer for straw grown potatoes?

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  • best fertilizer for straw grown potatoes?

    What would you recommend for fertilizing potatoes with? I have chickity-doo-doo, but I'm hesitant to use manure on root crops-- for obvious reasons.

    I know the chicken manure I have has been heat sterilized, but just the thought of ingesting small particles of bird crap when I eat mashed potatoes sickens me.

    I am growing my potatoes in straw, and the only fertilizer I can think of is alfalfa meal which I have used already.

  • #2
    Straw-grown potatoes usually aren't grown IN straw but UNDER straw. The plant's roots are in the soil but the tubers develop in the straw. Purpose is to get clean potatoes from soil which may otherwise produce scabby ones.

    Nothing more wrong with C-D-D than horse, sheep, pig, cow, human, or other manures. It's a quite natural process which has been going on for millions of years. Just think of how much some of the huge dinosaurs dumped on Kansas eons ago! Also, pre-European populations didn't have sewage disposal systems in their communities.


    • #3
      What about fish emulsion? I have used it successfully with leafy vegetables, but never tried it with potatoes.


      • #4
        Fish emulsion is great for leafy things which thrive on the high nitrogen content. Leaves aren't what one wants from potato plants so it's probably not the best idea.


        • #5
          so, are you advocating that I get over my squeamish attitude and use it on my potatoes? I did notice my potato plants are becoming a little yellow green. I can't really think of any other good organic fertilizers for potatoes, since they need more phosphorus and potassium. Seaweed extract is very expensive.

          But, now I have straw covering them, so the only thing I can think of is spreading a cup of CDD underneath the straw around the plants' bases.


          • #6
            Potato plants roots are below the seed pieces. That's where the fertilizer should have been applied in the first place. Best you can do is open the straw about 6" on each side of the row and sprinkle the CDD fertilizer. It's not one which will readily dissolve but some will eventually get down to the roots.


            • #7
              I know this sounds bad-- since I almost always use organic fertilizer-- but I decided to use Miracle grow slow release since the NPK ratios were even (10-10-10).

              Some of the younger potato plants look a little yellow green. Also, quite a few have holes from something munching on them. Do slugs attack potato plants? I put Sluggo down around my brassicas and no more issues.


              • #8
                I have a neighbors who is squeamish about using manure on any of her plants...even the non edible ones! She just does not do 'doo doo' I would suggest that if all possible, conquer your fears. Try horse is not very smelly (compared to chicken or turkey manure). Get a potato scrubbing brush or peel your taters if you can't get over the ick factor

                Hope someone answers your mystery hole question...I have not yet-knock on wood-had any problems with critters nibbling on my taters....


                • #9
                  rotting oak leaves are the best thing I have tried on potatoes


                  • #10
                    I'm pretty sure now it's slug damage. I looked it up-- and I'm surprised to learn that slugs will eat potato foliage readily. I have seen no evidence of colorado potato beetle. I wish I would have figured it out sooner, because after a few rainy days the younger potato plants have lost most of their foliage and I think it's too late for some of the plants

                    I was losing melon sprouts until I started sprinkling Sluggo around them.


                    • #11
                      You've now discovered that straw and other mulches also double as slug hotels. I do mulch my potatoes with shredded oak leaves but only after they are at least a foot tall. Then they can afford to lose a leaf or two.