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How to prepare soil for potato planting

Posted Dec 20 2009 5:45pm
The soil must be prepared before potato seed is  planted. The prepared soil is called a seed bed.

The condition of the seed bed at planting is critical to the success of the potato crop.

The potato seedbed should be:

  • level

  • made up of fine particles

  • even – the same all over, & to a depth of about 6 inches

The seedbed for potatoes is prepared on the same day as planting the potatoes takes place.  Do not work the soil if it is wet.  If you have a planned date for planting potatoes, the soil can be covered over a week or two before planting, so that it does not get rained on, and will be dry when you want to work it.

rake-potato-land

rake-potato-land

Use a rake to level the seedbed.
Stand on a board, placed over the adjacent ground, to protect the soil from being trampled down.

firm-soil-down

firm-soil-down

When potato seed is planted into a dry seed bed, the soil particles and crumbs are at their minimum size. When it rains after planting, the soil crumbs will expand, making the soil firmer around the seed, so that the soil is in close contact with the potato seed, allowing the seed to take in water. Soil/seed contact is important.

If soil is sticking to hands and tools when preparing the seed row, the soil is too wet for planting. When planting into soil which is too wet, the soil particles will shrink as they dry out, and the soil will become loose and open so that the soil/seed contact is reduced.

The soil should not be worked into a dust, because when it is watered, it will slump and become too dense, so that oxygen is not available to the seed.

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