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Potato plant root-bound?

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Potato plant root-bound?

Post  GardenGroupie on 7/17/2014, 5:09 pm

Hi, I've read every single post made for the potato project, so pardon please if this question has been answered (as it seem like you all have beaten this subject with a stick). I'm using black grow bags and I have about five plants with different varieties that I planted late May. They grew, I added more soil, some bone meal and more soil. I used good compost soil. 

So many people talk of being able to dig down into the dirt and find some new potatoes. When I try to dig, the root system is so dense I'm not able to get in from the top, side or bottom. I actually tipped over a plant to see what was going on in the bottom only to find the root mass (like a seedling plant you'd by that seemed root-bound). I don't know if I'm watering enough as I can't get deep enough into the plants to know. Is this something any of you have encountered? The plants have beautiful flowers on them and I don't want to keep adding more soil/water/$$ if I've created a big problem. If anything, I'll wait until they die back and find out then. 

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Re: Potato plant root-bound?

Post  Turan on 7/17/2014, 11:00 pm

I can not say I ever had that dense of roots.  What I can tell you is that when the plants start flowering you do not want to hill any more.  Let the plants now work on making tubers and not more stem.  So I agree with your assessment that it is time to let them be and eventually die down and then find out what they have been doing down there.
I am curious, how many potato eyes per what size pot?

Let us know your results when you dig the tubers Smile

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Re: Potato plant root-bound?

Post  GardenGroupie on 7/18/2014, 12:18 am

Turan wrote:I can not say I ever had that dense of roots.  What I can tell you is that when the plants start flowering you do not want to hill any more.  Let the plants now work on making tubers and not more stem.  So I agree with your assessment that it is time to let them be and eventually die down and then find out what they have been doing down there.
I am curious, how many potato eyes per what size pot?

Let us know your results when you dig the tubers Smile

Thanks Turan. I planted 4 certified seedling chits in each 10 gallon grow bag. The bags are currently about 2/3 filled with soil with the plants about about 10-18 inches high. It will just have to be a surprise. I'll follow up and share. Wink !
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Re: Potato plant root-bound?

Post  camprn on 7/18/2014, 8:06 am

What variety of potato do you plant?

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Re: Potato plant root-bound?

Post  GardenGroupie on 7/18/2014, 12:01 pm

camprn wrote:What variety of potato do you plant?

Hi Camprn, 

Yukon gold, All Red, Pontiac Red,  and two plants, purple and blue where the seedlings were not ID'd by variety. I could have prepared better by paying attention to what varieties do better in containers, but it's too late for that. Next year. 

I did actually find a fairly scientific possible explanation. It's based on field crops, but does make a little sense in terms of how the roots develop depending on a set of circumstances. 

http://www.soilandhealth.org/01aglibrary/010139fieldcroproots/010139ch15.html

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Re: Potato plant root-bound?

Post  camprn on 7/18/2014, 1:21 pm

Yukon golds are a determinate variety and will not benefit from adding more mix up the stems. I agree with Turan, just let them be now and wait for them to ripen. I was never able to dig down and pinch off a few fresh tubers. I'm content to wait until they are ready. Did you read the Rookie Topic thread about potatoes?

http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/country-living-forums/gardening-plant-propagation/435135-determinate-vs-indeterminate-potatoes.html

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Re: Potato plant root-bound?

Post  GardenGroupie on 7/20/2014, 1:24 pm

camprn wrote:Yukon golds are a determinate variety and will not benefit from adding more mix up the stems. I agree with Turan, just let them be now and wait for them to ripen. I was never able to dig down and pinch off a few fresh tubers. I'm content to wait until they are ready. Did you read the Rookie Topic thread about potatoes?

http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/country-living-forums/gardening-plant-propagation/435135-determinate-vs-indeterminate-potatoes.html

Yep. Read every post!  Very Happy
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