What should follow potatoes?

thecurious1(z5 Chicago)September 6, 2005

Hi All-

As I wind down this stupendous growing season, I am wondering what should follow potatoes in the coming year? Naturally I will be amending the soil, but isnt there some rotation order that I should follow? Thanks.

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Potatoes are a nightshade, in the same family as tomatoes, peppers & eggplant so the main thing is not to follow with one of those. Instead, plant a legume or a cabbage crop, for instance.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2005 at 7:52PM
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paquebot(Z-4b WI)

You could probably follow potatoes with what the potato farmers have followed them with for many years, more potatoes! This is especially important if you have soil amended just for potatoes. In years past, gardeners always had a "potato patch" where they grew potatoes year after year with no problems. Since potatoes love soil pH much lower than most other vegetables, it was always best to grow only potatoes and work to keep the pH low. All that was needed was to replace the soil nutrients each year. My present patch has now had potatoes continuously since 1990 and the results only get better with each harvest.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2005 at 1:22AM
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paulns(NS zone 6a)

Two things not recommended to grow after potatoes or other nightshades are strawberries and raspberries.

Martin, we're going to give that a try next year - growing potatoes in the same place - though with some trepidation.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2005 at 7:03AM
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thecurious1(z5 Chicago)

I thought growing potatoes in the same space encouraged scab?

    Bookmark   September 8, 2005 at 4:02PM
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paquebot(Z-4b WI)

Common scab spores are airborne. If potatoes have been grown anywhere within many miles, there's a good chance that it will already be in the soil even if it has never ever had potatoes before. It can not survive in soils which are lower than 5.2 pH. That's rather difficult to maintain but one can lower it with sulfur for the long run. Then an even lower buffer zone can be created using shredded pine needles mixed into the tuber development zone.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2005 at 5:24PM
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OK, Paque --

Tell us more about your potato patch. How do you prepare the soil, what is your planting method, and how do you water them?


    Bookmark   September 8, 2005 at 8:21PM
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paquebot(Z-4b WI)

Organica, simple questions, simple answers!

Soil is clay and prairie silt plus roughly 15% sand.

Nutrient replacement is via 2" of compost based on shredded maple and oak leaves, or 4" of non-composted same mix. When used first as mulch, what's left is worked in when the potatoes are dug.

Planting is done in 8" x 8" trenches. Inch or so of compost and inch of soil below the seed piece. Backfilled with mix of soil and shredded Christmas tree boughs.

Watering is done on the soil surface, between rows, by low-pressure hose or 5-gallon pail.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2005 at 11:10PM
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Thank you for a delicious potato recipe.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2005 at 12:53PM
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forest_girl(z5 MI)

Paul NS, Why is it that raspberries and straberries shouldn't follow tomatoes/potatoes? I always use tomatoes to open new soil with (I dig holes in the lawn, add compost and plant my tomatoes then mulch heavily around the plants to kill the grass. Then the next year I till and plant other vegetables. I've been doing that for four years and so far it has worked great.) This spring though I did plant both raspberries and strawberries where last years tomatoes were. What should I be watching out for?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2005 at 4:22PM
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I know this isn't what you meant, but I follow potatoes with any cool-weather crop -- in the same year. I finish with potatoes in July and August; I have followed them with lettuce, radish, fava beans, turnips, and spinach. Double-cropping is, of course, one way to make the most use of your soil. If you only just harvested your potatoes, you could follow them with cool-weather crops in a cold frame.

For the following year, my rotation has peas followed by rutabaga. There's no reason to have a legume though, because potatoes are not heavy eaters, surprisingly. So you could follow them with brassicas, or chard/beets, or pretty much anything that's not solanacious. Which is good, because potatoes are very useful in cleaning up a bed. Regards, Peter.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2005 at 5:12PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

Martin, Have you ever encountered any growth inhibitions from pine needles?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2005 at 7:51PM
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paquebot(Z-4b WI)

Wayne, no problems from the pine. By the time they get down to where the roots are, they are well broken down. The potato roots are always below the seed piece, not above. With the system mentioned above, the potatoes are feeding on that inch of non-pine compost. Anything above the piece could be anything from ordinary soil, sand, sawdust, straw, leaves, whatever and the roots could care less.


    Bookmark   September 11, 2005 at 2:36PM
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paulns(NS zone 6a)

I've read this recommendation on a number of reputable (university) sites such as http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1421.html: "avoid planting strawberry plants in areas where potatoes, tomatoes, or sod were grown recently. Insect and disease problems may result in serious plant damage in such areas." One mentions root rot. If I read warnings like that I take heed.

That said, before I learned this we planted raspberries following potatoes and the raspberries are doing fine. Potatoes are a good crop for breaking up new ground. (Though again, planting potatoes after sod can be risky because of wireworm - complicated!).

    Bookmark   September 12, 2005 at 10:30AM
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