Methods of growing potato seedlings and their effectiveness: to the gardener

Almost all Solanaceous gardeners are grown with seedlings. Potatoes are perhaps the only exception. But this method is also applicable to it. Its main advantages are the ability to get an earlier and more abundant crop, to propagate valuable varieties, and the disadvantage is the complexity. Although nothing supernatural from the gardener is required. It is only necessary to preliminary study all the nuances of the procedure.

Growing seedlings of potatoes from seeds

The vast majority of gardeners grow potatoes from tubers. But if you practice this method constantly, the quality of the crop is constantly deteriorating from year to year, the volume decreases, because planting material degenerates over 5–7 years. There are two ways to update it: just buy new tubers of the “super-super-elite”, “super-elite”, “elite” categories and so on, or grow them yourself.

Mini-potato tubers are quite expensive, even if the planting material is updated gradually

The second option, in addition to significant cost savings, is not without other significant advantages:

  • Confidence in the quality of planting material. A rare gardener can in appearance distinguish elite mini-tubers from ordinary small potatoes. The risk of acquiring a fake is even greater when buying from hand or at fairs.

    It is difficult for an amateur gardener to distinguish ordinary small tubers from elite planting material

  • Save space needed to store potatoes for planting. Optimal conditions for seeds are much easier to create.
  • The absence of disease. Excluding the first reproduction, tubers can be infected with viruses, bacteria, and pathogenic fungi. The conditions for their cultivation are unknown to you.

    On an industrial scale, the first generation of tubers is grown in laboratory conditions that ensure complete sterility; for the next generations, with absolute certainty, the absence of diseases cannot be guaranteed

  • The ability to create your own unique variety, characterized by optimal taste qualities for you, the appearance of tubers, resistance to certain diseases and adapted to the climate in the growing region.
  • The best productivity. High-quality planting material brings on average 25-30% more potatoes than degenerated tubers. Harvest is better stored, less loss in the process.

There are also disadvantages:

  • Fragility and moodiness of seedlings. The root system of potatoes is formed more slowly than other Solanaceae, the seeds germinate poorly. Seedlings need to provide optimal conditions and constantly monitor their maintenance. They react especially painfully to light deficit and unsuitable soil quality.
  • The need to use fungicides for the prevention of fungal diseases. Otherwise, because of them (especially because of the "black leg"), you can lose the crop already at this stage.
  • The duration of the process. Growing a full crop stretches for two years.

Fungicides - copper-containing drugs to combat pathogenic microflora; potato seedlings are very susceptible to infection by pathogenic fungi

The process begins with seed preparation. The easiest way to buy them. The varieties Lada, Empress, Ilona, ​​Assol, Milena, Ballada, Triumph, Farmer are popular.

The range of potato seeds in the respective stores is quite large

It is not difficult to independently collect seeds. In early August, pick a few large “berries” growing on the potato bushes after flowering, and hang them in a linen or gauze bag in a bright, warm, well-ventilated room. When the skin wrinkles and changes color to pale salad, and the fruits become soft to the touch, cut them and rub the pulp through a sieve. Rinse it, separating the seeds, dry them to a state of flowability and pour into a paper bag.

Many gardeners pick potato berries, considering them useless, but they can be used to obtain planting material

Video: potato seed harvesting

In this form, they can be stored for a long time, but the seeds demonstrate the best germination in the first 2-3 years. Even the maximum indicators for potatoes, in comparison with other Paslenovy ones, are low, therefore it is recommended to provide yourself with planting material with a margin. It is not difficult, in each berry 150-200 seeds. Bushes - "donors" choose healthy.

Fungal diseases are not transmitted to the seeds, some viral and bacterial - yes.

Potato seeds take up very little space and can be stored for 6–7 years

Growing seedlings is according to the following algorithm:

  1. Seed preparation. It’s easiest to soak them for a couple of days in a solution of any biostimulant (Epin, Zircon, Kornevin, Heteroauxin) - this will improve germination. Leave the container in a warm place, for example, on a heating battery. Another method is hardening. For 10 days, seeds covered with moist peat are kept in the refrigerator at night, at room temperature during the day. The fastest way is warming up at a temperature of 40–42 ° С. Enough for 15 minutes.

    Pre-sprouted potato seeds sprout faster and more widely

  2. Preparation of the substrate. The soil should be as loose as possible. You can, for example, mix peat with purchased Solanaceous soil and sand in a ratio of 4: 1: 2. The substrate must be disinfected, to protect against fungal diseases, chalk or activated charcoal crushed into powder is added (a tablespoon of 2 l).

    A solution of potassium permanganate is one of the most famous and affordable disinfectants, for the soil it is also quite suitable

  3. Planting seeds. In the last decade of March or early April, seeds are sown in the ground. Separate pots are filled with soil by making drainage holes. Seeds are placed at intervals of 4-5 cm, between the rows leave twice as much. From above they are covered with a layer of fine sand 0.5 cm thick, slightly compacting it, and watered by spraying the soil from the spray gun. You can plant potatoes in common boxes, but this means a subsequent dive, and the seedlings are very fragile, they may not survive such stress.

    Potato seeds are planted, providing future seedlings with sufficient space for nutrition

  4. The emergence of seedlings. Prior to this, the pots with seeds are kept in the dark at a temperature of about 25–27 ° C, covered with a plastic film. Useful if heat comes from below. It will take about two weeks to wait. Ventilate the plantings for 5-7 minutes daily, regularly spray the soil. The soil should be slightly moist all the time. Containers with seedlings are transferred to the best-lit place in the room (for example, closer to the south-facing window). The temperature is maintained at 23–25 ° C.

    A polyethylene film or glass provides a "greenhouse effect", which accelerates the germination of seeds, but also high humidity, which provokes the development of fungal diseases

  5. Seedling care. Potatoes need daylight hours of 10-12 hours. This means the almost inevitable use of conventional fluorescent or phytolamps. Tanks are placed on the windowsill so that the leaves of neighboring plants do not touch. Once in 5-7 days they are turned so that the seedlings do not "clump together", reaching for the sun. Plants are watered every 3-4 days, allowing the soil to dry to a depth of 1-2 cm. The first top dressing is introduced a week after seed germination, diluting urea or other nitrogen fertilizer in water (1 g / l). Then, every 20–25 days, the bushes are fed with fertilizer for seedlings, preparing a solution of half the concentration than specified by the manufacturer.

    Phytolamps provide seedlings with daylight of the required duration

  6. Hardening. They start it one and a half weeks before landing. Tanks with seedlings are daily taken to fresh air, increasing the period of stay outside the home from 2-3 to 8-10 hours.

    Pre-hardening will help potato seedlings to adapt faster and more successfully to a new place

Planting seedlings in the garden is planned, guided by the climate in the region. For “risk farming zones” the optimal time is the first decade of June and the very end of May, for the eastern part of Russia - the beginning of this month. In the south, you can hold it in mid-April. The age of the plants is within 40–55 days, the presence of 4–5 true leaves is mandatory.

Choosing the time for planting potato seedlings, you can focus on folk signs - that there will be no more frosts, the flowering of dandelions and blossoming leaves on birches indicate

Video: planting potato seedlings in the ground

The garden bed is being prepared since the fall, digging the selected area deep and introducing all the necessary fertilizers. About 1 liter of humus, 30–40 g of simple superphosphate and 20–25 g of potassium nitrate are added per 1 m². The place is chosen well-lit and warmed by the sun, without groundwater coming up to the surface and not in the lowland.

Humus - a natural remedy to increase soil fertility

Take into account the rules of crop rotation. The beds after other Solanaceae are not suitable for potatoes; the best predecessors for it are Legumes, Cruciferous, Pumpkin, any greens.

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Video: typical mistakes when growing potatoes from seeds

For seedlings, holes are dug in advance about 10 cm deep. A handful of humus, about the same amount of wood ash and a little onion husk are put on the bottom to repel pests. The planting pattern is the same as for tubers - at least 30 cm between adjacent plants and about 60 cm between rows. Place arcs over the garden bed, pull on them a white covering material, protecting the plantings from the sun. You can shoot it when the seedlings start growing. Within a month after planting, potatoes are watered 2-3 times a week, but in moderation, spending about 0.5 liters of water per bush.

The most important thing in the process of planting potato seedlings is not to damage the fragile root system

Video: the process of growing potatoes from seeds from preparation for planting to harvesting

They dig up tubers in August-September. Follow the description of the variety. The crop is very varied. Tubers sharply differ in weight (10-50 g), skin color, shape, taste. For planting for the second season, choose the most suitable potatoes for you. About 1 kg of future planting material is removed from the bush, up to 1.5 kg when grown in a greenhouse or greenhouse. These tubers are stored like ordinary seed potatoes; in spring they conduct standard preparation for planting. With proper care, you can expect a yield increase of 25-30%.

The same tubers cannot be obtained - varietal characters are guaranteed to be transmitted only during the vegetative propagation of potatoes

Video: potatoes from seeds for the second season

Potato seedlings from the "eyes"

Growing seedlings from the "eyes" allows you to use the same tuber several times, significantly increasing the number of bushes. This allows you to propagate a rare valuable variety in one season.

The “eye” of a tuber is a cone-shaped recess with a diameter of up to 1 cm, but it can almost merge with the skin surface. On varieties of medium and late ripening, as a rule, there are more of them. The “eyes” are cut out immediately before planting with a small piece of pulp about 1 cm thick. Before each incision, the knife is disinfected, for example, by dipping a thick purple solution of potassium permanganate. Slices immediately sprinkled with wood ash or crushed chalk.

"Eyes" in some varieties of potatoes are "highlighted" in contrasting color

It takes 25-30 days to grow seedlings in this way. The soil is prepared the same as for potato seeds, be sure to introduce a preparation that provides protection against fungal diseases (Trichodermin, Glyocladin). Planting pattern - 5–6 cm between plants and 7–8 cm between rows. Then they are covered with a layer of earth 1.5 cm thick.

Trichodermin - one of the most common and safe for human health and the environment means to combat fungal diseases

Capacities with “eyes” are kept in a well-lit place at a temperature of 16–20 ° С. The emergence of seedlings will have to wait about two weeks. As soon as the seedlings grow to 2-3 cm in height, they are completely covered with soil. So repeat another 1-2 times, this is necessary to form a more powerful root system. The substrate is moistened as it dries 2-3 cm in depth. Two weeks after the emergence of seedlings, fertilizing with mineral nitrogen fertilizer is carried out.

Seedlings about 12 cm high and having at least 5 true leaves are ready for planting in the ground. The bushes will be easier to remove from the drawer if previously water them abundantly. The stem is buried in the soil by about a third.

The plant will have nowhere to take nutrients from; it does not have a tuber. In order to compensate for this, humus and mineral fertilizers must be added during preparation. Humus and complex fertilizer for potatoes (about a tablespoon) are also added to the hole. Such plants form in a single stem, they can be planted more often, leaving between bushes 15–20 cm, between rows - about 70 cm.

When planting seedlings obtained from “eyes” of potato seedlings, a complex fertilizer must be introduced into the hole

Video: planting seedlings in the garden

The second option is to grow potatoes from sprouted “eyes”. Seed potatoes are placed in a substrate for germination about a month (or a little more) before the planned planting. Each “eye” on the tuber gives 2–5 sprouts with root primordia. When they reach a length of about 1 cm, they are carefully twisted out of the tuber and planted in separate containers or common boxes. The soil must be both loose and nutritious. You can, for example, mix humus with a substrate for Solanaceae in a ratio of 1: 2.

During one spring, potato tuber sprouts can be obtained 3-4 times

Seedling care is similar to what seedlings obtained from seeds require. The “trick” of the method is that tubers from which sprouts have already been obtained can be re-placed in the soil for germination, sprinkled with topsoil and abundant watering. After about 10 days, new shoots will appear.

Video: several “generations” of sprouts from one tuber

When growing potatoes in this way, 20–45 new plants are obtained from each tuber. But they need careful care. This is the main disadvantage of the method. Especially important are nutritious soil of suitable quality, regular weeding (or mulching) and proper top dressing. Fertilizers are preferably applied every week.

Mulching the beds helps save time on weeding - weeds can easily “strangle” potato bushes, because they are less strong than those obtained from tubers

Video: growing potato seedlings from the "eyes"

Preparation and planting of potato tubers for seedlings

Growing seedlings from tubers is advisable only if there is a need to get an extra early harvest or in regions with harsh climates with a very short summer, when varieties with even the shortest ripening time do not have time to ripen. It turns out "handicap" about a month. Harvest can be harvested at the end of June. The method is also valuable in that the bushes practically do not suffer from diseases and pests. The peak of insect activity occurs in May-June, when the plants are already strong, developed and able to resist them.

Tubers of a typical variety shape, about the size of a chicken egg, are suitable for transplanting seedlings without the slightest sign of damage by diseases and pests. Before germination (at the end of February) they are soaked for 30–40 minutes in a nutrient solution, diluted in 5 g of warm water, 2 g each of potassium permanganate, copper sulfate, boric acid, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate and 15–20 g of superphosphate and sulfate potassium.

High-quality planting material is the key to a plentiful harvest in the future

Dried potatoes are laid out for germination in a single layer, covered with a cloth or paper. He needs light (only diffused) and a temperature of about 15 ° C. Tubers are sprayed weekly with nutrient solutions and infusions - wood ash (2-liter glass), superphosphate (100 g 3-liter), chicken droppings (1:20). In about a month, the tubers will sprout.

To save space, potato tubers for germination can be folded in bags and hung from the ceiling

Video: preparing tubers for planting

Potatoes are planted in separate containers. Suitable, for example, flower pots, cut off five-liter bottles. They occupy a lot of places, this is the main disadvantage of the method. Seedling care is the same as seedlings grown from seeds. But these instances are much stronger and less capricious. They are able to "forgive" individual flaws in agricultural technology and deviations from optimal conditions of detention. It will take another month to grow seedlings.

Tuber seedlings are powerful, so they are immediately planted in individual containers

It is transferred to the garden at the end of April. Soil preparation has no specific features, the planting scheme is also standard. For at least a week, plants are covered with spanbond, lutrasil, protecting from night cold and facilitating adaptation. As a rule, they take root well in a new place, are actively moving in growth.

Breathable covering material provides potato seedlings with protection against possible frost

Growing potato seedlings is an interesting event that allows you to try on the role of a breeder. The method is rarely used by gardeners, because seedlings need careful care. But sometimes it is very useful, for example, if you need to update planting material or propagate a rare valuable variety. The process requires preliminary preparation of planting material and knowledge of the nuances of seedling care. Nothing extra complicated from the gardener is required, but you need to familiarize yourself with the methodology in advance.

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