How and when to tamp potatoes

One of the most important operations to be carried out in potato cultivation is tamping , which consists of summing by moving a little soil to the base of the plant. There are many reasons to pack the potatoes, the most important being to prevent the tubers from emerging in the sun.

The tamping work is useful not only for potatoes but also for various other crops in the garden, but tubers are perhaps the most profitable plant. Like any practice in agriculture there are different opinions, I recommend pack down twice during the crop cycle . If we do this work well, we can improve the quality and quantity of the harvest. Below I try to explain to you when it is appropriate to do our earthworks.

If you want to know more about other aspects of this tuber, you can start by reading the potato growing overview page, where you will find many facts about every aspect, from planting to harvesting.

Contents [Ocultar]

  • why pack

  • when to dress

    • The first tixag__4

    • Second tixag__4

  • how does it fold

why pack

The first and main reason, as mentioned above, is keep potatoes underground . Potato is a tuber that grows underground, where it must remain until harvest time, otherwise the vegetable will not be edible. With the rays of the sun, in fact, the potato turns green, this happens because it triggers the production of solanine, a toxic substance for humans. In case of abundant production, some tubers could come out in the open air, to make sure that this does not happen there is no better method than to bring a small mound of soil to the base of the plant.

In addition to this stuffing, we will also move the ground , which is very positive because it prevents the soil from compacting, hardening and hindering the development of good-sized tubers. Moving the soil also has the added value of oxygenating it.

The jam can also be a protection operation repairing the plant from the cold with a ground cover.

finally there is two positive side effects which make it possible to optimize work in the garden:

  • remove weeds . Weed with a hoe, weed all the weeds.
  • Fertilize during cultivation . It may be a good time for a light supplement fertilization: spread compost or mature manure before packing and take advantage of the movement of the earth to incorporate the fertilizer into the soil.

when to dial

In my opinion, it is worth tamping twice during cultivation; this is not a fixed rule, just my method. The exact period during which the work must be carried out varies depending on the climatic zone and the period in which the potatoes are planted. Potatoes are usually planted in early March, so will be hit towards the end of the month a first time, and a second more substantial operation will be mid or end of April .

In fgeneral do not tamp if the soil is wet but wait until it is “tempered”.

The first tixag__7

The first settling is light and this is done in very young plants. The main purpose is protect them from night frosts , which could still happen when planting potatoes in early March. Potato sprouts are actually quite sensitive. For this reason, it is more important to tag them in the north during this time than in milder climates.

For this we expect half of the plants emit the first two true leaves usually after two or three weeks after sowing .

It’s a important time also for weeding since the plants are small and have more competition than other grasses, so more than a real compaction it is about moving some soil while we are already hoeing to control weeds.

Then we proceed to the displacement of the soil cover the leaves of young plants . In this way we obtain another good result: the plant will have to stretch to find the light, so it will produce more runners in the ground, which are the parts from which the tubers arise. Therefore, we stimulate an increase in production .

Second tixag__7

The real tamping is done at least one month after sowing , when the plants have reached a height of about 20 centimeters. However, if the first packing has not been done, it is advisable to anticipate the work a little, packing the plants down to 15 cm. Before packing, we can spread some fertilizer mature compost or granulated manure are very good for this purpose.

The second thixag_12 will be more consistent, it will create (thixag_12) a real little mountain (thixag__12) at the foot of the potatoes.

how to fold

The concept of tamping is very simple: it involves moving the soil, moving it from the space between the rows or walkway, until it is close to the stem of the plant. As tubers are usually planted in rows, it is not advisable to pack the plant alone, but move the soil to the plants on both sides to create a sort of mound all along the row.

In small orchards the job is done with any hoe , preferably with a square blade, dragging the earth or pushing it. The work is quite tiring for the arms and the back. There is also manual rammers , which have a “V” shape to be able to move the earth on both sides. If potatoes are regularly planted with the correct row spacing, these tools are useful for quick work with little effort, for example this Wolf Garten tamper (part of the Multi Star system as an indispensable weeding harrow) or this plow ploughshare manual.

On larger stretches there are several tampers : Shares or coulters can be applied to the tiller, for professional agriculture also to the tractor. The most refined machines are those with double discs, capable of a neater consolidation if they are used on well plowed ground.

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