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Preparing A Potato Garden

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Choose land with well-drained sandy loamy soils.

Clear the bush and plough the land to soften it. It is important for farmers to know the type of soil they have in order to have the right seed for it.

Test the soil before planting, also know the seed that grows in that area better to avoid losses.

Dig for the second time after two weeks and make ridges. Note that adequate tilling and drainage are essential so as to increase the oxygen supply in the soil, which is a vital ingredient for potato growth.

Irish potatoes grow best on raised beds. This can be done in two ways. During initial land preparation or immediately after planting. Adopting of raised beds leads to improvements in soil moisture, temperature, adequate aeration and drainage.

Avoid planting in water-logged areas, as this will make the seed rot.

Application of fertilisers

Irish potatoes need adequate fertilisers in the early season, apply most of the fertiliser just before planting.

The fertiliser should not touch the seed to avoid rotting.

To apply the fertiliser, flatten the beds so they are six to eight inches high and 10 to 12 inches wide. Each acre takes 50kg of NPK at sh130,000 per bag.

Alternatively, one can use homemade manure, at a rate of one spade for each potato hole.

Dealing with pests

I start spraying the potatoes with pesticides soon after they come out, to kill aphids. Even after they flower and mature in three months, I spray them.

The biggest challenge with Irish potato farmers is aphids, which carry the viral diseases that include X and Y potato diseases. The disease makes the plants stunted.

Pests, such as the leaf miners, eat up the leaves. However, farmers are advised to rotate their crops with other crops, to allow soil regain its fertility.

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