Friday, May 15, 2009
Potato Planting With Molasses
Our seed potatoes arrived from Ronniger Potato Farm early in May. June 1st is considered our frost safe date so we chose to hold our seed for two weeks before planting. A single layer of seed was placed in old vented plastic plant trays. These were put under the plant starting table in our living room. Good air circulation, warmth and indirect light moved the potatoes toward growing. When we unpacked the seed all of the eyes were small and tight. Ten days in the living room seems to have them actively growing. The eye sprouts look strong and compact. No yard long bleached wonders that have come from our room under the basement stairs.
Five foot wide planting beds require different methods. The potatoes have been planted and covered with soil. First hilling, or late frost, will fill the depressions bringing the soil surface level. Second hilling will be done in the conventional manner. Finding material for the third hilling is difficult. Mulch hay is usually applied. The fence is needed to keep out deer and woodchucks. Fence ends are tied in place. Sides will complete the job.
As recommended by Ronnigers, molasses mixed in water was sprinkled on the soil as it is in the picture. One cup of molasses and five gallons of water is the mix ratio. Beneficial soil microbes are supposed to flourish in soil treated this way. Less scab could be the result. We will watch and see. Treating only one side of the planting was discussed and rejected. No control group here. With chitting and a molasses bath both being tried for the first time how would we credit success? Let's just hope we get the promised "amazing results!"