Spring weather is unpredictable; no one, not even the most seasoned agronomists, can predict if there will be no return frosts in May following the practically summer temperatures. The potatoes’ tops will freeze if they begin to rise at this point.
When the temperature drops below –2 degrees Celsius, most shrubs get sick, their young leaves turn yellow, and they eventually die. At temperatures below –3 °C, seedlings are at risk of dying. However, the mother tubers in the ground are still capable of producing new shoots. Frozen crops may decimate crops by up to 30 percent if the weather is unfavorable.
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Planting your potatoes at the appropriate time is an excellent approach to prevent them from becoming frozen. When the bird cherry blooms, the cold snap of spring usually corresponds with this time of year. At this time of year, bird cherry, birch leaves, and soil depths of 8 centimeters are all considered ideal conditions for a successful potato planting, according to traditional methods. There will be no tuber growth in cooler soils.
However, frosts might occur in June, which necessitates planting work while the soil in the beds is still moist. Other techniques exist for keeping potatoes safe from unexpected temperature drops.
Due to the short-lived nature of spring frosts, the damage is confined mostly to the tops of trees. It is necessary to soil the sprouting potatoes if the prediction calls for frost, and only the tips of their leaves should be left above ground. Using “hedgehog” cultivators, vast plants can easily hill while simultaneously eradicating weeds.
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The potato bush will grow stronger roots under the clay ridge, making it easier for it to grow. When there are extended periods of cold and the plants have to be dug 2-3 times with an interval of 7 to 10 days, the shoots develop too rapidly.
Potatoes produced from botanical seeds, sprouts, or eyeballs are not ideal for this procedure because they cannot pull nutrients from the tuber and are too weak to break through the soil.
If there is a risk of frost, mulching might be used instead of hilling. If you want to keep your young plants warm, you may use straw, hay, or sawdust as a blanket. Eventually, the mulch decomposes, enhancing the soil’s structure. Also safeguarded in this manner are potato stems derived from sprouts, eyes, or botanical seeds.
The procedure is not ideal for very early potatoes since it slows down the growth of plants.
Plastic wrap or white spunbond is used to cover the seedlings to keep the tops of potatoes from freezing, particularly early ones. Over the beds, arcs constructed of metal or flexible PVC pipes are erected, upon which the covering material is dragged down. During the day, the sun heats the air within the greenhouses to the point that the potato tops begin to wither. Because of this, greenhouses are partly opened throughout the day to allow for air circulation.
The film or spunbond is simply thrown into the pegs driven along the borders of the beds by many gardeners when threatened by frost and pressed to the ground with stones. The seedlings are protected from the cold, but if a leaf contacts the film, it will be frozen. Because of this, the tips of the shoots must be separated from the surface of the covering material.
Instead of using arcs and pegs, try sowing barley sparingly in the beds at the same time you plant potatoes for an innovative approach (other cereals will not work). In comparison to potatoes, barley grows more quickly and has stronger stems that can withstand the weight of the covering material no worse than wooden pegs. Natural fertilizer is left in the beds once frost has gone, along with the weeds, which are mowed together with the barley.
If morning frosts are expected, potato seedlings are heavily watered the night before. Leaves begin to rapidly lose moisture as the temperature falls below 0 degrees Celsius. Protecting the plants’ tops from frost is done by creating a thin layer of steam above them.
Even though it’s a well-known strategy, the smokescreen hasn’t been put to good use. The smoke is capable of protecting the tops of the plants from frost, but only if it spreads throughout the whole site.
If you want to conceal a potato crop covering 100 square meters with smoke, you’ll need a fire with a surface area of at least 1,5 m2 (flame height: 50 cm). To make a good amount of smoke, dry materials such as wood, straw, or even dried dung are combined with wet ones that are already smoldering. Bonfires are positioned away from the wind’s path. They should be lit throughout the night and for a few hours when the sun rises.
A major concern here is because frosts commonly occur in calm weather, which means that any attempts made to disperse smoke would be futile. This technique of frost protection for potatoes does not work.
Before planting, it is essential to confirm that the plants can withstand the frosts. Treatment of potato plants with growth regulators considerably improves their resilience to frost and boosts their immune systems. Using these items does not damage the environment, nor does it conflict with organic agricultural ideals.
Probably the most well-liked and efficient method is:
Potato leaves lose their ability to transpire moisture when exposed to air at a temperature below freezing. If it’s a warm sunny day, the leaves will begin to lose moisture when the frost melts away in the morning. As a consequence, the plants get severely dehydrated and eventually die. It is possible to avoid this.
To prevent the potato sprouts from freezing in the event of a sudden frost, cover them with dark span bonds, newspapers, or rags before daylight. Stomatologically, the leaves must be warmed up very gently. In this case, the tops will not rot and the harm from frostbite will be limited.
To speed up the recovery of their green mass, plants that have been damaged by frost need higher dosages of nutrients, particularly nitrogen. As a result, sick shrubs are more susceptible to fungal infestation. Even if you don’t follow the timetable, you’ll need to feed the plants one or two times to help them recover.
Nitrophoska is applied to the soil at a rate of 5-7 grams per running meter of the bed for root dressing purposes. Nitroammophoska is only suited for foliar feeding since it dissolves too slowly in the soil. For root feeding, the finest organic fertilizer is a dilute solution of poultry manure (1 part dry droppings to 20 parts water or nettle infusion). It is OK to use a mild solution of manure (not fresh) if none is available.
Urea (20–25 g per 10 l of water) is the best foliar top treatment for potatoes after a frost. Add “Nutrivant Plus TM Potatoes” or “Rost-Concentrate Potassium” to the urea solution, as recommended by agricultural experts. Frozen tops are given Epin-Extra 2-3 times a week, with an interval of 5-7 days.
Frost has the greatest impact on potato bushes during the budding and blooming stages. Rost-Concentrate Potassium, for example, may be used to feed blooming potatoes since it has less nitrogen but more potassium.
Potash fertilizers or ash are given to potatoes that have faded but are not yet ready for harvest when early fall frosts arrive. You can’t dig potatoes just after they’ve been frozen; else, they’ll be ruined. Wait at least two or three days.