Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: crops

Cutting Seed Potatoes For Planting

Cutting potatoes before planting

Potato planting time is just around the corner. In the southern part of the united States it is common to plant around February 14th. Or anywhere between the middle of February to the first of March.

When planting potatoes there is a common misconception that the whole potato has to be planted. That simply is not true. It is possible to grow multiple plants from a single potato. this is done by cutting a chunk of the potato along with an “eye.” A potato eye is another name for the sprout. Potatoes will have multiple sprouts coming off of them. Simple cut the sprout along with a chunk of the potato off.

After cutting the eye off the potato, some people dip the cutting in lime or fireplace ashes. Then allow the cutting to dry for a few days before planting. Some people say the lime or ashes help prevent the cutting from rotting.

Old style potato farming

In no other form can so large an amount and value of human food be obtained from an acre of ground as in that of edible roots or tubers; and of these the Potato is by far the most acceptable, and in most general use. Our ancestors, it is settled, were destitute and ignorant of the Potato prior to the discovery of America, though Europe would now find it difficult to subsist her teeming millions without it. In travelling pretty widely over that continent, I cannot remember that I found, any considerable district in which the Potato was not cultivated, though Ireland, western England, and northern Switzerland, with a small portion of northern Italy, are impressed on my mind as the most addicted to the growth of this esculent.

Other roots are eaten occasionally, by way of variety, or as giving a relish to ordinary food; but the Potato alone forms part of the every day diet alike of prince and peasant. It is an almost indispensable ingredient of the feasts of Dives, while it is the cheapest and commonest resort for satiating or moderating the hunger of Lazarus. I recollect hearing my parents, fifty years ago, relate how, in their childhood and youth, the poor of New-England, when the grain-crop of that region was cut short, as it often was, were obliged to subsist through the following Winter mainly on Potatoes and Milk; and I then accorded to those unfortunates of the preceding generation a sympathy which I should now considerably abate, provided the Potatoes were of good quality.

Crop Rotation

Rotation of crops economizes the natural plant food of the soil and also that which is applied in the form of manure and fertilizer. This is because:

Crops take food from the soil in different amounts and different proportions.

Crops differ in their feeding powers.

Crops differ in the extent and depth to which they send their roots into the soil in search of food and water.

Crops differ in the time of year at which they make their best growths.

Rotation helps to maintain or improve the texture of the soil because the amount of humus in the soil is maintained or increased by turning under green manure and cover crops which should occur in every well-planned rotation.

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