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I have three rows of potato plants that are growing really well. I have another row of carrots in the same bed. The carrots have sprouted, but they are still small.

The leaves of the potatoes in the nearby row are just starting to get next to the carrots and I'm worried that they will eventually start to shade the carrots before they have a chance to fight for the sunlight.

I was considering trimming the potatoes, but I wasn't sure if that would significantly inhibit their growth or cause some other undesirable.

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Carrots are shade tolerant so I wouldn't remove the potato leaves. Any leaf reduction will reduce the amount of carbohydrates being stored in the tubers.

If they're early season potatoes, you may well have harvested them all before the carrots are mature.

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If you plant potatoes with the recommended spacing along the rows and between the rows, you can expect them to make a complete leaf canopy that shades out everything.

This shade is a good thing, because the shade stops annual weeds from germinating, so you don't need to do any cultivation between earthing up (hilling) the potatoes and harvesting them.

If you cut back the leaves you will reduce the potato crop.

If you want to grow something between potato rows, choose plants that will grow quickly early in the season before the potatoes really get going, or alternatively something tall that will grow above the potato leaves. Bush beans (French Beans, Haricot beans) work well, and their roots also fix nitrogen which improves the yield of the potato crop.

  • The nitrogen fixed helps the beans, and the crops that follow after the beans die and give up what they have stored. It does not help potatoes growing at the same time as the beans are growing, AFAIK. – Ecnerwal Jun 8 '16 at 3:26
  • Nitrogen is released when the roots of the beans decay I think. – Graham Chiu Jun 8 '16 at 4:53

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