Spuds

This is the place to discuss not just allotments but all general gardening problems and queries which don't fit into the specific categories below.
(formerly allotments and tips, hints and problems)
shiney
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Spuds

Post: # 3404Post shiney
Fri May 27, 2005 7:15 pm

What if you can't pile up the soil around the plants?

Silly question I know, but our potato plants are in a very funny place. We have a strip of soil between a picket fence and a wall, about 1 and half wide by about 12 ft long. We thought we would plonk some spud plants in there because it was otherwise a dead peice of ground. But now the plants are going for it big stylie, there is no way we can pile any soil up, there's simply no room! :oops:

What will happen, will we get many potatos or is it a wait and see scenario?
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Magpie
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Post: # 3409Post Magpie
Fri May 27, 2005 9:03 pm

I guess it depends on what your soil is like to start with.
I have always planted my spuds too close together to hill up the soil (that little spud I planted can't get THAT big, can it!?!) and I have always had good crops.
I think the theory behind hilling is that the spuds grow more roots (then tubers) from the buried leaf joints. I definately haven't found it essential though.

shiney
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Post: # 3411Post shiney
Fri May 27, 2005 9:25 pm

Oh that's quite comforting to know. We may get a few pots then! I'll just have to report back in July ish to see just what we get.

Thanks for the info.
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http://greeningup.blogspot.com/

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Post: # 3418Post Wombat
Fri May 27, 2005 11:23 pm

Yep, it's all about getting more spuds! Do you have room for mulch....it will serve the same purpose!

Nev
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Magpie
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Post: # 3428Post Magpie
Sat May 28, 2005 3:43 am

Yes, I usually throw some pea-straw or similar around them, so maybe that has helped.

shiney
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Post: # 3429Post shiney
Sat May 28, 2005 7:23 am

I'll try and squeeze something in, how about some compost?
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Post: # 3432Post Wombat
Sat May 28, 2005 9:37 am

Compost is good! Deeper the better...... :mrgreen:

Nev
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shiney
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Post: # 3450Post shiney
Sat May 28, 2005 4:38 pm

Better go and dig some outa the heap then.

I have one million earth worms in my compost heap (yeah a million, I counted them) :wink:

Infact it's more like a worm heap. Is there money in flogging worms, I wonder?
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alcina
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Post: # 3451Post alcina
Sat May 28, 2005 4:42 pm

I think it's also to stop the tatties going green. The theory being that as the potatoes swell those near the surface may break through and see sunlight which will turn them green and make them inedible.

(Yay! I'm Jerry! I can no longer quote Margo: "That's the last time I play the tart for you Jerry!")

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ina
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Post: # 3455Post ina
Sat May 28, 2005 10:30 pm

Hi Shiney

Yes, there is money in flogging worms - there must be, why else would there be worm farms! Maybe you should offer them in the swap shop, or for anglers. :fish: I know of an organic farm in the area that at least used to get some of their income from selling worms. (Pity nobody wants slugs, though...)

Ina

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Post: # 3466Post Millymollymandy
Sun May 29, 2005 5:14 am

I've earthed my spuds up several times and now they are about a foot above where they were planted and there's no more earth left to do any more.

I dug one up the other day to see what was going on as it's the first time I've grown them and I've got far too many anyway; also the instructions with the seed spuds said 60 days for the earlies and the 60 days was up.

What struck me as wierd is that there was only about 2 - 3" of stem beneath the soil surface and the roots from them weren't very long, and yes there were spuds, about 10 little ones which we ate but they are not ready yet. What I can't understand is that it seems like the spud plant has just risen up with the earthing. It doesn't 'start' where I planted it. It seems like I might as well have not bothered.

Plants are very healthy looking and about 15" high and 18" wide above the soil.

Anyone with spud experience shed light on it?

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Post: # 3467Post Wombat
Sun May 29, 2005 6:43 am

I had similar problems when growing the Spuds too close to an apple tree - lacking in light! :shock:

Nev
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Millymollymandy
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Post: # 3513Post Millymollymandy
Tue May 31, 2005 5:16 am

Hmmmm, well some of them (but not the row where I dug this one up from) are shaded for a small part of the day by a plum tree.

Anyway I have now mulched them with straw (read that somewhere) as the soil is very free draining and dries very quickly and I never had any compost/manure to dig in as it's our first year here - tons of compost being made now for next year though.

I planted so many that if I get a reduced crop it is probably a good thing anyway! I won't plant so many next year as they take up too much room.

ina
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Post: # 3534Post ina
Tue May 31, 2005 9:21 pm

Free draining soil might not be the worst for your potatoes - no potatoes ever tasted better than those out of my father's garden, and that soil still classifies as sandy after 40 years of constant addition of compost! Lighter soils are actually supposed to keep the plants healthier, at least, we never had any problems with diseases (partly I suppose choice of variety). But free draining is, in any case, better than water logged - they easily start rotting in the ground.

In my garden, I seem to have the best results with volunteer potatoes... They come up everywhere, although I dug it over twice, and those plants look much healthier than the ones I stuck in neat rows!!! Why do I bother? :roll:

Ina

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Millymollymandy
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Post: # 3544Post Millymollymandy
Wed Jun 01, 2005 5:02 am

That's good news - and my spuds do look remarkably healthy. I was expecting an invasion of Colorado beetles as all the people discussing spuds on French forums seem to have them!

I too have spuds coming up here and there from the previous owners spuds - like you we dug the whole thing over and removed a lot of little spuds, but like the bindweed, some seem to have slipped through our meticulous clearing of roots, weeds etc. I just hoe them off, bindweed too as there is not a lot I can do about that at the moment.

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