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Poor potato yield: shall I give up?


 
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Yorky
Rank attained: Silver Birch Tree
Rank attained: Silver Birch Tree


Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 196

PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:51 am    Post subject: Poor potato yield: shall I give up? Reply with quote

Having had poor yields of potatoes over the first twoo years of growing them, I made sure I was going to get it right this time - or so I thought.

I prepared the raised bed at the end of last October by spreading a few inches of well rotted donkey and horse manure over it ( full of worms so plenty of nutrients).

The seed potatoes- Unwin's organic 'Colleen' - already had good bud formation but I chitted them for another week anyway.

Immediately prior to planting, the raised bed was covered with more manure. They were planted on 4th April with 30cm row and seed spacing - a total of 21 seed potatoes (about 1.25 kg). They were planted 15cm deep with the soil/manure mounded up over them at time of planting and then once more after that.

They were well watered once or twice a week and given a liquid feed every 10 days or so.

They were harvested between the 18th and 24th July and the total yield was 8.7kg, which is very disappointing.

Can anyone explain why the yield has been so low?
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slugsaway
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
Rank attained: Hazel Tree


Joined: 20 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

HI Yorky, I think its down to the variety, at least I hope so. Last year I planted Sante and had a great crop. This year I decided to grow earlies and mains and chose Coleens cos they had good blight resistance. I am so disappointed in the results, I'm getting around 6 small potatos from each plant average. On a few plants I managed to get a couple of large tubers, but very few. I'm so hoping that my main crop (Lady Balfor's) will be better, but I'll defo not be planting Coleens again. On a plus note, the flavour of the spuds is fab, just a pity there are so few of them!
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Michael196
Rank attained: Silver Birch Tree
Rank attained: Silver Birch Tree


Joined: 24 Jul 2008
Posts: 194
Location: WEXFORD

PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2010 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Yorky, I suffered poor yields first time around last year and made some modiffications that gave me much better results this year.

First some questions on your sowing. what was the overall depth of the raised bed? I make it about a foot 26cm? ? Perhaps way too shallow. You need 2-3 feet.

was the skin skabby ? indicates loose soil .

Next I see a lot of manure, was the soil content low ? the manure will be great : for next year though !!! when it has rotted down to soil.

You sowed earlier in April. I would suggets too late , early march for earlies, upto and around march 17th.

Watering once a week, too little. I set up a leaky hose that watered every night for 1.5 hours in the middle of the night. Water most when the plant is flowering , that is when the tuber is forming. Loads of water and good drainage, produces good spuds.

My brother grew potatoes this year firt time on an old orchard plot, gret yield, some manure but deep rich soil.

all was not well however with my potatoes this year, a lack of flavour caused by a lack of potassium, no fertiliser added, so will address next year.

hope this helpful. I think deep soil / compost with watering every nite on well drained deep soil . and planted early in the season will ensure a good crop,

dont give up, try again.
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michael brenock
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 12 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

michael196 makes a few very good suggestions there. Probably too much manure giving plenty leaf growth. Too little potassium which contributes to flavour. Watering when the tubers are developing is vital and a deep soil that can draw on reserves of moisture is a good asset. The earlier that early potatoes are planted the better provided they are sprouted. March is better than April and do not plant too deep around 10-15 cms and earth up as the stalks emerge. I cannot comment on the varieties mentioned as there are a number of factors to be considered, earliness, yield, flavour, resistance to blight are the important ones.
michael brenock horticultural advisor (retired)
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