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Back to the spuds again


 
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tagwex
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 23 Feb 2010
Posts: 4172
Location: Co. Wexford

PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:40 am    Post subject: Back to the spuds again Reply with quote

When I joined this forum I remember someone, my potatoes if I remember correctly, saying that 50% of the posts on this part of the forum are concerning potatoes. So here we go again. My excuse is that a) they are by far the the biggest by numbers that I have bar onions and carrots, b) nothing else is near harvesting yet bar lettuce, c) nothing else is giving me trouble! and d) don't worry when the others are near their time I will be on about those in due course. Only just sowed turnip (1200), swede (600), cauliflower (200), cabbage (375), beetroot (275), radish (1000) and even more onions (1000) this week in my winter garden patch.

My query is, as mentioned on another thread, the spuds have grown huge (800 to 1100mm high) and have intermeshed with the adjoining drills (28" apart) and are now a nightmare to walk through for spraying / weeding purposes and it's still six weeks to go before harvesting. I have a retired garden center owner living next door to me that I get plenty of advice from and he said that i could do the following but I am not so sure. Remove the side shoots and cut the plant down to approx. 300mm and it wont impact on the plant and the crop? I could in theory agree to cutting the ones that are lying on the ground.

My own mad idea for next year is to put a steel bar into the ground at the end of each drill approx. 900mm long with a 400mm T-piece welded to it and attach a thin rope, this would then hold all those side shoots in place and stop them flopping around and make the drills more convenient for spraying/ weeding etc. It has the added benefit that a hose can be pulled around that bar rather than the usual two person job of feeding it down the drill. I have 90m of hose to contend with and steel bars and rope are plentiful here.

I want to expand next year and have 8 varieties of potato, two each of earlies, late earlies, maincrop and late maincrop. So which of the recommended varieties need to be in wider drills as the Roosters and Kerrs Pinks here have just intermeshed into one big mess. My Golden Wonders seem to be be a more upright and slender plant.

_________________
Its my field. Its my child. I nursed it. I nourished it. I saw to its every want. I dug the rocks out of it with my bare hands and I made a living thing of it!

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My Potatoes
Rank attained: Pedunculate oak tree


Joined: 27 Feb 2013
Posts: 307
Location: Cork

PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 6:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Back to the spuds again Reply with quote

tagwex wrote:
My query is, as mentioned on another thread, the spuds have grown huge (800 to 1100mm high) and have intermeshed with the adjoining drills (28" apart) and are now a nightmare to walk through for spraying / weeding purposes and it's still six weeks to go before harvesting.

If they are as big as you say then I would not worry about weeding. One of the many beauties about the potato plant is how it out competes with weeds.
As for spraying, I think you'd be better off to spray only when there is actually a blight warning, rather than on a regular basis. Then thread carefully.

tagwex wrote:
... he said that i could do the following but I am not so sure. Remove the side shoots and cut the plant down to approx. 300mm and it wont impact on the plant and the crop? I could in theory agree to cutting the ones that are lying on the ground.

I've never heard of such a practice.

tagwex wrote:
My own mad idea for next year is to put a steel bar into the ground at the end of each drill approx. 900mm long with a 400mm T-piece welded to it and attach a thin rope, this would then hold all those side shoots in place and stop them flopping around and make the drills more convenient for spraying/ weeding etc. It has the added benefit that a hose can be pulled around that bar rather than the usual two person job of feeding it down the drill. I have 90m of hose to contend with and steel bars and rope are plentiful here.

I've never heard of this practice either, or anything like it. I'm wondering if your plants got too much nitrogen? This would encourage so much foliage growth, possibly sappy, hence the haulms not standing straight.

tagwex wrote:
I want to expand next year and have 8 varieties of potato, two each of earlies, late earlies, maincrop and late maincrop. So which of the recommended varieties need to be in wider drills as the Roosters and Kerrs Pinks here have just intermeshed into one big mess. My Golden Wonders seem to be be a more upright and slender plant.

I've come to the conclusion that the advised spacing for potatoes should be treated as a minimum value. In my case I'd prefer mine further spaced to make rising to the potatoes easier (more space means more earth to use). You too have a reason for greater spacing distances.
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tagwex
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 23 Feb 2010
Posts: 4172
Location: Co. Wexford

PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will be brief as I have had a 'few' pints and I was the only one shouting for Clare in the pub. Still lots of couch grass there to be pulled up.

Cutting the plants down - he said he has regularly done it with no detriment to the plants.

T-bars, sounded like a good idea to me. Especially when the plants have grown so high. I did give them several fertiliser doses alright.

No problem with rising to the potatoes (even though I didn't do it) as the ground here is so soft and was rotavated down to approx. 400mm and still floury at that, but I think I will widen the drills out to suit the potato variety next year once I find out which ones are wider growing than others.

_________________
Its my field. Its my child. I nursed it. I nourished it. I saw to its every want. I dug the rocks out of it with my bare hands and I made a living thing of it!

This boy can really sing http://youtu.be/Dgv78D2duBE
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