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Prepare new organic veg plot from agricultural field


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rej
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to add on from the other suggestions, have you read much about 'no dig gardening'? I know it's controversial but over the past couple of years I have put raised beds on really weedy lawn and a covering of compost/rotted manure to about 6" and cardboard on top killed almost everything. A tiny bit of bindweed came up and a little bit of another form of strange grass, but it sorted things out brilliantly. The lawn has every form of weed imaginable! (we only moved here 2 years ago)
http://www.charlesdowding.co.uk/ is a good site to find out more about it - and he is about to start converting a new agricultural field into organic site as well.
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djh
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a lot to be said for raised beds. You can leave the area for pathes as grass so you only need to deal with the actual beds. You would need a source of topspoil. I also added some peat and sand to mine. Productivity is supposed to be about 50% better and the beds are easier to manage..
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endaman
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

djh wrote:
There is a lot to be said for raised beds. You can leave the area for pathes as grass so you only need to deal with the actual beds. You would need a source of topspoil. I also added some peat and sand to mine. Productivity is supposed to be about 50% better and the beds are easier to manage..



Hi,

So I got the potatoes sowed and harvested them a few months ago. I got a good harvest and the plants looked good before harvesting. BUT there was a problem, there were a lot of very large potatoes and all of the large ones were rotten in the center and even many of the medium sized ones. Any ideas for me. AM I meant to be spraying them for disease these days?
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am no expert but there will be a few along shortly no doubt. We started about the same time as you and turned a rough, weed filled plot of 700m2 into a vegetable garden early last year, about a third of which was potatoes. We had a similar problem with the bigger potatoes too. I am told that it is called hollowheart, that's the local name around here anyway, might be different elsewhere, and it occurs after a drought period when there is a growth spurt and a hole forms in the center. We religiously watered late every night for up to two hours so as not to lose our crops that so much work had gone into. But I digress, we found that even though the potatoes looked perfect from the outside that they could go rotten and start to smell a bit and look diseased then once cut. This could be what you found but I did find out in my research last year that there are sooooooo many diseases that can affect your crop that it is a real eye opener as to what yours did contract. I have also found out that it is really important to use certified seed only which should reduce the risk of diseases but no doubt there are some that you will have to spray for anyway.
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endaman
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tagwex wrote:
I am no expert but there will be a few along shortly no doubt. We started about the same time as you and turned a rough, weed filled plot of 700m2 into a vegetable garden early last year, about a third of which was potatoes. We had a similar problem with the bigger potatoes too. I am told that it is called hollowheart, that's the local name around here anyway, might be different elsewhere, and it occurs after a drought period when there is a growth spurt and a hole forms in the center. We religiously watered late every night for up to two hours so as not to lose our crops that so much work had gone into. But I digress, we found that even though the potatoes looked perfect from the outside that they could go rotten and start to smell a bit and look diseased then once cut. This could be what you found but I did find out in my research last year that there are sooooooo many diseases that can affect your crop that it is a real eye opener as to what yours did contract. I have also found out that it is really important to use certified seed only which should reduce the risk of diseases but no doubt there are some that you will have to spray for anyway.


Thanks, that makes sense, we did have a major fine spell last summer which we are not used to (no complaints about that) but we did water but probably not enough as I live 30 miles from the plot. I'm not sure how certified the seed was I must find out, I am thinking of getting organic seed next year and add carrots and maybe cabbage to the plot. I hate to think we need to be spraying our crops in the future. Thanks again.
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My Potatoes
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My inlaws had the same problem with their potatoes, where there were hollows in the centre. This is a disorder caused by lack of water.
Though there is a myriad of diseases that a potato (or other) plant can contract, in reality there are a handful of the usual suspects and very few others to be encountered.
Living 30 miles from the plot is not ideal but I guess you just have to roll with it.

During a potato plant's growing season it should get about 10 litres of water, once a week. Roughly. Don't water them "a little and often". Water them "a lot and infrequently".
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@my potatoes: where were you with that advice when we needed it!!!!
Out every night watering the whole plot during the drought instead of once a week.
We took the opinion that watering heavily would be lost to evaporation with those temperatures and 'thought' it might be best to take the little and often approach.
What is the correct name for the hollow heart condition?

_________________
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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My Potatoes
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tagwex wrote:
@my potatoes: where were you with that advice when we needed it!!!!


I'm sure there are other posts by me about watering correctly. I know I've written such posts here somewhere.

For the potato plant, and almost all other plants, the roots follow the water. If you absolutely drench the soil, the water will travel down deep. Followed by the roots, which will then pick up nutrients that are down deep. Also, this water will not evaporate.

Obviously, don't do this every day. If you did you'd drown the plant, starve the roots of oxygen. Hence you water like this roughly once a week.

If you water a little and often, you'll only get the top few centimetres wet. Then the roots will stay close to the surface, and will not travel for nutrients. The top layer becomes starved of nutrients. You'll also lose water thru' evaporation as it's always close to the surface.
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was said tongue in cheek. Now it makes more sense, thanks bud.
_________________
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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