And another thing .....

13 Jan 2013
Seed Potatoes
Seed potatoes are now becoming available in garden centres etc. Don't wait too long before getting in your seed tubers......(more)

13 Jan 2013
The supply of peat
The wet weather during 2012 has restricted the supply of peat for the coming season and as a result prices for peat-based growing media (multi-purpose composts etc) will probably increase......(more)

Early Potatoes - The Unknowns!

We don’t pretend to know all the answers to growing potatoes in bags and we may therefore decide to take a look into some of the issues later. Certainly we have raised a number of questions which could be the subject of future trials – let us know if you think you know the answers (preferably with evidence!)?

  1. Is 7 litres enough for each tuber? What is the optimum volume for yield and what about the cost if more is used?
  2. We planted the tubers at the bottom of each bag on the basis that new potatoes are grown on the end of stolons {underground stems) which grow from just above the seed tuber. Compost below the tuber seems to be largely wasted. (See photo) Could be worth comparing different depths/compost volumes?
  3. Can potatoes develop fully in the higher temperatures expected under glass? We would recommend starting plants indoors/under cover until frost risk low and then transfer plants outdoors, possibly placing bags in a shallow trench in the garden – this would help with watering and keep the plants cooler.
  4. A standard generally low-nutrient commercial compost was used for the trial with soluble fertilizer applied later. Which composts give the best results? We may compare different peat, peat-reduced and peat-free composts in a future trial.
  5. Soluble fertilizer was applied twice in the trial but could more fertilizer or other forms give higher yields? Organic materials or controlled-release granules could be tested to provide useful information.
  6. How are yields affected by the condition or size of the seed tubers or the number of sprouts? For the time being we would suggest looking for firm tubers free of disease and other skin damage.
  7. We grew potatoes in 10 litre black Polypots which when filled with compost have a diameter of about 9 inches/25 cm. These bags can be easily moved into and out of a glasshouse and individual bags harvested as required. Growing tubers in larger containers/bags using up to 5 seed tuber per bag seems to be a popular method and may or may not give higher yields. Could be worth checking?
  8. Apart from potato variety, just which are the important factors affecting yield? We can think of the following possibilities:

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