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)

Testing the Ten - how we compared the ten varieties

The varieties compared were:

First Early       Second Early
Casablanca Maris Bard     Wilja
Homeguard Novella     Maris Peer
Pentland Javelin Red Duke of York      
Rocket Swift      

To explain, first earlies are normally assumed to take 10 weeks or more to reach the time for harvest while second earlies take at least 13 weeks. Tubers were obtained from garden centres in Feb/March 2012 and stored on a cold glasshouse shelf but shaded from direct sunlight. All tubers had sprouted but with some variation from a minimal sign of growth to sprouts up to 2 cm in length at the time of planting. The size of tuber varied within and between the varieties.

4 litres of a moist general-purpose peat-based compost were placed in a 10 litre capacity black plastic ‘Polypot’. One tuber was pushed into the compost to touch the bottom of the bag and covered by leveling the compost. Four bags  each with one tuber from each variety were set out on the floor under glass, frost protected, on April 4 2012 and kept there, watered as required, until harvest in June.

Fleece covering was tried, to provide shade, but found to be unnecessary in view of the generally dull wet weather which prevailed during the trial.

By April 13 the tips of some shoots (all four Swift plants, two Homeguard, one Rocket and one Maris Bard) were beginning to show. A further 3 litres compost was therefore added to top up each bag giving a total of 7 litres per tuber per bag.

On May 9 a soluble 25:15:15 NPK fertilizer (Chempak No 2 High Nitrogen Feed) was diluted according to the label directions and applied at 500 ml per bag.

On May 23 a soluble 15:15:30 NPK fertilizer (Chempak No 4 High Potash Feed) was diluted according to the label directions and applied at the rate of 500 ml per bag.

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