How to grow potatos

Discussion in 'How To ..........' started by Gavin Dransfield, Jun 14, 2020.

  1. Gavin Dransfield

    Gavin Dransfield Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi All,

    I'm fairly new to gardening and attempting the no-dig principles advocated by Charles Dowding, who's videos we have been watching religiously. Although the seedlings are coming on fine (see the YouTube link below)



    I am very concerned with how my potatos are coming along - or in this case NOT. I had hoped to do an experiment comparing the no-dig to planters / towers, unfortunately there is no sign of the plants emerging (see uploaded picture). The seed potatos were certified, late season King Edwards from a garden centre. The planters use the same compost as the no-dig garden, so I doubt it is contaminated with herbicides, and they were planted late May, 3-weeks ago. Should they have emerged by now and if so what might I have done wrong?

    I would really appreciate some feedback as I was intending to launch a video next week comparing potato towers to no-dig and it would be really embarassing if I totally fail with both methods.

    Thanks in advance.
    Gavin
     

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  2. JWK

    JWK Gardener

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    Difficult to guess as anything could be happening underground. Were there obvious chits when you planted? How deep?
     
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    • Gavin Dransfield

      Gavin Dransfield Apprentice Gardener

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      Hi Sweet Tooth. I forgot to mention in the thread, the seed potatos each had 1 chit, which were sprouting. We planted them in 3" of free-draining compost. One of the towers is painted white to help reduce the temperature, additional potash to help tuber growth and layers of cardboard to help retain moisture. The other tower is just compost. The no-dig beds are 6" thick compost laid on cardboard as a weed suppressant and mulch. Appreciate your advice thanks.
      Gavin.
       
    • JWK

      JWK Gardener

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      Small chits can take a while to get going. I think they are starting into growth and will appear in the next week or two.
       
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      • JWK

        JWK Gardener

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        By the way, keep them moist but don't over water to begin with . Wait till the leaves emerge.
         
      • Gavin Dransfield

        Gavin Dransfield Apprentice Gardener

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        Hi JWK,
        Hopefully I'm just panicking - I was really looking forward to homegrown spuds and excited comparing the different growing methods.

        Your comments are very reassuring thank you.
         
      • Gavin Dransfield

        Gavin Dransfield Apprentice Gardener

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        I was concerned we might be over-watering and will cut back. Thanks again.
         
      • Scrungee

        Scrungee Well known for it

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        Did they only have one shoot each because:

        1)That's all the produced

        2) They were restricted to only one shoot (and any others removed).

        3) The were cut into pieces, each with one shoot.
         
      • Gavin Dransfield

        Gavin Dransfield Apprentice Gardener

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      • Scrungee

        Scrungee Well known for it

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        As you didn't plant out until late May, it makes me wonder if you were late purchasing your tubers and bought the last of some leftover loose ones that everybody else had rejected. I always look for signs of several healthy eyes. Or some unscrupulous retailer had rubbed long, spindly shoots off.

        Was that in three inches deep compost to get them sprouting, or in the top 3" of those planters, or in 3" layers in the planters? If not, how deep in the planters, and how deep are they?
         
        Last edited: Jun 15, 2020
      • Gavin Dransfield

        Gavin Dransfield Apprentice Gardener

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        We were late in purchasing them and they were the last few bags on the shelf.

        The planters are 12" high, filled with compost. The seeds were planted 3" from the surface. The intention was to build up the towers by another 8 to 12".

        Thanks.
         
      • Scrungee

        Scrungee Well known for it

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        I would be inclined to carefully draw some compost away and check whether they're still growing.

        A single sprout from a tubeĊ• should be as vigorous as in the image below [1], where I have deliberately restricted it to a single shoot to produce a single very large potato for competition.

        Not one of my best examples, as I took those to my plot polytunnel yesterday. Stem finger thickness, 750 mm above compost level in that 40L tub, 900mm above tuber level, and planted in early May.


        [1] Probably not first earlies, and especially not varieties like Jazzy and Mayan, but definitely King Edward.

        kondor 2020A.jpg
         
        Last edited: Jun 15, 2020
      • Gavin Dransfield

        Gavin Dransfield Apprentice Gardener

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        They look fantastic!

        I'll scrape away some compost to see what's happening.

        Thanks for the advice.
         
      • Scrungee

        Scrungee Well known for it

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        Look out for thicker, white roots with a small white blob on the end, as they are the new spuds forming.
         
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        • Gavin Dransfield

          Gavin Dransfield Apprentice Gardener

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          I'll try to capture some pictures, thanks.
           
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