Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Potato Trial

Monday was a lovely sunny day and yesterday’s gale force winds had abated.

In the afternoon we set off to the plot to plant more shallots, onions and potatoes. I hadn't really anticipated any wind damage on the plot, a sort of it’s spring now so we don’t get any wind damage. That wasn't exactly the case.
We've been given these fencing panels by our plot neighbour Jan to replace some of the panels forming sides to our compost heap. Some panels are now starting to show their age and are coming apart at the seams. The wind had blown the panels over onto our garlic. The leaves look a bit flat but we're hoping that they'll make a full recovery. The panels have been moved to a safer location for the time being.
The wind decided to rearrange some of the weed control fabric that had been put down. This piece had been carefully set out for growing peas and beans but will need some rearranging.

One thing I did notice about using weed control fabric is how much wetter the soil is under fabric that hasn’t any holes cut in it for growing or planting through. All the pieces lifted this spring have had holes or slots cut in them to allow different crops to grow through and the soil underneath has been in excellent condition. Last autumn I put down one new piece without holes in it to cover a bed purely to stop any weeds growing over winter. When I moved this fabric the ground under it was considerable wetter than under all the other fabric as though the soil had sweated under the fabric.

So whilst Sue was planting more onions and shallots I planted another two rows of potatoes. These haven’t been planted under weed control fabric and I’m using these two rows as a direct comparison with the two rows planted last week under fabric.
The potatoes have been planted in two different beds but the beds are as close together as I could manage taking the correct crop rotation of the beds into account. The potatoes are Rocket and Casablanca with a row of each under fabric and one planted as normal. I'm still not entirely convinced about growing potatoes under weed control fabric. I’ll probably try a few second early roots under some fabric but most of our remaining potatoes will be planted normally this year. That is our normal using a trowel.


  1. God job! All look so great! I can't wait to see all grow and ready to be harvested.

  2. It will be interesting to see how each growing method works. Do you suffer from a lot of weeds on your plot? Some of our plots are immaculate, they don't look as if they ever have a weed, but having recently seen an immaculate plot that's only been left for a few months, I think it must be that the plot owners spend a lot of time weeding. I certainly have to, although I must admit a few of them have set seed.

    1. Yes CJ we have lots of weeds. Lots of time needed weeding to keep a plot looking good. Weeding isn't my favourite job so anything to cut down on it is great. Lots of plots on our site don't seem to be taken at the moment even though the Council reckon there's a waiting list. These are overgrown with weeds so there's lots of weed seed about. It can become an obsession to some people keeping their plot weed free but I'm not one of them.

  3. It must be great to have home harvested potatoes! They must taste so good!

    1. Our potatoes won't be ready until July so we have a few weeks to wait for that home grown taste.


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