Thursday, 15 May 2014

Casablanca and Rocket Trial

Wednesday was a nice mild day with plenty of sunny spells.

We popped down the allotment in the afternoon to drop of a few large stones surplus to requirements at home but with all sorts of holding down uses on the plot. We didn't plan on doing anything else once we'd dropped off the stones but we couldn't resist the temptation to have a little wander around the plot snapping pictures of anything that took our fancy.

This is the first year we have tried growing early potatoes through weed control fabric. We planted four short rows of Casablanca and Rocket early potatoes on 10 April with two rows under weed control fabric and two rows simply using our conventional trowel planting technique for comparison.
As protection against a frost on 03 May all emerging shoots were either covered with straw for the rows under weed control fabric or were simply covered with soil where planted conventionally.  Both methods of protection proved suitable.

This is how the four rows of potatoes looked on Wednesday. Clearly the ones under weed control fabric look much further on. I think that might be because once the danger of frost had passed I removed the straw protecting the plants and the young shoots were once again in the light and able to grow away. In contrast the conventionally planted rows had to re emerge through the soil that had been protecting them. There’s plenty of weed seeds just starting to germinated so some foliage will be covered again when I hoe between the rows and earth up the potatoes. How all this will affect what is growing beneath the surface I won't know for a few weeks yet when the potatoes will be ready for harvesting.  


  1. Maybe the black membrane is warming the ground as well. I used to grow some potatoes in dark coloured pots and they grew really quickly in a sunny spot.

    1. We thought that the black surface of the fabric might warm the soil up quicker. Might be another benefit of weed control fabric.


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