Saturday, 15 August 2015

Not What I Expected

Three days that went rapidly downhill from a lovely sunny warm day on Wednesday, a cloudy but dry day on Thursday to a very wet and dull day on Friday. With 15.6mm (0.61”) of rainfall, Friday became our third wettest day of the year and with my weather station recording only 2.0 MJ/m2 of energy for the whole day the lowest value I’ve recorded in August, it would be fair to consider it the dullest August day in the last six years. To give you an idea of scale I’ve recorded that sort of value in January when the daylight hours are much shorter so Friday was definitely dull.
This week I lifted a row of Casablanca potatoes that had been growing under weed control fabric. I’d made up my mind that they were going to be badly damaged by slugs. If you follow our blogs you’ll be aware that this year two of our carrot sowings, made using weed control fabric, have germinated well only to be decimated by slugs. As it’s not been a particularly wet year I’d decided that the cause of this problem must have been that the fabric produced  a perfect breeding ground for slugs although I’d no real evidence of this having used this method successfully for several years.
All the potato tops had died back so there seemed to be no point leaving them in the ground. I pulled one half of the fabric back and as expected lots of potatoes had grown directly under the fabric rather than in the soil.
Surprising virtually all the potatoes were free of any damage which I wasn’t expecting. Once these surface potatoes had been picked up it was time to investigate what the crop underneath was like. 
It turned out to be a decent harvest weighing in at 11.4kg (25.1lb) and surprisingly little slug damage.
These were the only damaged potatoes I found in the whole row far less than I’d expected. This year I can compare the weights of a row grown under weed control fabric and one grown using our conventional method of planting with a trowel and earthing up. The conventional row produced 9.76kg (21.5lb) but I did harvest a few early so weight wise there’s little to choose between the two methods.

All this though leaves me none the wiser as to why our carrot sowings suffered so badly from slug damage.


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