Tuesday, 26 July 2011

More mundane chores and harvesting the potatoes

The sweet peas are looking good again after layering. It has taken them a little while to recover but they are beginning to flower really well now.  They still needed to be tidied up today because some of the flowers had gone over and started going to seed.  Also there were some side shoots and tendrils that needed to be taken off.

In order to make watering a little more effective they were hoed carefully using the swoe.  They were watered just with water because they had been given comfrey liquid yesterday.

The onions, sweet corn and the pumpkins were watered too.  Several pumpkins have started to produce fruit but they are not too big yet.

Yesterday I dug up about 36 kg (79lb) of potatoes.  This was from one line of twelve plants which gives an average of about 6lb of potatoes per plant. I think that this is quite a good yield of potatoes.  Last autumn I dug in a mixture of leaves and horse manure (NPK 0.44:0.35:0.3).  The horse manure was put on top of a pile of leaves (NPK 0.8:0.35:0.2) and this meant that you picked up leaves when you were forking the manure into the barrow.

Potato bed in January

Potato bed in February
I dug all this in in January and did not add anything else to the soil until the potatoes were planted.  When the potatoes were planted, inoculated charcoal and mychorrhizal fungi were put into the planting holes and the potatoes were planted on top of them.

Potato bed in March

Potato bed in April
Always have a tub next to you when you are gardening.

Potatoes in May
Potatoes in June

Potatoes in July
I dug up about the same amount of potatoes today and got 28 kg (62lb) from twelve plants.  Now, that is just two rows dug up.  I still have several to go.  The point is that I have not added the expensive, high NPK potato fertilisers.  In fact, I have not added any bought fertiliser at all.  Regardless of JBA's advice on another blog, I don't think that potatoes need a high NPK fertiliser.  You don't need to buy expensive fertilisers and amendments to get a really good crop of potatoes.  
I have dug up the third row of potatoes now.  Only 24 kg. (53lb) from this row.  I hope that the yield does not continue to fall like this.  Some plants produce a lot less than others.  Maybe I should leave them in a little longer. If I average the weight of potatoes over the three rows it comes out at about 5lb per plant, which is probably more than I will need.  

End of July 12 potato plants

These are from JBA seed potatoes.  Thanks a lot JBA these were fantastic seed potatoes.  Produced a lot of spuds.  I will be getting more from you next year because these are obviously superior seed potatoes.  

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