Potatoes - will this work?

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Freeranger
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Potatoes - will this work?

Post by Freeranger »

I have some of this year's spuds that never made it as far as the veg patch, but which have chitted and got small stems on them. It seems a waste.

So, I'm wondering......

If I planted them out now, kept them under a 3' cloche, and pinched out the tops to keep them short-ish, and maybe used fleece or straw to keep out the cold......will they do OK over winter? Or is it a waste of effort?
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lancashire lass
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Re: Potatoes - will this work?

Post by lancashire lass »

I have read about some gardeners who plant their (not chitted) potatoes in late autumn / early winter (when the soil is cool rather than cold - low enough to prevent growth) and they say their yields are much better for doing it that way. The downside might depend on just how cold it gets over winter - if we get a lot of snow followed by several days / weeks of ice, the soil could become frozen several inches down, then the potatoes are at risk of rotting in the ground. You only have to look at how those rogue potatoes left behind from the harvest manage to pop up the following spring with vigour (annoyingly after the bed is planted up with something else) ! How many did not survive the winter though?

However, to have already chitted, I'm inclined to think it is perhaps a waste. These will be tender sprouted tips. On the other hand, if you fancy an experiment and tried some rather than all of them, you'd know if it was a viable option in future ...
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Mo
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Re: Potatoes - will this work?

Post by Mo »

I've read about new potatoes for Christmas day - think the suggestion was to plant in the compost heap for warmth. Or maybe I'm remembering digging up some peelings that had grown baby spuds.
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lancashire lass
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Re: Potatoes - will this work?

Post by lancashire lass »

Mo wrote:I've read about new potatoes for Christmas day


These are planted in early-mid August - they are like a second crop of potatoes grown in a season. Outdoors, the green growth will be killed off by frosts and you leave the potatoes underground and harvest them near to Christmas. I know a lot of people who have tried this have not had good yields - I think it depends on what kind of late summer / early autumn we have (if it's a wet one, cold with very little sunshine then the yield will be poor) and also it depends on your location. If you live where it is relatively mild with the first frost quite late (I'm thinking south), then it might be okay. If the "Christmas Day" seed potatoes are planted in August in a greenhouse / polytunnel, I think the yield might be better (one day I will give this a try)
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Richard
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Re: Potatoes - will this work?

Post by Richard »

Hi Lassie

I'm unsure but I know I get potatoes growing in my compost heap every year and I'm sure that some have over wintered in there.

This Spring produced about 20 or so spuds.

Richard )t'
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Trev62
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Re: Potatoes - will this work?

Post by Trev62 »

On advice from a Bulgarian neighbour I am about to try his system out for planting potatoes in winter:

Dig a trench and line with leaves and sawdust.

Plant potatoes and cover with more leaves and sawdust.

Stack a mound of soil above each potato and cover with straw/hay.

The lower layer of leaves/sawdust feeds the potato while the upper layer of leaves/sawdust/soil/straw/hay insulates the potato over winter resulting in stronger plants and growth during spring.

He swears by it so we are going to give it a go. Odds for success???
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Trev62
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Re: Potatoes - will this work?

Post by Trev62 »

Planted two rows of potatoes today using the method in the post above, now to sit back and wait to see if anything starts shooting in the spring, if not, no loss, we will just turn the soil and plant some more.
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lancashire lass
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Re: Potatoes - will this work?

Post by lancashire lass »

Trev62 wrote:Dig a trench and line with leaves and sawdust.

Plant potatoes and cover with more leaves and sawdust.


as insulation (and seed potatoes are less likely to be in direct contact with cold, wet soil which can encourage rot), I don't have a problem with this - however, both leaves and sawdust are high in carbon (this means less nitrogen for the potatoes - nitrogen is necessary for green growth of leaves) Will you be adding manure / compost / fertiliser on top in the spring?

Trev62 wrote:Planted two rows of potatoes today using the method in the post above, now to sit back and wait to see if anything starts shooting in the spring, if not, no loss


I think they will be fine )t' Just bear in mind in spring that the soil needs to warm up before growth starts in earnest - over winter, the soil will compact down a little so the temperature underneath the soil surface will stay cooler for longer. Usually when planting seed potatoes in spring, much of the upper and lower levels of soil are mixed when digging the trenches and with back filling if you understand what I mean, so it may look like spring planted potatoes (usually well chitted as well) grow better than autumn/winter planted potatoes. However, I think you may find the winter planted ones will surge ahead later - just think of those rogue potatoes in the previous year's potato bed that pop up after you have sowed / planted a different crop in it.
Trev62
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Re: Potatoes - will this work?

Post by Trev62 »

lancashire lass wrote:Will you be adding manure / compost / fertiliser on top in the spring?


To be honest I had not considered this but I will have chicken manure and access to my neighbours massive pile of sheep/cow manure so hopefully that should address the issue.

Thanks again for pointing me in the right direction )t'
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Trev62
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Re: Potatoes - will this work?

Post by Trev62 »

Trev62 wrote:On advice from a Bulgarian neighbour I am about to try his system out for planting potatoes in winter:

Dig a trench and line with leaves and sawdust.

Plant potatoes and cover with more leaves and sawdust.

Stack a mound of soil above each potato and cover with straw/hay.

The lower layer of leaves/sawdust feeds the potato while the upper layer of leaves/sawdust/soil/straw/hay insulates the potato over winter resulting in stronger plants and growth during spring.

He swears by it so we are going to give it a go. Odds for success???


I apologize for quoting myself but using this method we now have some lovely strong potato plants growing so I take that as a good sign, added some general fertilizer around the top of the plants so fingers crossed the harvest is early and good. Considering they have been under three foot of snow all winter with temperatures staying well below -15 most of the time to say I am surprised is an understatement :-D
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wildlifemad
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Re: Potatoes - will this work?

Post by wildlifemad »

Thats amazing to think they have survived such temperatures all winter!! Well done & keep us posted on how they are doing.
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