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My potato plants are really healthy this year, but no flowers are appearing on the first or second earlies, although they are coming on the main crop. Talking to an 'old hand' down at the allotments, he reckons that plants with no flowers are better, and he takes any flowers off his as soon as they appear, as he claims that it puts more energy into producing the crop. Does anybody know if this is true, or just an 'old wives tale' ?
Hi, Roger...welcome to the forum.
Old wives tale? Not really, it's theoretically true. However, for me it's a waste of time & effort, given the difference it makes. It also has to be said that certain varieties don't produce flowers anyway.
Commercial growers dont take off the flowers (think of the labour) so they can't be that harmful.
Many thanks for both responses.
The flowers are mainly useful because they indicate that the new potatoes are big enough to eat. No reason to take them off.
Sometimes old codgers pull young'uns legs!
I think it's probably true that energy that the plant puts into making flowers and fruit would be better directed to making new tubers. Whether the difference is worth diligently breaking off all the flowers is another matter,
OH has discovered some sprouting spuds in the cupboard. Is it too late to plant them?
Perhaps it would be worth mentioning here, that once potatoes have flowered they set seed in the form of little green balls. These are potato fruits and they contain solanin which is very poisonous......so be careful and remove them if you have young children.
Good point David - particularly because the fruits look so like tomatoes that children may think that's what they are.
I have two lots of 1st earlies Pentland Javelin & Vales Emerald . PJ not flowering VE are but as soon as weather dries a bit I'm emptying a sack of each and expect them to be ready, planted on 10/3.
2nd earlies Charlotte have grown much more leaf but need leaving a few more weeks.
I usually harvest when leaves start to yellow regardless of any flowers
No flowers on my Sharpes Express or Homeguard, Flowers appearing on British queens. Bit of a lottery.
Steve I planted some potatoes later than this Last year. They were just potatoes from the fridge that were a bit soft for cooking and I planted some in pots and shoved some in the ground with no real hope they would produce. But they did ... Abundantly. And I had home grown potatoes into December. Anyone managed to eat their own homegrown on Xmas day? I'm giving it a try this year.
Right - thanks Ashdale. I'll get her to try it. She has a heap of compost and lots of old sand/cement sacks so it looks like that's how she's doing it.
I tried planting some earlies last autumn in a big pot in the greenhouse, thinking I might have some for Christmas. Nothing. But they started growing early in the new year and are now flopping over so I'm going to tip 'em out when I get back. Then the PJ will be ready in a week or two. Charlotte too and then Cara.
To further the 'poison' aspect of potatoes, It should be understood that they & tomatoes are species of the (solanaceae) deadly-nightshade family.
I wonder what would grow if you grew on the seed from the potato fruit. Has anyone tried it? Would they eventually after many years produce potatoes? Just wondering.
Now there's an experiment to try.
I'm sure you'd get potatoes (probably in the first or second year) but they wouldn't be the variety you started with and possibly inedible. Must be worth a try though.
I might give that a go Steve 309, just for a bit of fun.
Well, that's where new varieties come from.
And that's where your 'seed potatoes' come from - potato seeds are sown in soil which has not grown potatoes before; this is to avoid the potato plants contracting a virus.
They grow into potato plants which grow the potatoes which you buy from the garden centre to plant in your gardens.
A lot of rubbish dovefromabove
Seed potatoes are small tubers from last years crop
If you are going to be an authority on giving people advice make sure it is correct