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Latest posts by Welshonion

Talkback: Buying seed potatoes

Posted: 16/03/2014 at 15:30

Chit them in the light, in a cool place, then they will grow short strong shoots.  If they are kept in the dark they will grow long and lanky and get knocked off easily.

They won't all come together as you can leave them in the ground until you need them.  But you won't be able to resist digging them up and eating them with lashings of butter!

If you are a beginner it is actually easier to leave maincrop to the professionals and concentrate on wonderful earlies and second earlies.  Maincrop are in the soil so long and are prey to horrors like blight.

The main object of chitting is to get the potatoes off to a head-start when it is still too cold to put them in the garden.  Good Friday used to be a traditional day for planting.

Can you pile on a potato plant that's 20inches high?

Posted: 16/03/2014 at 15:21

Mel, the main reason for earthing up is to make sure the potatoes are covered so they don't go green if they are exposed to the light.  

When they are in a garden it also allows the sun to warm up the potatoes when it shines on the sides of the earthing-up.  It also directs the rain water down to the roots/potatoes.

Although it does work, it is not the best idea to grow potatoes from sprouting potatoes you bought from the supermarket.  They may carry all sorts of nasties which may show themselves if they do not have a regular dose of pesticide or herbicide which amateur gardeners would not want to apply..

As a rough guide, you will have usable potatoes when the plant flowers. Though not every variety does flower.

Conquer your dislike of spiders (you really are bigger than them) and get the plants out into good light as soon as you can, but make sure they do not get frosted.

 Cover them with a sheet of newspaper overnight if frost is threatened.

Good luck.

grass and weeds under fence

Posted: 16/03/2014 at 00:24

Go along the bottom of the fence with Glyphosate.

Scary looking tree branches in my garden

Posted: 15/03/2014 at 15:07

We get a lot of rain in West Wales!!


Does piling up potatoes make that much difference?

Posted: 15/03/2014 at 10:09

Baby potatoes, as sold in the supermarket, are just the little potatoes that in years past would have been graded out.  They are not a special kind that only grow to baby-size.  The supermarkets have just exploited a liking for small potatoes.

Go to any garden centre at this time of year and you will find many kinds of different potatoes.  But as seed potatoes have been on sale generally since January you may find the choice is limited.

You will find seed potatoes that are specifically recommended for roasties. The ones you are growing appear to be salad potatoes though I can't see the variety.

Lichen on Gooseberry bushes.

Posted: 14/03/2014 at 18:37

Phillipa, I realised that as soon as I posted.  As lichen takes quite a long time to grow I think the problem with the gooseberry is that a pruning regime has been neglected, but if started this year all will be well!

Figs tree and fruit from last year

Posted: 14/03/2014 at 18:28

That fig is rather small for its age.  Do you think the pot is big enough, and are you feeding the fig enough?

Re Alan's advice, I think you will find this year's fruit is in the leaf axils at the tip of the branches, so if you pinch them out you certainly won't get any fruit this year.

The time to pinch out shoots is before mid-summers day when you pinch out shoots beyond three or four leaves.

Strawberry beds

Posted: 13/03/2014 at 16:01

Sounds like quackery to me!

Strawberry beds

Posted: 13/03/2014 at 14:01

Do you really eat egg shells, Edd?  Are they an acquired taste?

Lichen on Gooseberry bushes.

Posted: 13/03/2014 at 09:36

If you look more closely at the photo it says 'lichen on blackthorn' so it isn't on gooseberry bushes.

It can be expected on blackthorn as they are long-lived trees.

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