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I planted out some 'desiree' seed potatoes ten weeks ago.  They've grown well - I mulched them to about 40cm using sugar cane mulch and horse manure (and some blood and bone occasionally).  They flowered a couple of weeks ago, and the flowers (from first batch) have finished now.  I had a dig around in the mulch to see if there were any potatoes growing, but alas, none!  There do seem to be some under intial soil layer though (which was about 15cm).   From what I can see through the mulch, it's just stem in there. Is this normal? 

 

 

 

 

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Sorry Tracy, I failed totally and utterly at potatoes so far unfortunately... although my understanding is once they have flowered you can harvest... mine never got that far lol!
For the first time I was able to add two layers of mulch and compost. Results as yet unknown. The plants are still green and flourishing but not in as much sun as they need (unwisely planted some paw paw trees on the sunny side - duh). Once the plants die down, I can harvest and see what happens. Meantime I'll have a look tomorrow when it's light and see what's there.

Interested to see what others have or will harvest using the adding-mulch-in-layers method. All the advice comes from gardeners further south where Potatoes are more likely to grow according to expectation. In warmer climes like here, we're lucky to grow Potatoes at all and I suspect that the length of the growing season might influence the results. The more trial, the less error, eh?
Or in my case, the less trial the less error ;)
Or to keep the clichés coming: "nothing ventured, nothing gained" ;-)
There's 4 photos now in an album 'Spuds at DBay'. It's inconclusive - there is one tiny new potato in the second layer of mulch/compost. That's above the original layer where they were planted and below the top layer of mulch/compost where there's no new potatoes. I dug around two stems only not wanting to disturb them anymore than I can help. The tops are dying off - they've been in the ground around 8 to 9 weeks.

This will probably be my last attempt at growing Potatoes ... there may be some warm-adapted Potato varieties but what is available via Green Harvest come from Victoria and whatever commercial varieties are in the shops. This time they grew in far too much shade which doesn't help. The results from the first crop (see Album 'DBay Spudz 2009' were disappointing although they were only planted in about August and harvested in October I think. They grew in more sun, though.

Much as I love Potatoes, successfully growing them here is a trick I have not mastered. With tight space and a need to simplify my gardening, I'm expecting to use other crops for starch. Queensland Arrowroot is already sprouting (thank you Florence :-)), Jicama is growing (thank you Addy :-)) and Jerusalem Artichokes are coming sometime when I can get some tubers.

So ... does successively mulching Potatoes give a greater crop? On TV it does, in books it does, but so far I've not experienced that - although this crop may prove me wrong ;-)
i'm having trouble on the jerusalem artichoke front Elaine
i dug some up but there weren't very many there, then i left them out too long and they've shrivelled up
so now i have to dig again and see if there are any more in there
sorry - life out of control at this end
I can relate to life being out of control at times! :-) The tubers will turn of from somewhere at the right time. Don't stress over it, life's too short for that.
Don't give up all hope... yesterday I harvested my lil crop of potatoes and was pretty happy with results. I grow them in polystyrene boxes and start with about 10cm compost, then as they grow up I fill the box with layers of compost/garden dirt and sugar cane mulch. When I reach the top of the box I let them go until the plants have died right down. Thats when I harvest - when I get around to it. The plants seem to grow healthy all through the year although my crops vary quite a bit (seemingly because of the season because mostly I do everything else the same). Yesterday from 2 boxes (probable 8 pieces planted) which I started about 8 weeks ago, I got the following harvest.
Larger potatoes are around 8 cm long and 4cm wide.
The next pic is the last harvest which I would have planted around the beginning of March.
Attachments:
ps hope the attachments work, I ve never done it like that before :-)
Thanks for the replies. I guess I've nothing to lose by giving them some more time to grow - they have not started to die down yet so maybe I'm just impatient. They get lots of sun, so I know that's not the problem.

I like your harvest Trinette, it must be like digging for treasure when you actually find potatoes! Under the mulch, mine look like yours Elaine, except that the stems are thicker. Attached picture shows the progressive planting, the ones in the front are about a month younger than the back. Anyway, will keep my fingers crossed and see what happens in a couple more weeks.
Attachments:
They are really basking! You should get a decent crop from such enthusiastic growers :-)
Wow - your plants look so healthy, mine were nowhere near that impressive! Wait till they start to die down or at least go yellow and I bet you will have a great crop!

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