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Oct / Nov issue of The Irish Garden








Johnplotman's Journal

Johnplotman's Journal

Last Post 88 days 13 hours ago

Earthing up potatoes.

22 March 2010 10:00:27
No damp warm weather any more,sunshine we need.

No damp warm weather any more,sunshine we need.

Plans for the afternoon yesterday changed a little after spending a few hours in a neighbours garden talking about growing vegetables.It was another great day with weather.Plans for today will be for the tunnel on return from a check up.

Earth up plants when stems are app 20cm tall and preferably do a second earthing up when plants are about 30-45cm high.You can use the soil as a mulching material,but try to pack this a tightly as you can around stems.Blight is caused by spores washing down through the soil.The deeper the tubers are,the less chance there is of viable spores reaching them.Blight love damp warm weather.A porous mulch will not prevent spores from being washed onto the tubers.Should you notice blight [brown blotches on leaves] pick off any first leaves that have brown blotches.The sooner the better.Any of the stalks of blight effected tubers here are destroyed.The spores will keep active in your compost if aloud do so.If not too badly effected you could always bury they in the very center of the heap but also very,very, chancy,as they must decompose in the compost heap to destroy the spores.Here they are always destroyed and annoying doing so,but better be on the safe side.Enough trouble will be caused by them without allowing the spores do more damage the following year.Blight will also effect your tomatoes and unless protected it will pass from potatoes to tom,rapid.Potato blight is caused by the fungus called Phytophthora infestans. 


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LNolan LNolan 22 March 2010 10:09:09

Seems like you're well on top of everything. Was in the garden centre yesterday and some man there was saying that he had a good few green potatoes last year. The lad working there was telling him that he hadn't earthed up enough. Seems like earthing up well is worth it in the long run.


Cloncaw Cloncaw 22 March 2010 11:02:20

John I planted 20 of mine by making holes for them and put them down about 6- 8 inches as I thought the blight problem was caused by earthing them up. Reading your journal I think I was right, hopefully plan to plant more in bags today if I can get hubby geared up to go to the compost firm for soil and compost etc. Would you recommend that I earth up the potatoes as they emerge or can I do without it as they planted that deep and are the early ones?


J.D. J.D. 22 March 2010 17:48:24

Hope your check-up went well, John.


Johnplotman Johnplotman 23 March 2010 08:54:17

Earthing up solves the problem for the greening on them Liam.That chap was fully correct.Earthing up is a very important part of growing potatoes.The greening on the potatoes is called glycoalkaloids and will destroy them if it gets hold.Different if under cover.


Johnplotman Johnplotman 23 March 2010 09:04:35

Good luck with all the potato planting Cloncaw.Sorry for the late reply.Earthing up also encourages more potatoes.In the bags have about 10 cm of stalks showing and when you are topping them up sight can be on the stalks for any setbacks and no damage to them.Personally that is how i would go with compost bags etc.Im not saying you cant take the chance.The ground is a different place,and wont dry up as quick.When the shoots appear is the vital time for watering on.


Johnplotman Johnplotman 23 March 2010 09:08:59

Thanks Jacinta.Not so bad at,all and healing well so far.Back for a chat with the surgeon tomorrow afternoon to hear the outcome from the operation.


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