When are you going to plant your potatoes out?

Need to know the best time to plant?

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mazmezroz
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When are you going to plant your potatoes out?

Postby mazmezroz » Sat Mar 22, 2008 2:45 pm

My friend already has hers in, but I wasn't even thinking about doing it till after the beginning of April. They have chitted nicely, but I'm wondering whether I should put them in, and perhaps cover them with fleece??
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Postby pongeroon » Sat Mar 22, 2008 3:10 pm

I'm leaving mine for a week or so, the ground is still very cold, though I am no spud expert.
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Postby Sarah » Sat Mar 22, 2008 3:53 pm

Where about in the Cotswolds are you? I'm near Cirencester. I was going to put my first earlies in yesterday, but the weather (and some advice from here) put me off. I was glad this morning as we woke to a dusting of snow. Now though it's fine, so I may attempt to get them in over the Easter weekend, otherwise they will have to wait until next weekend, and some more time off. I will cover with fleece though, whatever the weather. Still haven't got my shallots in either.
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Postby Geoff » Sat Mar 22, 2008 4:30 pm

My Rocket have been in under a polycloche since 6th as usual, hope to start digging them in May.
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mazmezroz
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Postby mazmezroz » Sat Mar 22, 2008 4:53 pm

We're up near Chipping Campden - It's been snowing non and off, and a bitter wind today, so I think I will leave them for at least another week.
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Sarah
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Postby Sarah » Sat Mar 22, 2008 6:24 pm

You're probably right. I've just been up to do a bit of digging and the ground is very claggy. I'm anxious to get on because we're away for a week at the beginning of April, and I don't want to fall behind. It may be the second week in April before I get anything else in the ground at this rate, but I expect they'll catch up.
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Postby Monika » Sat Mar 22, 2008 6:41 pm

We are slightly further north of most of you, and I have planted a few Rocket, Kestrel and Anya in potato bags and large pots which are all in the greenhouse now with just a background heater on very cold nights. I certainly will not plant other potatoes outside until about late April/early May and even then be prepared to cover them with fleece if frost threatens. That's the problem, isn't it, not knowing what the weather will bring in April and May. Some years we get away with hardly any frost after March, in others it drags on until early June.
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Postby Cider Boys » Sun Mar 23, 2008 12:35 pm

I finished planting my Maris Bard on Good Friday but my oldest son planted some under black polythene about two weeks ago. The soil was cold and wet when I was planting but the question is, how long do you wait for ideal conditions? I don't know if other areas are more predictable but here in West Somerset I've never can rely on the BBC weather forecasts.

Barney
Last edited by Cider Boys on Sun Mar 23, 2008 3:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby The Mouse » Sun Mar 23, 2008 1:01 pm

I work one the basis that if the soil is fit to dig, then get the potatoes in! I did this a week ago with two rows of Charlotte. There are still some more to go in, which ideally I will plant in two or three weeks-this should spread the harvest, and will also give a bit of insurance against May frosts. My maincrops always go in as near the beginning of April as conditions allow. Once they are in,I'm not worried about weather conditions until they are above ground, and even then it is easy to earth over them to give frost protection if needed, until the plants get too big. As others have said, frosts are always possible until June, so there's no point worrying about now!
Early planting has (usually) the added bonus of early harvesting, and I always try to have all my potatoes out by the end of August. This beats the slugs! Last year's blight meant having to lift them in mid-July, and I was amazed to find them mature enough to use and store as normal!
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Postby Cider Boys » Sun Mar 23, 2008 3:20 pm

Yes, that seems like sound reasoning Caz.

Barney
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Postby Mike Vogel » Sun Mar 23, 2008 9:21 pm

I put 8 Colleen [earlies] under fleece mid-March and the 8 more last week before it got cold. I will put more in at the end of April.

Maris Piper, Sarpo Mira and Pink Fir Apple have gone in on Thursday. i'll put the same varieties again in beginning and again [Maris Piper only] mid to end April.

Maris Piper are Early maincrop and the others late. The idea is to get a succession of various types, some for salads, some for baking and various other uses.

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Postby stimpy_mo » Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:35 pm

Can anyone help ? - i have planted some potatoes -but I wonder if black plastic is the way forward -
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Postby PLUMPUDDING » Mon Mar 24, 2008 5:30 pm

Re the black plastic - I find that the nearer the surface the potatoes are, the more slug damage I get, once using black plastic and once using the thick straw mulch method, the potatoes were absolutely riddled with holes a lot of which still had the slugs in.

When I plant them early (end of March) I plant them quite deep - 9 inches, so they take a while to come up avoiding the worst frosts, and then ridge them up as usual. Also you get fewer green potatoes as most of them are quite deep.

I got very little slug damage last year even though it was wet and slugs were everywhere else, as I used the Nematodes. I don't use them every year as they are so expensive but they do work.

So far I've only planted a few Shetland Black in the greenhouse border and Highland Burgundy Red, Aura, and Salad Blue from last year's micro propagated plants in large tubs also in the greenhouse - so I can keep an eye on them. They only produced small tubers and were very expensive. I've been pleased with the varieties from the micro plants I tried the year before. They have bulked up well, especially the Fortyfold which lived up to its name, and the flavours and textures are very good too.

Has anyone else tried the micro propagated plants?
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Postby Cider Boys » Mon Mar 24, 2008 5:36 pm

You pose a good question and in my experience the answer is yes and no.
Yes black sheeting absorbs the radiated suns rays and hopefully uses convection and conduction to heat to the ground below; the downside is that if the soil is too wet it tends to remain wet and cold.

For example when I removed the black sheeting from the sloping ground where my son had previously planted four rows of Maris Bard to continue planting some more rows the ground was too damp to plant. The uncovered land above was drying out with the recent winds and planting could be accomplished in the resulting drier soil. The sheeting can also give an aide to frost protection but in my experience most things in gardening depend on forces beyond our control. If I were you I would leave my potatoes uncovered and make sure I earthed up the ridges when the shoots appear and frosts are possible. I would be interested in other members’ experience of using black plastic sheeting.

Barney
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Postby Geoff » Mon Mar 24, 2008 5:57 pm

My technique for the earliest potatoes is to plant East-West (but ignoring the phases of the moon) slightly ridged with a clear polythene tunnel cloche over them (I use quite heavy uv stabilised sheet that has lasted many years). The ridges catch the sun and warm up quickly. I plant in ground that has been covered with clear sheet for at least a month. When I planted on March 6th weeds were germinating under the plastic showing it had warmed up.
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