Saturday, August 7, 2010

Potato Experiment Update

Curiosity got the better of me today.  I've been dying to know what, if anything has been going on underneath all my potato plants.  

On top, things have been looking good, although rather jungle-like. 

The potatoes growing in the tower were planted later than the others, and are now starting to flower. 

 I stopped adding new boards a little while ago.  The system requires a HUGE amount of soil, and it was starting to get a little expensive.  I did try adding another 'layer' of potatoes as I hilled up, to see if that would increase yields in the end.  I didn't do any exploratory 'feeling around' as these were planted later.

The potatoes growing in seaweed look like they are starting to die off. They flowered awhile ago, and I hope this is a sign that there are potatoes growing underneath. 

 One observation with using seaweed is that it really breaks down quickly.  The last round of seaweed I added, which at the time reached the top of the barrel, has now compacted down to half it's original volume.  It smells a bit too, but only if you get really close to it, and by close I mean head in the barrel.

The potatoes growing in 'grow bags' have also flowered, but a little bit behind the seaweed ones.

A little feel around the bag yielded a few small potatoes.

I'm only growing fingerling potatoes this year, which is a late season variety.  By late season, I assume harvest would be ready in September, so they still have some growing to do.  

Of all three methods, the most surprising were the ones growing in seaweed.  I was kind of expecting rotting potatoes due to the 'slimy' nature of the seaweed, but as you can see in the picture below, they are looking pretty good, with smooth, unblemished skins, approx 2-3 inches long.  *seaweed potatoes top right, grow bag potatoes bottom left.

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