Author Topic: A point to ponder on?  (Read 11550 times)

john_miller

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 956
Re: A point to ponder on?
« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2004, 04:32:12 »
 You have to remember, Hugh, that plants, even those that are daylength neutral, do need light to be at a sufficent level of intensity to invoke certain attributes of maturity. This is why lettuce is the typical overwintered crop in greenhouses as it can grow at much lower light intensites than, for instance, tomatoes or peppers. A planting of potatoes as early as January in the UK, especially under protection and its resultant shading, may not result in appreciably earlier cropping.
 What you propose can be done though- within the next two weeks the first 'new' potatoes from Californias' Imperial Valley will be available over here. I imagine that Egyptian potatoes will be available in the UK soon too (assuming the crop still exists)?  While the differences between California, Egypt, UK and Vermont, temperature wise, in January are very obvoious to everyone light levels also have to be considered when such early production is proposed.
 While everyone else here is contemplating their chitted potatoes I have just heard someone mention cleaning out the sugaring house- that is our first indication of spring! The sap will be rising soon here as our weather finally warms up.
 
 
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 by 1077926400 »

Allotments 4 All

Re: A point to ponder on?
« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2004, 04:32:12 »

Hugh_Jones

  • Guest
Re: A point to ponder on?
« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2004, 22:57:51 »
John, I fully appreciate your point about those plants which are daylength neutral, but I have yet to find any definitive information as to at which point in the calendar the requisite level of light intensity is reached - presumably because this would depend to no small extent on the prevailing weather conditions during spring; the light intensity could well be considerably higher in a dry bright spell in late March/early April than in a dull wet spell in late April/early May.  I am not anticipating considerably earlier cropping, but to the `fun` gardener even an advancement of 2 weeks in the first new potatoes is a matter of some importance.

However, to develop the argument, surely if one can reasonably start ones potatoes earlier, then one of the following two alternatives should result:-

1. If the levels of light intensity in the spring are sufficient at an earlier time to invoke the attributes of maturity, then the crop will be earlier - at least to some extent, or

2.  If the levels of light intensity are not sufficient at that time, the plant will simply continue to grow until the necessary levels of intensity are reached, and in due course the plant , being larger, will produce a greater yield - akin to the point I made regarding those plants which are not daylength neutral

Either of these alternatives would be quite acceptable to the average amateur grower.

And yes, Egyptian potatoes are now on sale here.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 by 1077926400 »

Mrs Ava

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 11,743
Re: A point to ponder on?
« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2004, 00:09:44 »
Can I just ask a rather daft question  ???  Who tells maincrop spuds that it is midsummers day and okay to start making babies?  :-/
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 by 1077926400 »

Hugh_Jones

  • Guest
Re: A point to ponder on?
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2004, 04:09:06 »
They are daylength sensitive, EJ. As soon as midsummer`s day has passed the extremely clever potato, without benefit of either pocket diary or watch, says to itself "Ey thee up, lass, t`neets are drawin` in - better start mekkin` some babbies", and promptly gets on with the job
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 by 1077926400 »

Ceri

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 680
  • I love Allotments 4 All
Re: A point to ponder on?
« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2004, 08:14:16 »
Hugh's potato is actually a home counties, polo-playing type - who has been reading to much DH Lawrence.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 by 1077926400 »

Hugh_Jones

  • Guest
Re: A point to ponder on?
« Reply #25 on: February 22, 2004, 18:29:05 »
No, Ceri. I can vouch for the fact that they were born and bred in Oswaldtwistle, which, for most southerners, is somewhere between Watford and the Scottish Border.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 by 1077926400 »

Mrs Ava

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 11,743
Re: A point to ponder on?
« Reply #26 on: February 22, 2004, 20:11:39 »
;D  nutters!  Actually, sounds sowf london to me! hehehe.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 by 1077926400 »

campanula

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 617
  • double digging dudette
Re: A point to ponder on?
« Reply #27 on: February 24, 2004, 20:04:02 »
hugh,
reg, who had my plot for years before me says he always had his first tatties in by the end of feb. so, i am going to do so and all. The soil is lovely, friable and loamy but never gets claggy or overdry (we are on the site of an old pig farm) so i have my patch ready. I guess temperature is affected by types of soil - i used to have clay and it was impossible to plant anything till the end of march. Like you, i have also come across last years potatoes which look fine and healthy to me.  So, why not.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 by 1077926400 »

john_miller

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 956
Re: A point to ponder on?
« Reply #28 on: February 25, 2004, 13:06:33 »
 I was simply thinking about the provenance of potatoes, Hugh, when I mentioned the possibility of the light possibly being too low to provoke  (I've read too much Darwin to believe they are invoked, Hugh!) tuber formation.
 I remember reading an article about early potato production in the most favoured parts of the British Isles (Cornwall and Pembrokeshire) in The Grower magazine in the '70's where it was mentioned that they were indeed planted in February. I do wonder if January isn't just too early. Given the economic gain of being first on the market commercial growers would also do whatever is possible to advance their crop two weeks too!
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 by 1077926400 »

Garden Manager

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,415
  • Denman the Great
Re: A point to ponder on?
« Reply #29 on: February 25, 2004, 14:57:27 »
All nice ideas folks,but you are forgetting the unpredictability of our climate.

Who would have thought I'd be getting bad frosts at the end of february, - in the mild southwest?

I was just getting confident that winter was over and started making plans for early plantings/sowings then BANG along comes a cold spell like this, to make one think twice.

At present I am 'holding fire' on seed sowing etc until the weather warms up a little. It may be nearly march but it feels like january at the moment!!!
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 by 1077926400 »

Hugh_Jones

  • Guest
Re: A point to ponder on?
« Reply #30 on: February 25, 2004, 19:43:42 »
It all depends on what you call a bad frost. In fact the actual night temperature here (in the north midlands) was only a little below freezing - but a bit of white on the ground and everybody panics. 30-40 years ago such temperatures were quite common here well into March.

Last week I laid out some fleece over the few potatoes I planted, and I checked it this morning.  Although the soil all around it had a definite crust, the soil under the fleece showed no signs of frost, and I`m quite confident that the potatoes I have under it will emerge unscathed.

John, I accept your correction on semantics - it was careless of me, but then I`ve always preferred invocation to provocation - it goes with my gentle nature.  However, the fact remains, and I think almost everyone on these boards who is old enough to remember will agree, that spring does come to this island of ours somewhat earlier now than it did 35 years ago - the plants start to grow earlier, the migrant birds arrive earlier, and the native birds nest earlier, and clearly the `volunteer`potatoes I raked out had thought it was time to get going.  Maybe January is a mite too early yet, but February, well, why not?. Anyway, some of mine have gone in, so I`ll see what happens.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 by 1077926400 »

john_miller

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 956
Re: A point to ponder on?
« Reply #31 on: February 26, 2004, 03:46:28 »
 With my less than perfect English I am the last person to give courses in semantics. My comment was merely a respectful attempt to define a potential difference in philosophies between us, hence my allusion to Darwin.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 by 1077926400 »

Garden Manager

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,415
  • Denman the Great
Re: A point to ponder on?
« Reply #32 on: February 26, 2004, 12:35:13 »
Bad frosts - hmmm. Well quite bad compared to what we have had so far this winter down here, but i suppose not reall as bad as some.

I dont think the night time temperatures are getting below -3 or -4, but it is the compound effect, ie frost on top of frost with temperatures not getting very high during the day to warm the ground up.

That said the soil does thaw out enough to be workable by late morning (at least in the veg plot which gets the sun first this time of year).

This mornings was pehaps one of the worst, a real 'whitener' the back lawn was white not green.

« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 by 1077926400 »

Mrs Ava

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 11,743
Re: A point to ponder on?
« Reply #33 on: February 26, 2004, 23:55:18 »
I have to agree Richard  :o  this mornings frost was a real hard one.  Through all of the snow we have had in Essex - woken up to it many mornings, and all the mornings I have had to chizel ice off the car windscreen, I have only lost one echium pinatta.  Now this morning, the last 6 were looking a little worse for wear.  I hope they pull through as I am looking forward to towering spires of spikey triffidness.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 by 1077926400 »

 

anything