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Why are my potatoes doing this?

(10 Posts)
MaggieW Tue 16-Jun-09 17:45:37

I've just dug up some of my potatoes and something strange is going on. Some of the tubers I planted are still intact, and there are 5 maybe 6 mature potatoes ready to eat on each, but then loads of tiny little very immature ones. Not sure why it's happening as I'd expect the original tuber to have shrivelled, and for all the potatoes to be a similar size. Any thoughts please?

claricebeansmum Tue 16-Jun-09 17:47:07

Are you digging them up too early?

snorkle Tue 16-Jun-09 20:44:08

If you leave them in the ground longer the tiny immature ones will also grow. This year the long dry spell has slowed the spuds down quite a lot I think & probably stopped your original seed pots from rotting away faster too.

But you don't have to wait for all the pots to mature - if you're enjoying the half dozen or so per plant then just eat them. Better yet, if you can 'furtle' them out without digging up the plant and put the earth back then you can enjoy them now and dig the others up later.

bodiddly Tue 16-Jun-09 20:51:09

slight hijack ... I planted potatoes for the first time this year so am a total novice. They are in potato planters (made out of the tarpaulin material) - how do I know when to dig them up/tip them out? Is it when the flowers appear or after they have gone?

PlumBumMum Tue 16-Jun-09 20:53:59

Is it not too early to dig them up?

Bodiddly I waited until they had flowered and dug them up as I needed them, once the plants started to die off I dug up remaining plants

snorkle Tue 16-Jun-09 20:57:38

They may not flower (some varieties don't & sometimes ones that usually do don't if they're in containers). If they do flower then some people will harvest them then, others will wait until the leaves start to die back. The longer you leave them the bigger the spuds will be. If your planter has an opening near the bottom you may be able to open it up & dig about to see if the spuds are big enough yet, if not sometimes you can dig down from the top witout distubing the plant too much, or I've seen recomended tipping the whole plant out very carefully trying to keep earth intact, looking at the spuds (maybe taking one or two out) & if not big enough putting the whole plant back for a few more weeks.

Top tip is to keep them well watered.

bodiddly Tue 16-Jun-09 21:09:10

thanks .. will keep watering then! Do I need to feed them?

snorkle Tue 16-Jun-09 21:15:40

bit late to feed them now I'd have thought - you usually dig in muck/comfrey leaves/compost/chicken pellets/whatever at the start.

bodiddly Tue 16-Jun-09 21:25:15

ah I thought I saw something about liquid tomato food .. ie. tomorite!

snorkle Tue 16-Jun-09 22:55:58

Tomorite won't hurt. Thinking about it I gave my container spuds comfrey tea every fortnight or so, but if you're just about to harvest them it might be best saved for something else.

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