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Growing potatoes in wood chip - any advice?


humdrum

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humdrum

The way I look at it, the main function of soil is to stop the plant from falling over. It needs to get nutrient from somewhere, but I figure that can be obtained from potato fertiliser, which is always on special offer somewhere.

So there you are. 30L tubes of woodchip and fertiliser and plenty of water. How hard is that? Practical gardening for geriatrics.

But it is like the maths. D P Owen flogged the Binomial Expansion into me over sixty years ago and I still get it wrong. So has anyone done anything like this and do they have any tips?

Thanks in advance

Edited by humdrum
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I don't think it will work very well, but can't back this up with too much in the way of scientific explanation...

Well, as the woodchip decays it will use up nitrogen, for a start. Then there's the fact that soil is not only something to keep plants upright! It is a microbiome of living matter, all of which contributes to overall plant health. That said, I am aware that plants can be grown hydroponically in a nutrient solution, so who knows. The fertilizer probably won't have much in the way of micronutrients... Try it and see, I guess! 

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sarahbell

I am going to try this year. Probably this weekend. I've got fish blood and bone and growmore to add in. 

We have a lot of wood chip.ivr got a builders bag too. 

Edited by sarahbell
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Chewing Grass

Cleaned the gutters out and gathered up the leaf mould around the garden, bunged the lot in a large bucket with some sand that was hanging around and mixed up.

Had some of those little boiling potatoes (gemson) that have decided to chit after 4 days in a bag at home so have stuck 3 in the bucket.

Propose not feeding with lizer as they are little potatoes and see how they progress & fare.

Total cost effectively zero.

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sarahbell

I've cleaned the chickens out and emptied it onto the first layer of bark. Will be quite acidic perhaps though so need to neutralise? 

Edited by sarahbell
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1 hour ago, sarahbell said:

I've cleaned the chickens out and emptied it onto the first layer of bark. Will be quite acidic perhaps though so need to neutralise? 

The ideal soil pH level for potatoes is somewhat acidic, between 6 and 6.5, but they will tolerate soil with pH as low as 5. Addition of manure or compost can add micronutrients and organic matter to soil. Side-dress (place fertilizer alongside of the row) about four weeks after planting.

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sarahbell
8 minutes ago, Bilbo said:

The ideal soil pH level for potatoes is somewhat acidic, between 6 and 6.5, but they will tolerate soil with pH as low as 5. Addition of manure or compost can add micronutrients and organic matter to soil. Side-dress (place fertilizer alongside of the row) about four weeks after planting.

Ah I'll just keep throwing stuff on top and see what happens.

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I haven't ever had any problems with potatoes. They seem to grow and grow where I live. I can't get rid of them.

Growing them in raised beds seems to be the real secret, because then they don't get waterlogged.

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Chewing Grass

Remember my bucket of spuds, the North American Tree Rats have dug up the chitted potatoes and eaten them.

Back to square one.

 

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humdrum
On 19/04/2022 at 11:31, spunko said:

I haven't ever had any problems with potatoes. They seem to grow and grow where I live. I can't get rid of them.

Growing them in raised beds seems to be the real secret, because then they don't get waterlogged.

You might be onto something there. The tubs allow the woodchip to drain easily and the haulms on the first earlies appeared a week ago, so things seem to be on the move. I have just added a cup of home brewed liquid fertiliser to each tub and given the latter a good soak.

It could be that all the growth is coming from the seed potatoes themselves but I will know in a couple of months......

:)

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humdrum
On 14/04/2022 at 17:22, LC1 said:

I don't think it will work very well, but can't back this up with too much in the way of scientific explanation...

Well, as the woodchip decays it will use up nitrogen, for a start. Then there's the fact that soil is not only something to keep plants upright! It is a microbiome of living matter, all of which contributes to overall plant health. That said, I am aware that plants can be grown hydroponically in a nutrient solution, so who knows. The fertilizer probably won't have much in the way of micronutrients... Try it and see, I guess! 

That is true enough. Wood chip usually takes a couple of years to break down into a decent loam, so maybe next year I will allow the spuds to grow in just that without adding any fertiliser.

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the gardener
On 18/04/2022 at 21:18, sarahbell said:

I've cleaned the chickens out and emptied it onto the first layer of bark. Will be quite acidic perhaps though so need to neutralise? 

You don't want too much nitrogen for potatoes. Higher potassium and phosphorus is important for good yields.

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sarahbell
13 hours ago, the gardener said:

You don't want too much nitrogen for potatoes. Higher potassium and phosphorus is important for good yields.

Well it's an experiment so if it fails it fails

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