End of Season Report (4th year of Potato Trial)
First of all a huge thanks to our potato sponsors who were not adequately acknowledged this past season again because of malfunctioning website and no resources to sort it out because it was a huge problem.We humbly apolgise, we have done the trial but not been able to record it until now. Please contact us to help us get the info correct this time if you were a sponsor last season so we can get it up there, you are important to us!
This project will have huge benefit for all home gardeners, and potato growers. We are finding out which ones are more resistant to the psyllid, which ones are very early and avoid the psyllid, which ones are still full of viruses and need further rogueing, which ones produce the most .We began a trial to see which potato cultivars might grow in vertical spaces and we learned some good lessons but need to do the trial again, to get results.
This is now our fourth year into this trial. Our first season was a great potato season, and our last three were not, so it’s hard to compare the average weights. My feeling at this point is that we have made a huge difference to the quality and size of all cultivars but that we won’t see it until we have another good potato year. The first year we had no psyllids and now we are in the worst area of NZ for psyllid.
So last season 2014 -15 was, once again, not a great potato season for us, we had too many staff changes again, to do full justice to this project, and we also a drought, …….unusual here.
Over all, the potatoes had low average crops compared to the first year, but the average health and evenness of the lines is still getting noticably better. I think if we have a reasonable season this next season we could see huge increases in average yields because the lines are now far more even because they have had (most of them) 4 years of being heavily rogued for viruses and beingh selected for seed from the healthiest heaviest croppers.
We have really struggled over the past two years to keep the trial going because of a lack of resources.. we have done our best however and we have definalt made progress. We have Kirsten, Melissa and Michael currently working full time on getting our website all sorted before the next catalogue comes out and we are going to make a big effort to get this trial sponsored fully this 2015 – 16 season. I’m going to take responsibility for the trial myself, because I’m going to be freed up from other tasks and because I believe it is so important!
Many many home gardebners I talk to these days have given up growing potatoes.. either they can’t deal with the psyllid or they don’t crop well enough. This trial is so badly needed to bring the health back and some growing methods back that make potato growing accessible for ordinary organic home gardeners again.
As per usual we will get a soil test done before we begin, Environmental fertlsers will as usual, sponsor the trial by interpreting the soil test then supplying us with the recommended fertiliser regime.
So this will be year 5 of our research project whose aim is to clean up our heritage potatoes, using the principles of epigenetics (environment determines genetic expression), hoping that we will end up down the track with potatoes that yield far better crops and are far stronger and able to resist pests and diseases.
Vertical Spaces Trial
The vertical trial showed us that if you want to be able to grow potatoes in vertical spaces, it is critical when they are hilled up. They must be hille duop as the plants grow, not once they have grown and matured their stems. While the stems are still fresh and young they can hadle compost hay etc being poiled uop around the them to take them higher and higher, but if the stems have matured they will just rot if hilled up again and again. Once again next season we will be onto it.. this also is a critical researach area that cold make a huge difference to urban gardeners.
The potatoes we sell through the back orders on our website are grown by Catherine and Joseph Land in the Hokianga and they also have a very strict selection and rogueing process and after many years of growing these potatoes their seed lines are known for their strength. As we find good lines in our trials at Koanga we send them seed and they integrate them into the lines they sell for seed.
Sponsors will get first choice of any seed potatoes coming available through the trial and Members will come after that.
If you would like to sponsor a spud for the 2015-16 season do so here.
The best time to plant potatoes is between mid August and mid September to avoid the psyllid.
See how the Lands grow our seed potatoes (they have no psyllid where they are)