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William Whitson

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since Oct 26, 2013
Washington coast
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Recent posts by William Whitson

Logs certainly level more easily than blocks, but as long as the beds aren't really long, it isn't too hard to level them.  If you plan to make a lot, you can have somebody come in and level with a tractor bucket.  If it is just a few, I find that a grub hoe is the best tool for the job.

More about my experience with block beds here:
https://www.cultivariable.com/how-i-build-raised-beds/
Artificial light is generally not sufficient to increase glycoalkaloid content in tubers.  The sprouts can have very high glycoalkaloid content, but the tubers are still safe as long as the sprouts are removed.  There are actually a lot of factors that contribute to glycoalkaloid intensification, including long storage and storage at warmer temperatures, so potatoes do tend to become more toxic over time, even if kept out of sunlight.  You should be able to taste bitterness in tubers that have become unsafe to eat.  The safety limit for glycoalkaloids is 20mg / 100 g of tuber and most people perceive bitterness starting somewhere between 10 and 13 mg /100 g, so you would be likely to notice before the potatoes become dangerous.  Of course, some people are insensitive to bitter flavors, but you would probably know if that is the case for you.
2 months ago
I generally cut off the distal end of the tuber and then plant the rest of the tuber in soil in a shallow nursery tray.  Cutting the end off breaks apical dominance so that the remaining eyes will sprout.  You can jam the tray full of as many tubers as you can fit.  When the sprouts start to emerge, you just detach them from the tuber and you will have a small plant that has already rooted.  The tuber will keep sending up sprouts as long as it has eyes that haven't sprouted yet.  You can easily get a couple hundred sprouts from a packed tray.
2 months ago
Potato stems will root very easily as long as you take them before flowering/tuber induction.  You will get a single stemmed plant that will have a smaller yield than a multi-stemmed plant started from a tuber.
8 months ago
Solanaceae are really vulnerable to broad leaf herbicides.  Around here, it is nearly impossible to find manure, compost, or straw that is not herbicide contaminated.  I don't bring anything on site anymore unless I can leave it to compost down for three years.
8 months ago
It won't be a problem for long unless you kill that coon or improve your enclosure.  Once they get into poultry, they come back night after night.  So, I'd say job #1 is figure out how to protect your duck.  Finding it some friends is also important, but not as urgent.  Ideally, you would just get a few more ducklings.

Even if another duck takes in your duckling, there is no guarantee that the duckling will not return home to seek you.  We had a sick duckling that stayed inside with our dog for a few days while recovering.  After that, it would go hang out with its siblings, but only while the dog was in sight.  If the dog went away, it would try to find her.
8 months ago
In the tropics, they use diffused light storage for potatoes.  You basically want to keep the insects and rodents away from them, protect them from high temperatures, and keep them in enough light to reduce sprouting when dormancy ends.  Some shelving wrapped in shade cloth, located in a shady spot would be a minimal solution.  Or, if you have a cool room in your house with a window, you could keep them there.  You should have no problems with your seed potatoes being ready to plant.  Potatoes stored in warm temperatures will have only two or three months of dormancy.
8 months ago
Usually, they will produce rounds.  The next year, the rounds will produce full bulbs that flower.
8 months ago

Karl Treen wrote:
Hypothesis #1: Leaves are solar panels. If you bury the solar panels, there is less energy to make the tubers. While you may gain some potatoes growing off the stems, you may lose harvest weight because of the solar energy lost in the process.

Hypothesis #2: A plant can only commit a certain amount of energy to producing tubers. Leaving aside the solar collection issue, it is doubtful that a buried plant will produce more weight in potatoes, unless perhaps it is gaining significant nutrient from the mounded soil or mulch.

Hypothesis #3: The extra human energy, materials, and money spent creating complex potato systems is a total waste unless you need to grow potatoes on a balcony or rooftop and are doing it just for fun.



Those are all pretty strongly supported.  Figure there have been something like 10,000 years of potato cultivation in the Andes and no evidence that they developed extreme hilling or towers or other crazy schemes to get more yield.  Hill enough to keep the leaves in the sunlight and the tubers out of it.
8 months ago