Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Potato Problem - Opportunity

Allotment Growing - Rogue Potatoes
Allotment Growing - Rogue Potatoes

A common problem on allotments is "rogue" potatoes popping up in unwanted places.

I rotate crops around my plot on a four year cycle  - to prevent the build up of pests and to improve soil fertility. So my potatoes move to a different bed each year. I grow peas and beans in the space previously occupied.

But when harvesting it is just about impossible to dig out every single spud - a few are always left in the ground. These then continue to sprout underground and pop up shoots in their old bed the following Spring - and sometimes for a year or two after that.

In the past I've always treated these like weeds and dug them out - but this Spring I've tried a fresh and more productive approach.

I've continued to dig up the rogue spuds - but have then transplanted them to this year's potato bed. They may or may not grow on - but if they do they will add to this year's crop - and for free!

This year I only planted three rows instead of the usual six - I've had potato blight for the last three seasons and decided to focus solely on first earlies. These will - hopefully - be harvested before blight strikes again. The additional space in the bed is now in productive use with these "extras" - and any crop will be a bonus.


  1. Good luck with the spuds, Steve - I remember 'earthing up' my potato rows in the garden of our first house in Windsor in 1977 - then the potatoes broke through - so I earthed up some more - and so it went on - eventually the spuds gave up.

    1. Thanks Rob - looking like a good crop this year!