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looks like my potatoes may start to flower?!?

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looks like my potatoes may start to flower?!?

Post  dmpower on 5/19/2010, 5:48 pm

I was just adding my 4th layer to my potatoes and while placing the straw around them, noticed that they look like they are ready to start flowering. This is my first season planting potatoes and this seems a little early! I only started them a month ago.

Should I just let them go? Should I pinch them back because it is too early? I really wasn't expecting this - help!

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Just Do What Barney Says!

Post  SirTravers on 5/19/2010, 7:09 pm

Nip it in the Bud!!! rofl
If you nip the flowers off the plants will grow longer. Just let them keep going until the stalks brown out at the end of the season. Also if you get any seed pods throw them away as they are poisonous and icky... I know I know...but I still have kids so it's a normal word hehe.

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Re: looks like my potatoes may start to flower?!?

Post  Megan on 5/19/2010, 7:34 pm

Ah hah... I did NOT know to nip off potato flowers. Thanks!! Mine aren't there yet (still filling my box) but looking very vigorous. Yay potatoes! (Now I just have to figure out where to score some straw.)

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Re: looks like my potatoes may start to flower?!?

Post  Chopper on 5/19/2010, 10:57 pm

Don't know if you have a lawn, Megan, but I use my dried grass clippings in lieu of straw. Also, if there is a feed store near you, you should be able to get straw there - but get STRAW not HAY because straw will not have seeds and hay most certainly will.

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Re: looks like my potatoes may start to flower?!?

Post  Megan on 5/19/2010, 10:59 pm

No lawn worth speaking of, now the SFGs are in place! lol.... I'll check the feed store, thanks Chopper.

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Re: looks like my potatoes may start to flower?!?

Post  jenjehle on 5/19/2010, 11:26 pm

I am new to planting potatoes... can I jump in with a question????

Thank you!!!

My potatoes are planted in 20 gallon tubs with compost in the bottom with many layers of straw. I kept covering up the greens with straw but now they are sprouting up above the top of the tubs and I can no longer cover them up. Is there anything else I need to do with them (other than nip off the flowers when they bloom) or should I just leave them alone to just grow??

I appreciate any help in this area Smile

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Re: looks like my potatoes may start to flower?!?

Post  Retired Member 1 on 5/20/2010, 5:16 pm

Just leave them alone. Mother Nature will take over from here.

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Re: looks like my potatoes may start to flower?!?

Post  Megan on 5/20/2010, 6:38 pm

I scored some free straw! Went to the local feed store and asked if there were any torn bags or spoiled straw. They pointed me at an open tractor trailer and said "got any bags?" I just happened to have some lawn & leaf bags in the car. cheers The trailer was almost empty of bales and there were huge drifts of loose straw all over the place.

So, my potato bed is full now! I put a bunch of straw in and then an inch or two of mix across the top. Except for what I spilled and a few pieces sticking out, you can't tell there is straw in there.

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Re: looks like my potatoes may start to flower?!?

Post  dmpower on 5/21/2010, 10:42 am

@SirTravers wrote:Nip it in the Bud!!! rofl
If you nip the flowers off the plants will grow longer. Just let them keep going until the stalks brown out at the end of the season. Also if you get any seed pods throw them away as they are poisonous and icky... I know I know...but I still have kids so it's a normal word hehe.

Thanks so much!! The potatoes are now nipped.

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Dumb question

Post  jenjehle on 5/21/2010, 3:02 pm

I have, what may seem like, a dumb question.


Do the potatoes grow in the bottom near the roots or do they grow along and up the stem? So when I go to harvest them after the stems turn brown, will the potatoes be in the straw or in the dirt in the bottom?

Thanks Smile

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Re: looks like my potatoes may start to flower?!?

Post  Wyldflower on 5/21/2010, 3:29 pm

Simple answer is "YES"

The potatoes will grow along the roots... and the little hairs on the stems will send off roots as they get covered, so they will develop tubers as well. Smile

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How wet is too wet?

Post  jenjehle on 6/21/2010, 6:04 pm

My straw potatoes in 20 gallon tubs have been subjected to some serious rain the past month. Most of the time, it would rain soon after a previous rain, without time in between for the straw to dry out.

Now my straw, and everything in the tub, seems soggy. I didn't dig all the way down to the bottom but when I checked 6-8 inches down, it was pretty goopy. There are many holes drilled in the bottom of the tubs and we put a couple boards under the tubs so they are not sitting in wet grass absorbing more liquid.

Any thoughts about this? Should I throw something over the tubs to shield them from more rain for now? Should I remove some of the straw and add dry straw? Should I dump them and forget the whole thing until next year and try again?

I'd love any advice you have.

Here is a picture of my potatoes but it's pretty early in the season. They don't look this great now. They look more beaten up and a little discolored.


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Re: looks like my potatoes may start to flower?!?

Post  Gremlynn on 10/22/2012, 1:45 pm

@Chopper wrote:Don't know if you have a lawn, Megan, but I use my dried grass clippings in lieu of straw. Also, if there is a feed store near you, you should be able to get straw there - but get STRAW not HAY because straw will not have seeds and hay most certainly will.

Sometimes straw does have seeds. I got some straw for my rabbit and some if it fell on the ground and into my box that I have grass (trying) to grow, and the grass is only about an inch and a half. It has been growing for 4-5 months. (any ideas on making it do better?) The seeds from the wheat straw grew (about a month now) and are a good 5-6 inches tall. Just giving my experience. Smile

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Re: looks like my potatoes may start to flower?!?

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 10/22/2012, 10:38 pm

Gremlynn, I agree with you. We used straw on one of the old long beds two years ago, and we have wheat growing here and there. Have to admit, I let it grow and pick the mature wheat grains to teach the grandkids about where their bread comes from. Then I put the grain out for the Stellar Jays who love it almost as much as popcorn. Nonna

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Re: looks like my potatoes may start to flower?!?

Post  Goosegirl on 10/23/2012, 8:45 am

First year I used straw as a mulch (pre-SFG) I had wheat growing between all my plants. Personally, I thought it was pretty cool and let several of the stalks stay and grow! I only pulled up the stuff that was going to shade or crowd my garden. Everything then got layered with my scraps for sheet composting.

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Re: looks like my potatoes may start to flower?!?

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