Growing potatoes under black weed control fabric

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mumofstig

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Growing potatoes under black weed control fabric
« on: January 02, 2014, 08:59 »
does this work? Or do you get a lot of green ones where some light still gets through?

I have some extra beds to play with this year, and was thinking of growing some main crop (don't usually have the room) but need them to stay tidy cos they are near the gate - so will be seen by all  ::)

Any disadvantages you can think of ?
Lesley x
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New shoot

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Re: Growing potatoes under black weed control fabric
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2014, 09:05 »
I did this a while ago now when we took on our second larger section of plot, as it was a mass of weeds that took time to clear. 

You do get a few green ones right on the surface, but not many.  Its a good enough crop to justify the investment in a few seed spuds, thats for sure  :)

Squash work really well done this way as well - not that you need any encouragement to grow squash of course  ;)  :D

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mumofstig

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Re: Growing potatoes under black weed control fabric
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2014, 09:17 »
Ok! Next question...... how deep did you plant them?

and yes..........I'd already decided to plant the other one of the 10ft x 10ft beds up with squashes  ;)

The extra space is great, but don't want tooooo much extra work, as there's the school garden to work on as well!

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New shoot

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Re: Growing potatoes under black weed control fabric
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2014, 09:27 »
Usual depth but I did make a slight mound over them before covering.  I chucked spadefuls of soil into the furrows to keep the fabric weighed down.  Any weeds that root into this are easily pulled out  :)

The fabric really does cut the workload down and lasts a few years.  I used to move it round the plot each season until it went to shreds.  The plot was pretty free of perennial weed by this stage, so I could get away without using it  :)

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mumofstig

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Re: Growing potatoes under black weed control fabric
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2014, 09:49 »
Thank you  :)

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bravemurphy

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Re: Growing potatoes under black weed control fabric
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2014, 10:13 »
I have done this in the past, it worked well however the biggest problem were the slugs.

It makes a great cosy place for them under there and nice spuds for breakfast dinner and tea for them  :)

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Nobbie

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Re: Growing potatoes under black weed control fabric
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2014, 10:33 »
Maybe try a variety like Desiree which is more resistant to slug damage?

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BabbyAnn

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Re: Growing potatoes under black weed control fabric
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2014, 13:15 »
I have tried growing potatoes under black weed suppressant material - it was a bit of a mixed result.

1) we had had a very warm and dry spring soon after I'd  planted up, and when trying to water the bed, most of it washed away rather than soaked into the material (perforated plastic)  I got round this by applying a layer of compost on top of the material which helped water to soak through, and also helped to keep light levels down so most surface potatoes did not green up.  After digging up the potatoes, the used compost was then dug into the soil for later crops

2) unfortunately, during the early growing season the soil never really got properly moist - partly my fault, but also the weather. Yields were low that year, and ants had moved their nests under the sheet which made for some interesting harvesting (no, you couldn't furtle without getting a bite or two LOL).  The potatoes were unaffected, and in some ways, I do wonder if the ants had prevented slugs from moving in?

3) the maincrop however, (that year I had decided to grow King Edwards) was a disaster - dry spring/early summer turned to a wet late summer and the entire crop was completely slugged.  Put me off growing King Edwards forever after that and I think I wouldn't grow a main crop under cover

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snowdrops

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Re: Growing potatoes under black weed control fabric
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2014, 18:02 »
What about a mulch over the soil before putting on the membrane,say straw. As for watering I agree it tends to run off so for the last 2 years when I have grown squash this way I have put cut off bottles next to the plants to water direct to the roots,I actually always do that for squashes,runners & 1 bottle per 4 sweet corn. Works really well,less evaporation if it's really hot too.oh & you could sprinkle slug pellets under the membrane.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2014, 18:03 by snowdrops »
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Ema

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Re: Growing potatoes under black weed control fabric
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2014, 23:18 »
Last year I put a layer of cardboard down stuck my spuds in as far as the bulb planter would go, then put a thick layer of straw down followed by weed membrane. 1 thing I found irritating was that the spud leaves sprout out all over the place so I had to cut extra holes in the fabric.
I had a few green ones, some extra cardboard or news paper on top of the straw would have helped. I used this method because I was too exhausted to keep digging and weeding ground that hasn't been used for a few years and really needed to get the spuds in.

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New shoot

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Re: Growing potatoes under black weed control fabric
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2014, 06:59 »
My plot is fairly heavy clay soil, so I grow slug resistant spuds.  I didn't notice any particular extra problems by using the weed control fabric.

I used the thinner more fabric like weed control sheet, rather than the heavier plastic type one.  That does tend to let water through more easily, but I did sink flowerpots in next to the squashes to water into.  The spuds fended for themselves  :)

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BabbyAnn

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Re: Growing potatoes under black weed control fabric
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2014, 09:02 »
One thing I forgot to mention - the black plastic weed suppressant sheeting (very lightweight - more like black bin liner plastic but it had multiple perforations) warmed the soil up nicely.  I can remember that it had snowed (& thawed) the day before I laid it down over the freshly dug over earth - warm early spring sunshine later when I was making holes through it, the soil underneath was lovely and warm  :D



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