Potato flowers

My potato plants are really healthy this year, but no flowers are appearing on the first or second earlies, although they are coming on the main crop. Talking to an 'old hand' down at the allotments, he reckons that plants with no flowers are better, and he takes any flowers off his as soon as they appear, as he claims that it puts more energy into producing the crop. Does anybody know if this is true, or just an 'old wives tale' ?

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  • Hi, Roger...welcome to the forum.

    Old wives tale? Not really, it's theoretically true. However, for me it's a waste of time & effort, given the difference it makes. It also has to be said that certain varieties don't produce flowers anyway. 

  • Steve 309Steve 309 Posts: 2,754

    Commercial growers dont take off the flowers (think of the labour) so they can't be that harmful. 

  • RogerB2RogerB2 Posts: 9

    Many thanks for both responses.

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,115

    The flowers are mainly useful because they indicate that the new potatoes are big enough to eat.  No reason to take them off.

    Sometimes old codgers pull young'uns legs!

  • Steve 309Steve 309 Posts: 2,754

    I think it's probably true that energy that the plant puts into making flowers and fruit would be better directed to making new tubers.  Whether the difference is worth diligently breaking off all the flowers is another matter,

    OH has discovered some sprouting spuds in the cupboard.  Is it too late to plant them?

  • Perhaps it would be worth mentioning here, that once potatoes have flowered they set seed in the form of little green balls.    These are potato fruits and they contain solanin which is very poisonous......so be careful and remove them if you have young children.  

     

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,641

    Good point David - particularly because the fruits look so like tomatoes that children may think that's what they are. 

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • KEFKEF Posts: 8,915

    I have two lots of 1st earlies Pentland Javelin & Vales Emerald . PJ not flowering VE are but as soon as weather dries a bit I'm emptying a sack of each and expect them to be ready, planted on 10/3.

    2nd earlies Charlotte have grown much more leaf but need leaving a few more weeks.

    I usually harvest when leaves start to yellow regardless of any flowers image

  • No expertNo expert Posts: 415

    No flowers on my Sharpes Express or Homeguard, Flowers appearing on British queens. Bit of a lottery.

  • AshdaleAshdale Posts: 149

    Steve I planted some potatoes later than this Last year.  They were just potatoes from the fridge that were a bit soft for cooking and I planted some in pots and shoved some in the ground with no real hope they would produce.  But they did ... Abundantly.  And I had home grown potatoes into December.  Anyone managed to eat their own homegrown on Xmas day?  I'm giving it a try this year.

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