To read the background of this potato trial please click here
The best of the lines we find in these trials are available to all of you via our growers, Joseph and Catherine Land. Next season we hope to add to those lines significantly here at Koanga as well.
Last years (2015/2016) trial helped solidify the trends and information we have been collecting over the past 5 years now!
For me, the stand outs for this year were:
- It has been great being able to amalgamate those lines that were essentially the same. It has meant that we have been able to get to know all of our cultivars a lot better with a lot less confusion
- There is a significant difference in the potatoes between those lines that are pre-European and those that have been bred for commercial production, even early commercial production. The early commercial production lines were bred for (as they are today) short season croppers with small amounts of top growth (far weaker lines). The older lines also appear to need more moisture and more nutrients and also respond accordingly… stronger and more productive and feel far more nutritious!
- It seems very clear to us now that you can easily plant potatoes too early, even if they are covered from the frosts. We have found over 5 years now that our best crops by far were when we planted them in late September, rather than August/early September. We then put drip irrigation on them and also mulched them… they love cool roots
- We have seen over 5 years now that the health and vigor of the potato crops has a big effect on how badly the psyllid affects the plants, or maybe whether they come to suck the sap from those plants. This next season we have the confidence and experience now to decide to do two things only to keep psyllids away:
- Maintain crop health by nutrition. Moisture levels, mulch and planting at the best time, and then;
- Use only a biological pesticide Koanga Balance (made up of microbes only)
- We have also see consistently that some potatoes are far more resistant to varoah than others
- Our commitment this season is to be able to do detailed recording of crop weights and varoah observations so please support us to be able to do this. We can not afford to do it out of other Koanga Institute income which all goes towards maintaining the gardens to save the seeds
- All sponsors this year will receive monthly reports of progress and a packet of ancient aerial seed next April
It takes a lot of energy over 8 months to keep this trial going and for this next season (2016/2017) I’m going to manage the trial myself and I want to be able to have the resources to do a better job of it including weighing the potatoes from every plant again like we did in the beginning.
My feeling is that this may be the last year we will need to ask for sponsorship to keep the trial going. We should be able to make it pay it’s way be selling seed potatoes from the trial after all of this work of improving the vigor and health and production. We will see when we weigh them next year as they are harvested!