March part 2
progressing nicely, out of 147 cutting tubers planted all but three are
actively growing with only a handful not yet having broken the surface
of the compost. The adult tubers are a bit slower, albeit that some were
pipped before planting, but all are throwing up basal shoots and will
need to be potted on in the next few days (not a lot of top growth but
they now have a root system ready to be moved into a soil based
compost). At this time of the year I am happy to encourage the plant to
grow root rather than top growth.
always an interesting time of the year for me as a lot is happening but
can easily go unseen. For those of you that started your tubers in
plastic pots, I am sure by now you will see signs that some of the pots
are starting to become distorted as the tuber within increases in size.
You may also find that your plants have two different periods of growth.
During a period of approximately 4 - 6 days they will predominantly
produce top growth and less bottom growth (root) and the following 4 - 6
days that order will be reversed. On occasion a grower will comment on
how their plants have just sat still during a particular period but,
unknown to them they have in fact put their energy into producing root
(obviously the top growth is the one that is more apparent). Watering at
this time can be an issue and the plants should be checked on a daily
basis and watered if required.
I have now started to mix my soil based compost in readiness for second
potting and had a play about with a number of 1 litre pots multi tubers
in larger pots. Just as I thought the maximum that will go into a 7.5
litre pot is three and even that is at a push.
Phil Champion I acquired two plants which I will grow on as pot plants.
These were started a few weeks earlier than mine and being more advanced
I should be able to use them as “control specimens”. Both have their
basal shoots forward facing, one with two basal shoots and the other
three (two at the rear and one at the front). At this juncture I should
also say that the one with three basal shoots is a cutting tuber. In
addition, I will identify a number of my own adult/cutting tubers which
I will also grow as pot plants.
Let us look
at the plant with three basal shoots in more detail. If I were to stop
(remove the growing point) the front basal shoot above the second or
third leaf how would the plant react? If it was a plant with a single
basal shoot then by stopping it, we would force the plant to divert all
of its energy into the production of side shoots. Would that still be
the case with a plant that has two additional basal shoots or would it
purely concentrate the majority of its efforts on growing the remaining
two basal shoots. By doing this it would ultimately lead to flower
production by the quickest route (its goal). If by stopping the front
basal shoot I am successful in my attempt to cause the plant to produce
side shoots on that basal earlier than normal then all going well, it
should go on to produce side shoots on those side shoots. When flowering
it may produce a plant which could carry its blooms in a tiered effect
using the produce of the front basal shoot as the lower tier of flowers
and the produce of the two rear basal shoots forming the upper tier of
flowers. I can hear the response already “Definitely No”.
plant does not play ball then I will have to activate plan B.