I have been reading a bit about planting potatoes recently and while disease resistance is very important it seems that mostly this is more important to the commercial growers. The 'Late' or 'Main' crops are more likley to become diseased because they are in the ground longer, but they do give a bigger crop. The home grower can plant early crops which are in the ground for less time and so will have less time to become diseased but will have a smaller crop per plant.
The home grower usually dosn't want to harvest all the plants at the one time where the commercial grower needs to, this means that you can either let them grow a bit longer before you harvest the next plant, or plant them in staggered stages, ie one a week.
Of course there is probably more to it and all of this might be nonsense, I am only learning I'll be finding out when the local garden center has their Potato day
(i can drive for miles and miles up here in the north and see nothing but grazing land. unless the edible crops are all hidden away somewhere, it seems there aren't too many folks growing any crop up north other than grass. )
You are probably driving past lots of crops without realising it. A spud plant isnt going to stand out as much as a big black and white beastie from the other side of a 10ft hedge as you whizz past. Most crops are pretty dull to look at (with the exception of Rape seed) and don't even exist for most of the year.
Also remember that most crops don't do too well close to the coast and since a lot of the drives in the North (starting from where I live anyway) are coastal then you may not be driving in the right places. I'll lend you my SAT Nav, set it for Armagh city and I'm pretty sure you'll see lots of crops from the little lanes it'll take you up and down.
You are certainly right though that there are huge amounts of land given over to growing grass for Cows and Sheep, althtough with the growing trend of zero grazing milk production we are likely to see less and less of the big black and white beasties as they are moved indoors for more and more of the year, then the fields will just be used to grow the grass to feed the cows manually.
Jim, well I admit I haven't been deliberately seeking out the crops, just observing when travelling from A to B (generally inland journeys though). The general observation however, re the very low level of growing anything other than grass, I think is broadly correct.
See attached for the figures for NI. I'd say this is over 90% grass.
The figures for the Republic are equally disappointing
Republic of Ireland: Land area, arable and pastoral areas. Agricultural land is approximately 61 percent of the total land mass of the Republic. This is predominantly in grassland with over 90 percent of the agricultural area consisting of pasture, grass silage or hay, and rough grazing
that is a big difference, at least between England and here, not so much Scotland. I wonder why there is such a difference, the English and Irish diets are pretty similar so I doubt it would be that. The only things it could be would be land quality, financial/business reasons, or of course Government interferance. To be honest I don't know enough about it to form a reliable idea but it will be a combination of the three.
One thing that springs to mind is how 'crops' are sold, things like carrots, brocolli, cauliflower etc, most people are buying them from the big supermarkets, who in turn tend to buy from huge farms that grow noting but the one crop that is sold almost exclusivley to one of the big supermarket chains. Farms like this don't exist over here as far as I know so few farmers get to sell their crop to the supermarkets and so they have to sell through local shops, smaller chains, and market stalls etc.
On a slightly different subject I have always thought that there is a big business to be had if you were to have a website that would allow local people to buy local produce by mail order. Kinda like crowdsourcing for veggies. I think the only way for us to break the strangle hold of the big supermarkets is to buy local and direct where possible, but it is a pain to do and more expensive as well in a lot of cases.
jim, that's a brilliant idea about the website service.
now....that leads me onto a related matter. you know something about websites and so does our newest member dermott100. on the other hand i know almost zero about websites, as evidenced by the extermely primordial soupish solarco-op.net website that i crudely knocked up in MS Word and then saved as html files.
would you be up for the two of you collaborating on knocking up a new spiffy website?
if you were, perhaps we could find some way of combining this with your brilliant idea and add an area where we could bring local anti-supermarket folks together with local farmers.
Yes I'd be up for having a go at putting a new website together, with the following proviso, that you don't expect too much. I may know a bit about websites and stuff ( I should do, I own enough of them) but nothing I do would be termed as fancy. I look at a website as something I have to use as a tool so it will be functional and easy to maintain. When it comes to getting something that looks good I tend to fail and I am quickly coming to the decision that I should pay to get that fancy stuff done. Life is too short to learn all that stuff and then spend time trying to to it.
Assuming that I am working on a 'Budget Limited' project I could come up with a pretty. functional site but without any bells or whistles.
If however Dermott100 is an expert then that would be great. Dermott100 if your interested in doing this then drop me a line and we can have a chat.
The second part of the question, about putting together a 'dating' site for farmers and customers is a really interesting project but again there are a few issues with something like this, for example;
1/ We may be reinventing the wheel, check out this site www.sustaination.co.uk/ I haven't read it in depth yet, It's not really what I had in mind but it's not far off. 2/ To do something like this properly will either take lots of time or lots of money - I have neither in any quantity 3/ Thought would have to be given to the setup of something like this, would it be set up as a charity, co-op, business (sole trader, Partnership, limited company), there would be the potential of making profit on this type of thing. I for one wouldn't be comfortable starting into something that could make/cost money without knowing exactly what way it is too work. 4/ Probably lots of other things I haven't thought off yet
Even though that might all sound a bit negative its not meant to be, just me doing a bit of 'brain storming'. I'd love to have a bash at this so if we think its a good idea we should have a go at it.
Here's some ocas grown from seed tubers kindly posted to me by tphase.
i have some growing in a raised bed, but have also tried growing in small pots and bags. one is meant to harvest these only when the plant dies, which i understand is later november through to december. once the foliage dies off the plant starts to grow the tubers.
these were planted later than i should have and weren't really in a great spot
the square pot in the foreground seems to have lost its leaves so i'll harvest that first. i'm keen to see what success i have with these. the year was a washout for the apples, and the wet summer was perfect for a slug festival. the slugs demolished our runner beans, but i'm hoping the ocas have survived - these are meant to be very pest resistant.