Trans. of the Hort.
Soc. of London, 2: 125-126 (1822)
XXXI. On the beneficial Results of planting Potatoes, which have grown late in the preceding year.
THOMAS ANDREW KNIGHT, Esq. F.R.S. &c. President.
Read April 1814.
|*See page 64 of this
**Vol. i. page 192.
I HAVE described, in the Horticultural Transactions* of the last year, the beneficial result of planting Potatoes, which had grown late, and been imperfectly ripened, in the preceding year. My experience was then confined to one variety, and a single season: I have now seen the effects of the same mode of culture on several varieties; and the advantages have been so great, that I am led to address another paper to the Society upon the same subject. The produce of the different varieties has not only been increased, where the soil and manure have been the same, but the variety itself has, in some instances, changed its character, to an extraordinary extent. One early variety, which had been several years cultivated for my own table only, on account of its small size, now produces as large Potatoes as I wish to raise for my servants' hall; and I find the earliness also of the crop, to some extent, dependent upon the state of the varieties; so that the success of the gardener in raising an early crop of Potatoes, of any variety, may be good or bad, according to the mode of culture, in the preceding year, of the tubers or plants. A variety also, which appears expended and worthless, may be restored, in some cases at least, to its primary vigour and value. I sent to the Horticultural Society, two years ago, two varieties of early Potatoes, which I had recently obtained from seed. Those had been planted, in the two preceding years, in a poor dry soil, and the tubers in consequence only, I imagined, of such culture, had declined from their original size; and to that I concluded they would return in a different soil, and under better culture. But on planting them in my garden, I found that few of the tubers exceeded the size of Cherries, and that the value of both varieties was totally lost. A few tubers of each remained unplanted, and from these, in the end of June, the young shoots were broken off and planted, according to the manner detailed in the Horticultural Transactions of 1810.** The tubers these produced were also planted late in the following summer, and in the last year both varieties had resumed their primary size, which is about ten times as great as that to which they had been reduced. I shall take an opportunity, in the autumn, of sending a few tubers of these varieties, in their restored state, to the society.
New varieties of the Potatoe are so readily obtained from seeds, that the preservation of any one now cultivated is an object deserving little attention; but if the crops throughout the British empire can, with the same expense of manure and culture, be considerably encreased by a mode, which is not attended with any expense, of preparing proper tubers in the preceding year, for planting, the publication of such mode of management in the Transactions of the Horticultural Society may be productive of much national benefit; and I therefore venture again to trespass on their patience respecting a plant, on the culture of which I have already so often addressed them.