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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let me preface this by saying that I have grown potatoes before, just never this many. It's always been easy with no surprises lol...

I planted a 6x4' box of 3 different types of potatoes. I know I overcrowded them.
They grew into a beautiful, bushy forest of potato foliage.

After a certain point, however, they started falling over and growing sideways.
: I honestly don't know if something fell on them -- one afternoon there was suddenly a huge flat spot in the middle of the patch, with the plants on the edges still upright. Or if they just collapsed under their own weight.

I was worried that the bent plants might die, but they didn't -- they just started growing vertical again from the tips, so now at a 90 degree angle.

Eventually, probably due to overcrowding, the whole patch escaped the box. The plants went pretty much vertical from their base, to about 2' outside the box, then vertical from there for another good 2-3'.

I was just having a good look at them, culling some broken and dying and rotting vines (trying to figure out if there's some blight or some other cause), and I was just noticing how enormous some of the plants have gotten. They're trying to invade and are surrounding the neighbouring box. Taking into account the horizontal and vertical growth, some are 4-5' long.

My potato plants in the past have always pretty much just grown straight up, and they certainly never reached 4'! I'd also never have considered them 'vines' but these plants do resemble vines more than bushes.

Is this an effect of overcrowding? Is it unusual?
 

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Could the flat spot been caused by a cat laying on them or something? Seems like it might be a comfy place for a nap!
I find that the vines will get pretty long if they are well fed. Did you add some extra compost to your soil this year, or grow a new variety? The Russian Blue potato plants we grow really sprawl.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It was way too big a patch to be just the cat. We actually wondered if the neighbour's dog fell into the plants lol... DH has seen one of our cats nap-crushing some of our tall flower plants, though, so he still thinks it's a possibility.

As for compost, in fact I'm growing the potatoes in 100% compost!

They are new varieties for me. It's been years since I had a garden (and then it was just a very small one), I either just used leftover potatoes from the store that had sprouted, or one time I did get russet seed potatoes. This year I got organic seed potatoes from a local farm, in Norland, Onaway, and Kennebec varieties.

I guess the compost could be the reason for the incredible growth. They're overcrowded, in fact, because every single potato chunk I planted grew at least 2, sometimes 3 plants from it. Like, every single eye produced a plant. I wasn't expecting that high a ratio heh...

I know better for next year and won't crowd them so much.

Next task, figuring out if the yellowing and rotting plants are blighted, or just damaged from being bent, or just overcrowded and damp and sunstarved, or what...
 
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