For main-crop varieties it is very rarely one finds a greater distance than 2 ft. or 2 1/2 ft. between the rows, and from 12 to 15 in. between the sets in the rows. Still less space is allotted for early varieties, the general impression being that less is required. Indeed, in Jersey the early Potatoes grown under glass are planted about 9 in. apart in rows 12 to 15 in. asunder, and that very often in soil from which a crop of Tomatoes has only just been cleared. A moment's consideration will be sufficient to show that close planting results not only in poorer crops, but involves greater initial expense for seed and labour, and is very likely to result in a heavy loss through disease. From experiments carried out by the writer in various parts of Middlesex it seems to be conclusively proved by the figures given below that the wider planting of both early and late varieties will yield larger and finer crops, fewer chats, and less disease, in addition to which there will be a considerable saving in the purchase of seed and in the necessary labour of cultivation. The following figures show the difference between allowing a fair amount of space for the plants to grow, and overcrowding: -

Table showing Results of Planting Potatoes at Various Distances apart. Soil Trenched

2 1/2 to 3 ft. Deep. No Manures except Vegetable Refuse.

Gross Yield per acre in tons.

24A

17ft

18 6/10

20 4/10

16 5/10

17 8/10

10

9 1/10

Average

Weight of

Tubers.

3 oz.

24

3 5/10 oz.

2 9/10 ,,

2 oz.

1 1/3 ,,

Average

Number of Tubers to a Set.

45 1/2

25 1/2

34 4/5

22 4/5

38

26

Lowest

Number of Tubers to a Set.

25

9

18

11

24

11

Greatest

Number of Tubers to a Set.

88

53

64

47

53

53

Average

Yield per

Set.

6 3/10 lb.

2 1/10 ,,

8 7/10 lb.

4 6/10

7 7/10 lb.

3 8/10 ,,

4 7/10 lb.

2 „

Cost of Sets per acre at 38. per cwt.

1, 15s. 3d.

4, 1s. 5d.

1, 4s.

2, l1s.

1, 4s.

2, l1s.

1, 4s.

2, l1s.

Weight of

Sets per acre.

11 cwt. 3 qr.

27 „ 16 1b.

8 cwt.

17 ,,

8 cwt.

17 „

8 cwt.

17 „

Number of Sets per acre.

8,800

17,920

4,840

10,240

4,840

10,240

4,840

10,240

Distance Apart.

Sets.

1 1/2 ft

1 ,,

3 ft.

2 „

3 ft.

2 „

3 ft.

2 „

Rows.

3 ft.

2 „

3 ft.

2 „

3 ft.

2 „

3 ft.

2 „

Variety.

I. British Queen

1a. ,, ,, ......

II. Early Puritan

11a ,, ,, ...

III. Duchess of Cornwall

111a. „ „

IV. Myatt's Ashleaf......

IVa. „ „ ......

These experiments are interesting, as they show conspicuously the absurdity of the popular fallacy that one is "wasting ground" by giving Potatoes sufficient space to grow. In No. I, "British Queen" Experiment, it is obvious that at 3 ft. apart not only did the seed cost 2, 6s. 2d. per acre less, but there was a gain of over 7 tons to the acre against the Potatoes at 2 ft. apart. This at 3 per ton would represent another 21. If there was any truth in the statement that it is "wasting ground" to give so much space, it is obvious that at 2 ft. by 1 ft. apart the 17,920 sets should have given at least twice as great a yield (i.e. over 49 tons per acre) as the 8800 sets. But they actually gave over 7 tons less - representing a great loss. Again, for every set planted at 3 ft. by 1 1/2 ft. apart the average yield was well over 6 lb. per set, while at 2 ft. by 1 ft. the average was just over 2 lb. per set.

The " Early Puritan" Experiment II again shows that there is nothing gained by planting too close together. Although the 17 cwt. of seed produced 20 2/5 tons to the acre, the average yield per set from the 2-ft.-by-2-ft. rows was only 4 6/10 lb., against 8 7/10 lb. from the 3-ft.-by-3-ft. rows; and the average weight of the individual tubers was greater in the rows farther apart. Another important point in this experiment was that in the 3-ft.-by-3-ft. rows the average number of tubers to each plant was 45 1/2 against 25 1/2 from the 2-ft.-by-2-ft. rows. There was a larger quantity of "chats" amongst the tubers from the 2-ft.-by-2-ft. rows, so that the extra yield of 14 tons to the acre was swallowed up by inferior produce, and signs of disease that were absent from the 3-ft.-by-3-ft. rows.

In Experiment III, with the variety "Duchess of Cornwall", precisely the same result is shown as in the others. The extra yield of 1 3/10 tons in the 2-ft.-by-2-ft, rows was again spoiled by the number of chats. The average number of tubers per set in the 3-ft.-by-3-ft. rows was 34 4/5 against 224 in the rows 2 ft. by 2 ft.

In Experiment IV with the early variety, "Myatt's Ashleaf", it will be noticed that there is a big drop in the yield per acre, and also in the average weight of the tubers in comparison with the mid-season and late varieties. Still, even at 3 ft. apart every way, there was a better result than with the rows and sets 2 ft. apart.