When I tipped the cage over, I could see a few small Kipfler potatoes in the bottom, which was encouraging,
but as I started to collect them from amongst the compost and sugar cane mulch, I discovered - much to my horror - dozens of these horrible, fat curl grubs amongst them all.
Needless to say, they were having a fine old time amongst the baby spuds :-(
So, between the 28-spotted ladybirds attacking the leaves, and the curl grubs eating the roots, no wonder my poor spuds all died off! I can't take a trick with 'taters it seems; last year the ones I planted in the ground were also attacked by 28-spotted ladybirds, and then mostly rotted in the ground after really, really wet weather. Sigh.
Anyway, in the end I collected a colander full of teeny tiny Kipflers from the cage, which we will get probably two meals out of. What was encouraging though, was the sheer number of spuds in the cage. Many people growing spuds in cages, tyres or bins don't seem to end up with a very good harvest at the end of the season, but if all the spuds I collected yesterday had grown to full size, I've no doubt we'd have had a bumper harvest from the five tubers I planted out.
So, I'll be interested to see what we get from the second cage, although those spuds aren't growing anywhere near as vigorously as cage #1 did; possibly they are also under attack from the curl grubs? Hurrumph. Despite this though, I will definitely have another go next year, they are certainly an economical use of space in my small garden where space is at a premium. I just need to do some more research on the organic control of curl grubs and leaf-eating ladybirds!