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Potato experiment

I'm game for a little experiment. You see, people have left comments telling me to earth up the potato plants. So I looked online to see when (it seems to be when the stems are about 8cm tall, so not quite yet) and something that struck me was an ongoing discussion between earthing up or leaving.

The first row isn't doing so well (only one plant so far), and the second row has five plants. The third row is doing the best, with eight plants. More may come up, it's still early days.

How things are
How things are right now.

So, what I have decided to do is this. Rows one and two will not be earthed up (unless I spot any potato growing too close to the surface, it'll be covered). The third row will be earthed up.
I will repeat this with rows four, five, and six by earthing up the two worst rows and leaving the best. This will mean that utimately, three rows will be earthed up, and three not.
You might be like "wait, you're going to leave your best row of the second planting?". The answer is yes. This is intentional, because I have chosen to leave the two lesser rows of the current set of plants. If I also choose to leave the worst of the second planting, then it is an unfair comparison because there may be other factors that affect whether or not the plants grow well that has nothing to do with the earthing up (or lack of it). For example, mole activity.

If there is supposedly no difference, then I should expect to see approximately the same results regardless of whether or not the plants were earthed up. This, actually, I do not entirely believe. I understand that earthing up allows the formation of more tubers on the covered stems, so the earthed up plants ought to produce more.
On the other hand, perhaps if they are making more potatoes, perhaps the overall size of them will be smaller?

I think this could be quite an interesting experiment.


Full Super Moon

I woke up just before half five this morning because I was thirsty. So I grabbed two little cartons of multifruit juice and sat outside to enjoy the totality of the full "super" Moon.
Luna glowing bright
Luna glowing bright.

Yup, it was certainly a bright Moon. I could easily read what it said on my juice container (black text on green).
But that's not such an interesting picture, so try this one...

Shining bright as day!
Shining bright as day!

Well, that's an itty bitty fib. It's not daytime. What you see is a long exposure. Still, it's like a daytime shot, until you notice the stars.


ESP32-CAM silliness

I'm sitting up around the unnamed bit of land (near the potato patch) because it's slightly sheltered from the sun and out of the wind. I'm expecting a delivery from Colis Privé that Amazon promises will be here "before 8pm". I don't for one moment believe that given that Colis Privé seem to be having some fundamental issues with their server. You can't track parcels, and the box where you would now reports "Secure Connection Failed".
I first wrote "they have fifty nine minutes", but then I wrote the stuff below and then watered the plants, and guess what... it's gone eight.
And Amazon says it'll arrive today before 10pm! Sorry guys, I'm going to grab a sandwich and hot chocolate and go to bed.

Anyway, I set up the ESP32-CAM to peek around the side of the house so I can see if the van had pulled up (should I have heard anything).

A hidden camera
A hidden camera.

When it works, it works quite well.

Who's that twat? Get orf me lawn!

It's fairly well hidden, despite being a big white battery pack.

Yes, it is in the photo
Yes, it is in the photo.

There's only one problem. It seems rather crash-prone, where it seems the server doesn't return any data, or reply at all. I'm wondering if the battery has trouble with the erratic power consumption, or if the battery fails to keep track of the device being connected, and simply switches itself off. I can imagine when it is quiescent, the ESP32 may well not consume much power.


Writing and CD ripping

As I said above, I'm sitting up near the potato patch. Having to do all of this on 4G with my phone acting as a hotspot as I'm out of WiFi range. I ought to get a repeater so I can get WiFi around outside... but it would need to be one that can cope with weather. As is, being rained on, being in sunlight, being -10°C on crap winter days... does such a thing exist in the domestic arena?

Writing this rubbish
Writing this rubbish.

As you can see, my third CD has arrived, so I have them all, for the price of about two and a half months of subscribing to Music Unlimited (half of that being postage)... plus these are forever mine, they won't cease to exist if I unsubscribe...
I've ripped them to MP3 (320kbit) and copied them to my phone so I can listen when I like. My CD player, that you can see in the photo, is ancient and capricious. It played Arrows (the middle album) without problem. It would play the self-titled first album if you coaxed it a little and asked nicely. It absolutely refused to touch In This Moment (the third album).
My PC had no such hangups so it encoded all of the files to a shared folder, and I plucked them across the network, then used VNC to shut the PC down afterwards. ☺


Okay, it's starting to get chilly. So time to pack up and go in. Dinner and Netflix. Well, that's the theory. In practice it's usually more "fart about, realise it's bedtime, eat something in less than five minutes, then bed".



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David Pilling, 29th April 2021, 12:38
Gardeners are great ones for tradition and passing on ways of doing things - they're not always right. So good luck with the experiment. Probly the stuff about green potatoes is also a myth. 
Rob, 1st May 2021, 19:42
Many of the batter battery packs do indeed shut themselves down when there is too little juice being consumed. I'm not sure what the answer is... a suitably sized resistor across the power rails of a USB plug consuming just enough current to keep it alive perhaps?
David Pilling, 3rd May 2021, 01:41
... yes, a suitable resistor will keep your power bank running.
David Pilling, 4th May 2021, 12:58
No not a resistor that will burn too much power - some subtle low current oscillator that only connects a resistor once every <timeout>. Depends if the powerbank needs continuous current or if it looks for activity. Either way can you get the processor to consume more power - set it some computationally intensive task.

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