Saturday, 31 March 2012

Spuds

Saturday 31st March 2012
The weather turns - just in time for the holidays.
A couple of big jobs out of the way.
During the last week I have managed to get my early potatoes into the ground and mounded up. Some people like to get them in early in March, but when those tops poke through the mounds they will need protecting from the frosts, and I'm sure there's a fair few of those still to come.
Planting potatoes involves an awful lot of moving soil around. It's a big job. Most of the potato crop grows in the mounds of soil you heap up, not down into the ground below. As the shoots emerge, you mound the soil up more, but I like to make the mounds as big as possible at the beginning so I don't need to keep going back to the same job. One unexpected sharp frost, if it catches the young shoots, can set the plants back and undo all the effort of getting them in early.
I like to plant lots of varieties of spuds - they all have their own unique qualities, and I figure that if something goes wrong I prefer not to have all my eggs in one basket. I've gone for four varieties of First Early this year.
Red Duke of York did very well last year. A floury potato, it makes an excellent chip.
Also Arran Pilot, Dunluce and Swift, all for that classic new potato taste.

A little more colour and experiment with the Second Earlies.
Salad Blue I've tried before - a novelty potato with blue/purple flesh, though it can go a bit watery when boiled.
Bonnie is a delightful white potato with red blushes. Charlotte, a salad potato, the one that comes in small, very expensive bags in the supermarkets. Did very well last year. And finally, Edgecote Purple, a new variety to try, deep purple skins.

More Fence
Since the chickens have been given freedom to roam, they have behaved well. On the whole they respect the boundaries of the veg patch and have discovered the orchard and the long grass of the meadow to their liking. The boundary with Don's land here is not chicken proof, and although they'd have  long way to go to get to his vegetables, I don't want to give them any encouragement! So today's little job was to erect 50m of chicken wire fencing, a job which involves lots of walking up and down the fenceline, mainly to retrieve tools which always end up at the other end of the fence to where needed.

With a couple of hours left, I dug a bed around the base of one of the apple trees, a new home for the rest of the strawberry plants which Don gave us.
Eventually, I want to do this with all the fruit trees, with various plants and flowers underneath them, some for beauty, some to protect the trees from disease and pests.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave comments. They are really valued.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Click here to follow my blog

Follow by Email