Allotment, Harvests, Propagation

GYO: Potato Planting

Today was another warm start, so after preparing a small pack-up and getting everyone ready we headed off up to the park, after around an hour we made it to the allotment and as the children made the most of the extra space, I began weeding the potato bed. Today the children were in full voice so after half an hour of explaining the need for quiet. I washed their hands and set them down to eat while I dug over my potato trenches in peace.

It took me a while to dig the first three trenches, so as my husband arrived I set him to task at the end of the bed to dig the final space by the pergola. My son was in a boisterous mood so I set him and my youngest daughter the task of spacing the chitted potatoes. Finally after a good few hours I had six trenches dug, planted and covered for this years potatoes, including a row of King Edwards, two rows of Desire and three rows of charlotte potatoes.

At the end of the bed I planted two types of small pumpkin, Baby-Boo and Jack be little with several red sunflower seeds between to make the most of the north face of the pergola. Then using some straw kindly delivered by my husband I set three paths, at the beginning of the bed, one next to the seedlings, between the potatoes and one over the old calendula plants. I hope these spaces I have left will self sown seed from last year additional to the seeds I will grow at home. I rescued a handful of nasturtium seeds so these will be added to my collection from last year, I may use my new garden bed to grow a few direct.

Whatever methods I use I should have plenty of plants to share out, the tomato seeds I have set a little different to previous years. I have chosen three different varieties; Moneymaker, Yellow Delight and poundstretchers own Italian variety. I set three positions in the 24 cell tray choosing one position for each different type of tomato, I hope to achieve three types per cell to transfer together into larger pots allowing me a larger variety without the need for several large trays. If I am successful it will be easy plant my cane tripods with the three varieties, I have a few more types sown with peppers but these I will add to a row of outdoor plants I hope to set this year, to see what success they have in our wonderful English weather.

I have planted all of my Brassica’s, Cauliflowers, Cabbage and Kale this week, my greenhouse is filling up nicely. I am planting, Calendula, Nasturtiums and Sunflowers along with my Atlantic giant and Jack o lantern pumpkins. I plant seedlings or plantlets direct as they do not have to compete with the weeds and get a better start in compost, plus once set in place they can be mulched to retain moisture.

The satisfaction of finishing another main bed is great, a few hours as my youngest slept was enough to get the basics completed. In the next visit it will be setting up my main ‘A’ frames for beans and runner beans which hopefully will have started germinating, planting out this years flowers and digging the pumpkin bed trenches. I did feel I would struggle to get the groundwork in but it seems a few hours a couple of times a week is ample to prepare the ground, whilst the planting can be done as and when I get a moment.

So potatoes in early I am hoping to get them established early, ensuring strong healthy plants as last years barely started due to the heat, this will allow for a second sowing later on in the year. Finally the Early purple Broccoli was ready for harvest so these will be added to our Sunday Dinner!

Happy Trenching!

Cheryl

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