Monday, April 16, 2012

Catching up on the allotment

Yesterday I took full  advantage of the lovely weather and spent the morning down at the allotment. Bliss!  The last two weeks have been busy enjoying being with the young people and yesterday it was me time.

I have to say its been a while since I was there so it was with mixed feelings when I headed off. Where was I going to start? Was I going to be dismayed with all the weed growth? I really didn't want to feel demoralised at how much there was to do- I just wanted to start !
With time ticking on in the growing season I remembered that I really needed to get some potatoes in the ground. Good Friday ( I think!) is often given as when the potato planting begins. I am sad to say that my potatoes this year chitted in the bag. Usually I place them carefully as soon as I buy them ( in January) in trays in the utility in bright light so that they can start growing their shoots. This year I took the reduced labour method of chitting them in the bag- well I just didn't get round to laying them out. They seemed absolutely fine.

On arrival to the allotment I set too. I had dug the potato area over and covered it with enviromesh ( a long lasting fleece type stuff) to prevent any cats visiting the area, earlier in the year. All that I had to do now was remove the mesh and lightly dig over.
 I have used a method over the past couple of years which is a variation on an Australian method of planting potatoes which involved planting the tubers in the base of trenches with mounds on either side. As the shoots grow up, earthing up is done by using the soil from the mounds on either side of the trench . I often end up putting grass cuttings in a thin layer on top too, but only on a dry sunny  day so that the grass clippings dry  and die- so  that there is no chance of growing more grass!!
I then use garden compost in addition if needed.

 So I dug my  first trench. Added a light sprinkling of well rotted manure to the bottom of the trench and gently mixed it with the soil in the base with my fork. I placed my potatoes spaced out in the bottom the trench

Oops- thats not very straight!

 Then I made a deeper hole in the bottom of the trench with my trowel and placed the potato in it - so that the potato appeared to be nestling in the base. I did that with all of them and then gently pulled the soil down onto the potatoes so that they were covered with several inches of soil. I also placed a layer of garden compost on top. In the picture below, the potatoes are planted in the trenches- with the mounds ready to cover the new growth as it appears.

 I had a lovely time down there and I really enjoyed the company of my little friend too - I apologise for the photo  and video quality-

Mr Robin sitting on the compost bin
I'm off to the allotment this morning, so hope to see him again. Enjoy the weather today as rain is set for later this week!

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