We planted potatoes at the allotment yesterday, the weather was pleasant all weekend with Sunday being warm enough to leave our coats at home. Yay! Even though I dislike planting potatoes (I find it so dull), it felt good to be doing something other than talking about what we couldn’t get on with and moaning about the weather.
When we first got our allotment two sections of the plot were incredibly stubborn to dig. Correction, near on impossible. We broke a spade and fork, barely scratching the surface. Eventually we accepted defeat and covered the compacted areas with manure and pretty much ignored it for the rest of that year, using other areas of the plot instead.
Manure certainly helped to feed and lock moisture into the soil. Last year we tackled the areas again by digging in lots of compost to improve the structure, then we made two large beds and planted potatoes in order to break the soil apart further down. We had a good crop despite a poor summer and the soil improved considerably. Success!
Planting our potatoes yesterday was so much easier than it was last spring (still dull though), making all the effort we put in worthwhile. We’re growing a main crop variety called Sante this year (we usually grow Desiree), so we shall see how it performs and tastes.
I dragged myself away from cleaning the greenhouse yesterday and made my way to our local garden centre to buy seed potatoes and a few other things including onion sets. We’ve usually done this by now but if you’re a regular reader of our blog you’ll know we’ve been a tad busy lately with a house move. I decided to try a different main crop potato this season, a variety called Sante caught my eye. I almost changed my mind, tempted to grab a bag of faithful Desiree but I stayed strong, eventually swayed by the excellent disease and pest resistance that Sante offers. Anyway, it’s good to try something new.
Just out of curiosity, what do you do with the ‘tiddlers’? You know, the tiny seed potatoes often found at the bottom of the bag (unless you’re buying your seed potatoes loose and hand choose large seed). I have some old car tyres to stack and fill with compost just for our tiddlers, or I use large tubs. Of course there’s nothing wrong with planting them the usual way in the ground, I just like to use the smaller ones for container planting.
I’ve set the seed potatoes out to chit in large egg trays, our light and cool conservatory is perfect for this. Tomorrow I will be sowing tomatoes and chillies, the start of the new growing season is so exciting!