It’s just over two weeks since we moved, and whilst unpacking and settling in continues, not really a chore because we love the new place, time for the allotment is difficult to find right now.
So I’m particularly happy to have managed to buy the first seed potatoes of the season.
I’ve nestled them into an egg carton with the end that has the most of the tiny shoots at the top, on a light filled window-sill where it’s not too hot, they can also be put by the window in a frost-free shed. They’ll start to grow shoots giving them a head-start when they’re finally planted out, this process is rather charmingly called chitting.
They’ll be planted at the allotment in March or April when the soil is warm enough, the fresh, green growth of weeds are a good indication that the time is right.
There are three groups of potatoes, depending on how long they take to be ready for harvesting.
- first early – these are the first to be planted and dug-up and take about 90 days to be ready, they don’t store for long,
- second early – take about 110 days to grow, also don’t store well, the advantage of the earlies is that there are fewer pests and diseases around when they’re growing
- main-crop – they need about 130 days to grow, but keep longer.
There were 15 tubers in my bag of Pentland Javelin, a first early type, so that’ll give me 15 plants each with a good crop of potatoes. They’ll be planted 10-15cm deep, 30cm apart in a shallow trench that’s had compost and shredded newspaper in the base to help retain water.
I’ll keep you posted on progress.
all photos: Jill Anderson