I’ve been planting potatoes this week, it’s a humble vegetable, but one that we eat at least twice a week, so it’s on the must-have list for the allotment.
My general rules for what to grow at the allotment are:
- vegetables that aren’t easily available in the shops
- things that taste extra good when freshly picked, as well as potatoes this includes beans, carrots, tomatoes and lots more
- things that are expensive to buy fresh but easy to grow, like herbs.
I only grow the early varieties, rather than potatoes that are planted a bit later and ready for harvesting in the summer. Potatoes like plenty of moisture and summer grown ones are more likely to dry out, and there are fewer pests and weeds around in spring/early summer when the early ones are growing.
So having chitted * the potatoes a few weeks ago they’re finally ready to be planted, not all at once though, I’m hedging my bets and planting a few now and the rest in batches over the next 2 – 3 weeks.
Staggering the planting times means that if there’s a late frost that damages the leaves of the earliest ones, there’ll be back-up spuds from later plantings.
The soil was enriched with fertiliser (chicken pellets) about 10 days ago, the trench lined with shredded paper and compost to help keep the soil moist, the spuds are planted about 6in / 15cm deep. Soil from the trench is pushed over the base of the emerging plants as they grow, this keeps the plant stable and stops the potatoes turning green, which would give you tummy-ache.
Once they’re ready I aim to get them from plot to plate as soon as possible.