Dig for victory (or maybe partial success)…!

I think the last time I spent two consecutive days at the plot was the middle of last year. Well, that has just been put right, with two sessions, of maybe two hours each. My eldest son Jamie also actually volunteered to come with me on the first day and my youngest, Jac, volunteered on the second day : )

So, the mission over the two days was digging and potato planting, so if nothing else, we’ll have a load of spuds to eat over the coming autumn and winter. This year we’re focussing our less than considerable efforts (less is more and all that), into only two varieties: Red Scarlett (1st earlies) and Victoria (main). Roughly 50 of the reds and 100 of the Victoria will be going in.

First day was finishing digging over the previously undug middle section, which took about 1.5 hours with the awesome Canterbury fork. 45 Red Scarlett went in (5 rows with 9 in each) – 18 cms apart.

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Second day was digging over last years onion area and 42 Victoria were put in (6 rows with 7 in each) – 20 cms apart. The soil is looking pretty good there and getting a finer texture.

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42 Victoria about to go in

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If I assume 6 spuds per plant, this would result in 522! There are still another 45 Victoria to put in, bringing the total to roughly 800 : ) That should be plenty. Once that’s done, it’s easy to handle, with only a bit of banking up needed. Then it’s onto the peas, tomatoes, squash, corn, onions and shallots, carrots and parsnips. Roughly 10 varieties only, rather than the crazy 60+ we had last year from Rocket Gardens.

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Allotment mission starts here…

Ok, for me the start of the allotment season is buying the seed potatoes. This may be because we haven’t yet managed to gather the required where with all to actually sustain a growing campaign through the winter months, therefore the ‘start’ of the season is really the start of Spring. : )

So, Spring is nearly here and now is the time for getting the seedlings going, putting the finishing touches to soil preparation and buying and starting to chit potatoes.

We have made our pilgrimage to Dundry Nurseries for the seed potatoes – this year instead of the 6/7 varieties, we’re going for just two: for new potatoes / first earlies it’s Red Scarlett and for the Main Crop it’s Victoria. Both were selected from the Dundry website for the highest level of disease and pest resistance.┬áThe website is great for general info and a good tool for helping to choose varieties.

So, onion setts, potatoes etc will soon be put to work but in the meantime, there were jobs to be done at Plot 18B. I dug over 6 of the raised beds, spread out 5 tubs of home-produced compost onto last years potato area (peas and beans this year) and cleared a whole load of rubbish from the shed, which had been left from the previous plot holder.

I was there maybe two hours, during which time is started snowing (!!) and I was visited by my mate the ever-hungry worm eater. we’re trying out a weed-suppressant method which involves spreading newspaper over most of the soil and covering with more soil. we’ll have to wait and see if this works but could save some weeding. The great thing about digging is the heat it produces – just what I needed on a very cold day (see ice in water trough!). The rainbow chard and spinach had survived the winter with only minimal die back.

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Potato plan…!

Very exciting final potato plan for the allotment, with 6 varieties and 1st and 2nd earlies + mains. I also put the maris peer (2nds) in first and basically planted from left to right in the plan. I also left lots of space between the first three rows and less between the next four rows. We’ll see if this makes any difference in about 2 months time. : )

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Allotment – potato fini…

The last of the ‘mains’ are in the ground and this time I actually marked them out! Two varieties of 10 each in the single row – Victoria & Remarka. Ground very very heavy. More soil stuck to the spade than I was actually shifting.

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