Potatoes and more

I’m a bit late ordering my seed potatoes this year, this time last year they were silently chitting away already, but I’ve had other things to do at the start of this year. However, I did learn some lessons from last year’s crop:

1) First Earlies are much easier to grow than main crops. My main crop tatties were miserably poor producers, partly down to the amount of weeds that attacked them, (low intervention gardening -1) partly down to wet weather attack by slugs or other creatures.

2) I didnt chit them properly last year and the shoots got a bit straggly/weedy. This year they wont be in the cupboard at all, but straight out into the light.

3) I left them too far away from my main growing area (permaculture lesson +1)  because they need a bit of attention, they needed to be nearer my other crops, that way they I will check on them properly.

So I have ordered some first earlies and some second earlies, which should do I hope. The first earlies are Winstons, which are a good all round potato, and the second earlies are Lady Balfours which are good for organic growers, as they dont need much by way of inputs (with me, they get nothing but a bit of dung).

While I was about it, I got some more Garlic, the Solent Wight which did so well last year. I already have some well established overwintered garlic battling through the snow and ice, but there’s talk of a few of us operating some kind of veg co-op this year, so I’m going for extra garlic. Actually, we’re stilleating last years crop, and there’s a fair bit left still. As we eat rather a lot of garlic, that’s quite a good sign in terms of how productive even a couple of bulbs can be.

I interplanted the garlic with Borage last year, and I have no idea whether that encouraged it or not, but it certainly didnt do any harm, and the bees enjoyed it. Garlic needs a bit of cold weather, so that will need to be planted up pretty soon, I love this preparation for spring!

There’s a beautiful scene in the film ‘Into great silence’ where you see an old brother slowly clearing snow from a vegetable bed, in preparatin for planting. Its a symbol of great hope and optimism in the teeth of winter’s death.

If you’re interested I bought this lot from Dobies of Devon, whose seeds I have found to be really good quality.

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