Friday, 27 June 2008


It sounds crazy as most people consider potatoes as part of their staple diet, but I've never grown potatoes before. So this year has been an experiment - or rather a few experiments.

The first lot went into the ground in late February. My first mistake: I didn't take a note of what variety they are! I covered them up and then waited. As soon as the first shoots appeared - quite a while later - I put on a good layer of manure. I suspect February was a bit early but I was impatient!

The second lot (again, no name but this time a red variety) went in soon after and again I put manure on them as soon as the shoots appeared.

I knew that they would be susceptible to frost and in late March this was duly forecast so I covered the whole bed with rotting leaves that we'd collected in the autumn. I don't know if this was correct but it sorted out the problem!

The third lot went into a tiny bed we'd made two years ago out of pallets. Initially it was going to be a hot bed but this never happened and it's been lying idle ever since. Still, it had a stack of really well rotted manure and I popped in three seed potatoes (the white ones from the first lot - I'm learning about labels now!) and covered them with black plastic. As soon as I could feel the shoots under the plastic I cut slits and sure enough they started growing through nicely.

The fourth and final lot were put in at the very last minute and they are not in the veggie patch itself but in the new piece of field next door. We've planted a hedge around the border of this field and as the soil had been turned, once the hedge was planted we decided to put in some potatoes - just to use the space really. As it's a field still covered in weeds and wild mint I again put down black plastic. These potatoes are coming up although the success rate is lower and they are not as fast as the others. Perhaps that's the variety (er, ??) or the fact that the field is quite sandy and there is no watering system in place - this shouldn't be a problem yet though. Whatever, for the cost of a few seed potatoes the area is in use and we should get something! There's a lovely smell of mint whenever I go to inspect them. I will have to get it out but for now I'm just enjoying it!

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