This photo shows the allotment with ground dug over waiting for some dry weather to start planting this years crop of potatoes. In October I collected seaweed from the beach and spread it over the ground to a depth of about 10cms. This was then allowed to rot down for 6-8 weeks and then the plot was dug over using my trusty Cornish shovel.
Yesterday, 25th Feb, I trod the ground to consolidate it a little before using a hand cultivator to level the ground. Next job was to set out a straight line as a row guide and dig a trench along that line. I used to line the trench with farm manure, which works fine, but lately I’ve taken to lining the trench with a little garden compost and then plant the seed potatoes on top of the compost at about 30cm spacing.
After setting out the tubers, it’s just a matter of covering them with soil to give the growing new potatoes protection from sunlight and the unwanted attention from Rooks and Crows!
My father used to grow potatoes on the farm, just enough to feed the family, and his potato of choice was “Maris Peer”. A white, waxy, oval potato which cooks well as either boiled, roast, chipped or baked. It also has a long keeping characteristic, good when lifted as a new potato in May or June, but left in the ground will mature in size and give a good crop that will keep in store until February or March. This year I will also be planting two “maincrop” varieties, Maris Piper and Sarpo Mira. The first one, Maris Piper, is the variety favoured by fish & chip shops and will keep in store until the following seasons new potatoes are being dug. Sarpo Mira is a relatively new variety of maincrop that has the handy characteristic of being “blight” resistant.
That’s it, no other fertiliser or chemical is used, making this a truly organic crop. Regular weeding until the haulm is big enough to smother the weeds and then let mother nature do her stuff!
I’m usually late with my tomatoes, never having ripe fruit anywhere near Ludgvan show time on the first Saturday in August, so this year, I sowed some “ailsa craig” tomato seed on the 5th of February and put the seed tray on top of our immersion heater for 5 days, then transferring the tray to a sunny windowsill.
I made plant pots out of rolled up newspaper and filled with Jack’s Magic compost. The true leaves are just appearing. I guess I’ll keep them indoors at home until the outside temperature improves, perhaps another month.
I hasten to add that I’m no expert, just gardening off the cuff. I’m not preaching the best methods of growing, just putting my methods out there. Please feel free to send in your own methods to firstname.lastname@example.org