Night of the Potatoes

Just days before lockdown we quickly planted some seed potatoes… just weeks before lockdown is mostly lifted, we dig up the results. It is strange how March until now has flown past in a bit of a haze and slightly on standby, but of course nature has just carried on (which shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise!)

The potatoes had looked like there were doing pretty well at the plot but I was worried when they died back so quickly. Some of the plants nearer (and under the shade of) the tree never really got to be much of a plant. Digging soon showed that while we would have potatoes they were not the biggest in the world (even for earlies), however they were all viable with no holes or scabbing or anything unsightly like that.

Tom helped well into the late evening, infact we didn’t get back from the plot until nearly 10pm and it was still pretty warm. The ground had been hard, in fact it had been a bit like digging potatoes out of concrete in places.

We had started the year with not being able to get hold of mushroom compost from the normal (cheap) supplier and I was still pondering about such things when lockdown started and I felt we should get in what we could just in case…. This was evident now, where a “nodig” bed had neither been dug nor covered in compost, it was dry and rock hard. Both the spade and the fork had trouble. With still no supply of compost, and with the need to get leeks in as quick as I can, I will dig over this bed quite a bit to get it back into workable shape.

No disappointed by the harvest in any way, I expected it to be less than last year. Last year we did really well I feel. It will be interesting to compare these against the ones in the garden, in a well dug off bit of ground (no compost added still). Plants put in a couple of weeks after the ones in the plot are only just starting to die back and a lot still look very healthy. Plants put in a month or two afterwards are still in flower and looking very green.

The potatoes took a lot longer than we had expected, and then the forking over afterwards to pick up any rogue potatoes. We quickly watered (fennel still coping ok) and picked even more raspberries. Still no real strawberries.

I had wanted to pull the overwintered onions as knowing how hot it is going to be over the next couple of days I wanted to take advantage of that to dry them out. We quickly pulled them up and left them out to dry, we will collect them in a couple of days or so. Each of these were massive and overwintering is something I will do again.

The difference in the ground compared to the potato ground was amazing. This part had been dug over and composted and was still in good condition.

On this hot and long day, we left late at night and we weren’t the only ones still on the site. Rain is forecast in a couple of days but more watering will be needed I am sure. I will leave it until it gets a bit back to normal temperatures before I put the leeks out, but I will prep the ground beforehand.

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