Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Planting potatoes

Potatoes last year were one of our great failures. They are however part of our staple diet and as such, if we are to achieve self-sufficiency, we need to grow lots of them and have a successful crop! Last year, we didn't do the preparation that was needed. We planted the seed potatoes in the wrong conditions. Putting it simply, we screwed up. So this year, we are putting time and effort into getting it right.

We have selected 3 types of potatoes to grow: picasso, rocket and anya (for salads). Some of them are pictured above in the greenhouse in March. We let the shoots sprout for about 5-6 weeks.

We chose to plant them on bed 5. This is drier and lighter than bed 3 where we grew them last year. The top end of bed 5 behind me in the photo is the rhubarb patch. As you can see, the front end of the patch still requires digging over. This shot was taken on Good Friday.

Bed five is also used for herbs, raspberries (we had too many for the fruit cage) and gooseberries, as well as 4 fruit trees (plum, apple, nectarine and peach).

We had sufficient for 4 rows, each 5 metres long. There were some left over and I'll explain later what we did with the spares. The rows were dig about 10cm deep and potatoes were planted 30cm apart. Some of the soil was placed on top of the potatoes and then on top of that I put well rotted manure. On top of that went the rest of the soil to create furrows.

Job done. We will build up the furrows further as the potatoes grow.
Rocket is 1st early, anya 2nd early and picasso is the maincrop.

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