Today dawned bright and sunny and I have been racing around since 7am. Some much needed admin paperwork has been done, I’ve viewed a new plot at the allotment site (more in another post), I visited the Transition Town Tooting Community Garden and spent the afternoon on my plot planting ALL the potatoes.
I say ALL the potatoes because once again my enthusiasm ran away with me when I went to the RHS Spring Plant Fair back on 16 February. Pennards Plants (damn them!) were present with lots of lovely potatoes. My resolve to not go mad disappeared and I bought lots of potatoes, a small amount of shallots and some more exotic veg.
The potatoes finally made it into the ground this afternoon. So what went in?
- Rosabelle x 4 – first early – waxy red skins, yellowish flesh, can be used in salads and good resistance to blight and virus Y.
- Vivaldi x 4 – second early – has up to a third fewer calories & a third less carbohydrate than most other varieties and is a multi-purpose potato (salad, boiled, mashed, baked etc) yellow skin, pale yellow flesh, resistant to scab
- Blue Danube x3 – early main – stunning blue/purple skinned with bright white flesh and apparently larger potatoes bake well.
- Vitelotte x 4 – early main – dark blue, almost black skin and dark violet-blue flesh; with a nutty flavour and smell of chestnuts. I grew these a couple of years ago and they are unusual!
- Pink fir apple x 4 – early main – knobbly pink skinned potatoes, good for later harvest, great in salads
- Salad blue x 4 – maincrop – another cracking blue skinned/blue fleshed potato also has attractive blue/ purple flowers. Apparently suited to baking, roasting, mash, boiling or chips.
I should probably have spread out the planting over a few weeks but I’m (a) running late on some things and (b) going to be time pressured over the next few weeks so I thought I’d get them all in the ground now. So there we are – 3 rows of potatoes.
And here’s what the plot looks like at the moment.
From the back looking towards the tarmac path:
The currants are coming back and there’s some rather decimated chard left over. The herb bed is still hanging in and the pile of bags are manure to go on the bit covered in dead grass once I’ve dug it all out.
And from the front – the daffs have all gone from the narrow flower bed (which technically isn’t part of the plot but I figured I’d use rather than have as a dumping ground for stones!) but the autumn planted wallflowers are starting to show as are some of the wildflowers.
The dead grass is a bit of the plot I’ve never quite managed to finish digging over and it was riddled with brambles which came back with a vengeance the first summer – because Sustainable Merton had rotivated all the plots – so there were a gazillon tiny chopped up bits of bramble root which took off like fury. Having battled with it for a couple of years I gave in a busted out the chemical help this spring. Which as you can see worked! So over the next couple of weekends I need to blitz dig this last third.
Next weekend I want to get some weed supressing membrane down in the bit between the potatoes and the dead grassy bit – because that’s the spot my more exotic root veg will be going into. So I need to warm up the soil a bit before planting them out.
My cunning plan for the year is to have half of this plot planted with root veg which don’t require a great deal of fuss and probably have beans/peas in the remaining section (currently under the grass) while I work on cultivating the second (slightly larger) plot I’ve just taken on. (For a sense of scale this plot is roughly 5m wide x 7m deep or 16.5ft x 23 for those in imperial).
More about the second plot tomorrow!