Potato planting

It’s traditional to plant potatoes on St Patrick’s Day – 17th March. Not so this year. The night-time temperatures have been well below freezing almost every night until this week. So, along with most other allotmenteers, we’re only just planting things out.

Seed potatoes are allowed to sprout, or “chit”, before planting. But normally the sprouts are less than half an inch long, not several inches. These have been waiting far too long.

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We didn’t plant spuds last year (thank goodness, because it was so wet and blight-ridden), and this year we’re just put a couple of varieties into potato grow bags. We’ve ordered Apache and Vivaldi. Apache are mottled red and white, with a nutty flavour, and make excellent roasties. Vivaldi are white and smooth, and make good mash. Mmmm, shepherd’s pie!

So here’s our potato patch in the making:

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It’s in a corner of our half allotment, where the couch grass is particularly intransigent, so we’re not taking away a productive bed from any other crops. The bags are just half full of a nice mixture of compost and manure. They’ll be topped up as the plants develop.

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