Spuds, Spuds, Spuds and Pests

chitting potatoesRocket and Pentland Javelin seed potatoes are happily chitting in the working poly tunnel. Those should be planted out within the next week on the Go Local Food fields as they are a first early crop. Second earlies and main crop will be planted later in succession.

That led to a planting time discussion. It’s a bit of a UK tradition to plant first early seed potatoes out on St Patrick’s Day (17th March) which can be very early in the season when you are this far north in the UK. Of course if the ground is still frozen, sodden or even under snow then it is certainly far to early to plant out.

On the other hand, another tradition used to be for farm labourers to plant their potatoes after the May hirings in the old days. This was because they would then know if they still had their tied cottage and the garden that went with it. That’s a bit on the late side as the gardening books recommend that traditionally main crop potatoes be sown from mid to late April. But the labourers would not have wanted to leave their lodgings with crops in the ground for the benefit of others.

purple sprouting broccoliIt looks as if there were caterpillar eggs on the purple sprouting broccoli plants before the netting went on prior to the winter. And on removing the netting recently, it looks as if the caterpillars that hatched have had a fine old time taking more than their share of our crops.

Ian has started off the annual herb seedlings in his heated greenhouse at Temperley and thinks that he has had an outbreak of slugs nibbling at them. So on Friday afternoon he was going to load up the land rover and bring down the savoury, basil, borage and coriander to put in the working poly tunnel at the Go Local Food fields away from any nibblers.