Thursday, 6 April 2017

To earth up or not to earth up

It's been lovely for much of the past few days. I've got more of the plot dug over and ready for the off. I planted broad beans and onion sets a few days ago. No sign of either growing yet, but that's not surprising.

Today I set about planting some second early potatoes. The idea is, I think, that the tubers should be about 15cm (6") below the surface when you're done. Most folks seem to agree that spuds need to be earthed up, that is have a small bank of soil heaped up along the line of the planted spuds. I wondered if just planting them deeper would be as good, but it seems not to be so. The tubers grow just beneath the surface and banking them up encourages them to grow in the row where they are easier to find. Every time I grow potatoes there are always a few that I miss that come up next year amongst some other crop I have planted there. I have earthed up the rows a bit and I'll add a bit more as the leaves begin to appear. It is important to keep the tubers covered and out of the light. If they get light on them they go green and develop solanine, which is poisonous.

I also sowed some beetroot and some spring onions. These were both on tapes. I cut a metre off each tape to get some plants started, I'll sow some more in a few weeks to stagger the crop. I've got carrots and midget lettuces also on tapes to try. I hope they work well.

At home I have some leeks pricked out into pots (thanks Louise for the leeks) and I've sown some sweet corn in pots. That is in a propagator and will remain so until the shoots appear, maybe seven to ten days. I bought some early cabbage plugs and some romanesco broccoli plugs which should be ready in the autumn. I'll move them up to the greenhouse soon.

I have a more digging to do and a few jobs to sort out, The shed needs tidying up, likewise the greenhouse, there are some frames that need repairing and a fence post that has broken. Then there's the shed roof ...

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