Sunday, 29 April 2012

#CTWW Weekly Challenge, 25th April 2012

I'm no expert gardener but I do like to potter about and usually manage to grow some things. We started sowing seeds a three weeks ago and this weekend, to coincide with this weeks #ctww challenge, we planted our second early potatoes. We have grown potatoes for a couple of years now, planting them in sacks that can be topped up with soil as the plants grow. At harvest time, the bags are simply tipped out for lots of potatoes.

The Plan

We plan on planting three batches of potatoes: first earlies, second earlies and main crop.  According to the guides, they take about 10, 13, and 20 weeks to grow respectively. The first and mains were planted a fortnight ago and the seconds this week so we should be harvesting in July, August and September.

Getting started

Before planting potatoes they are left to chit, that is until they start sprouting. Egg boxes are good for this.

Potatoes chitting

Planting the seed potatoes.

A few inches of compost or soil are placed in the bottom of the sacks. The first time we grew potatoes, we used peat free compost from the garden centre with good results but the next time we used a mixture of soil from the garden and compost with equally satisfactory results and less compost being transported about the country.

I haven't worked out an optimum number of potatoes to plant in each sack but we normally do four or five in each, nicely spaced out, with the eyes upwards. Then top up with compost to a depth of about six inches (150 mm) deep and wait for the magic to happen. The compost we used had been out in the rain so it doesn't need watered at the moment but as the plants grow, the compost will need to be kept moist, especially as the tubers are forming.

Once the shoots grow a couple of inches above the compost, the compost should be topped up leading eventually to full sacks. As the plants grow they will also need fed. I use this fertiliser which is certified for organic farming.  I hate to admit this but I don't actually know how it is made.

So that is this week's Change the World Wednesday #CTWW challenge.  The real challenge will be to continue tending the plants and reap the harvest in a few months.

 As a bonus here are some of the other things we have growing:

Herbs: basil on the right and coriander.

Legumes: peas and french beans. No sign of growth yet, I'm concerned that birds or beasts have eaten the seeds.  I've started off some more as a back up.

Salad: rocket, mixed lettuces, spinach. The rocket at the front is off to a good start and some spinach at the back has started to grow, just waiting for the lettuces.

Turnips, in need of thinning out.

Strawberries, planted years ago but still producing berries.

Related Post: How Green are Green Fingers?

PS A special thanks to my young helpers.

1 comment:

  1. beautiful! your harvest is sure to be great!