Saturday, 6 April 2013

Potato planting Photographs

After planting 12 rows of potatoes; Sherine, Rocket, Aron Pilot and Swift in the potato bed, Paul came over and said that he wasn't going to plant anything until the weather got a lot warmer.  He said that Monty Don had said don't plant or sow anything yet.  Well tough t*****s Monty; the potatoes are planted.  The wind might have been bitterly cold but it certainly dried out the ground and the manure.

Potato bed covered in horse manure.  
The manure was dug in as I planted the potatoes. This bed had some pigeon muck dug in in the autumn which is very high in nitrogen.  I am hoping that the strawiness of the horse manure will lock up some of the nitrogen and prevent it from burning the potato roots.    
Now it could be said that digging in fresh manure like this will only lead to problems but the manure will rot down whether here or on the compost pile so why not here?

Thick layer of manure
Digging in this much manure is not very easy and took some time.  I didn't realise how much I had put onto the bed.  All the manure was free and delivered to the bins by the gate.  I had to wheel barrow it to the allotment which is all uphill but it was worth it.   Once I had taken out a trench where the potatoes were to be planted - lines were 2 feet apart, the potatoes were placed along it.  Some might say that this amount of fresh manure will deplete the soil of nitrogen.  This might be true but I will wait to see because I think that I will have a lovely crop of early potatoes.

I use a line all the time even when I dig.  I  have been digging for over 50 years now but I still can't keep a straight line.  The potatoes were placed 1 foot apart.  There were 13 potatoes in each line which means there is potentially 156 plants.  There is usually one or two misses but this number of early potatoes is fine.  Which reminds me I need to get some more storage potato bags.  

Mychorrhizal Fungi Spores.
After planting the tubers were dusted with mychorrhiza spores to encourage symbiosis.  So the bed was dug: the potatoes were planted and the garden tidied all at the same time.

One finished potato bed.  

The potatoes in late June 2013.  
(June 2012 notes I thought that I had added a little too much horse manure to this plot but it does not seem to have affected the early potatoes very much.  They were more affected by the slugs - which might have been attracted by the manure.  Nematode worms watered onto the potatoes seems to have remedied the slug problem.)

After finishing off the potatoes - even sweeping the path, I went down and planted the red onions.  Only planted one 12 foot row but that will produce enough onions for me.

Onion bed
I took off the enviromesh barrier so that I could plant the red onions and by extending the blue pipes I could cover them as well.  I prepared the ground using the Mantis Tiller.  It can cope with bare soil and light weeds but it will not dig in the big green manure plants.  After planting the onions the mesh barrier was put on again to prevent Pytomyza gymnostoma from laying eggs on them.  When I put the netting on I put some horse manure around the bottom to help to keep the mesh on the pipes.

The shallots and garlic are still growing but very slowly.  The garlic got very crushed by the snow but seems to be standing up a little more now.
Alliums June 2013 
I have pruned this gooseberry bush and it has more of a goblet shape than the photograph suggests.  The grazing rye and tares have died off due to the severe weather and need to be dug into the soil.  The rhubarb started to grow but has not moved for over two weeks now. I doubt if I will be able to force any because they will be fairly weak plants.  I have left the black bins over them for the moment but taken them off the ones at the new allotment.  I am gong to put some horse manure on them this week.

Rotivated bed
The sweet pea bed has been partially rotivated with the Mantis Tiller.  It does form a very good tilth.  I put some home made compost on this area. There were a lot of old rotted down turf in it but the tiller mixed it in without any difficulty.  Weather this will save me time is debatable because I still need to rake it over and level it off a little.  I have raised the soil and this makes leveling a little more tricky.

The sage plants need to be moved and put up with the others on the roots and leaves bed.

This green manure is going over now and needs to be dug in so that I can put up the sweet pea canes.  That must be done soon because the sweet pea seedlings are ready to go out.    I have put a cloche over the broad beans but they have still suffered from the cold weather.  There are two rows under the cloches but they will probably be consolidated into one.  I have some more exhibition broad bean seedlings to put out and I will probably put them here.

I will dig in the green manure with a spade rather than trying to do it with the tiller.  The long strawy bits just wrap around the blades and make it difficult to clean it.  Digging in the rye and tares here is my next job.

Green manure has produced some
good runner beans. June 2013

Making a hot bed 
I am trying to make a hot bed for the cauliflowers but not very successfully.  It keeps on drying out in the cold easterly wind.  I have turned the manure about three times now and it is still not warming up.  I think that I will just go ahead and make it regardless of whether it is hot enough.  There is more horse manure to make it a little bigger so I will add some newer muck to the pile when I make it.

Cauliflowers and cabbage on the hot bed June 2013

New pea and bean bed
This is where the Brussel sprouts were and has only been hoed and raked.  I will rotivate it to make a tilth to plant in but I doubt whether I will do anything else to it.  This old plum tree stump should come out now but it is throwing off some suckers which I can use to graft on so I am going to keep it for the moment.  I need to put up the poles for the climbing french beans soon.  The poor old winter cauliflowers have suffered in the cold weather but I have seen them like this before and they have recovered.  The pigeons have taken alot of the top leaves so I have had to cover them with netting.  

The strawberries have not begun to grow yet.  I think that it will be a very late season for fruit.  I will put some straw on them only when they have started to grow.  

The black currants have been mulched and they are looking very healthy but very little growth at the moment.    I will have to dig in the green manure on the roots and leaves bed but I will do that as I need to sow seeds.

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