More aloo sinking: spuds galore

Potato planting

Nearly at the end of the potato planting job. I think I might go slightly loopy if I see any more seed potatoes. That said, there are 20 Maris Piper tubers that remain to be sunk.

There have been two different techniques used to sink the spuds. Firstly, traditional potato trenches dug, seed potatos sunk with mounds built on top. Now, I don’t like digging, and I can’t make the mounds. Second, seed potatoes have been sunk in the same as bulbs would be, with a bulb planter. No mean feat, all in all, with horrible heavy clay that makes both of these techniques incredibly difficult and painful,

I really don’t like digging trenches,

Now, why do i have green grass on the mounds that were actually formed. I’m going to have issues earthing up, that’s why, and I can’t make proper mounds. At least the grass will break down as organic matter, and then hopefully protect the developing halums. Grass has been heaped onto the mounds, and might even help level out the dips and divots too.

Kestrel, king edwards, international kidney, maris piper and red duke of york have now been sunk. I was starting to worry about how much space there was, but it might be okay. At least half the plot, in terms of open ground is concerned with potatoes. This is a sinking of spuds on a grand scale, much bigger volume than I have ever attempted. So this could be a fairly moderate success, or a complete, and abject failure.

Blossom and buds

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Just over a week ago, the three corden trees were sunk into the ground. they have been stood sentry on the plot for some time now. Whilst we have had some plums and apples, not has a huge bouty. It was nice to see some blossom today on the falstaff apple, and the pear. The pear had done very little in the past. There has been blossom too, but killed by the frost. Here’s hoping this lasts.>

Potatoes and precipitation: aloo sinking

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For weeks now, fe sacks of spuds have been looking at me. Urging me to plant them. With Easter later than expected, I’ve verb counting down towards an appropriate dry window. I may have also overestimated how many spuds I might want to sink given the space that I have.

Finding The Artist in Residence-remember him, he sunk bulbs last year-saw to making a start in this task. There are quite a few varieties of potatoes. Today, we sunk red duke of York and lady Balfour. All very old money aristocratic on the plot. I forget now when these will come up.

As you can see, The Artist in residence has a fabulous technique of digging potato trenches. Armed with the magic spade-to me it’s magic, to him “a spades a spade.” Yes he said that- trenches were dug and spuds dropped. The Artist In Residence all too amused by then ‘tentacles’ and very discerning in sinking those spuds he thought were decent. They were all going to go in, regardless.

There had been an ambitious plan to get potatoes planted. Didn’t get as far as kestrel, international kidney; with Maris piper and king Edwards waiting in the wings. We were thwarted by rain drops falling, a bit of wind and thunder in the distance. I had just started to dig a trench for another bag of spuds, and the last one for lady balfours was hurriedly covered over. We’ve established that I can’t really make mounds properly. And if it keeps raining, low chance of spuds. Really don’t know where I am going to put the rest. One part of the plot was still too sticky and had yet to be turned over on preparation.

But a start nonetheless.>


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A heaving gallery of pictures for you today. Today’s session started with mama h and I sinking corden trees. These Victoria plum, conference pear and falstaff apple had been in pots for nearly two years. However these were proving to be too small. So these are now sunk into open ground. Hopefully this will contribute to them doing better. Also tidied up the inside of the poly tunnel. It has been up to
30 degrees Celsius in there, with my glasses steaming up as I go in.

The next task was to pot up tomatoes. These were starting to become tall and gangly beyond their baby leaves. Some of their foliage is now quite frilly.

Taking a quick look at the peppers and aubergines. Had to some emergency potting up these week, with both of them as they have an accelerated growth spurt with the spring sunshine. There are quite a few aubergines, I know. Mama h quite likes them, so it will be interesting to see if they fruit. All being well, chillies and bells will be in the poly tunnel. Dorset and bengle nagas are small, but growing. Pretty purple rainbow chilli is romping ahead with its purple tinged leaves, with early jalepeno hot on its heels.

The Superhots are coming along. The challenging Jamaican jerk has made an appearance, as well as orange habanero. Hot scotch is also present. We are still waiting on yellow scotch bonnet, but I am not holding my breath for that one. The California sweet pepper isn’t doing too badly either. >

Sunderland kale: spinach-y superfood

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I was given this Sunderland Kale as a seedling some time last year by a fellow grape, and it was planted into a raised bed. For a while it did nothing. Sat there and sulked, it would grow when it felt like it. Was there fore left to its own devices until today.

It’s not a big plant, but has a nice umbrella mushroom like form. And apparently a superfood. Could have fooled me, it doesn’t have a cape. Have harvested some today for dinner, to be steamed. It’s somehow related to spinach, the leaves are very much like spring greens too. And for the moment, yet to be munched on by slimers. Though I did lob one away on harvesting, by way of warning.

This is a surprise crop, and mama h is rather enamoured by it as it so spinach like. She rather likes her spinach. This is probably good for among onion bhajis too. Shall see what happens!

Celery, carrot and parsnip experiment

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Felt like sowing some experimental seeds before going to the plot. I know many people are averse to using peat free fibre pots. I am just experimenting, as I can also make my own paper pots.

Mama h was my glamorous assistant in sowing the seeds once I had filled the pots with MPC. They are now sat in the four tier blowaway on slow cook. Have sown these direct before, the carrots at least. Not bad but not much of a crop. These can be transplanted hopefully, even though I do have clay soil. Nothing wrong with wonky carrots! Celary, was tried last year but keeled over with legginess. Have ne’er succeeded with parsnips.

A huge experiment!

Jamaican jerk chilli: welcome to the world

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Tiny, but it’s here! I had serious doubts about this variety germinating; I still don’t think it has high chances of surviving. Have been keeping an eye on it for a few days since the seed case cracked. It has just unfurled it’s leaves now. Has been placed on the warm window sill with a food bag.

Here’s hoping!

Sturdy shallots, garlic going well

Assorted Garlic cloves were planted through cardboard last autumn, With a dry spell, they aren’t looking too bad. A little wind burned, but otherwise reasonable. I expect that these will hopefully get some height and width with as the spring weather approaches. Certainly looks encouraging as the weather settles. That said, March comes in like a lion, and out like a lamb.

Shallots were the bedfellows of the garlic, and occupy a number of the beds on project othello. It is only now, that the green shoots are visible, with a lack of puddles. Like the garlic, these were sown through cardboard that has so far worked reasonably well.

Sunderland Kale occupies the same bed as Mama H’s spinach and chard. Her next mission is to separate out the spinach plants. Her verdict on the Kale that it looked very nice, There is hope for it yet. I do wonder what it tastes like. It doesn’t have the wrinkly leaves that I expected. There are stalks in the raised bed that belong to nero di toscano, it will be interesting to see if that makes a return.

Strawberries exist on the plot. I don’t know what variety they are, only that there were given to me by a plot neighbour. These have to be rehomed to elsewhere on the plot, as this bed needs replenishing. The level has sunk quite a bit, and was home to courgettes and marrows last year.

A quarter of the plot has been dug over today. Mama h is planning on digging over the rest to see what the heavy clay is up to. To be honest, that means digging woodchip into part of it, as it currently sits on black plastic bags. Hopefully the digging in of the woodchip counts as organic matter.

Yes, these videos were made surreptitiously without Mama H finding out. Hence the quiet David Attenborough tones in talking.

Diggin’ the dirt-making a start

With the dry weather today, and the sunshine, it made sense to go down to the plot and make a start on the preparation jobs. Since there is a stack of potatoes waiting to be sank, the plot is also in dire need of being dug over.  This was the job that Mama H volunteered herself for, besides, she actually likes digging, I do not. So Mama H, took up the magic spade and fork to dig over the heavy clay. It has dried out considerably, and Mama H was able to slice through it quite quickly with the spade and fork. Occasionally, she would smash the clods with the spade, and hurl lumps of weed passed my head as i walked past with the wheel barrow.



My job, was to start filling up the raised beds with leaf mold and organic waste. In time, the plan is to top off the raised beds with MPC. Many of the beds have sunk after last year so need replenishing.


There are five builders bags and two black bags full of leaves. These two beds were filled with leaves that haven’t fully decayed. This shouldn’t really be a problem. I had a similar situation last year, and in covering them with MPC, producing a bumper crop of courgettes and marrows as they decayed. That specific courgette bed, does need replenishing. However, it contains strawberry plants that had been nestled in between the squashes that will be rehomed and repositioned so that it can be.

Have managed to fill four beds today, there are a few more to fill. The beds that still have soil in them, will benefit from weeding over. There are patches of grass that have come through.


Hello, Habanero

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This rather frail dainty looking creature is an orange habanero. He is rather dainty as he has just exited the heated prop, it makes for seedlings being rather spindly. He is now sat on the window sill, within a insulating foodbag in a gravel tray. Out of six sown, this is the only one to come through as of moment. There is still one yogurt pot left in the heated prop.