Well hasn’t the weather been kind to us over the past 2 weeks?! It’s like it knew we needed a little bit of sunshine in our lives to keep our spirits up during these stressful times. It also means the allotment has dried up nicely and we’ve been busy on the new plot during the afternoons.
On Saturday the 28th we planted out our potatoes, a little earlier then we usually do but we simply wanted to get them in as soon as possible just in case the lockdown tightened. Traditionally we plant our potatoes out on Good Friday, but for the past week we have been busy digging the areas where they would be planted and everything was ready for them to go in.
This year we are growing early varieties, you really can’t beat homegrown new potatoes lathered in butter and we’ve learnt over the years to simply grow what you love. 3 rows of Charlotte went in along with two new varieties, Aran Pilot and Lady Christl. My Dad wanted to try 2 new potatoes so we opted for one row each of them just incase we don’t like them, if we do like them then we’ll increase the crop next year!
Trenches can be dug at around 6 inches deep or if you prefer an easier life then simply use a long handled trowel. Each row needs to be roughly 2 foot apart to allow for earthing up. Early varieties are planted 12 inches apart with main varieties planted 15 inches apart as they will produce larger potatoes and need a little more space to grow. Earth up when the foliage firsts appears to prevent frost damage and then earth up at least one more time to encourage a bigger crop.
Whilst we were there we also had time to move an old rhubarb crown and plant out a new one too. We have room for 3 rhubarbs in our new plan, two old traditional Victoria crowns moved from the old bed and one new rhubarb called Timperley Early. We wanted a nice little mixture of different rhubarbs and the new one can be forced as early as February for a nice early harvest, in fact I believe it’s the earliest variety!
I also moved my big Rosemary bush, purple Sage and some Thyme over from my old plot to sit pretty around the centre island. I’m so pleased with how this feature is coming along and I really think it’s going to be my favourite part of the allotment. Since we had started to move over plants from my old plot we decided to tackle my four established Blackcurrant bushes, planting them in their forever homes.
To finish the day off we made up one of our cloche frames to warm some soil ready for sowing and also erected 2 of our handmade wigwam structures (all of which can be purchased from our shop) The wigwams will help support two vertical growing pumpkins, both small varieties called ‘Munchkin’ and white ‘Baby Boo’ which I am so excited about growing! Suddenly the allotment is starting to come together and I can’t help but feel proud of what we’ve achieved so far.
However! Our list of jobs didn’t stop there as we headed back to the plot for the next few days to continue digging ready for some seed sowing…
We are slowly digging our way through the two large beds, focusing on areas where we need to sow seeds or plant things out in order of importance. Next on the list was to sow the beetroot, parsnips and carrots and luckily for us (and our organisational skills!) they were going to be grown right next to each other. 2 rows of ‘Autumn King’ Carrots were sown into shallow drills as well as 1 row of ‘White Gem’ Parsnip and 1 row of ‘Boltardy’ Beetroot. As my Dad is the only one who likes Beetroot and only the two of us like Parsnips we decided to grow one row each of these. Carrots on the other hand are eaten daily in our house so after the potatoes are harvested in June we’ll sow a few more rows of carrots in their place.
I told you we had been busy! It’s been a great kind of busy though, the kind where you are absolutely knackered at the end of the day but you really don’t mind. I can’t help but smile and feel extremely proud of how far we’ve come and excited at the thought of all that’s yet to come… thank goodness for gardens!
P.S Don’t forget to check out the latest The Purple Podding Shed podcast, episode 3 is all about shed life! Plus I’ve uploaded a brand new video over on Youtube featuring a few of the jobs I mentioned in this blog with a new video coming this weekend.