Just a quickie as I have had a productive morning on the allotment. Firstly, the idea of planting potatoes through black poly is that you do not need to earth them up. If the poly is very dense you can put the tubers just below the surface using a dibber. I use cheap thin poly which is slightly opaque so put my tubers about six inches below the surface through holes cut in the poly every 12 inches. Maker a 4” cross with a knife and plant through the plastic. The ground must be moist but not water-logged when you plant. The benefit of using poly is that you conserve moisture and can easily scrape the soil away to collect your harvest, starting early in June. I never water early spuds planted this way. But beware. Don’t start them off too early. I’ll plant mine next weekend and cover with a poly cloche. I don’t use this method for main crop spuds which are in the ground for much longer and will need watering through their growing season.
Which brings me to one of my little campaigns. If you haven’t bought your seed potatoes yet then do so now and set them too to chit – eyes up in egg trays in a light and airy place. Please try and buy your seed from a local supplier and not, at great cost, through a catalogue. Ditto garlic and onion sets, both of which should be planted now if you haven’t done so already. Also, if you want to use cloches and black mulch, (poly then I suggest you find your local commercial horticultural supplier and buy from them. A roll of mulch lasts me for years and cost about 10 quid! You can try Harrod, a mail-order outfit too. They have loads of stuff to damage the bank balance.
Next weekend I’ll sow carrots and parsnips under cloches in a bed I prepared today – also early peas under cloches. But that’s another story.
And how will you cope without me??? I’ll leave you with a list of things to think about from mid March to Easter when I will be back…