Easter potato planting bonanza

Good Friday was a bit of a wash out, not to mention freezing cold, and we shirked our allotment duties for the day like a couple of great softies. But Saturday proved to be a better day, so we took our chances, despite the rain clouds forever threatening to send us home again. It stayed dry in the end and we managed to get 3 more rows of potatoes in, and weed the remaining onion and garlic beds. I think my leg and back muscles are now remembering this allotment lark from last year, and are slowly giving in to resistance. Also we’ve noticed the skin on our tender office worker hands tends to harden up after a few weeks of being in contact with the soil. They’ll be tough as old leather by the end of the summer.

Pictured above – 1 more row of Anya and 2 rows of maincrop Cara. From now on, every time we go to the allotment we’ll be minutely inspecting the ground for the green tips of the first shoots coming up. It’s always a relief when you see them, and you know all is going well below ground and they haven’t just rotted away.

These are our over-wintering (or Japanese) onions at the bottom end of the plot. I think we’ve been very lucky not to have lost them over the exceptionally cold winter we’ve had, like one of our fellow allotment holders. Maybe they were strong enough by the time the really bad weather hit, or maybe they were a bit protected between the fence behind and the surrounding sheds. In any case only there are only 3 or 4 gaps which is so far better than last year. Here’s hoping they now start to fatten up nicely. To feed or not to feed? That is the question.

In fact everything in the bottom end of the plot is growing really well (weeds included). I think it must be because the soil is newly cultivated and has been fallow for so long. No nutrients have yet been depleted. I’m sure everything we planted in the first year did really well for the same reasons. Which is one big advantage of taking on a derelict plot. It’s harder work initially, but the first crops you grow will be fantastic. From then on, you have to constantly replenish the soil.

This is our fattest, strongest leek that we’re going to let seed.

We also made it down to the allotment on Easter Monday (hooray for bank holidays), the rain yet again held off for the day, allowing for the final 3 rows of potato planting (no more I promise), a bit more weeding around the broad beans, some compost manoeuvring and tidying up around the shed, repairs to the guttering feeding the waterbutts, and a narrow flower bed constructed alongside said shed. Home-made leek and potato soup was heartily consumed at half time.

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