Planning Ahead

These photos were taken with my phone...why? I forgot the camera yet again!
The early potatoes chitting in the cold greenhouse, they have a fleece covering to protect from frost which we have had since I took these photos.We have sunny days but very cold evenings and nights.
I mentioned chitting in the previous post but on rereading it I realised I should explain 'chitting'. I know when we started on the plot we had heard of chitting but had to look online to find out exactly what to do.
Chitting is a way of starting the potatoes to send up little stalks to give your potatoes a head start in the ground.
If you look closely at the seed potato there will be a grouping of eyes around one end which is called the 'rose' end.Stand the seed potato with this end up, in an egg box which is ideal for the job or any other suitable container.
In a few weeks you will see it sprouting,when sowing around mid March keep the sprouts at this end up as they are the potato stalks not the roots!
St Patrick's day 17th March is traditionally the day we sow our early potatoes in Ireland

The strawberry bed also got a makeover, I had removed the old growth late last year but they still needed a tidy up.I removed any old brown leaves and was surprised to see some flowers coming out, not sure if they are new this year so I left them to be on the safe side.
The bed got a top dressing of sulphate of potash, which is recommended for all fruiting and flowering plants in Springtime.
I had the poly tunnel in the shed and also a mesh one which should have covered the top end of the bed but the mesh one was shredded to bits by over wintering visitors I think!
I bought a new mesh today and went out to cover the whole bed as more frost is forecast
Matron spreads wood ash on her beds which is great if you have it.There is a return to wood burning stoves recently or turf which we burn a lot of here, you have none of the chemicals which coal products have so spreading on your garden is a great way to utilise the ash!

The fruit bed was weeded, dandelions are making a determined effort to colonise the ground!
The Autumn fruiting raspberries were cut back to ground level, this was all done last week and today there is a bunch of new green growth coming through.
I cut back any deadwood on the blueberries which are in deep pots of ericacous compost as they like acid soil.I will scrape out the top layer of soil carefully and renew it.
I also gave the bed a dressing of the potash and spent half an hour with a sledge hammer straightening back the boards around the edge.
I have been very lax this year with the seed sowing, none of them have been even started yet!


Matron said…
That's a good idea about putting fleece over the potatoes while they are chitting! I've bought a second lot because my first ones were frosted inside the garden shed.
Anonymous said…
Things are coming along on your allotment! Lots of work getting everything ready for spring! How are the chickens...have you confined them to one end of your yard?
Peggy said…
Matron, I only thought of doing that after reading about your frosted ones!

The chickens are still running amok!
Willow said…
You have been busy I see. Can't wait to get in our yard and work, but we are having snow right now. Probably our last one for the season I hope.
Anonymous said…
Hi Peggy it was interesting to see you like to plant out around st paddys day, here in nz we often plant out at labour weekend a national holiday at the end of October, usually the soil is warming and the frosts have finished.
Oh, my goodness, Peggy. I have potatoes chitting in my vegetable drawer at home. And, I wasn't trying to get them to sprout... they just did. Oh well. I'll toss them or make me a potato patch. I'm thinking toss....
Marie said…
Such great information! How interesting that the ash from the turf fires is used on the garden. It makes sense, of course, but I never thought about it.
Why I garden... said…
I like the lay out of your comments page. You've been busy! I plant my potatoes on St Patrick's Day as well.
Peggy said…
We should have been busy a whole lot sooner as we have had such a mild Winter/Spring,we escaped the snow this year!

St Patrick's Day is probably the same here weatherwise and temps going up to warm the soil.
Peggy said…
We have all chitted unwittingly,not just potatoes either!

I thought I should include as much information as possible as not everyone reading may be any way experienced, I know we needed all the help we could get when we began.

Why I Garden, Hi Kelli

The comment spage is like this through no particular effort of mine, when I returned after my 'break'I found it like this!
Barbarapc said…
Remember my grandmother talking about chitting the potatoes! I'd forgotten until I'd read your post. We've got our party all lined up for the 17th with good friends who treat the day like a national holiday - great fun. Love to see everyone in short sleeves at the allotment. It will be a while for us yet, although tomorrow +12C, so you never know, I may be planting my peas on the 17th and thinking about you with your potatoes.
Angela said…
Hi Peggy. Your garden is getting off to a great start!
cathy@home said…
Peggy What can I say but thank you for making Aled feel so special you are now offically his Aunty in Ireland thats what he told his friends he has taken his pencil to school today.
Thank you again and a very Happy St Patrick's Day to you did you know he was Welsh.

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