Wednesday, 16 February 2011

taking a gamble

A glorious late winter day with wall-to-wall sunshine and a temperature in the greenhouse up to 18C.  I’ve had some big tubs of compost warming up so I decided to take a bit of a gamble and planted three each of Pentland Javelin and Maris Bard first early potatoes. I'll do some more in the greenhouse next week and then the rest can go in during March, with the outside crop last of all.

I hope I don't lose any of them to late frosts but it's a risk you take with any early sowings and plantings. It would be nice, though, to get some a few weeks earlier when they are a silly price in the shops.

Checking last year’s diary I see that the first spuds went in on 4th March and gave me the first picking on 28th May.  Some of the tops did get frosted but I've bought more fleece this year and can give them a double layer of cover if needs be.

Planted another plum tree ‘President’ to go with the Opal I already have and then squeezed another gooseberry bush, a pink-fruited one this time, into the fruit garden.

Unfortunately I’d used the last of my wooden stakes to prop up a dilapidated fence so I had to improvise one for the plum tree. We have some multi-branched ornamental cypress trees so I removed a nice straight limb from one of them, sawed a point on one end and hey presto. I use a long iron bar to drive a hole into the ground so that the stake is about a foot or so below the root level of the tree, thus ensuring that it’s not going to move anywhere. Let’s hope the improvised stake doesn’t think it’s a cutting and decide to take root!

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