The weatherman on the radio said the temperatures in London yesterday were more like those of mid-June rather than mid-April. So, nothing in this global warming stuff then.
At least we can enjoy it whilst we’ve got it and so I headed off to the plot around 4pm. Larry, who I suspect actually lives in his polytunnel, was there so we had a chat and then I got to work planting potatoes.
I’ve run over plot 5 with the Merry Tiller but this is where the Mantis really comes into its own. Initially I go down the rows with the normal double tines on which breaks the clods of soil into a really fine tilth. Next, and this is the really good bit, I swapped the double tines for the single tines.
These go down deeper but they also throw the soil out to the sides. In other words, they dig a trench for you. I’d hate to choose between my Merry Tiller and Mantis, but if I had to I think the Mantis would win.
The other year I popped into the UK office of Mantis in Stockport and met their MD. Mantis are basically a US firm with European subsidiaries and their approach is quite American. They offer a 365 day trial. No strings, if you don’t get on with it you can send it back and get a full refund.
I asked the MD how on earth they could do it. After all, people could just buy one, use it for a year and get a refund. His answer was that they very, very rarely did have one returned but most people would hang onto their Mantis like grim death. I quite understand why.
Planting the Potatoes
Anyway, enough of the technology and onto the planting plan. Starting from top and working down. Row of Swift. I’ve got three swift in the raised bed coldframe and these will be about 3 weeks behind.
Two rows of Winston. Winston is a first early, popular with show growers for their looks, but a good tasting baker nonetheless. Although they’re a first early, you can leave them to grow large and they store fairly well.
Final row was Kestrel, a second early. They’re good for roasting and chipping. Another show grower’s potato, some of the plot holders on our site have had good results with them so I’m hopeful.
I had some Winston and Swift tubers over so a couple of half rows up by the carrot barrels went in.
They’ve all had a handful of potato fertiliser per yard of row (my accurate scientific measurements) so they should get off to a good start. I’ve still got some potatoes chitting upstairs in the cold front bedroom so they’re next for the plot.
Val came round to inspect and we returned for bowl of leek and potato soup she’d made and frozen with the last of the leeks. Just the thing after a few hours exercise in the fresh air.