First potatoes planted starts the season, garlic leaping up and freedom is not far away for us.
Planted my first potatoes for 2021 in a raised bed in the polytunnel. The bed is four feet square and I popped 16 tubers in. They’re not in soil, it’s filled with multi-purpose compost. Not quite show-growing standard but they should come out looking good. The bed took four 100 litre bags which we picked up before the current lockdown.
I added fertiliser to the compost which I formulated myself by combining a specific potato fertiliser 50/50 with Growmore. The potato fertiliser is 15-9-20 + sulphur and magnesium plus trace elements. Growmore is simply 7-7-7 The compost base pH is around 5.5 so I didn’t want to add too much sulphur, reducing the pH too far.
With luck they’ll be putting a meal on our table by the end of April.. maybe a week before that if we’re really lucky.
Normally I warn people off planting potatoes outside too early even if the weather is good. I’m loathe to plant here before mid-March but I think I may be overly cautious. I might just make a start early March this year if the weather seems set favourable.
One of my wartime gardening books suggest planting out a few seed potatoes in February so long as the weather is good and you live in the sunny south. It made a point about choosing a sheltered, sunny spot. The idea is to provide enough to keep you going as last year’s maincrop harvest runs out until this years crop comes in.
Of course, now I’ve planted them they’re talking of a cold snap coming in. Oh well, they’ll be safe enough from frost under the surface.
The Solent Wight garlic I started in pots has taken off – they’ll be going into one of the raised beds very soon. Quite amazing how quickly they’ve thrown up shoots. The other garlics have yet to get going but it’s only been a week.
Like a lot of older people, we’ll feel a lot happier once we’ve had our coronavirus vaccination and it’s kicked in. I know it’s going to be months before life really starts getting back to normal. But even with just the first injection, the chances of needing to go to hospital fall away.
Both our neighbours up the hill have had theirs and our group is next for the jab. It could be as soon as a couple of weeks but whenever it comes, I know a lot of people are working their socks off for us.