Early Potatoes Planted, Mowing, Cleaning

We’ve finally had a period of dry weather, even sunshine. The sun may have been shining but the wind has been howling, gusting up to 50 mph which makes it feel freezing cold. Still it’s allowed us to get some jobs done.


I could be wrong but I think it’s eight months since the grass was mowed. It’s just never dried out enough to run the mower over it where it was longest. The winter has been a warm one so the grass hasn’t stopped growing. To say it was long does not do it justice.

Grass Mulch Under Blackcurrants

Grass Clippings Mulch Under Blackcurrants

Poorly Petrol

Ran into trouble from the start. Filled the mower from the can and then started her up. She started OK but after a minute was having problems, running and dying off. I realised the fuel had been sitting for eight months or more. I think I’d added some fuel life extending Briggs & Stratton Fuel Fit but apparently not.
Had to drain it out and refill with Husqvarna Power 4 fuel. It’s expensive, around £4.00 a litre, but it doesn’t ‘go off’. Not only a useful feature for garden machinery but handy to remember come the apocalypse!

Having got the mower going finally, made a good start on cutting the grass. Had to run the mower with the side discharge rather than the collector as the grass was so long. Leaving it for a day, so long as it remains dry, makes it easier to go over with the collector and harvest.

Grass clippings are a really useful resource, just mulching them under the fruit bushes helps reduce weeding and, most importantly, makes a huge improvement to the soil. The soil under the bushes is now humus rich and has a high worm population working away to aerate and fertilise.

Eden Greenhouse

The Eden Greenhouse has been spring-cleaned and tidied up ready for the season. Really a job that should have been done months ago but better late than never. It took the best part of a day but well worth it.

Polytunnel Washed

Gary jet-washed the polytunnel. Both sides of the plastic skin had algae growing and the outside was grubby from soot smuts as well, being fairly near to next-door’s chimney. He really went above and beyond. Outside the wind was blowing water back at him and inside dripping on his head. And it was freezing cold. Anyway, the plastic skin is near enough as clean as the day it went on.

The cleanliness of the cover on a polytunnel can have a significant impact on plant growth. Dirty covers can affect plant growth. Clean plastic allows maximum sunlight to penetrate the polytunnel, providing essential light for photosynthesis. Dirty plastic reduces light transmission, limiting the amount of light that reaches the plants.

Insufficient light can lead to reduced photosynthesis, affecting the plant’s ability to produce energy and grow optimally. Accumulated dirt on plastic surfaces can create a conducive environment for the growth of fungi, bacteria, and pests. These can negatively impact plant health and growth.

Incidentally, they say polytunnel covers have a life of 5 to 7 years. Well, we’re in the 8th year and it’s looking good.

First Potatoes Planted

I’d planned on planting some first earlies in the polytunnel back in February but the weather turned quite cold and I didn’t want then to show and get frosted. Plus, if I’m honest, didn’t feel like doing much outdoors when it was miserable weather.

Headed up to the polytunnel with my assistant who’s also my grandson. The potato bed is a raised 1.2 metre square filled with multi-purpose compost. We added some standard potato fertiliser and raked it into the top 15 cm.

Then we planted nine tubers – Casablanca – at equidistant spacings, about 10 cm deep. The compost was pretty dry so we needed to give it a good watering to re-wet it. This job was delegated to my assistant who would use the watering wand.

All went well for five minutes until he decided to experiment with the various settings on the watering wand and I decided the best way to avoid a cold shower was for me to take over.

Whilst I carried on with watering, I was the recipient of a fascinating lecture on how to mount a campaign and define your character’s super powers in Dungeons and Dragon. He really knows all about it but it’s not my cup of tea.

Finally I mixed up 20 litres of Cultiv-8 trace elements fertiliser. The potato fertiliser covers the basic NPK and the Cultiv-8 covers all the micro-nutrients, the vitamins in a way.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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