May potatoes, peas and beans

It’s been a struggle to find a good time to earth up the potatoes this month! It’s been more like ‘mud up’ to be honest, and while that’s good in one way (mud is an excellent light excluder, so there’s little chance of green potatoes in our harvest) in another way it makes it really difficult to get the earth to mound up, which apparently increases the potato harvest, and it also means that when the weather finally becomes warm (if it ever does) there’s a high risk of the former mud becoming a nice solid crust around the spuds, especially if you have a high clay content soil, and that’s difficult to break up and dig the spuds out of without spearing a few on the way.

The peas are enjoying the weather though, proof that every cloud really does have a silver lining. They are a cool season crop and have a high range of pollinators, so as long as the sun gets out from time to time, they will do fine and the longer it stays cool, the longer they will produce flowers for.

The broad beans have struggled this year. We lost our first seedlings to rats in the snow, and the second lot have come up well but seem to be lacking pollinators. Most broad beans are pollinated by bees, although they can also be pollinated by almost anything that brushes against the plant (a bit trigger happy, are broad beans) which is usually reliable but when there is a lot of heavy rain, the raindrops knock the plant about a bit, it drops the pollen which is immediately washed down to ground level and swept away by more rain, so pollination can be difficult in wet months … and that’s what we’ve been having since February!

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Monday, May 14, 2012

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