Allotment potatoes

We’re having mixed results with our spuds. One of the big problems with taking over an allotment is that you never know what’s been done with the soil before you get it, and if it’s been overgrown for a while, there’s a natural tendency to assume the soil will be compacted, neglected and full of weed seeds – and that’s usually true.

The surprises, in other words, are rarely good ones. And this proved true on plot #103. Our first lifting of Rocket potatoes produced a harvest that was just pathetic, while our container grown Estima were brilliant. Quite what is wrong with a broad swathe of our soil is unclear: we know where the firepit was and that there had been a wholesale burning of plastics there are some point in the past, so we weren’t expecting any spuds of that section of the plot (nor would we eat them if we got them, they were planted purely to try and break up the baked soil and start to bring life back to it) but that didn’t turn out to be the problem section … which is weird. Remediation will begin with digging over, planting a green manure and digging it in, and then planning next year's crop rotation to try and get some kind of safe harvest off both problem areas.

On the other hand, the rest of the planting looks fantastic whatever’s going on underneath. One of the reasons I committed to edible landscaping is the sheer beauty it delivers: borders that look as good as anything you see at Chelsea (in my humble opinion) but that you can cut or dig up and eat – what can be better than that?

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Thursday, July 5, 2012


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