The Joy of Planting Potatoes

Traditionally main crop potatoes are in the ground on Good Friday in the North of England. It was an unseasonably hot Easter weekend and three days off work meant three days with the family and the garden. The temperature gauge in the garden nudged 24 celsius and the greenhouse was a balmy 27 celsius thanks in part to getting the shading up and all the windows and doors open to get the heat down. GARDENING TIP: If you want to get your greenhouse temperature down quickly there is a way to do this, just damp down the path. Most paths in greenhouses are hard standing e.g. concrete or paving. These contain a lot of the heat and by spraying water on them you release all that heat and energy replacing it with cold water which equals cold air, which lowers the temperature in the greenhouse by a few degrees whilst you get the shading up, END OF GARDENING TIP. We've done the prep work for the potato bed by removing turf from an old vegetable bed.

Woman planting potatoes, life on pig row

Today, Carol is planting Arran Victory, Stemster and Blue Danube. The method is simple, to create V shaped trenches along the length of the bed, our trenches come out from a central hub like spokes. The central hub is the turf laid grass side down which will be home to pumpkins later in the season.

Planting potatoes, life on pig row

Place the spuds in the trench around twelve inches (30cm) apart. Take time to take a photo in which the spuds look like they are in The Third Man. Cue zither music. Honestly, click the link and read along with it playing in the background, we wrote the damn blog post to it, Holly. After all one of the varieties we are growing is the Blue Danube, and the Danube flows through Vienna where the film was set. Even my shadow looks like Harry Lime. That's all I share with Orson Welles bar the beard and the belly, and possibly the voice. Dream on.

Harry Lime watching, life on pig row

Watch out for the Viennese police whilst bending over to put your spuds in. Yes, we chitted them but we won't tell you anymore, we're not a rat. I think we are channeling Edward G. Robinson rather than Orson Welles. Take another photo in which Harry Lime is still watching Carol.

Potato trenching, planting potatoes, Harry Lime, Third Man, Life on Pig Row

Then remember to cover the spuds with soil, so no one knows they are there but you. That way you can come back later and dig them up. Knock any thick sods of earth to pieces with the flat of the spade. You don't need to rake the bed flat or someone will know you've been there (sorry, but honestly listen to The Third Man music with this and you'll understand why we are like this and/or watch the film, it's a bloody good film). Make your getaway through the sewers.

Potato planting, Life on Pig Row

Then when all three trenches are covered over, water, give them plenty of water, we gave them six gallons of the stuff before we walked away and denied any knowledge of them to the military. Seriously, it's The Third Man. Not us.

Mother and son watering

All we left were three markers so we'd find them at night a few months from now. We'll come with our zithers and tight lips, farewell Vienna we knew you well. We knows potatoes better though. GARDENING TIP: A family that gardens together, grows together and has fun, END OF GARDENING TIP.

Gardening, potatoes

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