First lot of potatoes in the ground (well dirt at least!).

After chitting the potatoes back in February I just got the first lot in the ground. I put these seed potatoes (four varieties) to chit much earlier than I normally do, so they’ve been slow. Normally three weeks would be sufficient to get some sprouts about 25mm long. After five weeks these Red Duke of York (first earlies) were ready so into the soil they can go.

Seed potatoes laying in a green tray chitting.
Seed potatoes chitting

Once you have 25/35mm of shoots, just pinch all but one, then place them upright into the ground.

Normally I place spuds in trenches in the ground, but in the past few years I’ve been putting First Earlies into these repurposed water butts (that were leaking). I put them half way down, cover with a bit of soil, then as the shoots appear keep earthing over until the butts are full. Potatoes grow above the seed potato so if you keep them deep you get more potatoes! Otherwise any that grow above the ground, and get exposed to light, go green (which makes them poisonous!).

Seed potatoes laying ion alayer of earth
Seed potatoes at the bottom of a waterbutt
Two green waterbutts by a fence on the river's edge.
Waterbutts

Spring-ish

I do like this time of year. It’s just a few weeks to Spring. Winter still has frosts and grey misery to throw at you, but its time is limited.

The garden has switched from soggy grass to life. The snowdrops and aconites have mostly gone. But the daffs and hyacinths are in full bloom. Plus so many other plants have promising buds showing. From the apple trees (now pruned) to the my tree peony.

In no particular order here are some photos of our messy garden!

Blue hyacinth against grass.
Hyacinth
white and yellow daffodils in front of a polytunnel
Daffodils
Hyacinth
Daffodils and snowdrops

First lot of summer cabbages.

I planted twelve savoy and twelve red cabbages back in March. These were plug plants as I’m too lazy to grow from seed.

I kept them under mesh and did some weeding (although not a lot).

Well it’s time to cook them.

IMG 8861

trouble is by the time I’ve taken all those half eaten outer leaves the heads are quite small! Hopefully also tasty!

IMG 8862

Here’s it cooking. Smothered Cabbage. A New Orleans staple that I’ve never tried before.

IMG 8863

Spring is coming – flowers in the garden

Our garden was well planned by the previous owners. They bought the house in 1933 and spent their lives planning the garden. No lawn, but vegetable patches in the middle and flowers around the borders. We have left the garden much wilder. The vegetables patches were replaced by grass (although we reverted part of that to vegetables patches during the first lockdown). The borders are still full of flowers. All planned so that the last weeks of Winter and Spring are full of flowers, snowdrops, aconites, crocuses, daffodils, then tulips, crown imperials, irises and plenty more. Here’s the first batch:

(The first daffodils photo is from elsewhere in the village, but it’s a lovely photo!).

IMG 7576

IMG 7567

IMG 7569

IMG 9245

IMG 2493

IMG 7795

First outdoor cooking of the year

It’s school half term, so whereas it’s still pretty damp outside, it’s a good time to cook sausages and naan bread on a campfire outside.

IMG 7612

I’ve learnt from previous years and rather than having to turn a naan regularly so it does not flow through the grill bars, I used a baking tray over the fires instead. It still needed turning quickly to avoid burning, but they baked nicely and were the yummiest I’ve done yet!

IMG 7614

The grill is made from the steel bars of an old scrap iron bed frame at the right width to slide a grill from an oven. Fit’s nicely across the fire pit.