Every year I mark in my calendar this day, having specially counted back from the harvest date so I know they will be perfect for harvesting on the right day and today my calendar popped up with a reminder: plant spuds.
You see the thing is – I like to grow Jersey Benne spuds, among the other varieties I grow. They are the first ones to come ready and are considered gourmet spuds and if I’m going to grow spuds – why not grow gourmet ones. But there is more to these than just a being a gourmet spud. They are the new potato of choice for Christmas day and I have seen them go for ridiculous prices in supermarkets in the week leading up to Christmas. One year I saw half a kilo for 25 dollars!
But with all the excitement of planting out my spuds there is a catch. A scary catch. You see Jersey Bennes take 100 days, which means there are 100 days until Christmas! How did that happen and where did my year go? I’m not ready for it to be 100 days until Christmas. I still have loads of things to do. There are still things from my August list that need attention. I haven’t even found the time to write a September list yet and I’m just trouble shooting and winging it. I feel quite lost without a list as for the last couple of months they have given me direction and a sense of achievement and nothing was forgotten, although some things remain incomplete for a lack of time.
Planting my potatoes, however, wasn’t just as simple as digging a trench and lobbing them in. I had to clear a patch in order for them to have a home. So the first part of the day was spent pulling out my wheat. I have discovered wheat grows well, but I’m not growing it for the grain – but I should, but will need another garden bed for that – a big garden bed! I grow it as a cover crop / mulch.
When you have a garden as big as mine, effective mulch becomes unaffordable. So a few years ago I decided to grow my own. The idea came to me while feeding the chickens and it worked so well I have expanded it to a couple of beds with the plan to roll it out across all beds as they come empty at the end of the season. Especially after what I found today. The wheat is quite shallow rooted so pulling it out was a breeze and under it was a rich dark crumbly soil, loaded with worms.
I set the wheat aside to dry in the big shed and then enriched the bed in a way that would please the spuds and then planted them with all the hope in the world that the harvest will be bountiful! I would normally be enriching my beds to replace the nutrients stolen by weeds, so this system is much better as the nutrients have been taken up by something that will give back as they rot down into the soil while performing their duties as mulch. Win – win.
All in all it was a good day in the garden, there is a harvest of sorts in the shed, there are spuds in the ground, dirt under my nails and my back is a little sore from all the digging.
Come again soon – spring is such a crazy time and without a list who knows what I’ll end up doing.
Sarah the Gardener : o )