The garden is coming along nicely, although I would like it to be a touch faster, but there are only so many hours in the day. I’m still convinced I’ll get there. Having a teenager help, under duress, is filling the beds – slowly. I think Hubby the Un-Gardener may need to step up soon too. I’ll sell it to him like a pre summer workout program to save on gym fees. In fact, maybe I should sell it to many people and have a workout weekend! It may come to that. Especially as constructing the beds has ground to a halt as there has been a bit of an issue surrounding the supply of the timber. And just when I got a fancy new cordless drill. I think I wore out the old one as it really won’t hold a charge anymore.
But as we approach the spring, the focus of the garden has split like a medusas hairstyle. There is more than the building and filling of the beds to be done in order to be ready. There are normal pre-spring things to do, like sort out the seeds I want and gather them together. My poor seed collection got a tad neglected over the last year. The ideal place to store them is in a rodent proof tin in a cool dry place. My temporary garden shed over last summer was the back of the car. While certainly rodent proof and dry, not the ideal ‘tin’ environment for seeds in summer as I think I may have cooked them all. So now I need to decide to start with all new seeds or risk it and have the chance of a late restart due to failed seeds. I think I’ll do new in my new garden and avoid the hassle. Due to the size of the garden, this isn’t a quick task and needs a good afternoon to decide what I actually want to grow.
But more pressing is the spuds. 100 days from Christmas is on the 18 September. This is the only pre-Christmas planning I end up doing. The festive season is usually approached in a state of panic and the question ‘where did the time go?’ hanging on my lips. In order to get the seed potatoes chitted in time, now is about the time to search them out.
I normally like to go for Jersey Benne’s for Christmas, but this year I’ve gone for something a little different. I’m trying Cliffs Kidneys. Apparently, they are an excellent, firm potato, great for boiling. Which is good because that is how you want your salad type potatoes in the summer. It is also supposed to be great for containers, which is good, because in recent years I’ve grown the holiday season spuds in containers, so I can take them with us if we go away and dig them up fresh when needed.
In the potato garden bed there is generally space for 4 varieties. I like to have some more versatile ones as the season wears on – there is only so much boiled potato you can have and my favourite Ilam Hardy, a great 2nd early / main crop spuds make great chips and roast spuds and baked potatoes. I also chose some Purple Hearts which are also 2nd early / main crop and are my fun choice as they are purple through and through with the added benefit of loads of great antioxidants.
Then I need some winter keepers, so I can store them into the cool months. I hate having to buy things I can easily grow so I need to grow a couple of main crops. I picked up some Heather which the labels assure me has a wonderful taste. It is quite interesting because when you buy them in the supermarket you normally just grab a sack of what ever is cheapest without giving much thought to taste. Home grown definitely makes you look at the ordinary in a different way!
I still need one more main crop and felt quite overwhelmed in the store, so I came home to review my purchases and decide where the gap is, so I can really stretch my spud growing season and therefore the spud eating season. I think I’ll go with Rua. It is a good all rounder and will boil and roast well. And more importantly it produces heavily and keeps well. It takes 160 days to mature, so getting them started when I plant my Christmas spuds will have them ready at the end of February.
Gosh I can barely think that far ahead. All the effort to get the garden ready will be well in the past, the crops I’m only beginning to think about now will be fading or have already been eaten.
If I thought things were busy before, they are about to get a little crazy in the next month or so.
Come again soon – there will be tomatoes planted out in October!
Sarah the Gardener : o)