To chit or not to chit

Well regardless of your opinion on this statement I hope you all have your spuds in and are eagerly awaiting that first new potato of the year.

For a wonderful insight into the potato follow this link to another blogsite

At Woodville we got distracted with one thing and another and so even though we got the First Earlies (Colleen and Maris Piper) in on time we only managed to get the main crop (Cara)  in last week.

I had the bed covered for the winter, so it was weed free and warm, a perfect start. Or maybe not!  Jim Cronin gave a talk on soil at the Clare Garden Festival and advocated not covering soil with plastic or any other mulch. Instead he suggested sowing a green manure and he made sense. Apparently covering the bed results in giving slugs and snails a wonderful place to hide up for the winter, lay their eggs and generally increase the population. Whereas by first mulching with compost and then sowing an over wintering green manure a healthy enriched soil will result. I will say that when we pulled back the plastic we did find lots of fat juicy slugs. More about green manures next blog.

In Woodville  we plant potatoes using the dibber method. This means making a hole with the dibber and dropping the chitted potato (yes we do chit them) into the hole and covering it over. This is easier on the back and the soul. We mark the line with string and dib and drop. We leave enough soil between rows to earth up the soil as the season goes on. Last year we used grass cuttings as suggested by Bob Flowerdew however  may be its our wet Irish weather but we found that the slugs and snails loved it.

I have successfully tried seaweed (no need to wash the seaweed) and lazybed methods both used in this bloglink and for those with a green field the lazybed gets you started on creating a new bed, potatoes are great for leaving behind a lovely crumbly soil.

What ever method you choose its all a waiting game now, with a little bit of earthing up.

So what is your favorite potato and have you any tips on what works for you? Let me know.

Garden Gnome