Monday, 2 March 2009
Why you should grow potatoes
I adapted our shed this weekend. Here's my potatoes 'chitting'! I'm convinced the word is derived from 'cheating', because you are persuading the tubors to sprout. But if you leave them in a dark room they produce long and spindly shoots, so the advice is to chit your spuds in a light airy room protected from frost. I'll be listening to the weather forcast religiously until they are planted - and that will be the Easter weekend. Good Friday has a long reputation as the day to start/finish/ get on with planting the spuds.
It's a crop that takes care of itself in return for two stints of effort (planting and mounding). It tolerates neglected soil and suppresses the weeds, yielding a bulk crop that can be stored easily and tastes delicious.
Brassicas are hungry and demand advance attention to the soil condition. If you don't net them the birds will eat them and they are liable to succumb to pests and diseases. Other crops may appear more attractive, but variously demand good soil
conditions, warmth, feeding, weeding and watering if they are to give a reasonable return. So the potato is the non fussy backstop that helps manage a third of the plot for you while you devote your precious time to its more fussy neighbours.