Potatoes are the best crop to use for breaking new areas of your garden. I planted two groups of tubers this week despite the sodden ground. They went into established garden so I didn’t dig the ground but did aerate it by lifting it with a fork to break up the ground and allow the air in and the water out. Much less work and kinder to the soil structure and biota. The potatoes are in a grid 30cm apart in each direction and got a thick layer of mulch on top to keep the weeds down until the shoots are up and the seaweed goes on. It also keeps moisture in and helps feed the soil as it rots down.There are seed potatoes now in the shops although I tend to rely mainly on potatoes I’ve saved from the best of last year’s crop.
If you’ve got lots of double digging to do in new areas with heavy soil to plant your potatoes (or anything else) I recommend you hire a teenage sports team when it gets a bit drier. You’ll be helping their fund raising, fitness training and team work. Give them some direction, feed them well and reward them fairly. It will be some of the best money you ever spend.
Here are a few lighter, modern English fiction recommendations.
Photograph courtesy of Veronica Gunn Photography.