We’ve been away for a few days to sunny Sudbury where the only stress was making sure a couple of cats, the garden birds and the guest ducks were fed and cat treats administered. It was nice to get away for a break after the last couple of years of the on and off madness of lockdown.
When we returned, the garden at home had certainly grown even after 5 days. The spuds we put in early (in February under cover here) were looking well happy and flowering like anything and so was the courgette seedling we put in a big pot (above). One tip, don’t even consider consuming the fruits that may appear on the potato plant after flowering as you’ll certainly keel over. This is how one website put it “…if you are feeling adventurous, you could try tasting a ripe berry, but don’t swallow it unless your health insurance is paid up.” We always knock them off if we see them growing just to be on the safe side.
Now it’s back to that age old “When do we pull the spuds up?” conundrum. It’s all confusing, as far as we can remember these were Golden Wonder maincrop potatoes which you supposed harvest in August/September, but we put them in earlier than they should have been so that’ll make a difference won’t it? If you want to find out more, there’s a good article about the various potato types explained on the Gardener’s World website here.
We usually wait until the flowers and foliage have well died down before we go in with a fork (remembering what Joe Maiden used to say about going in a few times so nothing is left in the ground. “Volunteer” potatoes can muck up an OCD laid out vegetable bed the year after if not) but there’s nothing stopping the impatient digging around in the compost earlier seeing if there’s anything small to harvest. If you’ve got raised beds filled with general purpose compost it shouldn’t take much effort get in there with a trowel and be like a careful archaeologist. If there’s nothing of a decent size just cover them back up and let them get on with it. We’ve read online some people enjoy spuds when they’re marble sized, each to their own we say.
Another thing we actually got around to doing was “side shooting” our tomato plants. This is simply taking out the side shoots that appear between the leaf joint (making sure they’re not the fruit bearing trusses that grow from the stem not on the junction between leaf and stem). The whole idea of doing this, is the plant will put all of its energy into making the fruit rather than into making leaves. If you have a butchers at this video below though the great Bob Flowerdew suggests growing Tomatoes on a couple of main stems. We love the bit that starts at 2.25 “I thought you were a good gardener?”
But the big question here isn’t if he’s a good gardener or not, it’s is he a reggae lover or a Kraftwerk fan or both, we need to know! If anybody knows please tell us.