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Spud Grubber's Blog

Guy Barter

  • Date Joined: 15 Jan 2007

Recent Comments

  • Frost, snow and gales

    Guy Barter on 29 Jan 2007 at 09:07 AM

    At last the final row of spuds have been dug, apparently unharmed by the cold snap last week, straight into a cardboard box and immediately given to visiting relatives. They are also 'encouraged' to take away carrots, parsnips, celeriac, red cabbage, January King cabbage, savoy cabbage and two blue Crown Prince squashes. I hate having stuff spoil and by March crops still in the ground will go backwards fast.  Better to use everything up before then. If I run short, well, I consider it an opportunity to try supermarket produce I would not normally buy - for comparison with my home-grown veg you understand.

    The cold weather last week has shown up differences in the broad beans.  They have grown very lushly in the extremely mild winter (so far) and looked very vulnerable to cold. I sowed the very winter-hardy 'Aquadulce Claudia' in November and they grew strongly and withstood the frost well. I also had a packet of 'The Sutton' bought to sow in early summer as this dwarf bean is one of the few broad beans worth sowing after April. But it was too dry to sow last summer and rather than having the seeds hanging round until spring, I sowed them in November. They are known to be very hardy and have grown well and stood up the frost and snow. The 'Aquadulce Claudia' has the property of sending up several shoots, but 'The Sutton' sends up fewer shoots so more plants of the latter have to be grown to fill in the allocated space


  • Potato Rescue

    Guy Barter on 22 Jan 2007 at 07:57 AM

    I admit it, I am still digging potatoes. My allotment spud crop last year outgrew my storage facilities. Fortunately with a mild autumn and on my sandy soil the spuds are in good condition. Surprisingly the slugs have left them alone.  Possibly the very dry summer conditions prevented slugs breeding.

    I saw no slugs when I raked up the haulm, but I did see a few tubers, not quite covered in soil, green and signs of rotting from potato blight.  The spores obviously washed down from affected foliage and infected those tubers at the surface and not covered with a protective layer of soil


  • Muck spreading

    Guy Barter on 15 Jan 2007 at 02:08 PM

    Sandy soil is very easy to dig and my allotment soil is so sandy I could almost sell it to builders.  But if you do winter digging in the approved manner it slumps into a solid mass by spring and will need forking over to remove compaction.  Instead I leave cultivating until late winter or early spring and do the whole lot in three afternoons using my little Honda rotovator.

    The annual muck spreading has to happen first though. On our allotment site we have a vast communal heap of organic matter, mostly decayed leaves, prunings and lawn mowings that has festered for at least a year. It looks rough stuff but mixed into the soil it soon breaks down and it is free. The rain has eased off and a brisk wind had dried the soil surface making barrowing relatively light work