Time to pick up a tuber or twoBy James Ashford
March 20, 2008
There are lots of factors to consider when you choose a date for planting out.
Soil condition, temperature and the risk of frost usually all need to be taken into account.
Easter is about as early as it gets this year so it might seem odd to use such a moveable feast as a reminder to get those spuds in but there is some logic behind it. Tradition has it that you plant on Good Friday so that the Devil can’t blight your potatoes.
Easter is also a lunar festival. The last one on the Christian calendar. If you garden by the moon it just so happens that Good Friday is always a good day to plant out root crops.
My dad is more prosaic and reckons that it was the first time in the spring that ordinary chaps had a day off work and could get out into the garden undisturbed.
Whatever the real truth I always plant my spuds on Good Friday because I have a mind like a sieve and it reminds me that I need to get on with it.
Potatoes are a pretty undemanding crop. They do prefer a rich soil with plenty of well-rotted manure dug in.
They ought to be earthed up meticulously as the season progresses and they will do better if you space them out properly and keep them well weeded.
But the truth is that as long as they get enough water and sunshine they will grow just about anywhere.
They are also one of the most delicious crops you can grow for yourself. Quite different from the ones you buy in the supermarket.
I would encourage everyone who has a little space to spare to get some spuds in this year even if it means growing them in a planter on the patio.
If you have small children they will love to help you plant your potatoes and might even be persuaded eat a few when they are ready.
So if you are heading down to the garden centre today stop off by the spuds and pick up a tuber or two.