Saturday, 21 March 2009

Peas and Potatoes

The weather is forecast to be wetter and colder next week, so today I decided to get the potatoes and peas in, in case it is a week or so before I can get back to it.  I'm soft and don't like gardening in the cold if I can avoid it!

Here's one of the three potato beds before I covered them over.  The soil here is really good now, thanks to a large dose of horse manure and cat compost last year.  Planting potatoes is always hard work, digging them up is heavy work too - why do I do it?  I must be mad.  But we did have potatoes for two of us to eat for 5 months last year, am aiming for six months this year!  Varieties are Pentland Javelin (first early) and Cosmos (second early).  Pentland Javelin are completely resistant to slugs, Cosmos are semi-resistant.  I don't do maincrop as if the summer is wet both slugs and blight consume more potatoes than I do!

The peas are rather easier, shallow trenches, sown liberally as some of them always fail to grow.   The variety is Alderman, one of the old tall ones - the short peas which are the most common ones grown these days (as farmers like them) only feed the slugs in this part of the world.  These peas were fantastic last year, so I am hoping for a good crop again this time.

Finally, a bit of nature.  This is a photo of one of my starlings.  I say 'my' starlings because they nest under the ridge tiles of my roof every year.  Today, having cleared out the remnants of last year's nest over the last month or two, they started building this year's, using moss collected from a wall nearby.  This is the female, who I managed to snap leaving after depositing her moss.  You can't see the ridge tiles from this angle, but the nest sits on a beam which runs through my bedroom, and I hear the chicks hatch in the spring.  Last year they raised 5 youngsters, not sure how they fitted in the small space!
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