Thursday, 11 August 2016

A Couple of Surprises

The last few days haven't been brilliant for August. The strong winds over the weekend and into Monday finally abated but sunshine on Tuesday and Wednesday was in short supply. We had a bit of gentle rain starting late on Wednesday afternoon which carried on through the evening and into Thursday morning. It amounted to 6.2mm (0.24in) so it isn't going to save us from having to do some watering at the allotment.
Temperature & Rainfall Records 09 & 10 August 2016
I've noticed those weather models that suggested only a few days ago that we could look forward to a couple of weeks of hot summer weather have done an about turn and at the moment indicate that the hot weather will clip the south of the UK next Tuesday and that will be it. Still they're fickle things, these weather models, and there is plenty of time for them to suggest something else.

On the plot our potato harvest began in earnest. The haulms to our Casablanca, Winston and Kestrel have all died back indicating that the potatoes aren't going to do any more growing.
First up were our remaining roots of First Early variety Casablanca. This variety has produced an excellent crop (24kg or 52lbs) of tasty potatoes with virtually blemish free potatoes. Next in line to be lifted was Winston weighing in at 10kg or 22lbs. We like the taste of this potato and have found in the past that it produces excellent jacket potatoes. The problem is that it seems to be very prone to damage from wireworms and slugs. As these potatoes are growing in the bed that was cleared of strawberry plants late last year I had my doubts regarding the suitability of the ground when the potatoes were planted.
Winston after haulms cut back and weed control fabric pulled back
They were planted as a crop to "clear the ground". In my case I figured that the ground would be well dug over as the crop was lifted as in spring the soil had only been turned over using my little cultivator which doesn't dig the soil as deeply as a spade or fork.

Isn't it amazing how far from the main root of the plant some potatoes grow. In the photo above you can see how far in from the path that the potatoes were planted yet some potatoes managed to reach the edge of the path.
With lots of slug damage to other beds on the plot I wasn't expecting much from our row of Winston potatoes but I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the crop. They certainly had more damage than our Casablanca spuds but most potatoes are usable. I think most of the damage was from wire worms rather than slugs as some potatoes had tiny holes in them rather than the larger holes slugs make.
My second surprise or rather bit of good fortune was whilst visiting a friend on Wednesday afternoon I managed to get some photos of a fox.
She's a regular visitor and turns up expecting an evening meal most days.


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