We are feeling very pleased with ourselves, we’ve planted our potatoes! Some years we haven’t got around to it until mid December, not recommended practice!

Most of the spuds have been chitted, to produce strong sprouts prior to planting ( see Aug diary) but we decided to add some extra Agria, so put in the last of our eating potatoes, saved from last season &  sprouting.

About 2 months ago we scattered compost & sheep manure over the areas intended for spuds. Today we cleared off the surface weeds, well Geoff did,  & dug trenches, each  had some extra manure added, then the seed potatoes were put in, spaced at about 15 inches, 40 cm apart, the rows are about 1metre apart. Plant them sprouts up, as they have been sitting in their trays. Handle them gently, you don’t want to knock off the sprouts.

Then the spuds were covered with enough soil to cover them up.

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We’ve found that by starting with a trench, we can get more growth & 2 or 3 moundings, all this helps to produce a good crop, as the spuds form above the parents tuber, on the stalks. This is the second year in this spot, so next year we’ll move them to a new position.

The last two weeks have been an unfolding of Irises. What beautiful things they are, finely marked & coloured. & many are scented too. We have both sorts of Orris Iris, I. pallida & I. florentina, which are hardy & reliable. We haven’t ever made Orris powder, mostly because it takes 2 or 3 years to mature & develop it’s fragrance. I’ve decided that next time we have some middle rhizomes with no sprouts I’ll have a go. Our Bearded Iris like full sun,well drained soil & to have their rhizomes exposed to the sun. The best time to split them up is February. We also have one variety of Siberican Iris, a lovely blue, called ‘Caesar’s Brother’  which is happy with wet feet, but seems just as obliging in the garden beds. We have a Japanese Roof Iris, I. tectorum alba, which handles the shade quite well, but is obviously happy in hot dry positions too, if it grows on roofs. It is reputed to have been used as an ingredient in face whitening preparations.

Our Asparagus is up, in amongst the grass, & as the plants are over 20 years old, we’re happy to get a good feed & enough to give away. Of course if we were keen we could lavish more attention on it, but it’s not high on our list of  ‘to do’ jobs.

Our Wisteria have recovered from the frost, & are full of flowers, their perfume wafts around the garden, it seems that the longer flowered varieties don’t have such a heady fragrance.

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