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GROWING FOR SHOWING – potatoes, onions and garlic

I was doing so well. Most of the seeds and plants are ordered and now I’m awaiting delivery. Great. My potatoes are chitting beautifully and have recently made the short move from garage ( bright windowsill) to inside the house and the spare bedroom along with the garlic and shallots.

Seaweed extract ready to be sprayed
I was spending a lot of time monitoring the weather and spending restless nights wondering if the temperature was going to drop below freezing. You see, the garage isn’t heated and it will only keep a degree or two of frost off the tender shoots. Same for the shed. So now they are ensconced in the spare room, radiator off as they need it light and cool. But never freezing. It seems to be paying off as the shoots are stubby and greening up. Spring can’t come soon enough for them.
But, and here’s where my latest anxiety derives, it’s my shallots and garlic. Don’t get me wrong, both are fine, don’t mind the cold so long as they aren’t sitting in waterlogged soil. It’s just I was browsing the internet and came across a photo of someone elses shallots – and allium envy struck. His had gorgeous sprigs of bright green shoots whereas mine have nada, zippo, nothing. But mine do have roots poking through the drainage holes in the bottom of the pots so something is happening. I guess they will shoot when it warms up. My unknown competitor is growing his in a polytunnel so that will be warmer than being dragged out the shed every morning and bunged back in as the sun goes down. They might not need such cossetting but it makes me feel good.
Shallot Roots!
So does giving the spuds, shallots and garlic a weekly misting over with a weak seaweed extract solution. A top grower mentioned that this ensures nothing dries out too much, keeps everything ticking over whilst feeding the plants for the best start possible. And like I say, it feels the right thing to do. I never over do it but I have to admit to creating a whiff akin to Padstow harbour in the spare room. I like it ( we have great family holidays down there) but not everyone in the family  thinks it is the best room odour. They’ll be outdoors and planted soon enough ( the spuds that is).

Over the next few weeks I’ll wait for the soil to dry out a bit and then it’s preparation for the carrots and parsnips. Again, many of the top growers are well on with this or even finished so a slight feeling of panic is starting. Surely I can’t be behind already? But as I look out on another rainy day and hear a forecast of rain, sleet and snow, I console myself that I shouldn’t do it anyway! I do however have to get it done by next time as spring is knocking at the door and I want to open it and welcome it in. After all, I don’t want too many seagulls nicking my chips – not in the East Midlands anyway.

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