Spuds & Co.

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Bill Bentley
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Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2008 11:12 pm
Service Details: 1970 - JLR RAC, 14/20KH, Para Sqn RAC, 2 Para, DLOY- 1990
Real Name: Martin W.L. Bentley
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Spuds & Co.

Post by Bill Bentley » Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:14 pm

In our area it's been well below zero for a couple of weeks, before that there were a few days just above zero and before that again several weeks of below zero, around - 4 during the day and down to -12°C at night.

That's not a problem as we can still eat fresh garden veg. every day !

I was just out in the veg. garden and harvested some great spuds & carrots. The largest carrot was 35cm long and as thick as my arm, a full meal in itself !

So how do I mange to harvest when the ground is rock hard ... you might ask: :?: :?: .

(As a basic rule all of my veg. beds are slightly raised, about 20 cm (8"), this is important as it saves any veg. becoming waterlogged especially during Spring and Autumn.)

It all starts during the summer before, having built up the sides on my potato rows I then cover them with about a 15 cm (6") thick layer of grass cuttings which has loads of advantages in itself. I always plant more than we can eat and several different sorts to boot. Any carrots and spuds that do not get harvested by late Autumn simply stay in the ground, we don't waste any time and energy moving them !

Once the potatoe flower wilts and in any event before frost, I cover the rows with several layers of gardeners fleece, old carpets or any other available insulation material, even cardboard will do the job. On top of this I spread black plastic sheeting (each row for itself, as water must be able to drain away to the sides). Of course the sheeting is weighted down using anything available, I mostly use old house bricks. As the potatoe mounds are higher than the troughs to either side the ground below the plastic drains off to a light moist consistency, this is important as if too wet the ground would freeze through and kill the potatoes / carrots ! With the carrots it's much the same except that the greens almost never wilt, not even under the insulation and black plastic, in fact they actually act as added insulation !

To harvest I simply wait for a day with a little sun, the black plastic quickly warms the ground and melts or softens lumps of ice so that I can peel the plastic and insulation away. The old grass cuttings are often quite frozen and lift off like a scab. Thereunder is a wonderful soft earth simply inviting you to dig up the spuds / carrots. You will also find that the spuds have multiplied and dozens of tiny baby spuds are hanging onto the bigger spuds, these baby spuds are a delicacy, just washed and boiled with some quark, yummy. With the carrots harvesting is just the same and I'm fairly certain that they have even continued to grow throughout the winter ! By the way, the fresh carrot greens liquidized in a drink are very healthy.

With spuds and carrots in the garden you can keep going for a very long time without ever being hungry :D .

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