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OUT IN THE GARDEN: Time to bank up your potatoes

Can you believe it we’re actually in May, where has this year gone? There are two main points to recognise about May... the first point to mention is that as the month progresses the chances of damaging frosts diminishes. The second and more important note to remember is that it is my birthday on the 16th so if anyone would like to send me any birthday biscuits that would be most appreciated.

If like me you have planted potatoes this year then you will need to start earthing or banking them up. It does take a little effort but when done you’ll look like a prize winning potato grower. Using a garden rake, or the back of a garden spade mound the earth up on either side of the potato plant so that from the side it looks like one long giant toblerone. The height of this toblerone ridge will be around 20-30cm depending upon the top growth of the plant. What you are effectively doing by mounding the soil up is preventing any growing tubers from being exposed to sunlight. Prolonged exposure will cause the tuber/potato to turn green which is potentially poisonous.

With the temperature general rising, staying on top of watering the plants in your garden is key as is preserving moisture in the soil.

Potato plants (9806666)
Potato plants (9806666)

A great way to keep moisture locked into the soil is to mulch around your plants. You’ll also find that the mulch will release nutrients into the soil which will also improve growing conditions for your plants and shrubs. When mulching you want to apply a good 5cm/2inch layer of product around the base of your chosen plant. Before doing so, though, carefully remove any weed or unwanted plant growth from the surrounding area.

Weeds are like that really boring individual at a party... just when you think you’ve managed to get rid of him, back he’ll come to talk about camera lenses from the 1950s and how they’ve changed, whilst spitting vol-au-vent all over your jumper. So please keep on top of your weeding routine this month or risk Brian coming back.

I’m going to stop there on that as I’m running the danger of making gardening sound like a chore instead of a joy.

The longer warmer days and rainfall will have supercharged your lawn and it’s going to need cutting at least once a week. If you haven’t applied a treatment to your lawn yet to kill of any weeds and feed the grass you still have time to do it. I’d recommend using “Organic CleanLawn” from Neudorff which you can get from Baytree. The great thing about the product is it is organic and formulated from totally natural ingredients.

Essentially you can apply the product to the lawn and as soon as it’s been watered in you won’t need to worry about it doing any harm to pets, wildlife and any children who may play in the garden.

When mowing the lawn, just make sure that the cutting blades are sharp, whilst a blunt blade will still cut the grass a sharper blade will require less effort from you to cut the grass. So I’d recommend renewing your lawn mower blade for the season or having it re-sharpened.

I’m off to work on my birthday present list now - speak next week.


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