I am taking advantage of a nice few days of dry sunshine and getting into the autumn tasks, specifically, lifting the main crop potatoes. This year, these are the Hungarian variety, Sarpo Mira. We had not heard of these before coming here despite 20 years of successful spud-bashing in Kent, but Mentor Anne recommends them for their blight resistance and they are very popular in these parts for just that reason.
These went into one of my ridges on 1st April and, from the start, looked like being a do-er. The tops were always huge and a healthy dark green, swamping the ridge and the trenches either side so that I struggled to get access to them for weeding. The first earlies / salad potatoes in the ridge next door (Varieties 'Ratte' and 'Foremost') came and went, their haulms succumbing eventually to drought, exhaustion and a wee bit of blight, but the Mira soldiered on. In fact the Foremost did show a few blighted tubers and the Ratte are a bit disappointing - although the outsides look a bit marked, many of them show dark brown lesions below the skin which may be early-stage blight. We are having to sort through them hard and the rejects may end up getting fed to 'our' pig. More on him/her in a future post.
The haulms were still a very healthy green as I dug them today, prompting some Facebook friends to tell me I should have left them in the ground, but I think they did OK. We got this huge barrow load from the 14 m row and some of them are well up into the 600 g weight range. We cannot compete with Mentor Anne's two-pounder which she has adopted as a pet and named David Cameron, but we can almost do some meals out of a single spud!
Ah well. The crop is now safely gathered into the barn, with wind and heavy rain forecast for tomorrow morning so I am pleased that I have also been able to mulch up the ridge with a good 4 inch layer of John Deere Bob's calf muck (well rotted) and put it to bed. The worms will enjoy pulling all that down into the soil of the ridge through the winter. There were plenty of them. I was turning up some big fat ones while digging the spuds and the accompanying chickens were hoovering them up till, belly-full, they had to go off and have a lie down in the sunshine.
For its first six years, this blog was "written" by my Westie Pup, Deefer but now on reaching its 30,000th page-view she has passed the keyboard to me. It remains a light hearted look at the lives of our family, human and animals first in Faversham, Kent, then through our recent 'up sticks' move to County Roscommon, Republic of Ireland where we have gutted and rebuilt a farmhouse and are now starting a small holding.