Birmingham And District Allotments Confederation
Representing Allotment Gardeners & Associations Across Birmingham

Allotment Hints & Tips

Please feel free to share your hints and tips and support other growers alike. Hints & Tips can be sent to markhansonbdac@gmail.com all are gratefully recieved.

Arkwrights Allotment Hints and Tips

Ey up Arkwright here as yay can probably tell i don't originate from these ere parts. I married a Brummie lass 40 odd years ago and i settled ere in Brum so consider myself a Brummie rather than a Yorkshire lad. Now listen i was asked to share  some of my hints and tips for growing fruit and veg from my many years of growing . Now i had a think and thought this time of the year tatties! Last year me spuds were on the windowsills in the house for too many weeks because of the weather . The missus asked me every week how long they were going to be there. But this year we have better conditions. So Here is me rough guide to planting potatoes 

Arkwrights Guide to Potatoes

If yay haven't already start chitting your early spuds for planting out. For those that don’t know chitting is another word for sprouting. Letting the spuds start the growing process before planting out giving them a bit of a head start. There is always an argument amongst us gardeners whether to chit or not. I always do and have good results. To chit your potatoes you need to expose them to light and a bit of warmth 8-10 degree, a light frost free window sill is ideal.  This causes the eye of the potatoes to form a sprout. The sprout should be small and knobbly, green/purple in colour. If you get long white sprouts there wasn’t enough light. Once your spuds have 2-3 good sized sprouts they can be planted out.  If they have more than 3 sprouts these can be rubbed off. This helps ensure a better harvest. As many of you will know potatoes come in earlies and main crop. These names relate to the length of time the plants need to produce a good crop of spuds. As a general guide:

First earlies take 10-12 weeks; second earlies take 13-15 weeks and main crop 15-22 weeks.

There’s nothing better than digging up new spuds and eating them within a few hours of cropping them. The taste is so much better than shop bought spuds plus you can grow your favourite varieties. I sometimes cook up a saucepan full down on the plot.

   Spuds can be grown direct into the soil. I am a tad of a traditionalist dig a trench about a foot deep put some manure or well rotted compost in the bottom then space the spuds about 8-12 inches apart then cover and earth up as the green bits start to show,  but if you don’t have much space they can be grown in sacks on the patio. You can buy spud sacks specifically for this or just use and old compost bag. . Put a nice layer of compost in the base approx 12 inches in depth place 3-4 good sized tubers on the surface cover with compost and water. As the green leaves start to grow keep on adding compost on top of them every week  until the bag is full of compost. Don’t forget to keep on watering. Once they have had the required time to grow you can tip the bag out and have fresh clean potatoes. I will be starting a few first earlies like this in me greenhouse to get some extra early potatoes.