Well that didn’t quite go to plan – I blame it on the worms

Today was an amazing day, the sky was blue, the sun was shining and once it warmed up, it was the perfect gardening day.   Once I took care of everything indoors, I headed outdoors with a plan.  I was going to plant all my potatoes and finally get them in the ground so I can stop worrying about them.   The Christmas ones were the biggest worry as I really didn’t want to tell the family that we will be celebrating Christmas 3 days later than everyone else.

Christmas potatoes
These aren’t actually proper seed potatoes, but a gourmet pack from the supermarket that looked like they’d be fun to grow… I’m pinning a lot on a maybe because maybe there won’t be yummy spuds on the big day!

Then I was going to sort out the salad bed and give it some compost and some love so I could sow some radish seeds before it gets too hot for them and they all bolt.  I’ve had the seed packet sitting on my desk, taunting me for ages.  I headed to the garden feeling confident that I was going to achieve things today!

Finished container spuds
I really didn’t expect much from these bedraggled crops.

The thing is – while I achieved things, it didn’t go according to plan.   My first action was to focus on the Christmas spuds.  The others can wait as they are the longer growing ones and so at the end of the day a week or two won’t matter all that much.  I like to put my Christmas spuds in containers, in case we aren’t at home on the big day – I can take my festive gardening with me!

Spuds and worms
Both the worms and the spuds came as such a surprise. I wasn’t expecting either.

But straight away the first problem presented itself and was the main cause of everything spinning off track resulting in my main potatoes still sitting in their trays at the end of the day.   You see the containers I wanted to use were already in use.  I planted some cheeky winter spuds in them a few months ago.  They were doing well until there was a storm and all their leaves got wind burnt and shrivelled up.

Clearing cover crops
The worms made me clear the sorry looking cover crop.

I wasn’t expecting there to be any spuds, so I dumped out the soil into a large container and was surprised to see some perfect new potatoes.  But I saw something else even more interesting that took the potato planting session even further away from being done by the end of the day.  The soil from the containers was full of worms.  Loads of big fat earthworms.  The soil was just a blend of potting mix and compost with some sheep pellets, blood and bone and Dynamic Lifter thrown in for good measure.  They had been sat on the bare sand and there were certainly no worms in there in the beginning.

Worm filled soil added to cover crop
Hopefully the worms get on well in their new home with the cover crops
Nutrient enriching the bed
It felt good to be one step ahead of the game by enriching the soil at the same time… I may have to repeat this one the cover crop beds so I only have to mess with them once.

This got me to thinking and I thought, if there was something good going on in the potato container soil, then I can’t just dump it anywhere.  I needed to take advantage of it.  And what bed needed love more than my worst cover crop bed.  Which meant pulling up the cover crop – as meagre as it was and chop it up and then dig out the soil and lay the chopped-up mustard plants in the base.

Sowing seed potatoes
Finally there were clean containers and the Christmas spuds found themselves tucked in to a fresh soil blend with loads of goodies.

Then I popped the worm laden soil on top and began to cover it up.  Then I thought ‘while I’m here I might as well add all the other goodies I normally do so grabbed some compost, well-rotted manure and other bits and bobs and layered that into the bed then put the soil back over the top.  I may need to give it a bit of a tickle later to make sure it is well distributed but I’m hoping the worms will do the lions share of the work.

Christmas hopes
And now we wait until we hear the sounds of jingle bells.

After that exhausting deviation from the plan, I had my containers for my Christmas spuds, so I gave them a good wash and buried the well chitted spuds in a new blend of compost, potting mix and all the other goodies the previous potatoes loved.   It felt good to finally achieve something on the list, but the day was at an end and the main items on the list remain undone, but at least we have fresh new potatoes for dinner.

New potatoes
And the upside of all the messing about meant we got hours old new baby potatoes for dinner tonight.

Come again soon – tomorrow is another day and if it was a nice as today, my radish and my main potatoes may get to meet the soil.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)


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