Harvesting spuds

Sewerby Outreach Centre'Paul Robinson Garden Feature'PA1023-6'June 8th'Mike Sampson Harvesting early Potatoes in containers
Sewerby Outreach Centre'Paul Robinson Garden Feature'PA1023-6'June 8th'Mike Sampson Harvesting early Potatoes in containers

THANK you to Flamborough WI for making me very welcome.

It always makes me laugh every talk I do because there is always one person who says she doesn’t like gardening and she’s only at the talk because she is a member of the group.

Well I can’t remember the lady’s name, but she actually asked me more questions than anybody and answered a few herself as well.

Flamborough WI are a fantastic group of women, who are knowledgeable gardeners and full of fun.

I bet you have been harvesting early potatoes and broad beans.

I have had mine for tea a lot just recently, they taste so much better home grown. Remember when harvesting potatoes don’t go by the flowers because some varieties mature faster than others.

Feel for the potatoes and don’t make the mistake a bloke I know did and harvest the lot at once.

If the potato is the size of a hen’s egg you can harvest them, but there is no need to dig the whole potato up just yet if you do not want to.

Sometimes you can do this only to find there are still loads of small potatoes, which can be frustrating.

You could replant them - I’ve done this and the success rate has been fairly good, but I do prefer growing my spuds in a good soil and getting my hands in and feeling for the spuds, for those deeper in the soil using a fork to loosen them and search for more suitable size spuds to harvest, rather than just dig them up willy nilly and be left with really small potatoes.

Make sure you cut back your hardy geraniums after flowering really hard. By doing this now you will get fresh foliage growth and new flowers later in the summer which will flower until autumn.

A lot of gardeners have been asking me about viburnum tinus, choisya ternata, griselina and box, which has suffered in the winter weather.

There is a griselina hedge close to me and the top half has been killed off and looks unsightly, but if you look further down the stem you will find fresh new growth, which I would prune too.

About three weeks ago I pruned a viburnum tinus back the same way and it’s looking really good now. Always feed the shrub you have pruned with fish, blood and bone – the organic treatment, or Growmore the non-organic way. The plants will rejuvenate and will look good again.

As I walk around Bridlington gardens this summer, I see wonderful flowers.

A garden I did notice had shabby-looking plants apart from a beautiful rose which was near enough black, which caught my eye. The rest of the garden was not at its best, but the beautiful rose, eye-catching in its beauty, still made me think ‘did the owner of the garden realise what a beautiful rose they had in there garden?’.

Some gardeners I saw made the cardinal sin of watering in the mid day sun as I walked past.

Looking at the plants they were brown on the leaves. I did suggest to one man he didn’t water his plants in the afternoon when the sun was at its hottest because this would cause sun scorch on the leaves.

Another mistake gardeners make, including myself, is put tall container plants such as cosmos, or in my case a large coleus, in a windy area.

My front garden can become windy at times, but I fell in love with the dark foliage of the coleus and placed it out front – only to wake up last Thursday morning and the wind was howling and straight away I looked out of my window and the coleus had been hit hard and looked a bit worse for wear.

I gave it a bit of TLC and some support, which I should have done in the first place and moved it into the back garden where it is more sheltered.

Also remember to give your flowering plants a weekly feed of Tomorite – this will improve the flowering, and make sure you water the roots of plants.

Gardening Tip – Some people when watering only end up watering the flowers or the leaves of a plant. This method can harm some flowers, especially when you water pelargoniums, because their flowers do not like getting wet at all, so it’s vital you water the roots, not the foliage.