HARVESTING EARLY SPUDS TO MAKE WAY FOR TENDER COURGETTE PLANTS – THIRD WEEK IN JUNE 2009

Primary schools all around the country have been harvesting the crop from the two ‘Colleen’ seed potatoes which Agriaware and I sent to each school in February last, thanks to Bord Bia, An Post, Safefood Ireland and many generous fruit & vegetable company sponsors. I sowed a couple of the same seed potatoes in the standard black plastic grow bags at home and they are now ready to harvest this Monday.

How do I know they are ready to harvest? I watch out to see when the potato plants flower. When the flowers fade and wilt, the plant is finished growing and the potatoes are as ready as they will ever be to be dug up.

As these plants are in grow bags, they can simply be turned on their side and emptied out. Before I do this, I lay out old carpet on the patio on which to rummage through the soil for all the new potatoes, big and small. The small ones are set aside for boiling up whole as salad potatoes whereas the bigger ones will be served hot with butter and a sprig of mint – delish!

If I can manage to preserve the grow bags and the rich contents of soil and compost, I can plant up the same bags on the patio to grow on the courgette plants which were sown in early May in pots. The pots were left on the kitchen windowsill until germination. Then they went to the telephone box sized greenhouse to grow on. In the last week, I have put the pots outside during the day and taken them in at night, to harden the plants off in readiness for their final outdoor but sheltered and hopefully sunny patio location.

I love courgettes and it is rare to find Irish grown courgettes in the shops. In previous years, I’ve grown long green ones and yellow ones. This year I’m going for a round variety called ‘Tondo de Nizza’. The Organic Centre seed packet instructions tell me it germinates at about 20c. As the Italian name suggests, the courgette is a bit of a sun worshipper. The forecast this week in Ireland shows about 18c daytime temperatures. My courgettes may feel a bit like a Roman centurion in Chester dreaming of a sunny villa in Sicily. Nonetheless, my south facing  patio with a bit of TLC may just be enough to give me a good yield of promised ‘small round fruits with a green mottled skin and fine flavour’! If I pick the fruit regularly, I hope to be harvesting from July to September.

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8 responses to this post.

  1. Hi Trevor,

    Do you have any advice on growing herbs in small pots, such as
    parsley, coriander, basil etc?

    Mary

    Reply

    • Thanks Mary. Most herbs grow well in containers as long as 1. the pot is as big as you can manage to give roots room to roam, 2. the ‘not too wet not too dry’ balance is reasonably well maintained and 3. the location is bright and if lucky, sunny. Parsley and chives for example prefer open soil but will do fine in pots outside, whereas basil and coriander originating in hot countries need the sunny warmth of an indoor windowsill or greenhouse. Mind you I took a chance with coriander outside this year and so far so good. Good luck and happy growing and cooking. Trevor

      Reply

  2. Posted by mary on June 16, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Hi Trevor, your fruit and veg garden is great!! I just started trying to grow some veg this year but my potatoes have not flowered yet, hope they are OK. Lettuce spinach rocket etc are great and am hopeful peas and beans and tomatos will be good harvest – I am not as neat as you though! The videos are very helpful. best wishes bonnie

    Reply

    • Thanks for comment Bonnie. Delighted you have the growing bug too. Keep the spuds well watered to ensure healthy plants and good yield. it should not be long before you see the small white or pink flowers depending on the variety. Trevor

      Reply

  3. Posted by mary on June 16, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    Hi trevor, congratulations on great garden bonnie

    Reply

  4. Hi Trevor, this is a great website, congratulations! I’ve been growing fruit and vegetables for a few years, but I always have questions, so I’ll be popping in regularly…:)

    Reply

    • Thanks Clare,
      Delighted you are an enthusiastic grower like myself. I look forward to hearing from you anytime, and you may have suggestions for others dropping in on the site (like me!) given your own experience. Hope the coming growing season is a good one for you. Trevor
      PS. It would be great if you could check out the book ‘Trevor’s Kitchen Garden’ , just out, at http://www.orpenpress.com!All proceeds to SEED a school gardening charity.

      Reply

      • Hi Trevor, I’m going to treat myself to a copy of your book, I read about the launch, sounded like fun!!!
        Are you going to have a Facebook page? It’s a great way for all your fans to stay in touch with you and each other…:)

        Happy planting…Clare

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