Pre­par­ing pota­toes for plant­ing

The Bay Chronicle - - GARDENING - BAR­BARA SMITH

wa­ter­ing.

Leafy sprouts show at the sur­face sur­pris­ingly quickly. I add potato fer­tiliser as I’m usu­ally reusing pot­ting mix that has al­ready grown a pre­vi­ous crop. the clay soil was still at 10°C.So why does it mat­ter? Seeds need spe­cific tem­per­a­tures for ger­mi­na­tion.

You’ll have much bet­ter re­sults if you wait un­til the tem­per­a­ture is in the right range be­fore sow­ing spring and sum­mer crops. Beans, for ex­am­ple, need soil tem­per­a­tures of 18-25°C for re­li­able ger­mi­na­tion. There are some soil warm­ing tech­niques to speed things up. Try cov­er­ing a gar­den bed with a cloche or a sheet of plas­tic to warm up the soil for a cou­ple of weeks be­fore plant­ing. I’m us­ing the poly­car­bon­ate sheets to warm up my sog­gi­est gar­den bed. 18cm so I al­low a tad over a handspan be­tween seedlings that need to be 20cm apart. The width of my hand in­clud­ing the thumb is 10cm and that of my in­dex fin­ger is 1cm. From the tip of my in­dex fin­ger to the sec­ond joint is 5cm and my gum­boot is 27cm long. Learn the mea­sure­ments of your own hands and feet as a guide when sow­ing seeds or thin­ning out seedlings. When di­lut­ing fer­tiliser, it’s handy to know that a stan­dard plas­tic bucket is 10 litres. For me, one hand­ful is 75g, so I can work out how many hand­fuls of fer­tiliser or gyp­sum to spread.

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