Sunday, 3 February 2008

the pleasure of anticipation........

Anticipation is half the pleasure.
Down on the allotments our new neighbour, the aptly named Doug, has almost dug over his entire allotment. He has great plans for fruit cages and apple cordons. That hard graft of digging over the whole allotment means that only those with well-developed abilities to delay gratification join us.
The pleasure in anticipation of a new season puts a spring in the step of all gardeners and especially so today, when the long-awaited potato and onion orders arrive.
Having been 'at it' for eight years, we now have established favourites.
Second early potatoes Kestrel are the favourite of organic gardeners. They have good disease resistance and cope well whatever the summer brings. And they are delicious.
Maincrop salad potatoes Pink Fir Apple are simply the best tasting potatoes. They have a dense, waxy texture and they are the variety that the family ask for by name. Their irregular shape possibly makes them unattractive to supermarket buyers so you don't see them very often. They are great for the organic gardener - but temperamental. Some years we have not scratched together any potatoes from the soil at the end of the season.
We continue to hunt for the perfect early potato and the texture of Aran Pilot draws us to them again.
Others rate Nicola as a second early so we'll dob some in and probably swap some for a different variety.
Sturon onion sets never fail us and we're still eating onions stored from last season. We'll buy some red onions sets when we see some.
Golden Gourmet shallots have the advantage of keeping well, but we never get a fantastic crop and might think again next year. I'll plant each shallot into compost in its own reused plastic drinks cup to get their roots going before planting out.

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