This weekend seemed a good time to harvest the first of the potatoes. These are Mimi and Anya, both planted back in March. Now I've read in gardening books about the various ways of identifying when it's time to harvest your potatoes but found that none of them were of use to me:
1) after they've flowered and the haulms (shoots and leaves to you and me) have died down - these potato varieties don't flower
2) for earlies, harvest 37 weeks after planting - I can't quite recall exactly when I planted them (I promise to write this on a calendar next year...)
3) have a 'furtle' in the soil and see if you find any - I planted all my potatoes in bags, so have limited furtle space
So, I've decided to add my own suggestion to this list:
4) when virtually all the haulms have been eaten by slugs or snails and you fear your potatoes are next on the menu.
But my fears were unfounded when we discovered a respectable harvest in both sacks, certainly much better than last year.
And the suburban veg plot have been yielding many other harvests recently: onions, runner beans, carrots, chillis and garlic but the most surprising was a parsnip that grew from seed I sowed in 2008... The leaves started to get really big after a couple of months so I pulled it up to reveal a root the size and shape of a cricket ball with lots of long thin roots growing in all directions.
I'm already planning the winter veg plot - I have 2 varieties of leeks in the ground and have started to sow savoy cabbage and kale seeds for transplanting in September. I also hope to time a new planting of potatoes so that I get a Christmas day harvest.