The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Danny’s potatoes have slug damage

Posted in Pests and Diseases, Vegetables | 9 comments

Danny’s potatoes have slug damage

So Magic Cochin was right after all. Danny’s potatoes are infested with little black slugs. Yesterday I decided to get the spuds for supper early so that I could replace any ropey ones without having to trail down to the shed after dark. When I opened the potato sack I spotted several little black slugs chomping heavily. In fact it was quite hard to pull them off. When I cut the potatoes open I found a few smaller ones in residence and little grey black eggs. We’ve never seen them before. Or the eggs. Just the tiny white worms – about a...

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Can you solve our eelworm problem?

Posted in Pests and Diseases, Vegetables | 28 comments

Can you solve our eelworm problem?

  We realised that we had an eelworm problem in Danny’s potato border when we started to harvest them. The little front doors to the eelworm condominium look pretty insignificant until you venture inside. I reckon that at least half the crop is infected. We can eat the parts of the potatoes where no eelworm has dared to wriggle but so much of the harvest is wasted. The only benefit is that we are well exercised walking back and forth from garden shed to kitchen to find enough spuds to feed us both for a meal. The Min Pins enjoy this hunting...

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The long awaited Digging up Danny’s Potatoes Day

Posted in Cottage tales | 10 comments

The long awaited Digging up Danny’s Potatoes Day

Within a month it was clear who was going to win the Grand Potato Challenge. The challenge wasn’t really a fair test – in the end as we realised that the earth in John’s border was far inferior to the friable soil in Danny’s newly dug potato domain. In fact by doubling the size of our kitchen garden this year we were forced to see how poor the soil is in the original borders. The runner beans have flourished but only because they were planted over a deep trench of semi rotted fruit and vegetables and the water butt watering...

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Potato Head

Posted in Vegetables | 9 comments

Potato Head

Danny is enjoying tending his potato bed. At the moment it just is tweaking the drip feed watering system from our water butts so that his seed potatoes are perfectly irrigated every day. Somehow he managed to nick the first and strongest spur of drip pipe for his bed. Needless to say the spur that led to john Coe’s potato patch was a much weaker affair and there was a blockage somewhere in the pipe. I’ve been watering John’s spuds and the broad beans by hand. We returned home from an excellent lunch party today and I took the blocked...

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The Grand Potato Challenge

Posted in Cottage tales, Vegetables | 15 comments

The Grand Potato Challenge

“If we have thirty feet of ridges , three potatoes wide, spaced a foot apart, we’ll need 90 seed potatoes. I’ve only chitted 2 kilos of seed potatoes. We won’t have enough.” Danny and I were digging in our rich vegetable compost into the new potato border. “We can cut the potatoes as long as each section has at least one eye.” “Really?” “Yes. I remember my Dad sitting on a wooden butter box and cutting up the potatoes with his sharp knife.” Suddenly Danny has been fired with enthusiasm. Enough to overcome his loathing of...

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