When you hear the cuckoo shout, 'tis time to plant your tatties out.
The author write he was brought up on the belief that Good Friday is the day to put the potatoes in. Since Good Friday can vary by four or five weeks from one year to anther that's about as exact as the old saying about the cuckoo, whose first call might be heard any time from mid March to early May. The best that can be said is that you won't go too far wrong in about the second week of April, but just as with the sowing of seeds, allow for the variation in climate in your part of the country.
Make sure you've got mothballs in the cupboard.
Mothballs keep cropping up in gardening because they contain naphthalene or camphor and there are insects and animals that can't stand them. When you're putting your potato tubers in, pop a mothball in next to each one and the slugs will turn tail and look for something else to eat. The tuber won't be affected. One work of warning though. Ask the old mothballs. The more modern ones are made of chemical substitutes and don't have the same effect.
Moth balls are also on the carrot fly's no go list, so another tip is to crumble a few mothballs into the soil around your carrot drills, and then water with a fine rose to help wash the mothball particles well in.
The old herbalists wagged many a monastic finger at their novices in advising them never to plant a herb in the same place twice. They were the early advocates of the generally sound principle of crop rotation in the vegetable garden, which has two benefits.
DIfferent plants take a different mix of nutrients from the soil, so the same crop repeatedly in the same place will exhaust the soil of the nutrients it needs to success. A secondary point is that pests feeding on a particular plant will take up permanent residence if you are kind enough to present them with their meal in the same place each year.
Obviously in a small garden crop rotation is less easy to practice. If you are fond of growing the same vegetables each year, you will need to vind out which nutrients you need to replace.
Plant in the evening, not the morning.
If you are transplanting or putting in new plants from the nursery, a good rule of thumb is to enjoy your afternoon tea first, then do it. This is just because the heat of the day is waning by then, and in those important first few hours the roots can enjoy the warmth of the soil without the leaves being scorched by the sun.
Till next time, this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa