To be sure I have some spuds ready for the competition, I set a small amount in the 3rd or 4th week of February and take the risk that there will be no severe frost. I set them deep in the ground to minimize any frost damage that might come. This has worked so far. Indeed, this year, I plan to set all my early spuds before end of February.
I use seaweed as my only fertiliser. For most of the ground area, I spread this over the soil in November. It breaks down over the winter and the goodness seeps into the earth, making excellent fertiliser. I dig in any remaining pieces of seaweed around now, when preparing the ground. However, not all of my ground is available to fertilise in this way, mainly because vegetables have continued to grow on it and some still remain. What I do here when setting the spuds is move the earth to both sides of what will be a ridge or bed, spread fresh seaweed on the base, put a thin layer of earth over it, set seed spuds 3 wide across, 9 inches apart each way and then cover up with earth, forming the ridge or bed. This works very well. So, if you have done no preparation so far, you can still use this approach. However, it will only work if you have well broken-up earth.
Over the next few months, I will do an update here on what you should be doing to have the best spud in Iarthar Dhuibhne by end June.
Ba mhaith linn dá mbeadh slua mór daoine sa Chomórtas i mbliana, níos mó ná 100!! Geobhaidh tú a lán sult as agus beidh prátaí den scoth agat cun iad a chur ar an mbórd.
- Aengus Murphy, Coiste Féile an Phráta.