This great weather means we are wanting to spend every spare moment we have up at the allotment and we have had a great time clearing out and tidying up ready for the summer madness. We have rearranged the chicken run and now we can keep the chickens well away from the oak tree and they can help keep the weeds at bay around the raspberry canes. It is at times like this though that you realise that chickens are not the brightest birds on the planet. Changing the run has really confused them and they haven’t quite worked out how to get round the re-arranged wire fence to the new areas of their run and getting them back in is not quite so easy either as they have options now rather than the nice wire tunnel back to their permanent run but I’m sure they’ll get the hang of it eventually. We have also been emptying out the compost heaps on to the beds to get them ready for planting and that means we can then turn over the newer stuff in to the now vacant bin. I try and rotate the beds that we compost based on what goes in to them each year and use manure for the potato beds this hopefully means over a number of years all the beds get the right treatment for the crops we grow and we don’t deplete them of nutrients. Compost is wonderful stuff and ours is enriched with lots of chicken poop so hopefully the plants will love it. Our other exciting news is that we have acquired a massive water container, I know allotment holders are sad people but I have envied the other allotment holders who have these and this year we were lucky enough to be offered one. I guess they are some sort of industrial container but they are huge and should solve our summer water problem meaning no more carting water containers there if we have a dry spell like last year and I will probably have enough water to be able to water the potatoes if they get short. Last year we couldn’t do this and I am sure this had an effect on the condition of our potatoes. Talking potatoes we have changed tack on those this year. Over the last few years we have only planted Sarpo Mira potatoes a main crop potato which is blight resistant. Last year they didn’t do as well as previous years and seemed to suffer from the drought and from slug damage, so this year we have changed the mix and added other varieties to experiment and see what happens. We do suffer from blight up there so I have stuck to a row of the Sarpo variety but I’m trying Axona this year as I’ve read it is a stronger variety. We are also going to plant Albert Bartlet Rooster which are apparently more slug resistant and an early potato Rocket too. I haven’t really planted new potatoes in the past as I’m not really a fan and prefer to mash and roast my potatoes but this early variety is good for those too so let the potato test begin. They are all nicely sitting chitting in the study and we’ll see what happens.