Grow Your Own: August

At this time of year you will be harvesting some of your home grown delights.Peas and beans for example can be picked at this time and what a treat they will be.

If you are lucky enough you will have lots of potatoes.Now, unless you give lots of them away you will want to store them so here is just one idea, A Potato Clamp.It is maybe quite an old fashioned method but if you do it well it should work well.

In addition to the Potatoes and earth, you will need a bale of straw to make a Clamp.

To build the Clamp level out an area of the ground you have just dug your potatoes from. Firm the earth down with your feet and start building a layer of Straw 20cm deep, and circular in shape. The area of the circle will depend on the amount of Potatoes you have to store. Now carefully place your dry potatoes into the centre of the circle and pile them up into a cone. There should be a margin of around 20cm around the edge of the Potatoes. Now carefully cover the cone with straw until you have a cone of straw 20 cm in depth over the Potatoes. Around the outside of the cone start digging 10cm away from the edge of the straw and place the earth onto the straw, from the base upwards, so the straw is completely covered. Before you cover the very top place a section of drain pipe in the straw to leave a breathing hole, and surround it with earth. Pack down the earth with the back of a spade until it is firm.

You should now have a conical pile of earth with a ‘chimney’ at the top and a drainage trench around the base. You Potatoes should keep in there for several months. You may find around Christmas time some will have started to sprout. Simply rub the shoots off and then you can use them as you would normally. If you have lots of Potatoes, you may wish to build several Clamps to keep more useable amounts of spuds in.

Good Luck!