Outdoor planting has started
Traditionally the earliest fields planted are steep south-facing slopes known locally as côtils, however with favourable conditions teams have also planted a number of free-draining flatter fields as they are quicker and easier to plant and dig.
The earliest fields planted in Jersey are steep south-facing slopes known locally as côtils.
These are free-draining fields that are generally more sheltered, close to the sea and catch the early sun.
Progress is slow on the slopes as everything is done by hand, including using a single furrow plough that is pulled up the slope using a winch system to plough the ground and to cover the seed potatoes once planted.
With favourable conditions, a number of fields have also been planted on the flat as this is much quicker and more efficient.
Whilst machinery is used to prepare the ground, mark out the rows and cover the potatoes, planting is still done by hand.
The planted potatoes are covered using a bespoke bit of machinery (see above) that places fertiliser prills into the rows at the same time where it is needed.
Using this placement system we have significantly reduced our usage of fertiliser, as it is no longer broadcast on areas of the fields such as internal headlands where it isn't needed.
Having been planted, these early fields will all be covered with sheeting that helps warm the ground, as well as forming a physical protection against the elements.