Who loves planting spuds? They are so easy, and need so little maintenance when growing. Just water, some well rotted manure dug into the soil, and bung them in a trench.
In our neck of the woods (southern Victoria) it is planting time. Normally I plant them a few weeks before the last frost is expected, so that when they shoot, the weather should be warming up.
Remember back to when I kinda half expected the large chickens to dig out all that Kikuyu grass in the garden bed near their cage?
Well they did a pretty good job, however the grass was so embedded in the soil, that Ben and I spent about two hours digging over the entire bed and ridding it of all the roots.
The bed was then dug over with lots of chicken manure, wood ash and charcoal from the clay oven, and some blood and bone, and left to rest for three weeks.
Then I dug a trench which was about 20cm deep (~8″). The soil was so friable, that it was a pleasure to dig. Lots of worms and no sign of the manure that I put in a few weeks ago.
Due to the construction of this bed, I can only fit in one row, so I made it a long one!
I planted Royal Blue seed potatoes, and planted them 30cm apart (1′).
You can seed from the photo that I was being quite specific, and even had my tape measure out for the job. It is just my way.
As I bought these spuds about three weeks ago, all of the eyes had chitted (grown sprouts), so I planted their eyes facing upward.
There were 13 seed spuds in the bag, and I just got to the end with the final spud. Hopefully a bumper crop in the making.
Upon the final spud, I then backfilled with my little shovel, and filled in the trench. Nothing too hard about it at all.
I mounded it further by adding a little more dirt that I collected from around the chicken run, and gave it a rake to smooth it all out.
On Wednesday, when I clean out the chicken house, all of their litter will go on the bed to mulch the bed. This will be the final layer, and add a bit more phosphate to the soil. I will water it in well, and hopefully we will have lots of potatoes around late January when the plants die back.
Who else has potatoes in the ground, or is planning to plant soon? For those readers in the northern hemisphere, is it time to harvest your spuds?
Got some spuds sitting on the bench waiting for me to pull my finger…I mean waiting for the eyes to grow a bit more…no, really.
They probably won’t go in until next week.
The other job in the garden is to get the tomatoes started under glass to get them producing by Christmas.
Jamie Woodside says
I just found a bunch of volunteer potatoes when I turned the compost pile the other day. They were small but looked very healthy. Potatoes do GREAT here in Alaska! I’ll be harvesting the spuds that I planted on purpose in about another month or so.
Here on Vancouver Island, I am just watching my potato plants start to wilt down, so I know harvest is coming soon. Russet Burbank and Kennebec. I planted in late May, and we had a great growing season, damp and not too cool through July, and now hot, dry in August. We planted two 30m rows and a half row, with 30cm spacing.
Now beginning to enjoy our own spuds here in central France. It hasn’t been very wet this year so they aren’t very big but that suits us fine.No blight either. However we have had a bad infestation of Colorado Beetle which has affected the growth; We have tried various ‘treatments’ to eradicate them but nothing has worked so far. Any one got any ideas?
Helen in France
Here in central Canada (Manitoba – 50 miles from the US border) my potatoes have all died back but I’ll leave them in the ground until the end of September/early October. It depends on how severe the frost is likely to be. I like to grow the variety Yukon Gold which have a yellowish colour and shallow eyes which don’t hold the dirt. I plant a few in my greenhouse for some very early ones and risk a bit of frost. When I first came to this property it had never ever been cultivated in a million years and I had to create a garden from virgin bush. As soon as the potatoes were up Colorado Beetles appeared from nowhere, though I guess they flew in on a southerly wind from the USA. For the last two years there have been no Colorado Beetles at all which is amazing. What I used to do is pick them off by hand every day or even 2 or 3 times per day, dropping them in an old ice cream container filled with water and some dish soap which makes them sink and drown. When the numbers get too great and the grubs are doing lots of damage I sprinkle with Rotenone sold as louse powder; I believe it is classed as ‘organic’.
That’s my 10 cents worth.
As soon as we buy our house (auction in 18 days and we WILL get it) and settle, I will be up there the day of settlement to build my veggie beds and the first veggies going in are spuds (Nicolas and sapphire blues) and onions. A little late but hoping we make it in time.