Potatoes shooting out the trench

Preparing for Potatoes

Early in October, we pulled out our garden tools and set to work in our garden, preparing the potato growing bed.

Every year we plant our potatoes in a new patch — to avoid nematodes and viruses that attack the potato family — and this year we are using our crescent shaped terrace bed.

Crescent shaped terrace garden bed
Our crescent bed was fallow over winter

Bit of a mess, though, right?

I salvaged a few baby parsnips and then moved the irrigation hose out of the way, because it was mattock time!  I’m pretty hopeless with the spade because I can’t get the blade the cut deep enough (it’s a little blunt, and I’m a wee bit feeble). But the mattock makes short work of the weeds. 🙂

Stephen added quite a lot of home-made compost, and then the boys dug it over and made a trench:

Planting the potatoes in a trench
Time to plant potatoes!

William is a pretty good helper! Here he is, adding compost to the bucket, for Daddy to take over to the garden bed:

Digging over the compost
“Put your backs into it!”

Together they planted some potatoes (half are ours saved from last year — possibly King Edward, but we aren’t sure which variety we saved).

Planting potatoes is simple: we let them start shooting from their eyes, then put them along the bottom of the trench. Cover them over with soil, add mulch, and you are done for a few weeks. 🙂

Mulched potato bed
All mulched and ready to grow.

Fast forward two weeks to the end of October, and the potatoes are going nuts!

Potatoes shooting out the trench
The potatoes have shot up!

This weekend we mounded them up — covered most of the green parts over with more soil and mulch. We will keep doing this as long as we can, and the potatoes will make tubers all along the stems we’ve covered up.

Apart from that, potatoes pretty much look after themselves. Hopefully by Christmas (or perhaps mid January) we will be digging them up again!

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