06 April 2013

Po-Ta-Toes!

Yes, it's potato planting time again! As cold and wet as it has been, the weather is perfect just now for getting the spuds in - the soil is moist but workable, and cold but warming up. We have a few warm days forecast and then rain - if you were a seed potato you would be very happy with that forecast! Karl opened up the trenches to warm the soil more and to add amendments before planting. The seed potato sends roots down so the nutrients want to be below the planted potato. As it grows, potatoes will form above the seed potato so that soil needs to be loose, or even not soil at all. Grass, leaves, straw - as long as the seed pieces are covered. The deeper the cover, the more potatoes you get. Sorry, this wasn't meant to become a how-to.

Here are the potatoes in four trenches - from left to right we have Red Maria, Blue Gold, Bintje and then a mixed row. They would have photographed a lot better if I had washed a few so you could see the colours rather than this brown on brown situation.

The potatoes look very close together, but they aren't, they are spaced one foot apart in the row. The rows are 220' long.

The next step is getting the potatoes covered. Karl is covering the first row with leaf mold - it makes the potatoes much easier to harvest, but we don't have enough for all four rows, so the other rows will be covered with the soil from their trenches. This is the back breaking part - it is done using a hoe.

I've got two rows done, where's Karl?

Oh, there he is - I think I'll leave the last row for him while I go in for a cup of tea.