Growing Spuds has always been a very enjoyable job to me…well except for the laborious planting, the never ending weeding, and the time consuming harvest. Okay. Okay. I didn’t really like it that much, despite my positive attitude towards the daunting task.
As we have learned over these past two years our process of planting potatoes was severely over managed, here’s what it looked like:
Step 1: Till the garden plot.
Step 2: Dig a trench.
Step 3: Cover the bottom of the trench in hay.
Step 4: Sprinkle compost in the trench.
Step 5: Place potatoes in the trench.
Step 6: Fill the trench back in.
Step 7: Water the potatoes.
Step 8: Weed as often as possible.
Step 9: Dig up the potatoes with spade shovel.
Step 10: Dig the potato patch with a chisel plow.
Step 11: Walk through the potato patch picking up all the potatoes that were missed in step 9.
Due to this ridiculously long process we began to plant less potatoes every year until we barely had any to store over the winter. Luckily, that’s when we discovered mulch potato gardening!!!! I’m telling you guys, this new found way of planting and harvesting potatoes has saved us so much time and created a much healthier product! So there is no way we will ever go back to the old way of potato gardening!
Here’s our new process:
Step 1: Lay the potatoes in rows on the ground (whether its an already tilled garden plot or a new plot with existing forage, it really doesn’t matter) We made a new potato patch this year by setting our spud seed out on a grass hill out in one of our pastures.
Step 2: Cover potatoes with mulch. Make sure its thick enough that only the potatoes get through. About 8 to 10 inches of straw or alfalfa hay, fluffed up a bit.
Step 3: Water Potatoes
Step 4: Harvest the potatoes by moving the straw away from the plants and picking them up off the ground!
That’s it! I’m Serious…That’s really it! Although I do feel like I should throw in an extra step just so that it doesn’t look to easy.
(Optional) Step 3b: Mix up a batch of your favorite summertime drink, grab a lawn chair, and relax while you enjoy watching your beautiful potato crop grow virtually weed free!!
Some of the added bonuses we’ve seen with this method of gardening is the flavor enhancement, little to know predatory insect problems, and major improvements in the health of our soil! Check out how beautiful the soil is after just 2 months of being mulched.
Not only is this soil a perfect place to build up soil microbes, earth worms, fungi, and soil aggregates; it’s drought resistant! Mulched ground will hold its moisture far longer than bare, tilled soil! Since the soil biology is alive and thriving, it infiltrates the water without having runoff and erosion issues! This method of gardening makes for a fun and very rewarding job!!
Best darn garden discovery we’ve ever made!! Grab some potatoes and try it for yourself!