Friday, September 14, 2007

Planting Potatoes
Potatoes are something I try and grow every year, heavy producers they are very rewarding. Last year I grew a 200 square meter plot of Maori potatoes at Unitec, this year I will just be growing a few square meters in my back yard.
Richard digging trenches for the sprouted potaoes, they will then be mounded up as the potatoes grow. This can be back breaking work and not particularly fun in the hot summer sun, harvesting as well can be torturous when done alone.
I dont know if I mentioned digging these rows is torturous!
Richard from Unitec was nice enough to give me a bag of mixed varieties of maori potatoes. These reddish or purple varieties have an interesting sweet flavour and varied shapes. They command an incredibly high price in organic stores and up market supermarkets. A heavy yield is not guaranteed partially due to problems with seed potatoes and variety. The size of potatoe is also much smaller than the commercial varieties commonly grown.
Tearing up the path for soil, In order to get enough soil to grow the potatoes I am lowering the path by about a foot, the soil is relatively rich due to leaves and mulch used for the path. This will make the beds more raised and allow me to use the path area to compost a thick layer of sawdust over the next few years which I will then add to garden beds.

I am growing the potatoes in cages made out of chicken wire I got out of the inorganic, these are made into circles then put on top of what was once lawn. I got about 25 sacks of aged horse manure free from a disabled riding club in Mangere bridge which I have mixed with soil and am growing the potatoes in. I will use hay from the chicken enclosure to mound the potatoes up to encourage heavier yields. The enclosure will keep the straw and soil from falling out. I am anticipating the soil will be very rich and suitable to add to garden beds once the potatoes are harvested.

Potatoes planted with straw on the side to keep soil in. I am using an old mat to cover the grass.

Maori potatoes planted out across the soil and horse manure. The potatoes are have sprouts which are about 2 - 10cm long which is a bit long.

Potatoes planted and Kauri sawdust I also got today put down for instant paths.

Putting a potatoe cage in.

Me adding some horse manure

Walking through the garden with sawdust billowing round.


tom said...

great photo of richard.

Anonymous said...

dont dig use no dig methods and save your back

Anonymous said...

Why wouldn't you put the chicken wire enclosure ONTO THE GARDEN PATCH.Then you would only have to release the cage to get to the potatoes, [no digging] and all the goodies would be there in the garden for next year.