Hill Potato Blues

What seems like a lifetime ago, but was just this past St. Patrick’s Day, we planted potatoes.  We have hilled them.  And hilled them.

Today, with the greenhouse nearly empty of livestock (just the rabbits and ducks left), I started hauling out bedding.  Well, more than started, I worked on it for a couple of hours and went a foot deep in a 10×15 area but didn’t really make much of a dent.  While the wife and kids weeded the garden I hauled wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow out to the garden beds to surround the peppers.  Finally, I just had to do it.  I had to hill the potatoes again.

The bedding I am hauling out is mostly from under the rabbit cages.  It’s months worth of wood chips mixed with rabbit manure, chicken manure, old hay and who knows what else.  It’s moist, warm and full of worms.  It’s also heavy.

This really isn’t a huge deal but by planting the way Jeavons says to, and since potatoes don’t always come straight up where they should, there’s a dense pack of plant matter and it’s kind of hard to deliver the compost where it is needed.  But I did it.  And kept going back for more.  And I’ll do some more tomorrow.  Why, oh why did I plant 100 pounds of potatoes?

Yes, the plants really do tower over my wheelbarrow.  It’s not just a perspective thing.  I can’t seem to get enough material in there to hill them the way I would like.

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5 thoughts on “Hill Potato Blues

  1. Wow! They look fabulous. I’ve read the John Jeavons book a few times (from the library) over the years – always been a bit daunted by those charts in the middle, but the thinking behind his intensive methods seem to really make sense. Except, clearly when it comes to adding significant quantities of material to the bed…Still, the potatoes are obviously thriving under your TLC. It’s gonna be a great crop. Mine are above ground, been hilled once, ready for the second round as soon as it stops raining.

    • Those charts are the best part of the book!

      The garden is pretty interesting this year because we have quadrupled the area under cultivation. We parked pigs on the new area all winter to break the sod and incorporate organic material. That worked only so-so. Fertility is high but the soil is compacted on the downhill side. I think the mountain of bedding I’m pulling out of the greenhouse will really help things out. It would be nice if my garden was level instead of a slight North-facing slope but in time…

      There’s no such thing as a perfect garden spot. We just do the best we can with what we’ve got.

  2. We dug a few potatoes from the other garden a few days ago. We boiled them and then rolled them in butter. They were really good. I wish we had fixed a few peas to go with them, but were so excited to get the potatoes we didn’t think of it. Wish we had some of “sailorssmallfarm’s” rain.

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