Potatoes in the ground

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Three packets of seed potatoes, waiting for the new garden bed
Three packets of seed potatoes, waiting for the new garden bed

One of the things that I really wanted to try in our first year of gardening was potatoes. So I placed an order with Diggers Club, and six (long!) weeks later I had:

  • 8 x Kipfler seed potatoes
  • 8 x King Edward seed potatoes
  • 8 x Desiree seed potatoes

Now, on reading the notes that came with the potatoes, I quickly realised that I’ve probably ordered too many. Way too many! Apparently each seed potato will generate 10 new potatoes, making 240 potatoes in total. That’s a lot of potatoes.

No matter, better more than less 🙂

Now all that was needed was somewhere to put the potatoes; cue another garden bed. Luckily I rode past some workmen cutting up an old (and somewhat rotted) paling fence, and they were very happy for me to take away what would otherwise be going to the tip.

One car trip later, I pulled together the following supplies:

  • Four pieces of 50×50 treated pine, recycled from under the house and cut into 600mm lengths
  • 24 recycled fence palings, roughly 2m in length
  • weatherproofed phillips head screws

The result was a large 2m x 2m garden bed, with the ability to add extra planks to raise the height of the sides as the potatoes grow. That should increase the size of the harvest.

Potato bed made of recycled fence palings, with room for upwards expansion
Potato bed made of recycled fence palings, with room for upwards expansion

Now came the tricky part, preparing and planting the garden bed. Reading up, I obtained a number of different pieces of advice, not all matching up. If in doubt: make it up, and hope for the best.

This is what I decided to do in the end:

  • thick layer of newspaper
  • layer of straw
  • thin layer of soil and compost
  • potatoes, at 40cm x 40cm spacings
  • mix of soil, compost, straw and cow mature to a depth of 10cm

Now to wait, and hope for the best. I’ll post another photo when the potatoes have sprouted.

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2 thoughts on “Potatoes in the ground

    Cathrit said:
    April 11, 2010 at 8:53 am

    I’m loving this!!!…I too pondered over prep and approach (trench digging over practically no digging)…I’ve gone for the path of least resistance in the end as over the years I’ve found spuds to just grow in the cupboard let alone well prepared beds….happy growing!

      James responded:
      April 11, 2010 at 10:56 am

      Well, my approach turned out to be a dud. We had weeks of very heavy rain after I planted in the potatoes, and I think they just rotted in the bed. I also don’t think that a bed of this size drains properly.

      So this weekend I’ve pulled out this huge wooden-framed bed, and have put in two new corrugated iron beds like the existing four. My plan is to follow your lead, and just plant the potatoes into one of the normal beds. This time I think I’ll put just 8 or so in, and see how those go…

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