Mystery PotHAYtoes!

I know it’s a terrible pun executed badly, but we live in strange times – if now isn’t a good moment to get distracted by awful puns, when is?

As you might have guessed from the title we’ve been busy planting potatoes. We’re trying a new-to-us growing technique we discovered whilst watching a YouTube gardening hack video by Huw Richards. It’s hack no. 2, if you’re interested:

The idea is to use straw or hay as a mulch rather than digging trenches, planting the spuds, backfilling and later earthing up. It’s easier, quicker and has less backbreaking work than the conventional method. Plus we just happened to have a couple of bags of hay in the shed.

This was our first foray into the beds since the four month winter flood and we were a little apprehensive as to the state we’d find them in.

Waiting for the big reveal

Turns out they weren’t too bad. The algae will make a good fertiliser for the soil fauna after its recent drowning.


Speaking of drowning, the Lunaria annua I planted in the uncovered half of the bed last year didn’t make it, so we stole a little more space for the potatoes.

We added compost to the bed made from perennial weeds we’ve dug up over the last few years. We’ve been storing them in sacks and allowing them to rot down. It’s looking pretty good!

Who isn’t lumpy around the edges?

This year we thought we’d try growing Rooster main crop potatoes but it turns out our bag had been mislabeled. Whilst laying them out to get an idea of spacing I noticed that our red Roosters aren’t red at all.

How red are they?

I’m not really sure what they are. They came from Wilko’s so they could be Wilja, Rocket, Sharpes Express, Javelin or Aaron Pilot. Maybe time will tell.

Following Huw’s advice, we made dents in the freshly laid compost and slotted the potatoes in. Lastly, we covered the bed in a generous amount of hay, weighing it down to stop it blowing away.

Answer: not very red
Still, you can’t tell when they’re all covered up
I bet the slugs will love this.

I’ll report back as to how successful this growing method is. At the very least we figured the hay would be a good means of building up the bed for future use.

I hope you’re having more success with your potato varieties. Are you trying any new growing techniques this year?


14 thoughts on “Mystery PotHAYtoes!

    1. Did you get a good crop in pots? We tried sacks the year before last, but the slugs loved them and our harvest wasn’t great.
      Will be interesting to see how you get on no dig style with them. Will you be mulching with compost?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We get an ok crop, we don’t grow loads of potatoes and mostly second early. Last year we had two bags ruined because ants decided to nest in them! But had enough that we ate potatoes practically every dinner for about 4 weeks, which I had no problem with!! But the bags I bought were starting to fray so this year I wanted to try sturdier pots that will last but given the current situation I’m worried that we’ll be compost deficient so in the bed they go and yes we’ll mulch if I can see the potatoes on the surface assuming I can find compost!!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. My mom and sister used news papers to cover the veg beds instead of mulch or hay. they just laid it flat over the potatoes for example and then soaked it with water. They only used several sheet of the paper so the plant could poke up through it as it grew. Just a thought.xxkathy

    Liked by 1 person

      1. They lived up north in Washington state, lots of rain, lots of slugs and snails. My mom would use the sawdust from my dads workshop to lay around the plants, slugs and snails will not slime across it. They were always fighting slugs and snails and rabbits and any other hungry animal around. I had some nice verbena I have been watering to keep alive and I saw a coyote eating all the sweet little flowers, they just chomped it down. LOL I watched a video the other day and saw javelinas, they are like desert pigs, and they actually use there body to knock off the new bud on the chollo cactus ,(very pokey cactus) and roll them under there hoofs in the sand to dislodge the spines so they can eat them. Pretty smart if you ask me. I guess you would have to be if you lived in the dessert where everything either pokes or stings you. LOL XXkat

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wow, you have a lot of interesting creatures eating your plants over there!

        We’ll try the sawdust tip too. We have plenty from log cutting for winter fuel. I must admit, I thought the hay would be a haven for slugs and snails, but so far it doesn’t seem to be. It’ll soon be time to harvest our potatoes, and then we’ll really know how successful it is!

        I had to Google javelinas, but am quite taken by how sweet they look! You definitely have to be smart to live in the desert.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. LOL everyone think the javelinas as cute and sweet, however they could bite your hand off or kill your dog easily. They try to avoid humans however when they feel threatened they are lethal. My mom used to make new potatoes and peas in a wonderful cream sauce every year when the harvested the garden. Yummmm

        Liked by 1 person

      4. They sound like the wild boar in some parts of the country here. I have a neighbour who thinks he’s seen one in the area, but there’s more reports of the mysterious wild big cats than there are of the boars!

        You don’t happen to have the recipe for the peas and spuds in cream, do you? Would love to try it, but I’m such a rubbish cook I need to follow recipes exactly to try and avoid disaster!


      5. My mon made it from memory, its basic cream sauce,, add a little more of one thing or less of another, She loved pepper so she was always heavy on the pepper. Nothing like new spuds and baby peas in a cream sauce with a big dollop of butter on top, LOL Enjoy, let me know what you think.
        1 tablespoon butter
        1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
        1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
        1 cup milk
        Using the same saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour to make a thick paste; gradually whisk in milk, stirring constantly until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Now add potatoes and peas to the sauce; simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Serve immediately.

        Liked by 1 person

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