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?

5 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

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