Welcome to my website in which I show you how I grow great organic vegies in a water conserving raised garden bed with the help of a built in worm farm and pest exclusion devices. I also show you how I rotate these vegies in a 4 year 4 bed cycle. Check out my website 'Gardening with Ecobeds' which shows you how Ecobeds are made and how they grow food without using poisonous chemicals....................John Ashworth 27th July 2015.
Latest Update 9th October 2016.
Potatoes are a staple crop in our household, and we can usually grow enough to last 6 months in our limited space.
I prepare the potato bed with lots of compost and a crop of green manure which is cut and laid on the soil as a mulch prior to planting the seed potatoes.
usually take delivery of certified seed potatoes in mid June, and
after chitting them for about 6 weeks, I plant them. The weather starts
to improve soon after, and damaging frosts are usually gone by September
when the tender shoots start to emerge from the soil.
We harvest a few new potatoes as soon as their flowers set in early
November. They are delicious when steamed, mashed or baked in
If you delay harvesting the main crop until the foliage hasdied back completely the tubersstore longer.
Binomial Name: Solanum tuberosum.
Variety: Nicola, King Edward.
Crop rotation group: Solanaceae.
Garden bed type: Garden Ecobed.
Recommended soil pH: 4.5 - 6.0.
Minimum sun per day: 6 hours.
Plant spacings (centres x rows): 250 x 300 mm.
Weeks to harvest: 15 - 20 weeks.
Good companions: Pea, bean, cabbage, nasturtium, marigold.
Climate: Warm temperate.
This food is very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.
It is a good source of dietary fibre, and a very good source of vitamin
C, vitamin B6, iron, potassium, copper and manganese.
Tuber formation is most vigorous when temperatures are from 16 to 20 deg C, and it stops when temperatures exceed 26 deg C.
Potatoes prosper in good organic soil.
A crop of Autumn green manure mix containing vetch, field peas and oats is planted in early autumn. It is cut down with garden shears, shredded and moved to one side as soon as flower buds start to form in mid winter. The roots are left in the soil to decompose and release the nitrogen collected in their rhizobia nodules.
The green manure is shredded and sprinkled over the soil followed by a 60mm layer of thermal compost applied as a top dressing.
A 50mm layer of fresh straw mulch covers the manure to help maintain moisture in the soil and compost.
Leave the bed for 6
weeks to build up worm and microbial activity before planting the potatoes.
your seed Potatoes in May for deliver in mid June. Use a certified supplier to avoid disease (buy 48 tubers).
earlier growth you should "chit" them by placing them (eyes up) in a warm spot with plenty of indirect light for about 6 weeks.
a week or two the seeds will send out new shoots.
to 3 or 4 shoots to grow larger potatoes, but leave them to produce more shoots if you're happy with smaller potatoes.
Dig planting holes through the mulch in late August, 250mm apart (6 tubers) along rows 300mm apart (8 rows).
Sow the seed potatoes 200mm deep and cover
them with about 50mm of soil. Make sure the shoots are facing upwards and take care not to damage them.
Backfill gradually with soil as the
shoots grow, but make sure the growing tips are never completely
The soil must be kept moist during this stage, but can be left to dry out when the plants begin to die back.
The plants draw back nutrients and moisture from the leaves for use
in their tubers.
Harvesting and Storage.
Young potato tubers are delicious and well worth sacrificing some of the main crop harvesting them early.
these "New Potatoes" as soon as flowers appear by digging up a whole
plant. Use all of the tubers before harvesting the next plant.
main crop for storage 2 weeks after the foliage dies back (usually in late January).
a hand trowel to harvest your main crop. Push the trowel into the soil
at an angle so that it is below the clump of Potatoes and lift the whole
clump. Take care with the trowel as you
don't want to disturb the water tank's cover or perforate the liner.
Wash the tubers and leave them in the open air to dry.
Don't leave them in hot sun too long as they can be damaged.
your Potatoes in a cool, dark, dry place in a hessian sack or cardboard
box. Note** They will rot if they are not perfectly dry.
on them from time to time, and remove any tubers starting to rot.
After a few months the remainder of your crop may start to sprout. It
is worth going through your stored Potatoes at this stage to rub
out these new shoots. This will prolong the storage life of your crop.
you can preserve (pressure cook) potatoes in a saline solution for
longer term storage. see article.in preserving jars.