Today was a fun day of sorts. We went to the 4H, animal show, pig show really, Skye got to see the kids try to walk their pigs around the arena.
In the afternoon we planted potatoes. We cannot eat potatoes at this point, but maybe in about 3 months that may change, so we may sell them or give them away.
I will repeat what I heard someone say a while back “I don’t grow vegetables, I grow healthy soil the sun and rain do the rest.” The beds I used have been resting for a season, it had manure applied last fall and is ready to go. First, I took the broad fork to loosen/aerate the soil, then I added just a bit of lime (our beds needed a bit according to the soil test), made sure the weeds were gone and smoothed out the beds.
I stuck a small shovel in the bed, creating a hole 6-8 inches deep and Skye dropped in a seed potato. Two days ago we took our seed potatoes (we bought at the seed & feed store) cut up the big ones and let the fresh cuts dry over. Normally we would have gotten many more “starts” from these potatoes, but since we can’t eat them yet I decided to not fill up too much space in the garden. We covered them over and sprinkled just a bit of sulfur.
When I have planted potatoes in the past, I have not paid much attention to the depth of planting, anywhere from 4-8 inches. I did a little research and came across a study that said the following. 6-8 inches will give you the most tubers, 4 inches is not much different, but your potatoes will have more sun blisters, 9 inches will give you less tubers than the 6-8 inch range. However the deeper depths give you larger tubers. So according to the study, you need to decide more or bigger tubers.
As the potatoes sprout and get a few inches above the soil, we have in the past kept building the straw mulch higher as the potatoes got higher. The thinking behind this, as I have understood it, is that the tubers will grow more and higher layers as the mulch gets higher. I have never observed the potatoes getting into the straw, so this year I may not keep adding layer after layer of mulch. Having said that, I know of friends that plant their potatoes in nothing more than a tall ring of straw, with success. Whatever works for you is good.