Beautiful potatoes flowering in the garden

The first thing to go into the garden when we moved here in early October were seed potatoes – too late for new potatoes at christmas-time alas, but they will be fabulous for potato salads later in the summer. I always find my forgetful self surprised at how beautiful they are in flower – at the moment we’re enjoying a show of purple blossoms that fill the raised corrugated tin garden bed I put them in.

My preferred growing method for potatoes is super simple:

  1. Buy seed potatoes – this year I purchased pink-eyes and dutch creams
  2. Try and distribute fairly evenly on garden bed or even straight onto lawn. Children may, or may not assist in this process…
  3. Cover with a thick layer of hay – I always panic a few weeks after I’ve put the hay on that I layered it too thick, but the potatoes always make it through.
  4. Leave them to do their own thing – don’t interfere.

One of my raised veggie gardens - this year it's full of potatoes planted under hay

I’ve found that the major bonus of doing it this way is that they’re really easy to harvest – you simply pick up the hay, now compacted, but still easy to push around and grab your potatoes. I only get what I need for whatever meal we are having that day.

Jackie French in Backyard Self Sufficiency describes it as ‘Bandicooting Potatoes’. She says

You can pick potatoes before the tops die down by wriggling your hand under the mulch or soil and carefully pulling out the small ones. Disturb the roots as little as possible, so they go on producing more spuds. I don’t dig up all our spuds. I always leave a few – and just bandicoot when I need them.

As I wandered past my spud patch this morning on the way to feed the chooks – the cheeriness of the potato blossoms and the crow of the cockerel (aka Edward the vampire) combined had me musing on the sheer abundance of life surrounding me…. and on how much I’m looking forward to that potato salad…

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