Friday, May 20, 2011

Planting Potatoes the "Grow Biointensive" Way: Part 2

Last weekend was a very productive one in the garden. Before the rainy week began, we tilled the in-ground gardens, prepared the pepper bed, planted the Kennebec Potatoes, and Dark Red Norland potatoes.

The Dark Red Norland potato bed was dug a little differently than the Kennebec. We began by digging out the entire bed down to 12-inches, aerating the soil with the Mantis tiller to a depth of another 12-inches (for a total of 24-inches), added compost and fertilizer, used a bulb planter to be sure the seed was planted 9-inches deep, planted the entire bed, then covered with soil.

Digging out the Potato Bed 12-inches

Aerating the Soil another 12-inches with the Mantis tiller

Worked in Compost and Fertilizer to the Soil, then Leveled Off

Used Bulb Planter to Plant Seed 9-inches Below Soil Level

Topped with Soil and Leveled Off

In the book, The Sustainable Vegetable Garden, John Jeavons suggests that staking potatoes helps the plants to remain upright creating a microclimate to keep the plants and soil cooler. So we added four poles in the corners of each bed and will string some cotton twine to provide some support as the plants grow. This will also keep the plants from flopping into the walking paths.

I kept feeling that I was late in planting potatoes this year, but looked back through this blog and found that I am only a few weeks off. Last year, I began harvesting young potatoes by July 4th. So hopefully by mid July we will enjoy home grown potatoes again.

It has rained all week and it looks like it will continue for the next week as well. The rest of the in-ground garden bed containing the Dark Red Norland potatoes still needs to be to prepped for planting the beans and squash.


  1. I might put some kind of support up for my potatoes too. They really do flop a lot if you don't. And if they flop over the sides, I won't be able to walk down the path anymore.

  2. What an interesting way to plant potatoes. I'm going to look at this gardening book.

    I've never thought about supporting the potatoes. I'm definitely going to do that with the raised bed I have planted here at the house.

  3. That is so cool to plant potatoes that way, thanks for sharing!

  4. You are going to have an excellent potato patch. The extra initial work is worth it and once planted there is no further big work effort involved until it is time to harvest. I like your clever variation of using the bulb planter to drill them in!

  5. I have used John Jeavons planting methods off and on for years, always with success, (not sure why I don't use it all the time...) Keep us up to date on how this works with taters...I'd love to see results.

  6. A bit of extra work in the spring will hopefully guarantee you a fine crop of potatoes!
    I just love how neat and orderly they are.