No-dig potatoes


I like potatoes (but prefer rice), but hate planting them as it involves a lot of work. Even worse I hate weeding them, so I don’t. This  year is the year of the mulch here at the smallholding – everything is covered with plastic, weedblock or a hay mulch.


So I decided to try something new with the potatoes. I am growing them on the hugelkultur, I am not digging them in deep (as I can’t on the hugelkultur) and I will mulch them.

chitted potatoes.jpg

So here is what I did:

I removed the black plastic that I had put on the hugelkultur in the winter to help the clover cover crop rot down – not too bad given it wasn’t just clover that grew but lots of grass as well – this is because I added all the turf to the hugelkultur when I made it – see here.

weedy hugelkultur.jpg

For contrast I didn’t cover the other hugelkultur bed – I left this to the naked neck chickens to take care of. For the record this was not a good idea – they don’t eat the grass, but they did scratch off the hay mulch from around the leeks – from now on chickens are only allowed supervised visits to the hugelkultur. Don’t worry though, they can still freerange over the rest of the campsite.

very weedy hugelkultur.jpg

I took the potatoes and with my trowel made a small hole and popped the potato in – sometimes they were covered with a little soil, sometimes not so much.

planting potato.jpg

I planted them at randomish intervals

potatoes ready for pl;anting.jpg

Then I put a liberal covering of alpaca poo over the area

alpaca poo.jpg

planted wth poo.jpg

I then covered the area with about 2 or so inches of hay – this was special sheep peed on hay – they hay they chuck out of the feeder, trample into the ground and then go to the toilet on!

putting on the hay.jpg

I will add more hay in the next couple of weeks as the potatoes start to grow. The benefit of this method – assuming it works – is that you don’t have to dig the potatoes when you plant them and you don’t have to dig them when you harvest them either.

N.B. I can’t remember what type of potatoes I planted but one is an all-purpose one and the other is a salad one – I think.

7 responses to “No-dig potatoes

  1. Good luck with the experiment! I grew potatoes one year and don’t remember it being too much work. But then again, back in northern New Zealand the winters are so mild. Does it snow where you are, and does this compact the soil?

    • Our soil is very sandy here so it is not too much work to dig it. Previously I have dug a little trench for the potatoes about a foot deep – then there is weeding. It is probably not too strenuous, but I find digging tiring – especially at the moment. Plus I don’t have much time and I always have lots of jobs to do at the weekend so this seemed like a possibly more attractive option. Then there is the fact that I am quite lazy 🙂

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