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Author Topic: Potato planting  (Read 1458 times)

Jethro Tull

  • Joined Jan 2014
Potato planting
« on: March 14, 2017, 05:41:10 am »
We eat a lot of spuds in a year and we like our own organic produce. I Usually plant at least 15 X 12 metre rows. I like to dig a trench at least a spit deep and a foot across, plant seed potatos, cover them with half rotted muck and straw from the cowshed and backfill. But I'm not getting any younger and by the time I have planted 12 or 15 rows I am pretty knackered and it has taken quite a few hours.

I have experimented with individual holes but the labour saving isn't enormous and the crop not as good. I have thought about growing on the surface and covering with straw bales but On this scale I am not convinced. Straw not cheap.

The soil is reasonably light although inevitably a little damp at planting time. Does anyone have any advice either on technique or on small scale machinery?


  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: Potato planting
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2017, 06:11:43 am »
I was growing a  similar amount but keeping it a tad simpler by just rotorvating then while the soil is loose raking out a narrow trough to drop the seeds iinto before raking over. I placed the rows a rotorvator width apart so again i could run the machine down and rake to earth up.
This year i'm not bothering ..just a few first earlies. Reasons are simple.. also getting too old and knackered and anyway I have 50% throwaways from spoiled spuds due to really high scab levels, slugs etc and always get blight before fully grown which means spraying too. I worked out the cost in time/fuel/seed etc for the produce and it's pennies per hour. If the money mattered I'd be better off doing an hour or two a week at minimum wage and buying the stuff. I did consider buying PTO machinery but the cost benefit would be absurd.


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Potato planting
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2017, 01:54:15 pm »
We used to do the trench method before decrepitude set in.  We tried dropping the chitted seeds onto the surface, then covering with black weed fabric - still let some light through, so needed a thicker cover.  Then we started using a Mantis (after a full sized rotavator), to chop up the manure finely, but I still crawl along the rows planting into the soft soil with a trowel.  The results are very good, but by the end my knees are screaming, so I wouldn't want to plant the number you do that way.

We used to have a rotavator which had a potato planting attachment, which opened up a trench, you dropped in the spuds, then closed it up afterwards.  It claimed to earth them up as they grew, but we never used that.  Somewhere you must be able to get something similar.

If not, all I can think of is to borrow a couple of kids, with the promise that they can do the magical bit of digging them back up when ready - unearthing spuds is one of the wonders of gardening.
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.


  • Joined Jun 2008
    • golocal food
    • Facebook
Re: Potato planting
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2017, 02:40:14 pm »
I have a mini tractor so I rotavate the row then run down the bed with a mole plough, pop the spud in the track then rake up over the top. I earth up at least once more with a large headed rake. digging it out is the hard part. did have a potato lifter but the soil is too heavy and clayey so it kept breaking.



  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: Potato planting
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2017, 10:12:16 am »
Have a look at the thread for "   "

 If someone will load a few bales on a trailer for you you ought to be able to tip them off in a place for growing on concrete or tarmac if not on soil .

 There is nothing to stop you rolling them off a trailer side  onto wooden or plastic pallets & sitting them  on top of a plastic sheet then netting up as in the thread to bring them up a metre or so high at the top face so there is little or no bending .
Harvesting will give you compost /mulch & spuds  so it's a win win for you .
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting


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