Monday, November 14, 2016

Compost heaps in place and potatoes

I have been trying to find ways to be more efficient in my work. The distance from my main compost heap in the food forest to my small seed garden is about 50m.  It seems silly to pull out weeds from the seed garden and wheel them all the way down only to bring it all the way back up the hill once it's ready as compost.
So here's my solution so far. I clear a bed and build a small square compost heap at one end with all the right layers- green - brown- manure- urine etc. I leave it about a week to get started, all the while collecting more composting materials.





Next I put my seed potatoes on top of the flattened pile.

I put a big scoop of readymade compost on each potato. Then I build the next few layers of the heap over the top ending with a thin layer of grass cuttings or hessian. Water next of course.
I keep watering every 2 days and as the leaves emerge, add more layers of dry grass cuttings- more as mulch than anything else. Probably wood shavings or leaf litter would be fine too. Do this every time the leaves grow out a bit more just leaving the top few exposed. Stop the process when the heap is thigh high or when you think the plant is at its peak. Just guess. It's not science, it's an experiment.

My experiment is not complete yet as the original bed is not quite ready to harvest. I will update when it's done in a few weeks.
Potatoes grow new roots which become tubers at each stem node which is underground.  In theory, if you keep building up vertically, the plant will have clusters of potatoes growing all the way up the stem where it's covered. It works well in a tyre stack so why not like this too.