Our 2023 garden: Irish Cobbler potatoes planted

The girls and I are still trying to figure out the best place to set up grow bags for the potatoes, where they would get full sun, but also be closer to the house for watering. We don’t have a lot of the old feed bags left to use as grow bags, so we decided to use one of the Old Kitchen Garden beds that was recently fixed up.

The bed still needed topping up, so I started by adding some of the sheep manure I recently purchased. I didn’t add a lot, as this bed was filled with purchased garden soil, and it should still be pretty rich in nutrients. What’s missing is organic matter. This is a blend of compost and composted manure, so that will help a bit. This got worked in with a rake.

Also… do you see that bit of green poking out of the wattle weave bed?

It’s a stray onion!

I have no idea where that onion came from. This bed had never had onions planted in it.

I’m not going to complain, though!

Next, it was time to raid the garden soil pile and do some soil sifting.

Three wheelbarrow loads of the garden soil was brought over. The weeds are already starting to grow under the cover on that pile!

Some of the Irish Cobbler seed potatoes were very small, so to fit them all in the bed, I put some of the smaller ones together. Then they got buried as deep as I could, so they don’t need to be hilled.

As this area slopes away from the house, the far end of the bed is somewhat deeper than the end closer to the house, to level it off. Still, with this bed being newly rebuilt, and the layers of organic matter below, the top layer of soil still isn’t very deep.

Once the potatoes were planted, I scattered some stove pellets over the top, then began watering. Once the pellets had expanded into sawdust, I used a rake to spread it out evenly. This is not at all for the potatoes, but to protect the soil and help reduce soil compaction. Over time, we will continue to add grass clippings and wood chips as mulch. The potatoes will easily be able to grow through a mulch. With this bed being higher now, and not using straw for a mulch, hopefully, that will reduce the slug problems!

After spreading out the sawdust, I gave it a deep watering, and plan to water it again a couple more times, today. I want the water to go through all those bottom layers that were added, which will speed up their anaerobic breakdown, while also acting as a sponge to retain moisture. Once those bottom layers are good and moist, this bed should not need much watering at all.

Now comes the hard part.

Keeping the cats from digging in the bed!

The Re-Farmer


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