We’ve been planting the King Harry potato or “King Hairy” potatoes for several years now. The first experiment we are currently harvesting is the potatoes with minimal dirt coverage, mostly grass clippings (other than an initial covering of dirt to keep them from getting scorched by the sun). There were two plants in each box. We added clippings as the plants grew, and watered them when we watered the rest of the garden. Harvesting is super simple:
- Remove the box (the sides come right up as the bottom has already rotted away),
- Roll back the grass clippings with your hands, and
- pick out the potatoes.
Very simple, probably wouldn’t even get any dirt under my fingernails if I simply covered them with clippings from the start. The nightcrawlers that were working their way around the soil were the largest I’ve seen in a long time, so they like the grass clippings/cardboard combination.
In the box bed we found 3.9 lbs. (1.8 kg) of potatoes from eight plants, covering approximately 2.5 x 3.5 ft (76 cm x 102 cm)
From the Hugelkultur bed we found 11.8 lbs (5.4 kg) of harvestable potatoes, with about three pounds of potatoes that were eaten by varmints (mice and moles, mostly). Digging was more difficult since we’d not only buried the seeds slightly, we also did not attempt to contain them in any way.
The Lasagna bed yielded 20 lbs (9.07 kg) of potatoes, with only about one pound unharvestable due to critters eating them. There was also an 18 oz (0.5 kg) potato on the periphery, where the soil was clay rather than the built up soil, the soil probably being more “sour” (acid) in that area.
Digging up the wicking bed, we found only three pounds of potatoes! This area was rich with horse manure, and may have been too “sweet” for the King Harry potato variety.
You can find King Harry potato seed at http://www.woodprairie.com/. Tell them that gardenhacker.com sent you, and is real pleased with the potatoes year after year!