Potato Beds with Comfrey

Reduced Bed Prep

We finally got our maincrop potatoes in yesterday. The delay allowed the incorporation of comfrey into the bottom of the trench. The theory is that as the comfrey breaks down it will provide food for the potatoes – we will see how they turn out, but as there is no control bed it will not be possible to assess the extent to which this happens.

The beds were prepared in what was the pig paddock earlier this year. Due to the wet weather while we had the pigs, the ground is a little compacted, but they did a goodish job of clearing the bracken. We used a garden fork and the smaller, pointy version of the two ‘peasant hoes’ to dig the bed. The paddock will supposedly have been fertilised by the pigs, but as they are a tidy creature, they tend to leave their’ presents’ in one corner and we have not redistributed them. That corner will be a pumpkin patch – most likely next growing season, as this paddock is not fully rabbit-fenced yet; it’s ok to grow potatoes here as the (abundant) rabbits won’t eat potato leaves.

Comfrey Potato Bed

The yellow discolouration on some of the comfrey leaves is comfrey rust. Having searched the interweb there is not a clear picture of the implications of this for use of the comfrey. While a lot of sites say chop leaves down and burn/dispose of all affected plants, others have gardeners say that they use it with no ill effect. We tried culling the affected plants a couple of years ago, but it comes back. We’ll use it and see how the potatoes come out.

Potato Bed Covered

The potatoes are Pink Fir Apples – very tasty – and we are using seed potatoes saved from last year’s crop (which we are still eating by the way – so good in last night’s Dexter beef casserole).

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