We planted potatoes in April, and David has been hilling them with a two-wheeled tractor. Hilling helps to control weeds, and keeps a good amount of soil over the tubers. After hilling, he and Bruce mulched them with old hay. A farmer we co-operate with had some waste hay he brought us. Waste hay may not be good for feeding livestock, but it represents a lot of organic matter. Mulching with it does two things: adds organic matter to the soil and moderates conditions for the potatoes. The mulch moderates or evens out temperature and moisture, which helps them grow better. Apparently moderating moisture also reduces the amount that pests are attracted to the plant. This is something I heard Eliot Coleman say years ago. Do other people have observations that support his statement??
The 200 potato seedlings we planted from Raoul Robinson’s seed are now out in the field. They look very small! From this planting we will look for plants with disease resistance. We’re crossing our fingers.