Skip to main content

Digging Potatoes and Soil Discoveries


I dug our potatoes over the weekend. These are the grocery store potatoes I decided to try. Seed potatoes have gotten so expensive that I thought, what the heck. So I bought some organic russet potatoes and planted them in two of my hugelkultur swale beds along with cowpeas and my winter potted pansies. I was thrilled with what I discovered.

The first thing I noticed was the moisture in the soil. I haven't watered these beds much even though it's been hot and dry. I wouldn't have been surprised if the soil was bone dry when I dug but that wasn't the case. So that was like a pat on the back for my soil building efforts.

The second thing I noticed was the soil texture. Here's what my soil used to look like. (Ha! And still does in lots of places.)


Here's a chunk I turned up while hunting potatoes.


The combination of soil microorganisms, organic matter, roots, soil, and air all point to improved soil structure, which helps with moisture retention. I was so happy to see that.

My third happy discovery was the abundant mycorrhizal fungi.

Growing symbiotically with the potatoes,

and throughout the bed.

If you recall from my August 2018 blog post, Carbon: What I Didn't Know, mychrrhizae are fungi that form symbiotic relationships with plants. They receive liquid carbon from the plants and in return extend the plant's root system to network and harvest nutrients from other areas. They also produce glomalin, a sticky substance that glues together soil particles, minerals, organic matter, and nutrients to form soil aggregates. Aggregates reduce water and wind erosion, reduce compaction, increase nutrient cycling, and increase water filtration and moisture retention around plant roots. When I compare my soil then and now, that's what I'm seeing. That's why I'm excited.

I also found this.


I assume these are nitrogen fixing nodules from the cowpea plants in the bed. The cowpeas are legumes, and that's what legumes do, fix nitrogen in the soil.

These soil microorganisms are why we no longer till. They can tolerate minor soil disturbance, but extensive mechanical disturbance will disrupt and kill them. So I removed the potatoes with as little disturbance as possible, covered the bare soil with a layer of leaf mulch, and gave the bed a good watering.

And the potatoes?


Harvest and size were fair. Even though there was still moisture in the soil, I think the plants definitely would have benefited from more consistent watering. My last pot of potatoes did much better in terms of size, but I made sure to water it frequently. The old "inch per week" is still a good rule of thumb to go by.

My hugelkultur swale beds were made in April 2017 as an experiment in soil moisture retention (more on that here.) Two years later, I'm seeing wonderful soil improvement and that's exciting to me. This is exactly what I have been working toward and hoping for. I just had to share! 😂

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What Is Graphic Design?

Visual communication alludes to a particular region of the Visual Arts.

For the most part, it is viewed as for business, publicizing or instructive purposes. It includes the upgrading of an item, administration or data by planning a satisfying visual or set of visuals.

Customarily, this field has included both the innovative

readiness and execution of materials in the regions of: Logo Design, Corporate

Personality, Brochure Design, Photo Retouching, Charts/Graphs/Diagrams, and other

printed materials. Visual computerization can likewise incorporate the readiness of 35mm Slide

Introductions, Television Advertisements, Multi-Media Presentations, and other

Visual Aids.

Today, the term Graphic Design additionally incorporates the quickly

extended Web Design advertise. While a Designer may absolutely have practical experience in

one zone, it is entirely expected to discover creators with relevant information is more than

one control. A craftsman might be required to structure whole sites,…

How About Some Baby Goat Photos?

Visual computerization Careers: An Overview

Visual computerization vocations are any professions wherein an individual uses illustrations to sell an item or make an item or production look engaging. Realistic make advertisements, print promotions, formats for periodicals, bulletins and the plans and designs you see on the cases of practically any item you purchase. Intuitiveness is huge now in the realm of structure; so much business has moved onto the Internet and onto portable stages that organizations must promote on these media to remain in front of the opposition. This implies a wide range of new realistic positions will be made soon, ensured.

In the event that you need to turn into an architect, the initial step is generally to get a four year certification; a degree in plan or visual expressions is frequently the best. A graduate degree might be a smart thought too. You likewise need to begin assembling a portfolio before you enter school. A portfolio is a proper gathering of your most remarkable work. Instances of your…