So we have decided to plant some lazy beds in the field. What are lazy beds I hear you ask? Well I didn’t know either until I saw an article in a magazine and learnt all about them. Lazy beds are an easy way to turn an area of turf into a useable bed for vegetables or flowers. Basically you work out where you want your length of bed to be. Divide it roughly into quarters length-wise. On the middle two quarters lay some well rotten manure and then place your potatoes as shown below.
Then using a spade (it is useful when doing this to have each quarter one spade width for ease of action) cut out the outside two quarters and fold them on top of your potatoes as in the first row of the picture above. We are using a turf stripper instead of a spade as we happen to have one here for the week but a spade serves the purpose just as well. We’ve then added some compost on top of each bed where the two outside quarters meet, although you could just top with some of the soil from between the beds, see picture below for our finished beds. Then water very well and ensure they are well watered as they grow and the folliage starts to show.
Then as your potatoes grow the foliage they produce should provide coverage to prevent too many weeds from growing. Also the potatoes growing should end up killing the grass in the allotted area and also help to churn up the soil so that it is ready for different crops the following year. As the potato folliage grows and you need to earth them up (basically put more soil on them to ensure potatoes remain covered and increase productivity) you can do this from beside the lazy bed and this further ensures well churned soil for the following year.
We had hoped to get the first of our lazy beds done earlier in the year so that we could get our first earlies in sooner but unfortunately time ran away from us, I hope that they still take alright. We are growing six different varieties this year and had ordered 1kg of seed potatoes for each. Our first earlier are Red Duke of York. Then we have Charlotte and Maris Peer as second earlies. Our main crop potatoes are Maris Piper, King Edward and Purple Majesty. I’m not a huge fan of the idea of purple potatoes but J was really keen on them, I just hope they taste fairly decent. Our potatoes were all chitted before they went into the ground. Chitting is basically where the potatoes are allowed and encouraged to sprout. In theory it should help speed up the development of your potato plants and also ensure that you achieve a maximum yield. It is most important for earlies but does not harm being done for main crop potatoes as well. It will be about 8 weeks until our first earlies should be ready and then we can look forward, hopefully, to a summer of potatoes.