Things are getting a slow start at the MArket Garden this year. The soil is quite cool and most of the farm completely waterlogged. However, I was able to get into the potato patch the past two weekends. Below is 100#’s of potatoes – 50 each of Yukon Gold and Kennebec.
The Grillo does OUTSTANDING work in this application. The Berta Rotary plow will cut a 1′ wide, 1′ deep furrow through the soil, neatly mounding everything to the right. I then rake out the furrow to an even depth (not really necessary) and plant the seed spuds. Then comes my favorite part, I turn the Grillo around, putting one wheel on the mound and cut the next furrow working my way back up the plot. As I work along, the plow throws some of the soil from the new furrow up over into the seeded furrow neatly burying the seed, and leaving enough soil mounded between to “hill” the plants as they come in. The result are seen above. Working at a leisurely pace, I can see 360′ (40-50#’s) in a couple of hours including chasing chickens out of the plot and stopping to chat with the other tenants.
Soil prep on this plot was done about a month ago – it was planted with a rye/vetch mix last October and very heavily grazed by 100 chickens and 2 dozen geese all winter. There was very little top growth, but decent root mass. More importantly, there was significant manure, so I tilled it in lightly with a rototiller to get the soil breaking that down. That is the only fertilizer this plot has received in 2 years.
Counting that hour of tilling, I have about 5 hours of work so far in this plot. There will likely be another 5-10 in hilling and weeding, and it will take me about 10 hours total to harvest it. Worst case scenario, I about 25 hours for 800-1000#’s of potatoes, which I can sell for $2/lb. Time to market will be another 5 hours in delivery. That works out to 30 hours of labor. Seed was $200, cover crop about $10, and fuel less than $2. Net Profit will be about $1500. That works out to $50/hr. I love growing potatoes.