Ask Adam

Ask Adam #11: Covering your spuds with manure?

Richard has written in with this very timely question regarding 1st and 2nd early potatoes.

After planting 1st and 2nd early potatoes can you cover the soil with a thick dressing of manure to keep the frost off.

Absolutely manure can come into play when growing 1st and 2nd early potatoes, but make sure the manure is well rotted – the well rotted the better.

Manure that’s 6-7 plus months old is generally considered well rotted enough for use. Fresh manure is too high in nitrogen and it’s the high nitrogen levels that can “burn” the roots of your plants.

If you’re in doubt of the freshness of the manure, then don’t hesitate to mix the manure with top soil or compost, with a mixture that’s one part manure and three parts compost/top soil.

Manure is a great source of nitrogen, which potatoes (and most plants) love. Manuring beds is THE thing to do to help improve soil structure and assist with drainage.

Growing up, my grandparents would say that manuring is “giving the ground some guts!” – funny really, when you think about where manure comes from.

Looking at various articles, posts and forums online the trend is to mound up the spuds with earth to reduce frost damage, and then finish off with an inch or two with the good stuff – so you’re definitely on the right track.

I hope this is useful and I’d love to know how your spuds fair later on in the year 🙂

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