In the last 3 Gardening Seasons here, we have been conducting some Experiments. Some were on purpose. Many others were by accident. Or perhaps, they were Experiments that the Earth offered up to us. We just stood by, scratching our Heads, pondering what we were seeing. And we asked: "What is the better way?"
Ever the Scientist and the Student of the Soil, Richard proposed a little Experiment. 1st, we had all 3 decided that we would like to try a Fall Planting of Potatoes. Garden Talk, a monthly Extension publication from our Adair County Horticulturist, says that Fall Potatoes needed to be in by July 15. The Moon Sign Calendar gave up until 1pm today as supportive planting conditions for Root Crops. We had gotten Seed Potatoes from Hollis and Deleta. So, given a little Elbow Grease, some Motivation, and a Strong Tail Wind, we Humans were all set to go.
In the meantime, Richard has been reading Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening (2002). He recently found the section on "Growing No-Dig Potatoes" (page 327). The conventional approach is to dig a trench, place the Potatoes in the trench, then cover them up. This approach has some obvious limitations, including disturbing the Soil, exposing Weed Seeds, and sheer effort involved. In the No-Dig Method, Potatoes are placed on the Soil (or Compost) and covered with Straw.
On this Day, we planted 1 row of Potatoes using the Conventional Method and another Row using No-Dig. The Rows are side by side. At Fall Harvest, what will we find? Experiments are fun.