A dustbin full of spuds

THIS autumn I won’t be grumbling too much when I sweep up the fallen leaves in the garden. For I know I can turn them into potatoes.

I’ve found you can grow spuds successfully in a mix of rotting leaves, a shovelful or two of compost, spent tea leaves and coffee grounds and the contents of old flower pots.

Last autumn I must have filled up at least half a dozen bin bags of leaves and too busy (or lazy) to go to the tip I left them around the garden, mostly under a hedge.

I started a tidy-up this spring then remembered I’d seen or read a piece on growing spuds in seaweed. Would it work in semi-rotted leaves? There was only one way to find out.

I filled two old dustbins and four binbags with a mix of rotting leaves and homemade compost and planted them with some seed potatoes but mostly spouting spuds from the vegetable basket.

As they developed foliage I kept them topped up with whatever I could find – more leaves, spent plant pots, coffee grounds and tea bags. And worms.

The first two bags had disappointingly few potatoes although oddly these were the ones which received the most attention as they were nearest the back door. Probably too many coffee grounds!

The two dustbins yielded better results, as did two more black plastic bags. Nothing spectacular but a decent amount. They tasted ok (nothing more!) and did tend to break up when cooking.

It was an interesting experiment. I found a home for all those leaves, got some free spuds and the compost was rotted further into soil.

I have another bag of half composted leaves, some sprouting spuds and I am giving those dustbins another go. Should be ready for Christmas!



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