Yes… and no.
Technically you can plant anything in a hugel.
For pragmatic reasons, that’s not the case:
- Potatoes have invasive root systems. Baby tubers will penetrate the woody material of your hugel, and will be impossible to harvest or remove without destroying your hugel.
- Because potatoes have a range of diseases, you need to ensure a strict bed rotation. If you can’t dig the potatoes up without destroying your hugel bed, then you will not be able to manage potato diseases effectively.
Temporary potato cages
The best option for potatoes is to have a dedicated series of beds or temporary potato cages. You can use hugel principles to build these beds, so long as you know that you will end up dismantling the bed in order to harvest your potatoes.
I use simple wire cages for my potatoes:
- 60x60cm wide 12mm mesh, formed into a cage. Using higher gauge mesh will provide better structural properties, so the cage is self-supporting
- layer of weed matting to prevent potatoes growing into the soil
- 15cm layer of twigs and sticks
- 10cm layer of composted woodchip and coir
- 10cm layer of growing medium/compost
- seed potatoes
- 10cm of growing medium/compost
- build up layer of straw around the potato plants as they grow.
When you’re finished harvesting, you can simply pull the cages up, remove the composted material into another bed (making sure to get as many of the baby potatoes as you can), and place the cages elsewhere in your garden.