After the first hilling, with compost, the potato plants had a rapid growth spurt. So we had to hill again sooner than I expected. Thankfully, spreading straw is much easier and faster than compost. The only concern with the straw is to get it tucked in around the plants as tight as possible, to block out light, without breaking the stems. The four-bed cycle we've set up has garlic following potatoes in the crop rotation. The rotation in each of the four beds is: brassicas, then potatoes, then garlic, then lettuce and spinach, and then back to brassicas, and so on. Besides for being a good rotation for the soil, it helps ease our workload with mulch application. Here's why: We'll harvest garlic in early summer, and then potatoes later in the summer. When we get ready to plant garlic in the fall, in the bed which now has potatoes, there won't be many weeds to clear, because of the thick layer of compost topped with a thick layer of straw. We'll pull the straw back off the beds and into the aisles, and then plant the garlic cloves (using our garlic dibble); then pull the straw back over the beds to protect the garlic from the cold of winter. Although we may have to add a little more straw, most of it will already be there.