Growing Potatoes in Straw

Straw Method for Growing Potatoes

I’m trying something new this year with my potatoes.  I read in Backwoods Home Magazine, the Mar/Apr 2010 Issue #122, about growing potatoes in straw or hay instead of planting them in the ground, and I wanted to try it this year.   The straw method apparently produces more potatoes which are also perfectly formed, and the best part of all is that there’s no digging or hard work involved when it’s harvest time.   You just pull up the plants and up comes the potatoes.

 

You are supposed to plant the sprouted potatoes (potato eyes) in the hay to start, and then cover with about 4 inches of hay.   In the big 10’ x 10’ raised bed I skipped the one step and did not put down straw first.  I laid the potatoes directly on the dirt and then put the straw over them.   I know that I am messing with the experiment doing this, but I want to see what happens with no straw underneath.  Then in the other patch I will set the potatoes on straw as instructed and cover with straw.  Barely two weeks later and the potato plants are already pushing their way up through the staw in the 10 x 10 ft. bed (photo 3).

 

Even though it’s late to be setting potatoes for an earlier harvest, the second bed of potatoes (photo 4) will be fine for later in the summer and on into the fall.  I decided to place the second bed in my plum tree area were I grew winter squashes last year.   The soil there is really good so perhaps it’s a waste of good growing space, but this year I can plant the winter squashes in the new area that I’ve tilled as I continue to expand my growing areas.

 

The last photo is a view of the second area after I placed the straw down and spread the potatoes on top.  Then I covered it all with a good 4 inches of straw.  Since it’s been so horribly dry this spring, I watered it down quite a bit to give it some much need moisture.  Hopefully we’ll get some rain this week, but so far today it’s only been a sprinkle.  Not good!

 

Every year I try to expand my growing areas not only to increase veggie production, but it’s also a goal of mine to decrease the grass.  The amount of mowing we have to do every year on this property is just too much.  I can’t eat or even preserve all these vegetables I grow, but this year I am hoping to be able to give more produce away to neighbors and friends.

 

 

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