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Sweet Potato in Straw

 
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Hi everyone,

I came across this video of someone who grows sweet potatoes in a hay bale. Basically, she makes a hole in the middle of the bale, fills it with compost and then plants the sweet potato slip.



I'm hoping to try this in a very large plant pot I have using sugar can mulch and homemade compost, and was hoping for any feedback.

My two possible concerns are: 1) The sweet potato wouldn't be happy being planted into pure compost 2) The decomposition of the straw/mulch would take up too much nitrogen and the plant would struggle.
 
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You are much better off planting slips in the ground, fertilizing with the compost and mulching with the hay on top of that. You'll get way more results from the same resources, I mean. If you're short on space you can run the vines up a trellis or something else that they can climb, so they aren't spreading out all over whatever else you have going on.
 
steward
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There's  straw bale gardening guy in the upper Midwest and I saw a presentation by him last weekend.  When he straw bale gardens, he does plants like tomatoes, beans, peppers, lettuce, etc on the first year.  Then when the bales are more broken down in the second year he plants them with the root/tuber crops (carrots, beets, potatoes, etc).  I'm not sure if it's directly applicable to your plan but it might help...
 
pollinator
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A friend of mine tried the straw bale method(for tomatoes etc), and had problems with his plants drying out. Bill's preferred method was planting on a hole in a thick paper/cardboard mulch (to kill weeds) ,   with a little rich soil added, then covering everything deep in straw or other loose mulch. The main difference is that there is not so much surface area exposed to the air, Watching my friend's "garden" over the summer it frequently appeared dry, the straw had very rapid drainage ,plants on the edges dried out very fast and his plants all appeared stunted.

If your soil is waterlogged, this might be one way to keep things aerobic and the straw would be able to wick water continuously, you also might be able to keep things moist with a drip line just under the surface of the straw, but if you get short on water and have hot dry periods during the summer, this method might not be the best alternative.
 
Russell Cook
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Thanks guys. It seems the lack of water retention is a big issue.

The reason I was interested is that I grew a sweet potato plant in a pot before by combining compost, sand and coconut coir, and it worked well, but coconut coir is not a local product here, so I was seeing if there'd be a way to do it with 100% local materials.


 
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