• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Mike Haasl
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Dave Burton
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • Greg Martin
  • Steve Thorn
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Jay Angler
  • Kate Downham

Growing no-dig potatoes

 
gardener
Posts: 2123
Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
944
hugelkultur kids forest garden fungi trees books bike homestead
  • Likes 22
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator


Have you ever tried growing no-dig potatoes? This week’s blog post—Why You Should Grow No-Dig Potatoes—dives into why growing no-dig potatoes is a great way to grow potatoes.

So what are no-dig potatoes?

Basically, they’re potatoes that are hilled up with mulch instead of using soil. The result is that you don’t have to dig them out come harvest.

Plus the potatoes come out nice and clean which is a fun little bonus!

Let’s look a bit more at no-dig potatoes.

The Basics of No-Grow Potatoes



I started my no-dig potato patch this year by just modifying sheet-mulching. Instead of a layer of mulch over the cardboard I just added some topsoil—just a few inches of it.

As you can see in the picture the potatoes were planted in 2 rows using the same general spacing that you normally would with potatoes.

Each row was only a couple inches deep and after the potatoes were in I pulled some soil back to fill in the rows and cover the potatoes. But the potatoes were just barely covered.

After that I just covered it all with fall leaves and waited.

Once the potatoes grew up through the fall leaves I then added another thick layer of fall leaves. But after that I just let them grow.

I never watered this bed and just did a small amount of weeding when a few strands of grass popped up. But the grass stopped showing up after I added the 2nd layer of fall leaves.

Results of Growing No-Dig Potatoes



So how did this potato bed do? I ended up harvesting just over 62 lbs of potatoes from this bed!

And the best thing about this was how little work it was after planting. Plus, I now have a new growing area all prepped that I’m thinking about planting garlic in this fall and maybe squash in the spring/summer.

The biggest issue I had wasn’t with the method but was with the location of the bed. I stuck it right along a big field of tall grass that I only mow once a year—though next year I will have chickens there!

The issue was that the field is filled with voles—they love that tall grass. They also like potatoes!

I ended up harvesting several weeks early because the voles were starting to eat the potatoes! Without the voles I would have gotten a fair bit more potatoes—but 62 lbs of potatoes was still a great harvest and that doesn’t count the damaged potatoes.

So have you tried growing no-dig potatoes?

Leave a comment below and please check out the blog post to learn a bit more about this method and my results from it this year.

While you are over on the blog most make sure to leave a comment! If you are the first to do so you will get a piece of pie! The pie will get you access to some special features on perimes, discounts at some vendors, and you can use it to purchase some products on the permies digital marketplace.

If you leave a comment on the blog post make sure to leave a post here on permies too so I can easily give you the slice of pie.
 
pollinator
Posts: 313
Location: Yukon Territory, Canada. Zone 1a
71
transportation hugelkultur cat books cooking food preservation bike building writing rocket stoves wood heat
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks, Daron. Your posts are always so well put together. I commented over on your blog that I'm doing a similar thing, but with straw. Kind of a Ruth Stout but in a raised no-dig bed. So far results are looking very good!
 
master pollinator
Posts: 1532
Location: southern Illinois.
301
composting toilet food preservation homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I suspect I have been doing this for years with 4x8  raised beds and straw from my stalls.
 
pollinator
Posts: 211
Location: WV
39
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is my first year attempting no-dig potatoes. My bed started with a nitrogen deficiency but once I got that under control and watered a few times the potatoes really started to grow.  When I pull back the mulch to take a look I'm pleased. If my harvest is half of yours, I'd be very happy.
 
Posts: 25
1
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sorry if I missed this in the blog post, how many feet long was each row? And what was the spacing you did between each seed potato? And do you recommend planting the whole seed potato or cutting them up so there's only a couple eyes on each piece?

Thanks so much! I've always had trouble getting good yields with potatoes so I was excited to see this post!
 
Posts: 37
7
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Shouldn't you feed something back to the soil ? Potatoes take a lot from the soil, and since you plan to have garlic and then squash, it wi get exhausted fast, unless you add some compost or something else (green manure ! ).

More on subject, this year I'm trying no-dig, have good and bad result (the bad being birds digging up the plants). When did you plant your potatoes ? I might try to do a no-dig for them, but I guess it's getting too late for this year.Beside, I've just started harvesting my potatoes, however they are from a yes-dig garden. What's interesting though is that there was next to no "weeds" in the patch, and that the exact spot they were in didn't get compacted with the rain, it was sandy.
 
Posts: 90
Location: Appalachian Mountains
18
  • Likes 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You can put down Perma-Til for your vole problem.  I think it is expanded volcanic rock and has sharp particles.  They cut themselves and living in the soil like they do, this can be fatal for them.  If they hit sharp particles they leave that area and don’t come back.  It is a permanent solution for the area you apply it in.  Also, I’ve used gypsum (calcium carbonate w/sulphur) and the potatoes love it and grow huge and the voles hate it.  Another solution is to put out Milky Spore to kill the Japanese beetle larvae in the soil the moles are searching for, so they don’t make tunnels which voles, being opportunistic, use later.  Applying regular sugar (the cheap stuff) broadcast over an area feeds microbes which kill the larvae also.  Any of these methods should work.  

Congratulations on a good harvest in spite of critter problems!  We have a trace mineral mix we always use also, to build the soil, it has the major stuff plus all 80 or so trace...Maury’s Mineral.  All natural and organic sources, my husband makes it.  It also has active microbes to break down minerals.   I hope we get caught up with some of our big farm projects so he has time to write on Permies, as we have a lot to share.  

I’ve planted potatoes as late as mid August and got a crop, and our first light frost is in late September, followed by a really hard freeze by early October.  In fact, it was the best crop I’ve ever had, beautiful, perfectly shaped potatoes, delicious tasting, stored well, and we used gypsum on those and plenty of rotted leaves.  No compost at all because I didn’t have any made.  

A nitrogen deficiency is usually caused by insufficient calcium which governs uptake of all minerals,  but the microbes have to be active or calcium won’t uptake.  They have to digest it first and then die, releasing a plant absorbable mineral near the plant roots.  The rainwater has plenty of nitrogen if other factors are there to unlock it.   This is our reasoning for using microbes (actinomycetes convert nitrogen) and minerals and we use little else and our crops are simply amazing and delicious.  Puts that old fashioned flavor back in the fruits and vegetables.  Adding pure nitrogen is one of the most detrimentable things you can do to the soil.  It can kill your microbes, attracts voles, it makes plants uptake as nitrates and makes them toxic.  Use a little compost, it has the microbes and other factors, including organic matter to balance everything.  

My husband says he always used humate and a little mineral to grow potatoes.  Potatoes also like phosphorus and we use soft rock phosphate.  They don’t use nitrogen added to soil anyway, they get it from the air.  In our rainforest east coast (southern Appalachian mts.), it is best to hill up before planting and plant them in the top of the hill so it will shed water.  Mulch a lot, but this way the excess water can run off so they don’t tend to rot as much.  This year we’ve had excessive rain and flooding and it destroyed a lot of stuff.  We had 8 inches of rain in one night.  Really hard on the garden.  
 
Posts: 9
3
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I did a large (50x100' or so) bed of no-till, no-dig potatoes this year and am really happy with the results. But now I'm wondering what to do with this plot come next spring. I chose it specifically for potatoes because it's far from the house and a water source (think zone 3). Have any of you had luck growing potatoes year after year in the same spot without rotating in another crop? Interplanting beans, maybe?

Thanks in advance for any input.

 
Posts: 32
Location: Palominas, az
4
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I grow purple sweet potatos in large metal trash cans. No digging, no weeding, no bending over to harvest. It's not a huge yield, but im.only 1 person, so dont need alot.
 
pollinator
Posts: 452
Location: zone 4b, sandy, Continental D
121
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My soil is quite sandy, so adding straw or leaves would be quite beneficial. I got potato beetles that I'm battling. I mounded dirt from the paths over them this year, but the idea of moving the mulch aside to harvest nice looking clean potatoes is quite appealing: I'm 72, so I'm looking forward to try a less labor- intensive way to grow them! Thanks for all the details.
 
Posts: 9
Location: USA N.FL
3
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
30 years ago I was trying to grow a garden in 3 inches of dirt over an impervious 6 inch layer of hard pan in a brand new subdivision.  The rototiller bounced off like the hard pan like it was on concrete not to mention bending shovel points.  The pine tree growers in the area used det cord to crack the hard pan so the roots could penetrate it but my neighbors were not agreeable so I used a pick axe.   By the time I finished, summer had arrived.  I was told I could not plant anything in the early summer in N.Fla. due to the heat.  So I decided to do it anyway.  
Among my successful crops were potatoes, the best I have ever grown.  I dug a trench about a foot or so deep to get to the cool soil and threw in potatoes at the bottom.  I did not add any fertilizer as the hard pan is pure minerals that turned rocklike over the past million years and Fla rains have plenty of free nitrogen from the lightening.  I threw my collection of spring oak leaves on top of the potatoes and waited until I figured it was time some new potatoes might be ready.  I rooted around in the loose leaves and found nice clean potatoes.  Since the development drained the area to build houses, the water table had dropped enough that the potatoes did not rot.  I had to move the next year so have no idea how the garden would have fared without crop rotation as it was too small to do much of that.
BTW, I also planted sweet potato slips but just mounded leaves around them, no trench.  The leaves were nearly a foot thick so the tendency for the vines to root and make small potatoes over the whole area was prevented.  They hardly needed any digging either.  They pulled up in clumps of 8-10 3 inch diameter potatoes with several smaller ones hanging on.  I've never had a garden like that again.  
 
Posts: 11
6
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Chris Sturgeon wrote:I'm doing a similar thing, but with straw. Kind of a Ruth Stout but in a raised no-dig bed. So far results are looking very good!



This is our 3rd year of doing  "kind of a Ruth Stout" crossed with "Back to Eden" potato garden - i.e. we're using  6-8" of woodchip mulch directly on top of the ground on the main potato bed. The first year we experimented with 2 beds - 1 mulched bed on an area that was already established as a garden bed. The 2nd bed we did as Paul Gautschi suggests by placing the potatoes directly on the ground/grass with just a heavy covering of mulch. However, because our local deer ate EVERY plant to the ground repeatedly that 1st year we weren't able to compare methods (no crops to compare) but we had noticed that before they were eaten, the plants had thrived basically equally well in both conditions. Given that result we placed seed potatoes directly onto the ground the 2nd year & covered them with the 6-8" of mulch immediately. We had a good crop. This is our 3rd year on the same patch but for the 1st time we've had to contend with potato bugs. Once noticed, we picked the bugs off & fed them to the chickens for 2 weeks & dusted with DE a few times after rain showers. This seems to have got on top of this potato bug problem there. On the 2 newly established potato beds we've had no potato bugs and plants are thriving. So lesson learned we'll rotate another crop onto the main potato bed to avoid the work of having to pick the potato bugs next year.

What we love about no-dig potatoes is the no weeding, no watering necessary in addition to the no- digging. Harvesting is done by hand by just pushing the woodchips out of the way and the potato are clean when harvested. Paul Gautschi advocates harvesting and planting at the same time by placing the nicest harvested potato back on the ground and covering it over with woodchips for the following year's crop - - but he lives in the mild Pacific Northwest. We get -40 winters so we had thought that would be asking too much of our mulched gardens. But we're reconsidering even that idea as we've harvested potatoes 2 years in a row from potatoes missed/left in the mulch from the year before. As a final note we ate that last of last year's potatoes at the beginning of July this year. These potatoes had been stored in our root cellar in a box of coir and they were still firm and very tasty but did have lots of shoots coming out their eyes.
 
master pollinator
Posts: 509
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
119
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Nice haul! My first impression is that it's a method well suited to a damp climate, but would be less successful in a dry climate. The leaves on top would turn into a musty moldy mess. Thoughts?
 
Posts: 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I get great yields here in SE WV at about 2000' elevation in full sun.
Last year I got about 8# of harvested potatoes for every pound planted.
I think this year might be better yet. I always plant late, some went in just 3 weeks ago, the earliest were planted in May and we dug some yesterday.

I would love to compare total pounds planted to total pounds harvested.
Do you have that information?

Also, I use raised beds without sides and minimum digging, no tilling. I mulch heavily with everything from cardboard to grass clippings to dried horse manure. I kinda do the Ed Smith thing.
 
pollinator
Posts: 274
64
dog trees books bee medical herbs
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Faye Streiff wrote:You can put down Perma-Til for your vole problem.  I think it is expanded volcanic rock and has sharp particles.  They cut themselves and living in the soil like they do, this can be fatal for them.  If they hit sharp particles they leave that area and don’t come back.  It is a permanent solution for the area you apply it in.  Also, I’ve used gypsum (calcium carbonate w/sulphur) and the potatoes love it and grow huge and the voles hate it.  Another solution is to put out Milky Spore to kill the Japanese beetle larvae in the soil the moles are searching for, so they don’t make tunnels which voles, being opportunistic, use later.  Applying regular sugar (the cheap stuff) broadcast over an area feeds microbes which kill the larvae also.  Any of these methods should work.  

Congratulations on a good harvest in spite of critter problems!  We have a trace mineral mix we always use also, to build the soil, it has the major stuff plus all 80 or so trace...Maury’s Mineral.  All natural and organic sources, my husband makes it.  It also has active microbes to break down minerals.   I hope we get caught up with some of our big farm projects so he has time to write on Permies, as we have a lot to share.  

I’ve planted potatoes as late as mid August and got a crop, and our first light frost is in late September, followed by a really hard freeze by early October.  In fact, it was the best crop I’ve ever had, beautiful, perfectly shaped potatoes, delicious tasting, stored well, and we used gypsum on those and plenty of rotted leaves.  No compost at all because I didn’t have any made.  

A nitrogen deficiency is usually caused by insufficient calcium which governs uptake of all minerals,  but the microbes have to be active or calcium won’t uptake.  They have to digest it first and then die, releasing a plant absorbable mineral near the plant roots.  The rainwater has plenty of nitrogen if other factors are there to unlock it.   This is our reasoning for using microbes (actinomycetes convert nitrogen) and minerals and we use little else and our crops are simply amazing and delicious.  Puts that old fashioned flavor back in the fruits and vegetables.  Adding pure nitrogen is one of the most detrimentable things you can do to the soil.  It can kill your microbes, attracts voles, it makes plants uptake as nitrates and makes them toxic.  Use a little compost, it has the microbes and other factors, including organic matter to balance everything.  

My husband says he always used humate and a little mineral to grow potatoes.  Potatoes also like phosphorus and we use soft rock phosphate.  They don’t use nitrogen added to soil anyway, they get it from the air.  In our rainforest east coast (southern Appalachian mts.), it is best to hill up before planting and plant them in the top of the hill so it will shed water.  Mulch a lot, but this way the excess water can run off so they don’t tend to rot as much.  This year we’ve had excessive rain and flooding and it destroyed a lot of stuff.  We had 8 inches of rain in one night.  Really hard on the garden.  



I hope you get caught up quickly also because I would love to hear more of what you have to share! I don't know what part of the Appalachian Mts. you are in, but if you are close enough to me, I can come help you get caught up a few hours/week and learn while I am there!
 
Al Marlin
Posts: 11
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Nice haul! My first impression is that it's a method well suited to a damp climate, but would be less successful in a dry climate. The leaves on top would turn into a musty moldy mess. Thoughts?



We have no experience with anything but woodchips as that's the mulch the is plentifully available in our area (& sometimes even delivered by the truckload by Ontario Hydro for free). But I would guess woodchips would work VERY well in a dry climate as the woodchips would help hold moisture in the soil rather than having it evaporate - thus less watering necessary. Because the woodchips are put ON TOP of the soil (definitely not mixed into it), the soil is continually nourished as these chips break down. Additionally in these times when downpours not drizzles appear to be the new norm (40-60 mm/1.5-2.5" one day this week) help disperse the water & prevent erosion.
 
Posts: 105
Location: So Cal - Inland Empire
23
foraging rabbit books chicken cooking fiber arts medical herbs homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This all sounds so exciting. Can't wait to try this for myself!
 
Posts: 4
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ken Mattews, look up "Charles Dowden do-dig potatoes". He has a video talking of growing spuds and leek in the same plot for several years. He adds a lot of compost to the area but gets good results.
 
Ken Matthews
Posts: 9
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Esbjorn Aneer wrote:Ken Mattews, look up "Charles Dowden do-dig potatoes". He has a video talking of growing spuds and leek in the same plot for several years. He adds a lot of compost to the area but gets good results.



Thank you! Watching this video right now.

And thanks to everyone else for the posts. Very informative.

To the guy with the -40 winters...I'm right there with you. I want to let you know I have volunteer potatoes come back every year in my BTE garden. I have at least 6" of woodchip mulch over them. Best of luck!
 
gardener & hugelmaster
Posts: 1861
Location: mountains of Tennessee
718
cattle hugelkultur cat dog trees hunting chicken bee homestead ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That looks like an excellent method Daron. I think I'll try that method next year. They really struggled this year.
 
Daron Williams
gardener
Posts: 2123
Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
944
hugelkultur kids forest garden fungi trees books bike homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey all so sorry for the delay in responding to everyone. Just been a bit insane here the last week. But I’m back and going to respond tonight.
 
Daron Williams
gardener
Posts: 2123
Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
944
hugelkultur kids forest garden fungi trees books bike homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Chris – Thank you so much! 😊 Very glad to hear you’re enjoying the posts. Straw is another great way to do this. I always have tons of fall leaves so I just use those. But both work and I think woodchips would work too. I did some small no-dig beds in the past with woodchips and they worked fine even though the starting conditions were more poor and shady.

John – You very well could have! 😊

Michelle – Great to hear! I think the topsoil I put down was rich enough to avoid that issue. Next year I’m going to use some of my homemade compost from my new compost system. I’m very excited to have this system up and running.

Brandon – You can use normal potato spacing for this method. I didn’t cut my potatoes but you should be able to. The rows were approximately 20 feet long and there were 2 of them. I don’t remember the spacing between the potatoes but I used what was recommended in one of my gardening books. Really the only thing that changes is the use of mulch to hill up the potatoes instead of soil.

Mike – The mulch feeds a lot of organic material back into the soil. And in this case I was sheet-mulching the area so all the grass that was there also broke down into soil. I also chopped and dropped the tops of the potatoes on top of the mulch after the harvest. The whole bed is sitting right now continuing to breakdown so I can plant garlic in it later.

Otherwise just treat it like you would a regular potato bed and add anything back to it that you think is necessary. The only thing that really changes is using mulch to hill up the potatoes instead of soil.

I might grow bush beans in this same bed next year to continue to improve it.

Eventually I plan to make a series of no-dig potato beds that I will run on a rotation system to ensure good soil fertility.

Faye – Thank you! I appreciate the tips—I’m not too worried about the voles since that area will be transformed in the future when I start running chickens in there. And even more later when I get it all planted up with perennials and new garden beds. Plus I’m installing barn owl boxes which should also help. This year should be the worst for voles and their population should decline overtime as I keep improving the area.

I love all the tips on supporting the microbes in the soil. One of the new things I’m doing this year is making my own compost in a 4 bin compost system. I will be using the compost on my garden beds but I will also be making a compost extract tea to help add microbes to my perennial growing areas. I’m hoping this will really give my land a boost and make it more productive and more resilient.

Thanks again!

Ken – Thanks for sharing! That’s a great potato bed! I’m planning on adding garlic to my potato bed and maybe bush beans next spring. I might also add squash to it to help cover the bed as the garlic and beans finish for the season. I’m still working out my rotation and I would love to hear from others what they do! 😊

Leila – I’m glad that works for you! Got any pictures of your setup?

Cécile – Yeah, organic matter would be great for sandy soils. It’s great for my heavy silty/clay soils too! I hope this method works well for you! Let us know how it turns out. It really is a lot easier physically. I loved just using my hands to move mulch around 😊

Dale – Thanks for sharing! Great to hear that this approach worked so well for you. Sweet potatoes are on my list to try out soon so great to hear this works for them too!

Al – Thank you so much for sharing! 😊 Because of the voles I ended up not replanting—I want the voles to move on and not keep hanging around eating the potatoes. But my eventual goal is to be able to just harvest and replant right away. But I might still do a rotation and just replant in a nearby bed that would be the next on the rotation.

Douglas – Thank you! This area is wet but not as wet as people tend to think. We get most of our rains from October through April and sometimes into May and occasionally in June. Though May and June rains tend to be no more than an inch each month and often much less. The rest of the summer we are just dry and that often doesn’t really end until late September and sometimes not even until mid-October. I know there are much drier areas but we do still have to deal with the summer dry spell. For us the biggest challenge is holding onto the fall, winter and spring rains since we really don’t get any summer rains.

I never watered these potatoes and from June until harvest time they only got about an inch of rain. But the soil stayed moist regardless—all that mulch can really make a big difference despite the outer layer being very dry.

In drier climates or at least hotter climates you might need to water the beds but the mulch would still help.

Annie – Me too! Always great to learn from others on here! 😊

Al – Yeah, I think woodchips would work well too. I use them a lot on my property with good results. But fall leaves are also really great and in a lot of ways I’ve found them to be about equal to woodchips but they breakdown faster which is both good and bad depending on the situation.

Cindy – Thanks! 😊

Esbjorn – I watched his video 😊 And yeah, compost does tend to give great harvests. I just started a compost system and I’m excited to be having a steady supply of compost for next year.

Mike – Thank you and sorry to hear about yours struggling this year. What varieties did you use?
 
Mike Barkley
gardener & hugelmaster
Posts: 1861
Location: mountains of Tennessee
718
cattle hugelkultur cat dog trees hunting chicken bee homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Unfortunately I used grocery store potatoes this year. Yukon Golds, Russets, & some small red ones.

No worries though ... I ordered several varieties of sweet potatoes prior to the flu thing & they are looking great!
 
Faye Streiff
Posts: 90
Location: Appalachian Mountains
18
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Forgot to add, I also put wood ash on potatoes when I plant them.  I usually dredge the cut pieces through a bowl of it as it keeps away root maggots and then sprinkle what’s left over loosely over the grow bed.  Potatoes love the extra potash.  

 
Faye Streiff
Posts: 90
Location: Appalachian Mountains
18
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

I hope you get caught up quickly also because I would love to hear more of what you have to share! I don't know what part of the Appalachian Mts. you are in, but if you are close enough to me, I can come help you get caught up a few hours/week and learn while I am there!

Annie, we live in Franklin, N.C.  Would love some help and we can teach what we know.  Husband is an international ag consultant.  
 
Posts: 7
4
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey Permies, This is a reply to the "no-dig" potatoes thread. I grew potatoes in STRAW one year. I got the straw from a neighbor who grows it for his strawberries. My planting method was similar, however I put the soil amendments in and tiled prior to planting. I allowed the potato cuts to "cure" for two days in the dark prior to planting. I didn't put any dirt over the potato cuts, just straw. I laid soaker hose over the straw for irrigation, but never needed it. When the plants grew tall, I put another layer of straw. I had thought of leaves but didn't have any put aside that year. I had NO potato beetles, no insects of any kind bothering the potatoes! The best thing was there was no dirt to wash off the potatoes! The skins were tender, not tough. I cured them prior to storing. I was amazed at the size of some of the varieties. They stored well into March before sprouting. The idea of not having to wash potatoes is fantastic! Everyone should give this method a try. I think dry leaves would work better than soggy leaves, but having no experience with leaves, I can only guess...Thanks for sharing this great potato idea!
 
Annie Collins
pollinator
Posts: 274
64
dog trees books bee medical herbs
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Faye Streiff wrote: Annie, we live in Franklin, N.C.  Would love some help and we can teach what we know.  Husband is an international ag consultant.  


That sounds good! Franklin isn't too far from where I live, about 1 1/2 hours. I wouldn't mind making the trip and helping for a few hours. I'll send you a purple moosage after talking with my son to see what his schedule looks like since he'd need to be at home to take care of the animals.
 
cynda williams
Posts: 7
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
On the subject of wood ashes in potato beds...wood ashes often cause scab on potatoes. I have had first hand experience, so I can say that my potatoes grown with wood ashes had scab. These were mostly the purple variety, they are prone to scab anyway. But half the row had wood ashes, the other half didn't. The wood ash treated part of the row had a lot more scab than the part that wasn't treated. Just saying...
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 452
Location: zone 4b, sandy, Continental D
121
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

cynda williams wrote:On the subject of wood ashes in potato beds...wood ashes often cause scab on potatoes. I have had first hand experience, so I can say that my potatoes grown with wood ashes had scab. These were mostly the purple variety, they are prone to scab anyway. But half the row had wood ashes, the other half didn't. The wood ash treated part of the row had a lot more scab than the part that wasn't treated. Just saying...




Yep. I had the same experience. I thought it was the original soil but when I moved to a different place in the garden and did *NOT* add wood ash, I got great looking potatoes. It was the same soil, otherwise,in both locations. And I was planting Yukon Gold, which is susceptible. Also, all potatoes will do better in sandy soil than in clayey soils. My ph here is 6.5, so just barely acidic.
"Norland, Viking, Gold Rush, and especially Russet Burbank are the most popular and most resistant types [to scab]. Red Pontiac and Yukon Gold are known to be more susceptible. Slightly acidic soil will help prevent potato scab, so blend in a healthy amount of peat moss before planting."
That is good advice coming from https://salisburygreenhouse.com/avoiding-potato-scab/#:~:text=Norland%2C%20Viking%2C%20Gold%20Rush%2C,of%20peat%20moss%20before%20planting.
 
Posts: 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don’t know if this is the right place to ask this!

Does anyone know if you can over winter potatoes in south western Idaho? I’m in Boise and wanted to plant a fall crop to produce next spring but I’m not sure if the ground freezes too hard for us or not.
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 452
Location: zone 4b, sandy, Continental D
121
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Melissa DeBusk wrote:I don’t know if this is the right place to ask this!

Does anyone know if you can over winter potatoes in south western Idaho? I’m in Boise and wanted to plant a fall crop to produce next spring but I’m not sure if the ground freezes too hard for us or not.




Trying to get a headstart, are you? If you google depth of frost in Boise, they tell you it is about 24" in the winter. https://www.idabo.org/design-load-guidelines. So technically, you could plant your potatoes under 2 ft of mulch of some sort.
They would be dormant all winter. Once the snow is gone, remove the mulch to help the sun warm up your potato patch faster. I'm not sure you would gain much time, although they would get the advantage of all the snowmelt. Anyway, they will not grow until the soil temperature reaches 45 F.
Another consideration is that to reach full size, potatoes need between 70 and 120 days. So if you want to grow late potatoes, the hard work might be worth it, but for a 70 day early type potato, you could just wait until the ground can be worked.
I guess you'd have to try it. [and then tell us!]
 
Melissa DeBusk
Posts: 9
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Awesome! Thank you!!! I will post when I decide what to do! I love the idea of getting the extra time and days in. I guess I’ll find out depending on how bad this winter is.
 
Posts: 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello Daron, is sun exposure a issue for no dig potato planting?
 
Posts: 73
Location: Suffolk County, Long Island NY
8
forest garden foraging food preservation writing
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Chris Sturgeon wrote:Thanks, Daron. Your posts are always so well put together. I commented over on your blog that I'm doing a similar thing, but with straw. Kind of a Ruth Stout but in a raised no-dig bed. So far results are looking very good!



Hi Chris.  I ended up doing a hybrid.  It all start as a "what the heck" as I tossed some sprouting potato eyes in a grow bag.  They grew like they were on steroids, so I started tossing straw on them.
I had a good return on the buried, but nothing in the straw. ll in all, some good potatoes for next to no effort!
I am always open to advice or criticism!
 
Chris Sturgeon
pollinator
Posts: 313
Location: Yukon Territory, Canada. Zone 1a
71
transportation hugelkultur cat books cooking food preservation bike building writing rocket stoves wood heat
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Susan Mené wrote:
I had a good return on the buried, but nothing in the straw. ll in all, some good potatoes for next to no effort!
I am always open to advice or criticism!



Interesting. When my greens are frosted and die off, I'll gather the spuds and report back on the harvest returns. I planted about 20lbs of last year's potatoes that had gone very 'sprouty' in the cold cellar.
 
Then YOU must do the pig's work! Read this tiny ad. READ IT!
BWB second printing, pre-order dealio (poor man's poll)
https://permies.com/t/147624/BWB-printing-pre-order-dealio
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic