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Lazy way to grow potatoes on the farm?

 
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I want to grow half an acre or so of potatoes just for fun

I want to do it a very lazy way, I am thinking of just ripping a few lines with the tractor and then placing the potatoes in the rip lines and maybe kicking some dirt over them

I understand potatoes are usually a very dig heavy crop, and the no dig methods I've seen involve bringing in new material which I don't want to do

Has anyone tried this before? I am happy to take a hit in terms of yield because I will be growing in such a large area, but if it won't work at all I will try another way
 
pollinator
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Half an acre of potatoes for fun?!  have a plan on what you are going to do with 1200lb of potatoes...
I grow new potatoes in a method similar to that, and it works fine you don't lose anything but there are some things to bare in mind. one is large potatoes do need hilling or you will lose around 30% of the crop to greening, another is that if that field is grass when you plant I wouldn't expect to get ANY crop at all. Potatoes do not do very well with weeds and one of the biggest potato pests wireworm is found in pasture it can easily take out all of your potatoes. the first year we were here we lost 30-40% of the crop to wireworm and the field had been out of grass for one year previously. (it takes 5 years or so to clear them completely)
think about how you will harvest it's an awful lot of digging to get them all back out again.
 
Jan Martin
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The field is already clear from a previous crop - if I plan to not hill (I am very lazy) how deep do you think I should plant the seed potato?

Yes getting the potatoes back out will be a problem... Perhaps I can use a shallow moldboard plough to get most of them out, since I have such a large area I'm hoping that getting the easy ones out will be more than enough
 
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Jan Martin wrote:The field is already clear from a previous crop - if I plan to not hill (I am very lazy) how deep do you think I should plant the seed potato?

Yes getting the potatoes back out will be a problem... Perhaps I can use a shallow moldboard plough to get most of them out, since I have such a large area I'm hoping that getting the easy ones out will be more than enough



Potatoes are best grown in a row, You have to dig a trench around 6 to 8 inches deep. and maintain a distance of around 12 to 15 inches with the row.
 
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Jan Martin wrote:The field is already clear from a previous crop - if I plan to not hill (I am very lazy) how deep do you think I should plant the seed potato?

Yes getting the potatoes back out will be a problem... Perhaps I can use a shallow moldboard plough to get most of them out, since I have such a large area I'm hoping that getting the easy ones out will be more than enough



I put mine in around 8 inches deep and do not hill. I've tried doing trenches, I've tried digging holes, I've poked holes with a stick and I've used a dedicated potato planter on the tractor and they all seem to work exactly the same. Remember every potato you leave behind will become a plant the next year as well, it's a real pain in the neck when they become the major weed  in the field!
 
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Jan, I can't help with growing with the method you are suggesting.

I do have a suggestion for a "lazy way" to grow potatoes.

I read a post here on permies where it was suggested to use a cardboard box filled with dirt. If I were using this method I would sink my box into a garden bed.

The box is filled with dirt then after the flowers die back all you do is pick up the box and the dirt and potatoes fall out.

As for hilling the potatoes, I don't feel that is necessary.  The reason it is done, so I have read is that there will be more potatoes.
 
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Anne Miller wrote:

As for hilling the potatoes, I don't feel that is necessary.  The reason it is done, so I have read is that there will be more potatoes.



The reason it's done is because, as the tubers grow, they tend to push through the dirt and are exposed to light. Any tuber exposed to light will turn green, bitter, and toxic. Hilling keeps them covered.
 
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If the ground is cleared, just cover the potatoes with spoiled hay -- about a 6 inch layer.  Doesn't get much easier than that.

But I agree with the comment above: if you don't hill them up after some time, you'll get green potatoes and those are toxic to eat.  So you'll need to come along afterward and hill them.
 
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