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Best way of growing potatoes

 
Posts: 115
Location: Chcago IL
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I like potatoes. i grew some last year by just planting them in the ground and covering most of the plants with compost as they kept growing. The results were decent but not great. I remember reading that potatoes really love hugel beds and i'm in the process of making one but i have hard time imagining ho that works. Can someone please explain to me how it is done?
 
Posts: 103
Location: Foot of the Mountain, Front Royal VA
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"How to grow vegetables and fruits by the organic method" by J.I. Rodale 1971 suggest growing potatoes in a deep hay bed above ground. Less work and better potatoes is the claim.

Examples summarized;

In April turn over a patch of winter rye and allow it to decompose. Then stick a whole potato in a furrow every 6 inches. Place a shovel full of compost over each potato. Finally spread a foot of hay over the patch.

Create a row / wide strip of material; leaves, weeds, etc. in the fall. Lay the seed potatoes on top and cover with 14" of straw. Add more mulch as needed with heavy rains, etc.


The benefit of both of these examples is ease of work, perfect potatoes and excellent soil building. I am working on building hugel beds but I will most likely attempt both and either of these methods in the next few years. How do these suggested methods compare with your experience? One other thing I have read is that the continuous covering method does not allow enough sunlight on the plant. And as different tomatoes respond to different techniques in different ways, I would imagine the variety chosen could have great impact on harvest as well.

 
Posts: 1975
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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I'm trying 3 different potato planting techniques this year.

1) potato tower made out of tires.

2) Potatoes put in raised bed and covered with nothing but straw.

3) potatoes in berms

So, I haven't dug them up yet but going by green growth the potato tire tower is the best right now. I just put a second tire on in fact. The raised bed potatoes are doing fantastically as well but the greens on them aren't quite as tall. The berm potatoes are getting eaten by voles, I can tell. But they're still growing.
 
Hans Harker
Posts: 115
Location: Chcago IL
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Thank you for the responses. The way i did it last year probably resembles the berm approach most. It does make the harvest job harder comparing to how i imagine the methods involving straw. i'm gonna have to try to source some straw and try it.
 
pollinator
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Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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The title is good enough to not make a new thread!

So... how does it work with hay/straw/mulch covering?

- Do you cover a bit with some soil?
and how deep?
- Does mulch cover enough to not have green potatoes?
- Does the mulch stays well enough over the line without flattening and spreading?
- what's about putting some soil over the mulch?

Another idea: a potato field looks "wavy". Is it possible to use the natural furrow between 2 rows to sow something else while harvesting the potatoes? Or is the harvesting itself making this difficult?

Here wherre I live, it is time to plant them, as they are a winter crop due to being frost-free meditarranean, and people use some motorisation, and I want to find a way to grow some potatoes without having to do that much digging work, either for planting or harvesting.
Thanks!
 
Posts: 63
Location: Washington coast
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Entire books are written about how to grow potatoes, so you aren't going to get a full accounting in a forum post.  In general, I find that potatoes grow best in the ground or in raised beds.  Towers yield poorly for the work involved.  Straw and other alternative coverings invite animals to ruin the crop.  Potatoes can be intercropped with other plants, but you need to make sure that they don't shade the potatoes or you are losing yield.  An early sowing of quick maturing greens can often be sowed between potato rows if you aren't doing mechanical cultivation.
 
steward
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elle sagenev wrote:I'm trying 3 different potato planting techniques this year.

What were the results Elle?
 
Posts: 416
Location: Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
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I am growing some potato from TPS (true potato seed).  I have a "plant" (which could be up to 3 plants?) which is now about 10 inches tall, an dhas been suffering from slugs.  Maybe I got the slugs finally.  This plant is in a cold frame.  Just today, I noticed that a 2 inch pot inside the cold frame; had dicot leaves a day or so ago; and no appears to have its first true leaves.  And it could be another potato plant.  The bigger plant may produce tubers before freezeup, probably not big.  The new plant, I doubt it gets big enough before freeze up.

Should a person put them in 5 gallon pails?  I have an east facing picture window that they could be near for the winter.  But on the winter solstice, we only have about 6 hours of sunlight (or less).

Or rather, when it gets close to freezeup, I think I should transplant them or something.

Thanks for suggestions.

 
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I have clay & read somewhere you can plant some vegetables to break it up ? Naturally till it ?
A vegetable mentioned was ‘ Dai -Kon ‘ , I think an Asian vegetable similar to a turnip.

Just wondering if potatoes or other root vegetables can work ?

dAZ
 
Gordon Haverland
Posts: 416
Location: Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
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Dailpn radish (aka tillage radish) is something that can be used.  I think there are other root crops used in a similar vein (turnip, rutabaga, beet, ...).

 
Gordon Haverland
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Location: Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
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sorry, Daikon
 
pollinator
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Location: Gulf Islands, Canada
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When growing daikon to break up clay soil, can I harvest and eat them or is the idea to let them break down in the ground and add organic matter to the clay? I love me some daikon radish lol.
 
pioneer
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Meg Mitchell wrote:When growing daikon to break up clay soil, can I harvest and eat them or is the idea to let them break down in the ground and add organic matter to the clay? I love me some daikon radish lol.



I do both.  They grow so well and so big that there are plenty to eat, and plenty to leave in the ground.  When they rot, they leave great holes in the ground for rainwater to get deeper in the soil, along with the organic matter they add.  Mine seem to rot completely away by spring leaving just holes.

I have found that potatoes grow pretty well for me no matter what I do.  In another thread, I posted a picture of my potato harvest from a spot where I just opened a hole in some big, not-broken-down wood chips and covered them back up with the same.  They did pretty well considering they received no care whatsoever.  We have eaten many meals with potatoes from the spots I planted that way.
 
pollinator
Posts: 241
Location: Ozarks
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RE: the OP, I think compost is too rich.

RE: clay, I have it and double dug my beds and for potatoes, mix ground up leaves into the soil the previous fall. I also have acid soil which is good for potatoes as it prevents scab and other things. My neighbors don't amend the soil, they just throw white powder on things and they have gnarly little potatoes and get 2-3 pounds return for each pound of seed potatoes. I get about 5 just due to having more friable soil.  
 
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