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Potatoes in Wood chips  RSS feed

 
Kelly Mitchell
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I know you can grow potatoes in seaweed or hay or straw and other media.
I was wondering about growing them in hardwood chips and/or softwood chips.
any thoughts?

I'm going to try it this year.
 
Tobias Ber
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Location: Northern Germany (Zone 8a)
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hey... we just had a discussion about it: http://www.permies.com/t/53291/mulch/Wood-chips-potatos#444299
 
Dale Hodgins
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R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Yeah, it works. Lasagna method like back to Eden gardening. Yes, you should have some manure or compost or old (composted) chips.
 
Marco Banks
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Old chips are certainly better than new chips, as you'll want them to have decomposed a bit. But I agree with the post above: not much nutrition for the plant to grab onto when it's just straight wood chips. Unless there is rich soil under the chips, I doubt you'd get much of a yield (if any).

But if you plant the potatoes in good soil, then mounding chips up next to the established plant is OK. I do that all the time, but again, decomposed chips, not fresh.
 
Tobias Ber
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Location: Northern Germany (Zone 8a)
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i think it would be better to use "tree - chips". not just the wood, but also leaves and needles. this will bring green stuff to the brown stuff. that should break down quick enough to bring some fertilization.

when you have a thick layer of decomposed woodchips, then you can plant directly in or under it, because the chips have turned into compost.

i planted a few potatoes a few days ago. just for testing. i put them into the soil, covered them with a bit soil and put some chips on them. i ll probably add more chips later.

here are three videos concerning the Back to Eden method of growing potatoes in woodchips.












 
Todd Parr
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Here is my experience (cut and pasted from the other post)

I grow my potatoes in pure wood chips and I don't experience any of the problems being mentioned here. I don't use manure, fertilizer, or anything else. I also don't have to water. I grow in wood chips a foot or so deep. I dig a hole in the wood chips down to the ground and pile the wood chips back on. Then I wait 'til the plants die back and harvest the potatoes. It couldn't be easier. I've been growing in the chips since the day I put them on the ground and this is the fourth year.
 
Joel Bercardin
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Location: Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
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I've grown spuds planted organically in soil (hilled), planted on soil (with straw mulch above, instead of hilled), and purely in thick straw mulch. The ones I grew either completely in mulch or planted on soil with mulch-only above came out cleaner (no scab and fewer or no other blemishes) than those I've grown in hilled soil. BUT, on average, they were smaller. If mass or bulk of harvest matters - and it is one of my considerations - then growing in pure "mulch" may not be preferable.

True, in the videos Paul Gautschi's "Back to Eden" garden approach employs wood chips (or coarse sawdust & shavings?) as the growing medium. Possibly that is a little different. His spuds are coming out pretty clean.

But when I watched the middle video provided above by Tobias, it seemed to me like Paul is getting mostly smallish spuds. Not all... he does harvest a few large ones. the largest of which he replants.

Paul's approach is a sustainable one, if you have a sawmill on your land or a neighbor who will share sawdust/chips readily or trade for it. But I'd say definitely make some trials of different methods in your garden, preferably in the same year for good comparison, see what you like best.
 
Tobias Ber
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Location: Northern Germany (Zone 8a)
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the second video is not about Paul Gautschi s garden. it s the garden of the guy who makes the videos. i m not sure how old the wood chips in his garden are, so i would not judge by the fruits that this guy got from it.

yes, it s best to try and to compare. i am sure that the best results will come when the chips are a few years old.
 
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