Sunday, April 12, 2009

Planting Potatoes

Liam and Hope helped me plant another row of potatoes today. I have 100 lbs. of Red Pontiac and 50 lbs. of Kennebec. I'm planting this bed using the "lazy" or straw method. I tilled the soil to about 6 inches and formed mounds for the rows. Then placed each seed piece on the mound and pressed into the soil about an inch. They should be spaced 12 inches apart, but I spaced them at 6 inches. I will thin around July for an early crop of small potatoes. Then I covered them with 4 inches of straw. Straw promotes healthy plant growth, smothers weeds and protects tubers from turning green in the sunlight. The straw also acts as a mulch to keep the soil moist. Later, as the potato plants emerge, I will add another 4 to 6 inches of straw.

In September, I will begin harvesting clean, soil-free potatoes. I'll pull back the straw, take what I need and carefully replace the straw. After fall frosts when the vines die back, my main potato crop will be ready.

I like the straw method because the potatoes are soil-free, it's easy and no spuds are damaged by digging. I trade a friend eggs for the straw, so it is a very cheap way to grow potatoes.

I also want to build raised beds along the front of our yard where I'm putting this row. So this fall, I'll rake the straw in place, build several raised beds around the straw, and then add leaves. Over the winter, it will decompose and next spring I'll have nice garden soil in the beds, ready for planting.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds interesting on the potatoes. I will try to one day. The bulldog and baby are just adorable. Start them early on learning. Good Luck to you all.