BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Miscellaneous › Gardening › straw potato bed!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

straw potato bed!

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
A very old man 104 to be exact told me the only way to grow potatoes is to lay down newspaper cover in about 3 in of dirt.the put seeds potato on top of dirt and cover with straw then water! Just wonder if anyone else has every done or heard of this? I done it a week ago and am battling mildew today!
post #2 of 6

Sounds to me like the old man was working much harder than he needed to.  Why would he put down newspaper, then cover that with soil, when he could simply lay the potatoes on top of the soil, or even in a trench?  I tuck each seed piece into the soil, then toss about 6" of loose hay or other mulch material over them.  Keep adding mulch until it's at least 8" thick.  It settles and decomposes over time.  It's important to keep the mulch deep enough that the sunlight can't reach the tubers.  But, even with all of the work you went to, you should have a good crop.  Potatoes are heavy feeders, so you may need to take that into account.

Jesus Christ is my pilot.

My husband of 41 years is my best friend and co-pilot.

Enjoying my gardens.  My flock are my garden helpers.

Breeding a winter hearty flock with small combs and colored eggs.

Favorite breeds:  Dominique and EE.  Hatching addict.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1084432/egg-gender-selection-survey

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-laz...

Reply

Jesus Christ is my pilot.

My husband of 41 years is my best friend and co-pilot.

Enjoying my gardens.  My flock are my garden helpers.

Breeding a winter hearty flock with small combs and colored eggs.

Favorite breeds:  Dominique and EE.  Hatching addict.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1084432/egg-gender-selection-survey

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-laz...

Reply
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hey! Thanks for the reply! I actually mixed in composted goat and chicken manure with my garden soil! I think the purpose of newspaper is to control the weeds. I done this last Saturday and by Tuesday the entire bed was covered with mildew? Any suggestions on that
post #4 of 6

No idea.  I've never had issues with this.  Can you post a pic?  The reason I say the newspaper is not needed is this:  if you cover that newspaper with soil, the weed seed will be in the soil, unless you use sterile soil.  And, if you then cover the soil with straw, which is done to occlude light from the tubers as they develop, the seeds won't sprout anyways.  So, forget the newspaper, plant your potatoes, and cover with mulch.  IMO, potatoes grown this way are the easiest crop of any to grow in the garden.  No weeding.  No hilling.  You just plant them, occasionally throw more mulch on top, and you can even reach in after the plants bloom to steal a few new taters from the base of the plant while leaving the plant in place to mature the rest of the crop.  

 

I do use newspaper or cardboard between rows and garden beds under the mulch, but on top of the soil.  My entire garden is mulched, and this allows me to use a lighter layer in the paths.  This year, I'm converting my garden to Back To Eden, to make it even more productive and less work.  https://vimeo.com/28055108

 

Happy Gardening!  

Jesus Christ is my pilot.

My husband of 41 years is my best friend and co-pilot.

Enjoying my gardens.  My flock are my garden helpers.

Breeding a winter hearty flock with small combs and colored eggs.

Favorite breeds:  Dominique and EE.  Hatching addict.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1084432/egg-gender-selection-survey

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-laz...

Reply

Jesus Christ is my pilot.

My husband of 41 years is my best friend and co-pilot.

Enjoying my gardens.  My flock are my garden helpers.

Breeding a winter hearty flock with small combs and colored eggs.

Favorite breeds:  Dominique and EE.  Hatching addict.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1084432/egg-gender-selection-survey

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-laz...

Reply
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
I don't have a pic. I treated with a organic fungicide on Tuesday and it is all gone now. I am also using fresh straw. I wonder if that has anything to do with it?
post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by lazy gardener View Post

Sounds to me like the old man was working much harder than he needed to.  Why would he put down newspaper, then cover that with soil, when he could simply lay the potatoes on top of the soil, or even in a trench?  I tuck each seed piece into the soil, then toss about 6" of loose hay or other mulch material over them.  Keep adding mulch until it's at least 8" thick.  It settles and decomposes over time.  It's important to keep the mulch deep enough that the sunlight can't reach the tubers.  But, even with all of the work you went to, you should have a good crop.  Potatoes are heavy feeders, so you may need to take that into account.

The only reason I can think of is that if you have a runner grass or something like that already there it will stop, or at least hinder, that grass from coming through the dirt. With that set-up, any weeds or even grass that sprouts in the dirt between the newspaper and the straw should be really easy to pull. If runner grass is established below that straw it can be a pain to deal with.

For mildew to be there you need the spores. Those are all over, can’t do much about that. Mildew needs a certain amount of heat and moisture. Well that happens this time of year even when you don’t water. And it needs a food. That dead straw is a good food. When it rots (or composts if you prefer that terminology) various bugs and microbes and such will feed off of it. That’s what turns it into dirt or compost. I don’t know what kind of mildew that was or if it would have harmed your potatoes in any way, but you seem to have taken care of it for now.

In healthy soil you have all kinds of things living and growing. When I see mold or mildew growing on the soil or the mulch I tend to not worry about it. If it is growing on the plant, that is a different thing.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Gardening
BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Miscellaneous › Gardening › straw potato bed!