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straw potato bed!

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by clifford258, Mar 18, 2016.

  1. clifford258

    clifford258 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    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!
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    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.
     
  3. clifford258

    clifford258 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    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
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    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.

    Happy Gardening!
     
  5. clifford258

    clifford258 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Greeneville,TN
    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?
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    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.
     

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