lg scale potatoes with straw mulch

wackybell(z5 WI)April 15, 2010

Hi

I may be converting the way I grow my potato crop this year. We always cut up about 500 lbs of seed potatoes. My dad has been wanting to try the straw mulch method after reading a current issue of "backwoods home mag".

Has anyone tried this on a lg scale not just at a homegarden level?

I've been informed by some people that you just unroll a lg round bale over a bed; with 3 rows to a 5 ft bed. And that the straw mat must be thick.

We have a LARGE supply of lg square bales on the farm as we grow over 50 acres of oats each year.

How deep are you planting the potatoes in the ground before adding the straw? A few incheds or just ontop of the ground? My dad seems tho think that we just plop the spuds ontop of the ground and then lay the mulch.

We do own a antique potato planter but that out plant the potatoes 6" deep. Would that be to deep wtih straw ontop?

I would love to hear about your results!

Thanks

Kristi

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joe-il(5)

Heres how I did them. Yes its small scale but can be done larger. You can set the potato on the ground and straw over them. They make potatoes above the root. This year I just covered them with a little dirt. I did not straw right away as I want the ground to heat up a little. Strawing them this weekend about 2 weeks after planting.

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/cornucop/msg082026318092.html

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 1:32PM
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myfamilysfarm

Will you need to add straw/mulch later? I usually need to 'hill' the potatoes, will the straw elimated that? I have 2 year old straw that we had used around the house for insulation, just like my grandparents did years and years ago. We will need to take the straw apart, since the strings are giving up.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 7:33PM
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joe-il(5)

Ya straw eliminates the hilling. Also, very easy to harvest, very clean spuds, conserves moisture, cools soil in hot summers, almost no potato bugs they hate the mulch. Yields seem higher with this method. I got a 20-1 ratio.

You may need to add mulch as the summer wears on.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 11:48PM
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myfamilysfarm

Joe, are you digging as 'new' or as keeper potatoes? I have got 6-1 as news.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 11:53AM
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joe-il(5)

mostly I let go to full size. I did do some grabbling for news.

When I straw them I will put 15-20 inches on top. you will lose some volume over time.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 1:07PM
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guthriegatorfarm

So with this method do you keep adding straw or just plant the potato, add straw all at once and that's it? We've planted potatoes in a long 'bin' that we made from fencing and added more straw around the plants throughout the summer...it really made for nice, clean potatoes!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 2:16PM
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myfamilysfarm

I've never planted enough seed potatoes to have some to keep for keepers. I can never have enough 'news' for my customers. I probably sell between 75#-125# per Saturday.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 4:40PM
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