how to grow potatoes : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

can anyone tell me how to grow potaotes?? i live in north ga. cody

-- cody (, January 16, 2002


A good way to plant potatoes is just lay them in a plot and cover them with thick mulch. When it comes time to harvest, you just pull away the mulch and there are the potatoes. No digging! BUT, you must make sure the new potatoes stay covered or they will turn green (from the sun), and that is toxic. I use hay as mulch, and when the weather beats it down, just add more layers. Mary

-- Mary Fraley (, January 16, 2002.

Hi Cody,

I agree with Mary to mulch them. I had good luck with compost and hay, compost and straw, etc. as the mulch material. I also had good luck on a larger scale with a plow that I designed and built to mound soil about half way up the stem of the plant. We about doubled our yield that way. On a small scale, plant them in some nicely worked soil and toss an old tire or two or three around them or somehow make a 2 foot diameter tube to put around them and as they grow add soil/compost to the tube and they will make spuds all along their stem. The are easy to harvest that way too although you will still need to dig the ones down below in the soil.

Good Luck.


-- Oscar H will III (, January 16, 2002.

My grandfather raised potatos in raised mounds, the interesting part was the harvest, he would , on hands and knees, dig out potatos and then put back the soil carefully. The potatos remade additional potatos all season, never replanted. He just marked the place where he stopped last time; allways adding additional earth.

-- mitch hearn (, January 16, 2002.

I'm just reading Ruth Stouts No Work Garden book, and she concurs (sp?)...just toos the eyes on the ground and cover with thick layers of the greens emerge, cover with more hay, leaving just a few inches of green to get some sunlight...

-- Sue (, January 16, 2002.

I agree with Mary also. I grew up in potatoe country in Maine and never saw those potatoes planted in hay but, I heard of it a few years ago planted potatoes in hay. It way so easy that I wouldn't plant a small amount any other way unless someone has a better way. George

-- george (, January 16, 2002.

I've actually heard of city folks planting in big green garbage bags rolled down. As the plants grow, the bag gets rolled further up. This way folks could plant on their balconies or rooftops.

-- Sandie in Maine (, January 16, 2002.

Never heard of mulching patatos like that. Thanks for the ideas!! Love this forum!!! I have learned alot. Thanks again everybody!!

-- Nancy (, January 16, 2002.

I used the hay method this past year as I have in years past and had a problem with it. Seems a chipmunk made his/her home in my hay and ate the lion's share of the potatoes. Now, it was a new garden patch so the harvest wouldn't have been huge anyway, but it's food for thought.

-- Sheryl in Me (, January 16, 2002.

I had critters get the potatoes under the hay mulch thing too. So, after tilling (one of the few crops we use the tiller for), I just use a bulb planter. It's real quick this way.

-- vicki in NW OH (, January 16, 2002.

Critters and gophers is why god made barn cats and terriers :) which reminds me of the time in Ohio when the local meddlers decided that I was a bad person for letting kittens be born on my farm...Balderdash I say. Their lives may have been shorter than the average house cat, but they got to be cats.


-- Oscar H. Will III (, January 16, 2002.

I tried the heavy hay mulch one time and didn't do to well. I came home one day after work and found that the heavy wind we was having that day had blew off all the hay and wind dried my plants. They didn't come back out of it very good after that incident. Since then I've gone back to plant underground in rows. I just make sure I till in a lot of mulch and keep the ground soft around the plants. Be sure to hoe up more dirt every few days as the plants grow. I usually get 6 or 7 nice size spuds off of each plant.

-- r.h. in okla. (, January 16, 2002.

i start them in an old tire with good dirt, and keep adding tires as and mulch as needed. you would be surprised how many taters can come out of a 4 stack of 15" tires, to harvest dump each tire on a sheet of wood then compost the leavings of mulch to the garden

-- paul (, January 17, 2002.

Hi Cody, I live in East Tenn., and the reason I don't plant potatoes in straw.....snakes. More specifically copperheads. And seeing that you're from Georgia, I'd imagine you all have em there too. I'm going to plant mine here in zone 6b-7 on March 3rd. (good moon sign). Here's the way I do it....In the garden row I dig a trench about 8 inches or so deep, leaving the dirt on the side of the trench. Put potatoes that are small in whole and the larger ones you can cut in half. Just make sure each piece has a couple of "eyes". Put these pieces about 12 inches or so apart and cover with about 4 to five inches of soil. I've covered them with more but it takes longer for them to come up, but they will. When the plant tops break the ground by coming up and they're about 3 inches tall, I hoe up more soil around them. As they grow, getting about 8 inches high, I hoe more soil up around the plant. By hoeing up around the plants, you're making the soil deeper for more potatoes to grow underneath. This also helps keep the weeds down. The plants can take a light frost, but if you're going to have a heavy one after the plants come up, cover the top growth with soil to protect the plants. They'll just grow up through it. I've heard it said that when they're flowering is when the plants have small "new potatoes" on them, you can reach under the soil and carefully get some of them, yummmm. Eventually the plant will die and you should have larger potatoes by then. Here in East Tenn., I can get 2 crops in the garden in a year. Have Fun!!!!!

-- Annie (, January 17, 2002.

We did ours the same as Annie. Worked fine..planted two acres at some time..only used a tractor to plow the beds (furrows) and covered them with cultivator. Packed the row by running over it with the tractor wheels. All the rest was same as Annie's. Worked great...

-- Milam Gerick (, January 17, 2002.

this guy in the grocery store the other day said he bought a 30 lb. bag of seeding potatoes last year and got over 1600 lb. of potatoes from them. he also had a 18 lb. canteloupe. he said it was because it was rainy last summer....

-- js (, January 17, 2002.

I use the hay mulch system myself...BUT one small change... My hubby digs a ditch about 3 to 4 foot deep. The potato eyes go in the bottom and are covered with hay. ( water of course ). as the plants grow i add hay ( or straw ). by the time it is time to harvest, I have huge potato's. and it is not hard to harvest. Just move the hay away. I use the hay for mulch in my garden. in the fall my hubby tills it in to the soil.

-- Kristean Thompson (, January 17, 2002.

Should I use dry straw, or would duckmucky (cleaned out of the duckhouse)straw be beneficial?

-- snoozy (, January 17, 2002.

Hi Cody..... Here's a different one for you. I grow potatoes in used rubber tires!! You are growing UP instead of OUT. I put the tires on the ground and add a little fill (a mixture of compost and garden soil) Stick in about 4 or 5 potatoes (depending on the size) and cover with more of the soil mixture. AS SOON AS YOU SEE THE FIRST SPROUTED LEAVES come out of the tire, add another tire and fill with dirt and a few more potatoes - again. Keep doing this until the stack is 5 or 6 high. When watering, you water the stack and not the whole garden. When you want to harvest the potatoes, you either remove 1 tire at a time or just push over the whole stack and remove the potatoes. This is a great way to save on garden space, water and helps put all those crummy tires to a good use. (Some tire businesses around here will pay you $2.00 a tire to haul them away.) Good luck! Harmony

-- Harmony (, January 17, 2002.

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