Growing Potatoes in Straw

Introduction to Growing Potatoes in Straw:

While many gardeners are familiar with how to grow potatoes in soil, few of them are aware that you can actually grow potatoes in straw and other kinds of mulch type material, with amazing results. This method of growing potatoes is not new either, in fact it has been in use for centuries in many countries in northern Europe as a means of growing large potatoes crops in a limited amount of space.  If you start researching this growing method, you just might be surprised at what you find!

Growing potatoes in straw is actually extremely easy, so much so that virtually anyone can learn how and achieve some pretty impressive results for just a small amount of work. When growing vegetables in general, there are few others that will yield more veggies than potatoes and these yields only get better when the crop is grown in straw. When you mix your straw with a small amount of rich organic matter, you are creating a growing environment that potatoes simply thrive in!

Why You Should be Growing Potatoes in Straw:

Using straw as your medium really opens up a lot of options for the home gardener, especially if you are growing in an urban environment where space is at a premium. For many of you who live in the city, growing potatoes often isn't an option because having a garden at ground level isn't always practical. Using this method however allows you to literally grow potatoes in just about any location. You can start your potatoes directly on the ground or you can start them in a bin that is at least a foot deep.

One of the biggest benefits of growing potatoes in straw is that it takes so much of the guesswork out of the process. If you want to see how your potatoes are doing, all you have to do is carefully lift up a section of the straw and you can check on their development. You can also get multiple harvests out of your crop using this method. When the potatoes are ready you can easily pull them out of the straw as you need them, and if you are careful to replace the straw so no light gets in, the plants will keep producing potatoes until they die.

How To Start Growing Potatoes in Straw:

The first thing you need to do is make sure the area you are going to start growing your potatoes in is clear of any vegetation. Then start off with only certified seed potatoes and lay them out directly on the ground, covering them up with a blend of 50% straw and 50% organic matter. Pile up the straw at least 12 inches deep initially and then give the pile a thorough watering until it is completely soaked through. This mixture is where your tubers will form and grow.

As you start growing potatoes, you will need to continually add more of the straw mixture to the mound and water regularly. It is extremely important that you keep mounding up the straw pile as the tubers get bigger and longer because if any of the tubers become exposed to the sunlight, they will turn green and toxic.

What makes the use of straw so much more convenient than growing in the ground is you will see very few weeds throughout the life of your potatoes. Should any weeds arise, they can be easily pulled. You will also discover that the straw retains moisture very well resulting in less watering than if you were growing in soil.

Benefits of Growing Potatoes in Straw:

Once you get the hang of growing potatoes in straw, you might very well wonder why you would ever want to grow potatoes any other way! Many growers who enter their potatoes in competitions and fairs will use this method of growing in straw because they believe the straw method just results in a much better potato.

The straw does a very good job of maintaining a more consistent growing condition that soil does because it acts as its own mulch, regulating both moisture and temperature. The ability to use this method in limited space, and the way the straw allows for multiple harvest makes this method a favorite among home and urban gardeners as well!

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Growing Potatoes in Straw
Growing Potatoes in Straw
Growing Potatoes in Straw
Growing Potatoes in Straw
Growing Potatoes in Straw