Growing potatoes is one of the basic gardening skills that every homesteader should learn. Not only are potatoes easy to grow but also they are also rich in vital nutrients and provide simple, filling meals. When it comes to super easy, homegrown foods, you simply cannot beat the potato. However there is one aspect of gardening potatoes that most people are not finding enjoyable. Harvesting potatoes requires that you dig through the dirt and rummage through the mess to find the goodies. It’s a dirty job and a task that requires a good bit of time.
Knowing that we like to find a better way to grow our own food, we have spent a great deal of time searching for the best way to grow and harvest specific foods, such as potatoes. We have found what we consider to be the best possible way to harvest potatoes without having to dig through the muck and mire of dirt and mud. So sit back and enjoy this enlightening new way to garden.
How To Start The Process Of No-Dig Potatoes
1. The first thing you are going to do is find an area in your yard that you want to grow your potatoes. Once you have found the right spot you are going to want to remove any of the grass or weeds that might be in that area. The best way to do this is to use a hoe and/or a stiff rake.
2. Once you have removed the weeds/grass you are ready to start planting. The best way to do this is to plant your potatoes the same way you would regularly plant potatoes, except this time you don’t have to plant them. Simply place them on the ground and space them about 14 inches apart. Once you have placed all of the potatoes in the right spots you are ready to move to step 3.
3. This is the step that offers the biggest difference between planting regular potatoes and planting no-dig potatoes. For this step you are going to use straw in place of the dirt. What we have learned along the way is that you can cover the potatoes with 6 inches of straw. Keep in mind that if you had buried the potatoes they would be under that much dirt.
4. Water the straw thoroughly. No-dig potatoes have the tendency to dry out very quick so you need to get started right by watering the area very well after the straw has covered the potatoes.
5. After the straw has been placed you might want to cover the straw with garden mesh. This will keep the straw from falling victim to the wind. Once the potatoes start to grow you will be able to see them through the mesh and make the needed adjustments.
6. As the plants grow you can pull back the mesh and allow the plants to come free. If you notice that the straw is thinning out, feel free to add grass clippings to the pile. The great thing about this process is that you will be able to witness the growth of your potatoes without having to dig the plant up. Not only will this save you time but it will eliminate the death of plants and potatoes that are not ready to harvest.
Advantages Of No-Dig Potatoes
So you have probably already thought of a few ways this process can make your life a little easier but here are a few more.
1. No more guessing about the proper time to harvest your potatoes.
2. No more digging your plants too soon.
3. No more stooping over to check the soil or harvest your potatoes. This is especially good for people that deal with back pain/issues.
4. Easy to watch your potatoes grow.
5. Easy clean up after the harvest.
Disadvantages Of No-Dig Potatoes
Some will argue that this is not the best method for growing potatoes simply because it might require more watering and because the yield can be somewhat smaller. All of this is true. You will have to tend to the water supply a bit more and you need to be mindful of the fact that you might not yield as many large potatoes as you might if they had been planted underground.
However we have noticed that these issues are minor and that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Just remember that you need to be careful about when you plant your potatoes this way. No-dig potatoes can be more susceptible to frost and cold weather so you need to be sure that you are not trying to grow them too early in the year.
Have you ever tried growing no-dig potatoes?