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In a recent issue of Backwoods Homes, there was an article about growing potatoes without any soil, but simply planted in hay. Has anyone here ever heard about this before? Any experience with this? I'm planning to try it. I made a sizable berm of a hay/straw mix that the horses trampled into the dirt, then peed on for good measure, about a month ago. Then I bought a small bag of fingerling potatoes from the grocery with mixed colors of potatoes. I washed the potatoes to remove the non-sprouting agent, and now 10 days later it looks like my baby potatoes are ready to be planted. Growing potatoes in this fashion is supposed to produce a bumper crop of extra large potatoes that pull up easily without having to work hard and have the inevitable damaged potatoes. Sounds intriguing to me.

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Comment by suzy skye on April 15, 2013 at 9:36am

too much nitrogen in the mix makes the potato plant grow like crazy and flower nicely, but doesn't allow spuds to form.  same goes for sweet potatoes.  you are better off with a mix of coir/stray/sawdust, with a low nitrogen compost or soil to grow a bumper crop.  you can make comfrey compost tea and use that, heavily diluted, to feed your soil and potatoes.  

i LOVE sweet potatoes and grow them around all my trees, but do be cautious.  they vine everywhere and will choke out other vegetation if left unharvested or trimmed back.

Comment by Jeanne Tavares on March 18, 2013 at 8:23pm

My potato crop last year was nuthin. Huge disappointment. This year, I'm planting two rows of red potatoes and two rows of Yukon gold. They went in the ground about 2 weeks ago. I'm also planting the traditional method... I dug a trench about 6" deep and planted my sprouting pieces at the bottom of the trench. As the plants start to grow, I'll use the hose to gradually push the dirt back into the trench when I water until it's pretty well levelled off. I'll likely have to mulch the soil when it gets hot with either grass clippings or dried, powdery horse manure. My sweet potato crop two years ago was all foliage and no roots worth eating. They were all long and skinny like horizontally growing carrots. I fed them to the horses. Last year, I planted orange Beauregard sweet potatoes and had a really nice harvest.

Comment by Hall Family - Mesa on March 18, 2013 at 7:21pm

I tried potatoes in straw/compost 2 years ago.  The plant tops grew and grew.  I was sure that I would have a bumper crop.   The tops died off and it was reveal time.  I had nothing.  Not even a single spud.  I have about 20 plants in the ground this year and plan to leave them alone.  That's how we did it on the farm and that's what I'm do'n this year.  Good luck to all !

Comment by Jeanne Tavares on February 2, 2012 at 3:05pm

This year's crop of potatoes went into the ground 2 weeks ago. I used tiny potatoes, not worth eating from last year's harvest, and a few leftovers that had sprouted. Most of what I planted were reds, which have done very well, and a few blues. If the blues don't do well again this time around, I'll give up on them and stick with all reds.

Comment by Farming and Garden Friends on February 2, 2012 at 2:37pm

Super cool! We want to do that here at Seva for sure!

Comment by Jeanne Tavares on July 22, 2011 at 12:49pm

I've got 5 sweet potatoes in the ground and two more slips potted in little pots that really need me to get going and get them in the ground. Most are thriving. The last two slips planted most recently, of course, are trying to get established still. I have high hopes. I didn't know that sweet potatoes would be a semi-perennial type crop, coming back from tiny rootlets. I'm hoping that I don't end up cursing myself that I planted so many in various locations in the garden. 


The red potato crop was excellent. I had also planted some various other colors from a bag of mixed fingerling potatoes. So far, I've not found a single white or yellow potato. I have a small bag of blues that are just about big enough to use as next season's seed potatoes. I still have about a dozen plants that have not yet died out.

Comment by dj griffith on July 22, 2011 at 11:11am
How did it work out, these many months later?
Comment by Peoria Az gardener on June 5, 2011 at 10:39pm
This is one of the page where it says this month i can plant sweet potatoes
Comment by Jeanne Tavares on June 5, 2011 at 3:36pm

I was thinking that I was late getting my sweet potatoes going. I hope that you're right about now being the time. I've got one plant with sprouts about 3" high, and a potato in a vase of water making some slips that should be ready to plant very soon. I'll plant them in the ground, and mulch with lots of compost and hay. I have high hopes for this crop if I can defend it against the bunnies.


Comment by Peoria Az gardener on June 5, 2011 at 1:45pm
I was reading that this is the month to plant sweet potatoes in Phoenix. Can I grow also sweet potatoes this way?

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