Country Lore: Growing Potatoes in Hay

Growing potatoes in hay can keep them from rotting in heavy clay soil.
By LaVonne Nowlin
February/March 2008
Add to My MSN

Grow potatoes in hay to keep them from rotting before harvest time
PHOTO: FOTOLIA/SEANPAVONEPHOTO


Content Tools

Related Content

Growing Organic Apples

Growing organic apples isn’t impossible! Follow these tips and methods for avoiding pest damage and ...

Summertime Hay Hauling Memories

Hay season on the farm is different now then when I was growing up, but I will never forget those lo...

Phil's Dancing Carrots

If you are challenged by growing carrots, you might consider transplanting them and growing some dan...

Have You Heard? Country Living Ain't So Quiet After All

If you're pondering a move to the country and think your life will suddenly get blissfully silent, t...

I live in Texas where most of our soil is a heavy black gumbo, but I’ve learned a method of growing potatoes in hay so they don’t rot before harvest time.

I have a raised bed of black soil, compost, manure and autumn leaves, which decompose over the winter. I till the bed about 10 to 12 inches down and plant my seed potatoes on top of the ground. Then, I place a 2-foot high tomato cage over the potatoes and put hay in the cage until it reaches the top. I add a 1-pound coffee can of soil on top of the hay and water it thoroughly. This compresses the hay, so I add more to bring the hay level up to the top of the cage.

During the growing season the plants do need to be watered, but this system retains the water.

The potato plants eventually grow out of the top of the hay and trail over the side of the cage. At the end of the season, I get a good harvest of potatoes without fear of their having rotted.

LaVonne Nowlin
Fort Worth, Texas








Post a comment below.

 

Tym Tucker
4/13/2009 5:38:55 PM
I tried this and as I suspected would happen, the plants have simply shot out the side of the tomato cage at the bottom. What now? I think I'll remove most of the hay, shift the sprouts back toward the center of the cage, cover them just a bit, and repeat as they (hopefully) come out the top?








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.