Produce > Edible Plants

no dig potatoes


I've just read this about no-dig potatoes. what exactly is the advantage of planting the tubers then, since you have to earth-up for both methods?

OK - do it under plastic instead? = Tim

Due to the physiology of potatoes the deeper the 'seed' is under the top of the medium it is growing in the greater will be the yield. Planting the seed will simply mean that less soil will need to be piled on subsequently. The less you have to pile on then the closer can the rows be.

Garden Manager:
I use a no dig technique for my potatoes, using landcape fabric instead of plastic sheeting. I alway make sure they are well chitted before planting. I then plant through precut slits in the fabric, to roughly the depth of the trowel. I find this is the best depth, any deeper and the tubers use too much energy reaching the surface. Even so it takes a while before the shoots emerge.  I could add a mulch on top of the fabric, but this isnt really nesesary, (and i dont normaly have anything spare to use).

When it comes to harvesting I just have to pull back the fabric and scrape around carefully with a trowel. Ok some digging involved here as the tubers can be quite deep, but not so much as with the traditional method.

Season before last, I used a no-dig method. Basically got a couple of bails of straw (£1.50 each). Placed potatoes on the surface of the ground, then put the straw on top, breaking each piece off as a three-inch mat. Finally soak the straw... magically it stays in place. Top up with grass cuttings as the season progresses.
The advantage is you can get to the crop and cherry-pick the best and leave the rest to develop.
I had an unbelievable maincrop; unfortunately I took no precautions against slugs.... I filled the boot of the car with half eaten spuds... they ended up straight down the tip.

If you can control the slugs, then give it a try. At the end of the season you can turn the straw into the ground ready for your next crop.

An alternative is to use well-rotted horse manure rather than straw.


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