[permaculture] No-till potatoes - surface cultivation and deep mulching

Dieter Brand diebrand at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 27 05:02:49 EDT 2007

You don’t need shallow cultivation nor to burry them below 
  the soil, you can simply put them on the ground. I put them 
  on a field with grass and weeds without even cutting the 
  weeds or the grass. I have a heavy clay soil. Rows are not 
  needed, except for convenience of harvesting, perhaps. 
  Spacing can be as little as a foot or less. I spread some 
  compost over the potatoes before adding the mulch. One 
  thing is important though: be sparing on woody mulch or 
  your potatoes risk developing a fungus. As Lisa said, you 
  need to make sure that the mulch layer is always thick enough 
  so that your potatoes don’t go green. For harvesting you 
  simply dig into the mulch with your hands. You can use the 
  mulch and/or compost again for other purposes. But make 
  sure that some mulch remains in place to cover the soil, since 
  this method doesn’t only give you potatoes, but also some 
  very good soil for further cultivation.
  Dieter Brand

Lisa in Oregon <lisamaciver8 at yahoo.com> wrote:
  We use old hay, tucking it up around the plants as they grow so just 
a few inches of leaves peek out, leaving some in flakes, and shoving 
some down between the stems as they get large. I toss on weeds from 
other areas too. We grow in beds and the mulch gets 2' high, might 
be harder in rows. It eats up several bales for 100sgft. I bury the 
seed potatoes barely below the soil level (clay), the potatoes grow on 
the dirt-mulch boundary and if the mulch isn't think enough, the 
potatoes get green. We don't seem to end up with weed problems using 
old hay for potatoes (but then, this is all drip, no rain). When 
potatoes are harvested the mulch is reused on winter crops. 

Lisa in Oregon

> > I am growing a test plot (about 18 row feet) under shallow 
> > cultivation. No trench, seed taters buried 4 inches, and mulching 
> > with straw. My question about specific mulching technique: how 
> > dense? How closely packed between plants? Should I lay down and 
> > bury side shoots, or gather the plant into a central bundle and 
> > mulch around it?
> >
> > If anyone has experience with this, I would greatly appreciate any 
> > help!

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