A rare cottager completely excludes this crop from the planting plan for the season, but everyone will agree that the potatoes require a lot of work and attention. Therefore, gardeners are constantly searching for new ways of planting and processing, so that you need to bend your back less, and get higher yields. Today we will talk about the method of growing potatoes, which was used for a long time. Now it is experiencing a new surge in popularity. In General, everything is as usual: new is well-forgotten old…
The essence of the method
In a nutshell, this is the cultivation of potatoes, in which they are laid out on the ground and covered with a thick layer of straw. And Yes, in such conditions, this crop grows well and gives a good harvest of clean tubers.
What is the most difficult operation with the usual approach? Of course, dig. Now we forget about it, the shovel is generally excluded from the technological process. I would like to note that we will not dig 2 times: first dig in the spring and then dig in the summer, as the finished products simply select the hands. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
The next labor — intensive procedure is hilling. We also cross it off the to-do list. If you enjoy it, cross out 2 times, because, as a rule, hilling is carried out twice a season.
Another operation where the amount of work depends on many factors is weeding. The plots allocated for the garden are different, and some places require a lot of effort to remove weeds, while others require less. When growing potatoes under straw, the effort spent on weeding tends to zero. An additional fat plus to this method.
Absolute disadvantages are difficult to name, there are relative, depending on the specific situation and capabilities of the gardener. Nevertheless, you should know about them.
- We need straw, lots of straw. Not every cottager has the opportunity to get the necessary amount of this excellent mulching material by the beginning of the season: the thickness of the covering layer should be 30-50 cm. If you make it thinner, it will, first, dry quickly, and secondly, let light pass, and the commercial tubers will turn green.
The good news is that “potatoes under straw” can be grown without straw — using a different mulching material. Freshly mown and dried grass has proved to be excellent. Sawdust, shavings and other waste from the woodworking industry can also be used, but after composting for a year. Of course, garden compost is perfect, if someone has this most useful product in a large excess.
- Mice like straw. This is a big minus, and we need to keep this problem in mind. Rodents feel very comfortable under loose bedding and will not fail to take advantage of the fruits of your labors for their own good. The best solution is a good pied Piper cat. If you do not have such a wonderful companion, then you need to provide repellents, poisonous baits or something similar in advance.
- Planting under straw does not save you from the Colorado beetle. Unfortunately, from other pests and diseases, too. Therefore, all measures to protect the potato plantation will have to be carried out in the usual way for your region. Moreover, if you decide to plant on turf or virgin land, then you must deal with Elateridae proactively.
How to plant
So, you chose this method of growing, stocked up with high-quality seed material and straw. Observe the same planting times as when burying in the ground. To get a good result, it is desirable to pre-germinate potatoes.
Treated from pests tubers or parts of tubers are laid out on a flat surface in rows with the usual step. If the farm does not have cats, we provide protection from rodents. Then fill up everything with a layer of straw (hay) 30-50 cm thick. Under such a shelter, the soil will always be wet, but in the dry period it is still necessary to water. How do I know that this time has come? We put our hand under the straw “blanket”: if it is completely dry, it means that moisture is required.
In windy areas, straw or hay may initially fly away. To avoid this, immediately after laying it is good to press it down with large branches or something similar. To solve this problem, some gardeners arrange high sides on the type of bed-box or install wind protection. In the future, when the sprouts break out, and the loose layer of organic matter itself settles a little, it will not go anywhere.
Do not try to plant potatoes under the straw before the time when the soil warms up to a temperature of + 8…+10°C. Spread out on the cold ground, the seed tubers at best will “think” for a long time, at worst, once in a thermos, they will rot.
If organic matter for a thick “blanket” is clearly not enough, the potatoes placed on the bed are slightly sprinkled with earth. Then the straw layer can be made thinner. During the summer, as the tops grow, put weeds and mown grass on the bed, raising the layer of mulch higher.
In conclusion, new ways of planting potatoes are invented or extracted from the darkness of oblivion, usually to solve a specific problem. Therefore, it makes no sense to say that one of them will be perfect for absolutely everyone. Let your potatoes grow to your satisfaction and give you a minimum of trouble, let them avoid pests and diseases, and the harvest will be more than you expect.