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Video: Growing Potatoes Under Straw
I have been using this method for three years now, and always get good yields. For some varieties this year I received more than 500 kg per hundred square meters, in dry 2004 it was more than 600 kilograms. Before planting, I loosen a strip 12-15 cm wide with a Fokin flat cutter to a depth of 7-10 cm.
With the same flat cutter, I form a trench to the depth of the loosened soil. Then I spread the tubers into it and rake it with a flat cutter so that a mound forms over the tubers. I immediately close the planting with straw with a layer of 10-15 cm.
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When the plants rise and rise 5-10 cm above the straw, then I add a new layer of it 20-25 cm high. I just try to put the straw between the plants, not on top. Seedlings are closed completely, but not pressed down. This is where my potato care ends, if you do not take into account treatments against the Colorado potato beetle. There are no weeds, they cannot grow without light - the straw covers. No need to spud. I never irrigate, because moisture always remains under the straw. Worms and microbes are active. The soil does not overheat in the heat, which contributes to good potato growth. You can always see how the tubers develop - you just need to raise the straw. We do not dig in early potatoes. I removed the straw, chose large tubers, and let the rest grow further.
For mid-season varieties, I use a variety of the straw method. Its difference is that after the potato plants have reached a height of 15-17 cm, I sprinkle it high with soil from the aisles: the straw that covered the plants after planting remains in place, and wet soil is still sprinkled on top. True, in my case, not soil, but organic residues in varying degrees of decomposition - mulch from past years - is shoved into the plants from the passages. Ridges and deep aisles are obtained. And I immediately fill all the aisles with straw, with a layer of up to 40 cm.
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Possible mistakes when using straw farming
• Tubers should be planted in moist soil. If you plant it dry, and even cover it with a thick layer of straw, then there is a chance that you will be left without a crop. A light rain does not soak the thick layer of straw.
• Do not apply a thick layer of straw immediately after planting. This will greatly delay seedlings. There are two reasons: 1) under a thick layer of straw, the earth will warm up for a long time; 2) it is difficult for sprouts to break through a thick layer. If the straw is still packed, then you may not wait for sprouts.
• It is not advisable to use a thin layer of straw. The straw sets quickly, and if you used 10 cm of straw, then after two weeks you will have a layer thickness of only 5 cm. This layer will not protect the soil from drying out, will not protect against weeds, and will always be dry itself, and therefore will not decompose …
This year I tried a novelty on three trenches: in the fall I filled the trenches with straw and foliage from the forest. In the spring, I simply pushed the tuber under the organic matter with my hand so that the potato lay at the bottom of the trench on damp ground. It's very easy and fast. And then - in the fall, just as easily and quickly, he also pulled clean tubers out of the "air" organic matter with his hands. Lighter than easy. All that is needed is to gradually add a little organic matter, because it decomposes over time. You don't need to dig anything, you don't need to water, you don't need to huddle, everything is according to the type of straw technology, only you need three times less straw. The yield is the same as when using straw. I would say that this option is just for lazy people. What labor costs are there! But it doesn’t suit me, it doesn’t fit into the bed rotation: there is no labor input, if the trenches remain in one place, you don’t have to dig them every year. Now I am thinking how I could combine this method and the bed rotation.
By the way, I use not only straw technology, I am constantly experimenting, looking for "my" technology, which allows to get big harvests with less labor costs. But the basic principles remain unshakable: abandonment of plowing and digging, the use of organic matter and the exclusion of mineral fertilizers, green manure, bedding. I would like the supporters of this approach to gardening to talk about their experience on the pages of the magazine