Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association

Seven Great Organic Ways to Plant Potatoes

May 18th, 2012 | Posted in: Growing Vegetables, News, Parents

Most of us assume there’s only one way to plant potatoes — in hilled rows. But thanks to Organic Gardening magazine, you have seven different ways of planting potatoes — and the information you need to decide which way works best for you. In this article, Doug Hall summarizes the pros and cons of seven organic methods of planting potatoes. Below is a summary of his findings.

  • Hilled rows — simple, inexpensive and great for large-scale plantings. Works well if your soil is nutrient-rich and not compacted. If that’s not the case, then you may want to consider an above-ground planting method.
  • Straw mulch — Easy method that involves no digging and is thought to help prevent Colorado Potato Beetle infestations. The mulch also helps prevent weeds and keeps the soil moist. That said, mice may like the mulch and use it as cover to sneak a few bites of your crop. Hall also had lower yields using this method.
  • Raised beds — Hall found that this method had the highest yields, but it is a pricey option — you’ll need bed materials and soil. Great options for soils that don’t drain well.
  • Grow bag — The bags can be pricey, but they’re a great option if you’re short on space or have poor soil. They also produce a great yield for such a compact space.
  • Garbage bag — This is a more cost-effective option to grow bags. And, like the grow bags, the dark container helps heat the soil and leads to earlier harvest. That said, Hall had poor yields from this method and hypothesizes that the thin, dark bag material allows the soil to get too hot.
  • Wood box — If you are a “do-it-yourself” type of person, you might like this option. Hall, however, didn’t feel the yields were worth the effort and recommends buying raised bed kits.
  • Wire cylinder — While this might be a good option in areas with poor drainage or poor soil, Hall didn’t get great yields from this method. Why? Perhaps because the soil easily dries out using this method.

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