Growing potatoes under a layer of mulch

Potato experiments

Potato harvest pleased

Potatoes are a vegetable that I plant in my garden every year. In recent years, I have been following the principle: "Better less is more." This means that I am constantly reducing the area for potatoes, but increasing the yield.

The most interesting thing here is to find and apply methods that increase this yield. I find these methods in the experiments of gardeners, which they talk about on the pages of magazines and newspapers, and I myself am looking for such methods in my beds.

A couple of years ago, I spoke in detail in a magazine about an unusual way growing potatoeswhen, instead of hilling with earth, mowed grass is used as mulch... I learned about this method from Finnish farmers and tried it with some changes in my garden. I got excellent harvests with little physical labor.

Now growing tubers under the grass is the basis of all my potato experiments. In the past years, I faced a problem: there is nowhere to plant potatoes. Crop rotation has already used all the plots in the garden, but I wanted to plant it in a place where it had not yet been grown. One of these places was found without any problems. This was the place from where I dug a twenty-year-old Siberian bush iristhat has grown to incredible sizes.

I contributed a very small amount there. ashso as not to poison earthworms and other soil inhabitants. Around the whole circle, since this area turned out to be round, I spread a dozen small potatoes at a distance of 20 cm from each other, slightly pressing them into the ground. Top covered with mowed grass from a lawn mower with a layer of 10 cm.In the center of the resulting flower bed, I sowed beans.

Throughout the summer, I regularly added grass to the flower bed as soon as the previous layer of grass dried up. I have done in this small area the same thing that I have done in recent years in all the beds of potatoes. At the end of summer, I gathered a very good harvest on this "flower bed", and, what is most useful, the tubers were clean, without the slightest signs scab... In general, scab is an indispensable inhabitant of my garden, constantly striking all potato plantings, and here I dug up the cleanest tubers. Thus, the long-standing observation of gardeners that potatoes love fresh soil was confirmed.

Potatoes in place of irises

I often practice planting several potatoes in small groups in different parts of the garden, where some flowers or shrubs used to grow, which I removed as unnecessary. It turns out pretty flower beds with potato plants. And here, too, I grow crops under the grass. The main thing here is that there is no need to dig the earth on purpose, and then to huddle and weed the plantings. Potatoes on such patches of soil always turn out clean. In addition, after digging up potatoes, the soil on these scraps turns out to be loose, moderately fertile. Here then cabbages, carrots, beets, onions work well.

Another place where I wanted to plant potatoes was densely occupied by a large-fruited garden strawberries, in a folk way, - strawberries. The plantings were outdated, they should have been removed, but it was too time-consuming to dig out these rhizomes, overgrown with debris and wheatgrass. It is known that science does not recommend alternating garden strawberries and potatoes on the same bed: these crops have common diseases. Of these, the most dangerous is verticillary wilting, when by the end of summer, and sometimes even earlier, the plants stop growing, their growth points turn brown, the leaves dry out. But my strawberries turned out to be clean, without any diseases, and I decided to plant potatoes after strawberries without digging the soil. To do this, it was necessary to deprive everything that grew on this ridge of the conditions for life.

To begin with, I decided to deprive them of the light. Having collected the last harvest of berries from the garden in July, she did not dig up the soil, but simply covered the entire ridge with a layer of grass with a layer of 20 cm, let it wither, and then covered it with two layers of black film, crushed them with boards around the edges so that not a single quantum of light would penetrate inside. ... A month later, I opened the film and saw white skinny shoots of weeds, which made their way through the grass that had begun to rot. For reliability, I additionally laid a layer of dried grass from a lawn mower on the ridge and again covered it with a black film. In this form, the ridge left before winter.

In the spring I removed the black film, covered the ridge with a transparent film - for a higher rate of heating of the earth. Unkillable weeds began to break through last year's half-over-matured grass. At first, Fokina cut them down with a plane cutter, but soon the most persistent began to grow again. I had to dig them out with a pitchfork. The ground under the grass coat was very loose. The roots of the strawberry have practically rotted away. I left their remains in the soil to rot. When the soil temperature rose to 10 ° C and above, I started planting potatoes. I put my hand with a tuber under a layer of last year's grass, left it there on the ground. Planted in a checkerboard pattern with a distance of 45 cm between the potatoes. The plantings were additionally covered with a black film. She took it off when the first tops of the shoots appeared on the surface.

Tubers for planting

For planting, I chose potatoes with a large number of eyes. All of them underwent standard vernalization within a month. All varieties are mixed up and mixed. I also used the experience of Omsk gardener Oleg Telepov, planting a couple of potatoes as an experiment with their eyes down. His crop with such a planting was obtained a little later, but more than with a normal planting. This result was also confirmed for me.

If, during a normal planting, the sprouts immediately go up from the eyes, forming a dense bouquet, and subsequently the stems shade each other, then when planting with the eyes down, the sprouts, getting out to the surface, creep away from the potato in different directions. Therefore, the stems come out to the surface less densely. More stolons, larger potatoes, higher yield. The rest of the potatoes were planted in the usual way.

As the tops of the shoots appeared on the surface, I sprinkled the cut grass on them. At the same time, the shoots were necessarily straightened in different directions from the center, tilting them to the ground, and the bulk of the grass was poured into the middle of the bush. As a result, the bushes grew sparse, the sun penetrated them. The lower remains of last year's grass quickly rotted away. On top, I regularly added new mulch so that later the potatoes would not turn green in the sun. Therefore, there was always enough moisture in the soil. Sometimes she watered the plantings with water with ash loose in it.

As a result, potatoes received organic fertilizers from rotten grass and mineral salts from ash. It is known that organics affect the size of tubers, but reduce their starchiness. However, organic matter from grass has little effect on this process, because it appears gradually as the grass decays and in small doses.

Ash increases the content in tubers mineral substances... So the tubers are tastier. When growing potatoes under grass, it is very important to follow one rule: never put a thick layer of grass on the put tubers at once. It should be no more than 10 cm. The next layer should be added when the previous one dries up or at least withers. Otherwise, it will be difficult for the sprouts to make their way to the light.

The total layer of already dry grass should not be more than 20 cm. But not less, so that there is no light access to the potatoes. The lower layers of hay quickly begin to decompose. Earthworms and other soil inhabitants are actively working there, and by the time the potatoes ripen, the layer is already significantly thinned.

Harvesting potatoes

In early autumn, when the potato tops were withered, I started harvesting. In early varieties, the tops turned yellow earlier. From these bushes, I began to dig up tubers. The potatoes grew large, even, there were practically no trifles. A particularly large crop was obtained in bushes, where the tubers were planted with eyes downward.

The fact that garden strawberries used to grow on this site did not affect the harvest. True, many tubers were affected by scab, but this is not from strawberries. On this site, and 20 years ago, when I grew potatoes, he was greatly affected by scab. This means that she lives in this land constantly and is not going to go anywhere. Especially there was a lot of scab in the early varieties, which I dug too late, at the same time as the later varieties. Still, the potatoes must be dug out in time, not overexposed in the ground.

After digging out the harvest, I slightly patched the remnants of non-rotted grass into the soil with a flat cutter. A very small amount of skinny rhizomes of weeds was easily pulled out and thrown away. The soil after the potatoes turned out to be lush, light. I sowed green manure there. When using this method, I managed to use an overgrown plot of land and get an excellent potato crop without digging the site, without loosening the soil, without hilling plantings, without watering and almost without fertilizing, without weeding, because weeds practically did not grow there.

The biggest advantage of this planting method is the minimum cost of physical labor throughout the summer. In addition, I think that if you are convinced that your garden strawberries do not suffer from common diseases with potatoes, then you can safely plant tubers along old plantings of strawberries without removing the rhizomes of the bushes from the garden. Then it will become easier to observe crop rotation on your small acres, and rotted strawberry plants will become a source of additional soil fertilization.

Lyubov Bobrovskaya
Photo by the author

Growing potatoes under a layer of mulch - garden and vegetable garden

Potatoes are a good thing, they can easily replace bread (bread is more difficult to get :-)). Tell us about your growing experience, can anyone have tried it under the straw?

And last year I planted it in the usual way, did not look after, but the beetles in an open place ate all the tops)
I'm thinking of making a trap so that the beetles eat there, and cover the bulk of the grass with grass, they won't find :)

For a long time I thought about potatoes, but then I accidentally found Temko.))) And what do you use as mulch? Can newspapers be used? Maybe more grass, weeds, straw? As I understand it, mulch is everything that then rotts and does not let light through. Taa-a-ak, but how to plant potatoes, in the beds or in a small field? This is me about how not to trample the landing site. It turns out that in order not to walk on the ground, it is necessary to plant in the beds, so as not to dig it up later, as is usually the case. In general, what did you do?

And more about hilling. How do you huddle? I read that it is possible: "to tilt the bush and pour a pile of earth on top from above, a double harvest."

I have here in the magazine "Garden and Vegetable Garden" No. 5 2005. a very interesting article was finally found - the author I. Zamyatkin "Potatoes - a heroic culture". The author gets a potato crop of 1000-1500 kg per one hundred square meters. Grown by organic farming methods.
In short, the method: 1) in January we lay the tubers for germination in translucent pockets.
2) Plants early, as soon as the soil stops smearing, without waiting for it to warm up to 7-8C.
3) We plant in beds with a width of 90-100 cm, the distance between the ridges is 120-140 cm.
3) Sprouted tubers are planted at a distance of 20-40 cm in a checkerboard pattern to a depth of 5-6 cm.
On one ridge, 2 such mini-beds are obtained.
4) We cover the seedlings with soil and leaf litter to protect them from recurrent frosts.
5) As soon as the tops reach 15-17cm, we move the stems apart and fill the soil from the aisle from above, as well as last year's foliage and grass, leaving only the ends of the stems open.
6) remove the buds from abundant varieties.
7) Immediately after harvesting, the beds are sown with green manure.
8) The author must conduct a clone selection annually.
The author has not been digging the soil for two decades, and does not fertilize it. But fruit change in the beds is very densely saturated with green manure (Jerusalem artichoke, mallow, corn, sunflower, beans, mustard, phacelia). Siderata does not bury, but cuts before flowering just below the root collar and leave the plant in the beds as mulch.
Yes, the land on the author's site is sandy loam.

I myself have not yet tried this method, I just haven't planted potatoes yet. But this year I want to try it out. Well, it's curious to get 3.5 kg from one tuber.)

I also found a way, very simple.
Here is a quote: "Potatoes should not be buried in the ground, but covered with a 20-centimeter layer of straw, grass and leaves. And until autumn you can forget about potatoes! That is, do not huddle, water and weed it.. Cleaning is easier - threw away grass and harvested without getting dirty (faster and cleaner than with the usual method). "

I can't post the link, it's forbidden by the admin.
Who forbade you to do this?

After reading the books of Fokin and Kurdyumov, many first learned about "restorative agriculture", about the so-called "permaculture". It turns out that you can get good harvests of vegetables in your garden without resorting to time-consuming and harmful to the fertile soil layer, digging.

Truly, our hard work destroys fertility! And plant seeds without burying them in the ground, thereby making it difficult for germination. Many already have experience in using Fokin flat cutters. Yes, it is easier to work with a hoe. A wide variety of functions performed by the earth acquires a natural looseness and "fluffiness". The vegetable garden turns into continuous beds and paths between them. And, most importantly, these beds do not need to be done every spring or autumn. They only need to be corrected in the spring, taking the earth with the border with the same flat cutter. But it turned out that the flat cutter is not the height of perfection!

In September, we received a letter on the Internet from a friend, in which he talked about the high yields of potatoes grown in straw! I am familiar with this miracle technology firsthand saw, heard and ate - Tasty, so Sergei "accidentally" tried it on his site. By chance, because I heard about it in the bathhouse! And since he had the determination in new endeavors, having attached a trailer to his car, he drove to the nearest silo pit, he collected a full trailer of straw and brought it to his site.

A plot of 4-5 acres was almost completely planted. There remained a small piece with a total area of ​​0.33 ares. He was already late in terms of planting potatoes and therefore did not hope for a successful outcome of the experiment. I spread the potatoes on top of the un-dug ground, without burying them, at a distance of 25 - 30 cm from each other, and covered them with straw. The thickness of the straw layer reached 35 - 40 cm. The first to emerge was the "control" potato, planted in the usual way. Then, after a while, the straw turned green as well. Sergei looked at this, wondered a little and forgot. Hosed once all summer for the sake of decency.

In the fall, when it was time to dig, the “control” potato showed a typical result for this season: one medium size per bush and two or three small pieces. When I lifted the straw compressed by time with a pitchfork, I couldn’t believe my eyes! On one bush there are two or three large and three four medium potatoes. Moreover, they are smooth and regular in shape, close to an oval. Some of the potatoes were half buried in the ground, and some lay in the thick straw. The harvest "dug out" in this way was 120 kg. In terms of one hundred square meters - 400 kg of selected potatoes in unfavorable natural conditions in the summer of 2002.

In the fall of 2011, after harvesting potatoes, he brought to the site more than 100 bags of foliage from maples, birches, lilacs, as well as pine needles. Collected them in a park on the outskirts of the city.

In the spring, already 2 years old as an unplowed vegetable garden, I laid out sprouted tubers of different varieties in rows (I have more than 30 of them). Part of it was spud 3-5 cm with soil, some was covered with 3-5 cm of peat. And covered with a layer of foliage of 5-10 cm, in some places with straw in a layer of 20-30 cm, in some places with hay in a layer of 5-10 cm. It is worth noting that the foliage was caked and it was necessary to stir it up a little! And further. I added a handful of compost to each potato.

The distance between the rows is 70-80 cm. In a row - 25-30 cm. I planted some of the potatoes in two-row rows with 1 m spacing, in a row between the lines - 70 cm, staggered in a row with a distance of 30x40 cm. No further care was required. But my goal was to "grow" the land. Therefore, in the aisles I sowed where phacelia, where mustard. When they grew up, I cut off the green mass with a flat cutter, spread it over the potatoes and sowed the aisles again, changing crops. The land should not be empty!

The plot did not weed, removed only single large weeds (quinoa and spurge), did not water, did not huddle. The harvest was pretty good. There was quite a lot of scab on the tubers, especially varieties unstable to it. Conclusions: it is better to plant potatoes in this way after rain or rain. The layer of foliage needs to be increased to 15-20 cm. There is no need to be afraid. Potatoes easily break through foliage. But we will save valuable moisture, thereby increasing the yield and reducing the damage to the tubers by scab. It is better to sow seeds of plants with fast germination and growth (larger than phacelia) in the aisles.

The harvest was better in the area with peat. It is imperative to treat the earth from fungi - scab pathogens. But this is a separate topic.

Photo by the author

Growing potatoes in crates

There are many methods of growing potatoes, I decided to try this one on my own experience. This method is ideal for those with a small plot or want to grow your own early potatoes.
A stock of standard plastic crates is available, and the growing method seems to be not only productive, but also requires almost no effort. So, how it should all look.

Preparing for planting potatoes in boxes

Compost is the perfect substrate for growing any kind of plant, and potatoes are no exception. If you have prepared compost since autumn, you can use it for planting. I have no compost, I will prepare a soil based on peat with the addition of purchased humus.

You will also need mulching material. The best thing is sphagnum moss, but if there is nowhere to collect it, then you can collect last year's leaves from the forest, they will serve as a good mulch. Alternatively, you can cover the potato plantings in boxes with mowed and dried grass, or straw.

Of the materials, only spunbond is required - a non-woven material that will not let the earth fall out of the box, but will not interfere with the roots that want to germinate and get out.

Well, the potatoes themselves must be prepared. It is necessary to select tubers for planting in March. Potatoes with good sprouts take root better and yield earlier crops. My potatoes sprout perfectly in an apartment in the kitchen under the sink. It is warm and damp there, and these are the main conditions for germination. You can germinate potatoes in the light. Place the potatoes in a clear jar and place in a bright place.

The place for the boxes should be sunny, on the south side of the house or fence. Warmth is essential for successful growth and good yields. Place the boxes directly on the ground. Cover the bottom with a piece of spunbond and cover with more than half of the compost. Or, as it will be in my case, prepared soil.

Then you can plant the tubers. One or two tubers are enough for a box, or, if the tuber is large and has many sprouts, you can cut one in half (lengthwise, so that there are equal sprouts in the halves), stand for a couple of hours so that the cuts are windy, dip in ash for disinfection and plant in different ends of the box. Of course, the cut is a serious wound for the tuber, but it stimulates development: the sprouts begin to develop faster, releasing both stems and roots. So, the best option: for one box - two whole or two halves of a large, well-sprouted potato.

Then earth apples are sprinkled with compost or soil and mulched - covered with a layer of leaves, moss, hay or straw. What does all this give:

- the soil for cultivation is selected, specially prepared, it does not contain weed seeds, and there is a huge amount of nutrients

- lateral slots or holes in the plastic box provide active aeration of the soil and the roots developing in it. This is an important factor that is excluded when planting in the garden.

- moisture is well preserved under a layer of mulch, the earth does not dry out and provides comfortable conditions for the development of plants for a long time

- loose soil, in which plant roots develop, does not hinder the formation and growth of tubers. They do not have to break through dense ground, so they are flat, neat and very large.

Alternatively, the boxes can be stacked one on top of the other. The result is a vertical plantation that saves space on the site.


This section is the shortest. The potato grows by itself, and if it rains occasionally, then there is no need to water it. Is that the fight with the Colorado potato beetle will be, if it appears. But everyone who grows potatoes and, in general, any crops from nightshades, is engaged in this.
If you want to have early potatoes on your table, plant early and place crates in the aisles of the greenhouse.


The most pleasant procedure - the box is simply freed from the layer of moss, the tops are removed, all the earth is poured out of it, and it remains to choose potatoes from it. From the experience of other gardeners, I expect to get 15-20 new root crops from one potato, that is, about three kilograms. Agree, the yield is excellent. It is also nice that I will know for sure that my potatoes will not receive any chemistry - everything is completely natural, which means that it is safe and, most importantly, the most delicious!

The moss can be saved until next year - find a place for it in the barn. The soil in which the potatoes grew can be poured onto a compost heap to prepare for next year, but it can be used for other plants as well - it still retains nutrients and will serve as a good fertilizer. And send the harvest of potatoes for storage, not forgetting to separate the tubers for planting next year.

These are the plans - in the fall I'll tell you what I managed to grow.

Preparatory work

What is used for mulch? Anything that can last a long time. This is mowed grass, hay or straw, humus is also suitable. My neighbor uses a special film, and my friend uses cardboard. I know that the bark of trees shows itself well in this quality if you live in a forest zone, as well as sawdust. But you need them in advance prepare.

It is clear that each option has its own characteristics. Today we will analyze which ones. This will allow you to choose the method that satisfies all parameters. Whichever type of material you choose, the preparation of the soil will always be the same. To do this, you will need to do the following:

  1. weeds must be removed
  2. the soil is well moistened
  3. loosen the ground to a depth of at least 5 cm
  4. apply fertilizers, for example, humus, compost, semi-rotted manure.

Now you need to plant potatoes and wait for it to come up. But in the southern regions, you can immediately cover the planting with mulch.

Let's, as an example, consider the method of mulching with one of the most available and my favorite materials - grass or hay. You can take both fresh but dried greens and hay left over from last year. Moreover, it does not matter at all from what culture these remnants will be. The only condition is that the material must be dry. That is, if the mulch is from grass, then make sure that it is not fresh. This will not allow air to pass through and fungi and various insects will easily start under it, which will "eat" your crop.

So, the process of planting potatoes in that case is as follows:

  • grooves are made in the garden, between which 60 cm
  • potatoes are placed in each for planting, the step between the tubers is 30 cm
  • sprinkle the tubers on top with a five-centimeter layer of soil
  • followed by a layer of hay or grass as mulch, 20 cm is enough
  • after the appearance of the first shoots up to 6 cm, they are covered with a second layer of mulch - 15 cm.

In this case, we are not talking about any weeding of rows and hilling. Can you imagine how much time and effort this option of growing potatoes saves? If you are worried that the hay will be blown away by a strong wind, sprinkle it with a little dirt.

In 2018, under grass mulch from 15 square meters I collected 70 kg. potatoes varieties Bellarosa.

Diseases and pests of culture

The greatest danger to potatoes cultivated under the covering material is slugs and murine rodents. For the first, straw becomes an excellent bedding under which they live, feeding on young shoots. Lime, ground eggshells are used against gastropods, and they are also collected by hand. To protect planting from rodents, spicy herbs are planted next to the bushes. You can also use sound effects by installing metal rods around the perimeter of the beds and hanging plastic flasks with a volume of 5 liters on them.

In addition, as with standard growing, the potato is attacked by the Colorado potato beetle. To protect the culture, the tubers are treated with an insecticidal dressing agent. The effect is not enough for the entire growing season. We will have to carry out spraying additionally after the start of the mass settlement of the shoots. If moisture stagnation is avoided, diseases do not appear.

The principle of growing potatoes according to the Kartelev method

Potatoes are one of the most popular vegetable crops around the world. Experienced gardeners have their own secrets of how to get a rich and high-quality harvest. Professional agronomist Vladimir Ivanovich Kartelev reveals several unique growth methods that allow you to collect a lot of fruits, regardless of climatic conditions. Growing potatoes according to the Kartelev method - what does the Tver scientist offer?

  1. Features of the method
  2. Growing options
  3. Zero method
  4. Dung-trench method
  5. Mulching
  6. Most simple method
  7. Alternation method
  8. Manure trench using mulch
  • Potato care
  • Conclusion
  • The principle of growing potatoes according to the Kartelev method

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