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Growing Potatoes: Traditional Mounding Method Results

>16 August 2012
 
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I finally harvested the last of my potato crop. If you remember, this year I planted some potatoes in trash cans, and planted some in traditional garden rows.

The trash cans didn’t do as well as I’d hoped, so I was anxious to see how the rows would do.

Well, I’m happy to report that the potatoes I’d planted in rows did the BEST of anything I’ve ever tried. We had such a great harvest!! It was about 40 lbs. of potatoes.

And they were good sized potatoes, too! Woo-hoo!

We’d planted seed potatoes about a foot apart, then covered them with just enough dirt to keep the light from reaching the potatoes. Then as they grew, we covered the plants with more dirt, mounding them up. After I ran out of good soil, I used grass clipping and straw to continue mounding over several weeks.

As I was digging the new potatoes up, I noticed that they had only grown in the dirt, not in the grass clippings (even though I’d read that you can mound with any organic material). I thought that was interesting. It makes sense, though, that since the potato tubers grow on the roots of the plant that they would do best growing in soil. Next year, I will mound my rows with only dirt. I expect that will increase my next harvest.

Which method of planting potatoes has worked best for you?

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8 Comments »

  • Jaqueline said:

    I tried growing potatoes this year, in the compost pile. They were doing great, until our free range chickens decided, “Hey! These plump things taste delicious!” … :-/
    Next year I will make sure to go dirt instead of compost, and make a cover for their bed with chicken wire, so the chickens can’t get into them.
    Thanks for posting!

  • LindaG said:

    That is very interesting that you got no potatoes in the grass clippings. I know that they will grow in straw, as I have seen other bloggers report it, but I have not tried it.

    I think you got a fantastic harvest. Congratulations!

  • Dawn said:

    Okay, this is probably a really dumb question…feel free to laugh at my ignorance! ;) Having never planted potatoes, I’m wondering – how do you store these long term? Do you simply keep them in a bin in a cool, dark place or is there something more that I’d need to know if we were to try this next year? With the changes I’m seeing in our country, I’m feeling the need to put more effort into gardening & growing our own food. Thanks!

  • Lisa Lynn said:

    I have never tried the grass clippings, but I have used some straw and a few potatoes were in the straw when I harvested. But I wasn’t terribly dedicated to piling the straw on. I wonder if alternately between straw and soil would work better than just straw/clippings?

    As for Dawn’s question about storing…potatoes store best at temps of around 45F, with rather high humidity levels. I store potatoes in my basement ever year and the temps are too high, but they keep for a couple of months…usually long enough for us to finish what I harvested from our garden.

  • Ellen Peavey said:

    We did ours the traditional way, and tried some in buckets. The traditional way works best, we ran out of dirt to covet them with. I just bent the plant down and covered it up but it got bigger and bigger. Soon I ran out of dirt to cove it up with, the plants got so big. We planted March 17th and harvested them the middle of June, the Russet’s did the best the red’s and the white much smaller yield. We canned and made french fries and froze them, what was left over we ate. Next year going to plant Russet’s only and much more, only two small bags of Russet’s and one bag each of red and white. I really think more people should try growing potato’s. Ellen from Georgia

  • ashlee said:

    OK, I have to try potatoes next year.

  • ann said:

    My daddy always plowed a pretty deep furrow to plant his potatoes in. As they grew, he could pull soil from either side to cover them. He called this “hilling them up”, and by the time he finished there were furrows on each side and the plants were growing on a mound, or hill.

    To make french fries to freeze, cut potatoes, and dry. Heat oil to 350, and fry a few at a time till you just start to see a few flakes of brown, not fully done. Take out, and drain WELL. Freeze on a cookie sheet so they will stay seperate, then bag them. When you take them out to cook, they will be as crispy as any “store bought” frozen fries. I never tried baking them, but it might be worth a try. I know frying them works.

  • Shannon said:

    What beautiful potatoes! You know, they may not have grown in the grass because they just don’t grow up that high. I’ve grown potatoes for about four years and in my anxiousness for them to do well I have always hilled a lot more than I think was really necessary. I’ve always gotten the idea from what I’ve read about growing potatoes in garbage cans or bags that if you keep heaping on dirt as the plant keeps growing up that it will keep making potatoes up in all that dirt, and maybe that’s supposed to be the case, but it has never been my experience in hilling potatoes that are planted in the ground that the more I hill the more potaoes that will grow. Piling the grass on may have helped to keep any light from getting to the growing potatoes though and that’s a good thing.

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