7 Ways To Grow Potatoes

from Rodale's Organic Life
Rodale outlines seven methods for growing potatoes. For the five raised planting techniques, usea mixture of 2 parts topsoil to 1 part compost. Through the course of the growing season, the benefits and drawbacks of each became clear, and the author details them here:

1. Hilled Rows

Dig straight, shallow trenches, 2 to 3 feet apart, in prepared soil. Plant seed potatoes 12 inches apart and cover with about 3 inches of soil. When the shoots reach 10 to 12 inches tall, use a hoe or shovel to scoop soil from between rows and mound it against the plants, burying the stems halfway. Repeat as needed through the growing season to keep the tubers covered.

Pros: No containers to buy or build; no soil to transport. This is a simple, inexpensive, and proven method that farmers have used for millennia. Practical for large-scale plantings.

Cons: Yield may be limited by the quality of the soil. In places where the soil is badly compacted or low in organic matter, one of the above ground techniques might work better.

2. Straw Mulch

Place seed potatoes on the surface of prepared soil, following the spacing specified for hilled rows, and cover them with 3 to 4 inches of loose, seed-free straw. Mound more straw around the stems as they grow, eventually creating a layer a foot or more in depth.

Pros: The thick mulch conserves soil moisture and smothers weeds. Harvest is effortless with no digging. This method is suggested as a way to thwart Colorado potato beetle.

Cons: Yield in the test plot was slightly less than in the hilled row. Field mice have been known to use the cover of straw to consume the crop.

Read about all 7 methods...