It’s easy to grow potatoes in a Straw Bale Garden!
They grow phenomenally well. Veteran Straw Bale Gardeners especially like to use their second year bales for this purpose.
Another fantastic advantage is that harvesting is so easy.
Your potatoes are also very clean after growing in straw instead of compacted soil.
The harvesting process for potatoes grown in a Straw Bale Garden is simple. You don’t need a fork or shovel or any other tools.
Simply cut the strings of your bale so the straw is no longer comprssed. Then just kick over the bales, and pick up your potatoes.
You won’t have any marks on the potatoes from contact with tools (as you would if they were grown in a traditional garden), so your potatoes will store well, unblemished.
You can also wrap them in brown paper if you like, because that helps them store longer.
Keep them in a dry cool place, and check your stock often, tossing out any that have gotten soft or begun to rot.
You’ll have delicious potatoes until the following summer when new stock will be ready again.
In normal soil gardens it is important to hill up the soil around the stem as the potato emerges. This is important because potatoes form on on the stem not on the roots. If planted too deep in the soil, the stem has a hard time emerging, because it cannot push up more than a few inches of soil.
In a Straw Bale Garden we simply plant the potato cutting deep into the bale. While a bale may be 20″ high, we will plant 16-18″ deep in a “crack” in the bale. The looseness of the bale will allow the stem to easily reach the surface, and the potatoes will form along this stretch of stem, filling the bale with potatoes.
I suggest two or three potatoes in a bale, even while planting other crops on the surface of the bale. These “surface” plantings will be harvested early before the potato vine has stretched its way above and around the bale.
Wait for the vine to flower and this is the earliest the potatoes will be ready, however waiting for the vine to wither later in the fall will allow the potatoes inside to mature a bit longer.
If you like potatoes, try growing them in a Straw Bale Garden. You’ll never go back to growing potatoes in the soil again!