Monday, April 16, 2007

An Experiment: Planting Potatoes in Straw

Last year, we came home from a June wedding to find all of our potato plants black, mildewy and . . . dead. The blight?! Oh, my.

I am trying a new potato variety and a different planting method this year.

I dug 12" wide and 4" deep trenches in my raised bed. I fed the base of each trench with a little more compost and pushed the potato cuttings under the soil. Then covered each trench with about 6" of straw. I'll replenish the straw with another 4"-6" inches of straw, once the taters get growing.

Why straw? It is a great mulch - smothering weeds and keeping the soil moist. It is also supposed to protect the tubers from turning green in the sun . . . AND, harvesting is simple. Just pull back the straw and collect 'em.

On another note: I am excited about trying these new organic potatoes. Forever a sucker for colorful packaging - Wood Prairie Farm - out of Bridgewater, Maine - got my attention. This blue-ish/purple variety is called Caribe. My bag came complete with a detailed growing guide and . . . recipes! Leek and potato soup, scalloped potatoes, Italian omelet, mashed potatoes. All we need now is an actual harvest . . .

1 comment:

MsBelle said...

What wonderful potatoes! I used to dig potatoes when I was a kid. Planted them to. Never any blue ones, although I bet they would make great potato chips!!