Offgrid Preparation Backyard Gardening: Growing No-Dig Potatoes
For most, the thought of eating dog food would cause a shudder of...
Potatoes — boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em in a stew. Whatever you do with these starchy tubers, they provide an excellent source of calories, energy-dense carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. It's no surprise that they're considered one of the world's four most important staple foods, along with corn, wheat, and rice.
When we think of cultivating potatoes, we often imagine them being grown underground, since this is a common practice. However, this requires digging, planting seed potatoes, adding topsoil, and digging yet again to harvest the crop. Fortunately, there's an easier method that's great for home gardening: no-dig potatoes.
This no-dig method starts with a small plot of fertile soil, such as a 4-by-6-foot area. Seed potatoes — disease-free chunks or whole potatoes which have begun to sprout — are then pushed a few inches into the soft soil. Next, hay is scattered across the plot, carefully covering all the potatoes in an opaque layer that blocks sunlight. The plot is then thoroughly soaked in water, and allowed to grow for 12 to 14 weeks.
The video below from Huw's Nursery shows the easy process of growing no-dig potatoes, and the impressive results of the process. There's very little effort or preparation involved, so this should be an easy DIY project for even the most inexperienced home gardeners.
Important note: avoid eating green potatoes. The green color indicates exposure to sunlight, which can make the potatoes toxic and inedible. While rare, poisoning from the glycoalkaloid compounds in green potatoes can cause headaches, diarrhea, cramps, or even coma and death. If there's any doubt, toss the potatoes into your compost pile or use them as seed potatoes for the next crop.