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In recent years, growing potatoes under hay has been of great interest to vegetable growers in different regions of our country. Hay or straw are excellent natural materials for a high-quality mulching layer. It is precisely on these features that this method of growing such a vegetable crop as potatoes is based.
Growing potatoes in the usual way is easy, and cultivating it under hay is also very beneficial. The method of growing potatoes under hay was known in Russia in the 19th century, but due to some circumstances it was not widespread then. In some regions of our country, this method of cultivating potatoes was often used by peasants even after the revolution.
The reasons for using this method in Russia were the need to save energy, time and money. In order not to carry out deep plowing of the land in the fields, the peasants laid out the planting tubers on top of the soil and sprinkled the seed material with a sufficiently high layer of straw, foliage or other plant residues. Thus, a large amount of time was freed up among the peasants due to the lack of the need to carry out laborious work associated with weeding, cultivating and hilling a vegetable crop.
Advantages and disadvantages
At present, cultivation by the method under hay is quite actively used by lovers of "natural farming". Planting is quite simple, but "potato under hay" has not only advantages, but also not without some drawbacks.
|Advantages of the method||Disadvantages of the method|
|Reduced labor costs, since there is no need to carry out activities related to digging the site, loosening, hilling, weeding and fertilizing||The probability of populating potato plantings with field mice.|
|High yield associated with a constant temperature inside the hay and the development of beneficial microflora||The need to purchase or harvest a significant amount of hay|
|Sustainability of the crop due to the lack of use of chemical components in the growing process||Rotting of tubers and the appearance of a large number of slugs due to excess moisture|
|Protection of seedlings from late frosts in the spring|
|The absence of plant damage by many diseases and such a pest as the Colorado potato beetle|
|Getting well-enriched soil under potato plantings|
|Easy and quick harvesting of clean enough and completely ready to dry crops in autumn|
It should be noted right away that planting one hundredth of a vegetable crop under hay will require harvesting about 20-30 cubic meters of dry grass. Well-dried straw is also suitable for growing potatoes in a garden. A good result is the sowing of the plot with green manure, which should then be mowed and scoured into the ground, which will allow you to get the most loose and fertile top layer.
The tubers must be greened and sprouted before planting, as well as treated with stimulants such as Heteroauxin or Epin Extra. The planting material should be protected as effectively as possible from adverse external influences and tubers should be treated with Emistim before planting, which increases field germination, yield and resistance to late blight and viral infections.
How to grow potatoes under hay
Instructions for planting seed in this way are as follows:
- The surface of the soil should be wet after rain or watering.
- The upper arable layer of soil should be, without digging, raking up with a Fokin chopper or plane cutter and making furrows with a depth of not more than 5-7 cm and a row spacing of 65-70 cm.
- Spread the germinated and processed seed in furrows previously sprayed with wood ash. The distance between the tubers should be at least 35-40 cm, and the planting material itself must be sprinkled with soil.
- Hay should be evenly distributed over the entire planting area with a layer of not more than 20 cm, if straw is used, then the height of the shelter can be increased to 40 cm, and last year's foliage is poured with a layer of up to 20 cm.The uniformity should be the main condition for the distribution of straw. In order for the shelter to remain in place and not to fly apart, it should be lightly sprinkled with soil.
- To protect plantings from mice, it is recommended to plant black root along the perimeter of the site.
This method of growing implies that irrigation is not carried out throughout the entire growing season. However, in conditions of too hot and dry summers, it is recommended to use a drip irrigation system, which will feed plants with moisture no more than once a month. Under the cover of natural materials such as hay, straw or foliage, in conditions of sufficient humidity, earthworms grow and multiply very well. They contribute to the natural and very effective loosening of the soil.
When the potato shoots sprout about 5-7 cm, you need to put another mulching layer, 15-20 cm high. Straw is an excellent natural fertilizer, and you do not need to use other fertilizers. In addition, natural mulch is an excellent "blocker" for the growth and development of weeds, and that is why the gardener will not have to deal with their removal throughout the growing season.
In the autumn, when the potato tops turn yellow and dry, the harvest begins. Collecting potatoes is quite simple: the grower will only have to remove the mulching layer with a pitchfork and collect clean, smooth and large tubers.
Possible errors when using the method
As a rule, the use of straw agricultural machinery on a personal plot does not cause difficulties even for beginners and inexperienced vegetable growers. However, sometimes gardeners and potato growers using this method make some mistakes:
- tubers should be planted only in moist ground;
- you can not lay the mulch as thickly as possible directly after planting, as this leads to a delay in seedlings and a low level of germination;
- it is impractical to use too thin a layer of straw, since it is not able to protect the soil from drying out and protect the site from weeds.
If you adhere to the technology of planting and growing potatoes under hay, then high yields will not keep you waiting, and this method of cultivation will be most preferable.
Reviews of gardeners
The method of growing potatoes under hay aroused keen interest among gardeners in different regions. In addition to the traditional, several new ways of cultivating this vegetable crop are currently being practiced. However, it is the cultivation under organic mulch that, according to potato growers, is the most low-cost and easiest to use. Under the mulch of vegetable culture, late spring frosts are not at all frightening, optimal humidity conditions, as well as heat and nutrition, are supported.
Growing potatoes under hay: natural farming
According to vegetable growers who have been engaged in such potato cultivation for several years, even hard clay soil under hay becomes loose and pliable in one season. In addition, the tuber crop is very shallow and is easily, quickly and effortlessly harvested. Under "hay" it turns out to grow on average one kilogram of plot, depending on the variety, an average of 650 kg of potatoes, which is a very good indicator. Over time, when the mulching layer becomes larger, a full restoration of the soil occurs, and the overall yield increases significantly.