Potatoes are one of the most common foods in the human diet. Growing potatoes is a rather laborious process that requires significant efforts to obtain a decent result in the form of a rich harvest.
To plow the land, sow seeds, huddle, weed, treat from harmful insects and weed again - how much precious time was spent on routine work! But inquisitive summer residents found a "new" method for themselves - growing potatoes without weeding and hilling. This article provides tips on how to get a good harvest without weeding and hilling.
What it is?
The essence of the technique without weeding and hilling is to create a kind of cover over the sprouts of the planted potatoes to retain heat and moisture, contributing to the full growth and development of tubers.
Various materials are used as a coating:
- a special black film (agrofibre) that allows moisture to pass through, but prevents the growth of weeds;
- pieces of cardboard;
- hay or straw.
Moreover, the seeds do not have to be buried. You can create "nests" right on the surface of the earth, for example from straw, and just wait for the result (read about how to grow potatoes under the straw here).
The method without weeding and hilling includes planting potatoes not only on the site, but also in special devices, such as:
The method without hilling is justified by good yields... You can also hear a lot of summer residents and positive reviews of summer residents who have tried it.
The advantage of this technique is that the mulch (coating) creates an excellent microclimate for growing large volumes of crops with minimal waste of resources. As practice shows, from one bush you can get about 15-20 potatoes weighing up to 300 grams, and this is an excellent result, given the minimum of efforts made.
Advantages and disadvantages
Benefits of using straw for growing potatoes:
- The straw is excellent at retaining moisture. The soil, and with it the seeds, will be protected from overheating and drought even on the hottest days. Of course, in the absence of rain, it is still recommended to water the plants, but this can be done much less frequently and less abundantly.
- Over time, the straw will begin to decompose and turn into humus. Along with the production of carbon dioxide, useful for the soil, worms and microorganisms will appear that contribute to the growth and development of tubers.
- Weeding will cease to be an excruciating duty, as weed sprouts have a hard time breaking through to the light through a significant layer of mulch.
- Insects that live in straw are excellent allies in the fight against Colorado beetles.
- There will be no need to huddle the bushes, since the roots will not be deep underground.
- Due to the absence of adhering lumps of earth, collecting fruits will be easier, more pleasant and faster without auxiliary equipment.
- Straw makes an excellent fertilizer after harvest. If you lightly bury it with earth, the beneficial bacteria will be preserved and remain effective for the next year.
Of the minuses of this method, it is worth noting:
- Rodents... Spikelets remain on the straw, attracting mice, which in turn can spoil part of the crop. Fortunately, pests can be controlled by planting beneficial plants such as elderberry, mint, wild rosemary, wormwood, tansy, or chamomile.
- Slugs... The humid environment is ideal for this pest species. Special traps will help you to fight them. For the same reason, it is not advisable to place cabbage beds next to potatoes.
- Troubled harvesting hay or straw... This can also be attributed to the disadvantages, because with a lack of them, the tubers can turn green, which will lead to a deterioration in the taste of the fruit.
The necessary conditions
To increase the effectiveness of this method of growing potatoes, certain conditions must be met.
Choose seed potatoes wisely
It is believed that any potato is suitable for this growing technique.
Despite the fact that many vegetable growers prefer Dutch varieties, domestic ones should not be neglected.
Perhaps they are less productive, but they are more resistant to adverse conditions. In the southern regions such varieties are perfect.:
- Condor for its taste and storage stability.
- Impala for high yields.
- Red Scarlett for early maturity.
For the northern regions, varieties are widely used: Kholmogorsky and Antonina.
Seed potatoes should have strong, succulent shoots, while dried fruits will reduce the chances of a rich harvest.
You can prepare seeds for planting yourself... This requires:
- Place the potatoes in boxes or boxes and place them in a bright, warm room 3-4 weeks before planting on the site.
- Pick up root vegetables the size of a chicken egg. Large potatoes can be cut, but each piece should have sprouts.
What tool do you need?
The main tool that this method will need is coverage. If it is not a problem to find film or cardboard, then you will have to tinker with hay and straw. The material should be sufficient for at least two stacks. The straw can be used the following year by covering it in a dry, secure room..
If space permits, you can select a small area and grow hay and straw on your own. Choosing agrofibre as a covering, it is worth considering that the soil will need to be thoroughly fertilized before planting.
The right fertilizer and soil is the key to success
A mixture of humus and ash is excellent as fertilizer. If the ground is infected with wireworm, you can spread onion skins next to the planted potatoes, which also scares off Colorado beetles. It is recommended to change the planting site every year so that the potatoes do not degenerate.
Effectively plant potatoes on a peat layer saturated with phosphorus and nitrogen... Of organic fertilizers, urea is preferred. It is advisable to prepare the land for planting potatoes in the fall. If the area is densely overgrown with weeds, it is not necessary to weed and dig it several times. It is enough just to turn the top layer of turf so that the greens are on the bottom and the roots are on top.
Throughout the winter, the grass will rot, and by the spring an excellent soil is formed, rich in nutrients. Do not be afraid that the seeds of weed grass, crumbling, will sprout again, because the straw cover will prevent this process.
Finally, in the fall, you can sow the area allocated for potatoes with crops such as mustard, rye or oats. They not only nourish the soil with useful vitamins, but also help in the fight against annoying weeds.
The grown stems are cut off and left directly in the beds. For shelter, you can cut the grass in the spring before it produces seeds..
You can plant potatoes in different ways:
- The easiest way is to lay out the sprouted potatoes in rows with sprouts to the bottom and cover it with a straw “hat”. The first layer of coating should not be too dense, otherwise the sprouts will not be able to break through. A serious disadvantage can be instability to gusts of wind, which often breaks off the straw. This can be avoided by lightly dusting the covering with earth or by laying between the rows of boards.
After sprouting, it is necessary to compact the material around the stems so that the potatoes do not turn green under the scorching sun. Harvesting is quite simple: you can rake the straw with your hands and collect the roots.
Straw tends to settle, therefore, re-coating of the garden will be required.
- The second method includes the stage of creating a shallow hole or furrow with a depth of 10-15 centimeters. The seeds are also laid out in a row at a distance of about 30 - 40 centimeters. If the soil is rich and oily, you can simply lay straw on top, but if it is dry, it is recommended to lightly sprinkle the seeds with earth. The coating layer is laid out about 20-25 centimeters.
After germination, it is necessary to add straw around the stem by another 20 centimeters in height. Harvesting will not take much time - when the tops are dry, you only need to move the mulch with a rake, lift the stem and collect the roots.
Root crop care
The beauty of the method described in the article is that no special care is required after planting. The issue with weeds is almost completely closed, there is no need for hilling, since the tubers are not located underground, but under the cover. If straw is used, it is important to correct it in time so that there are no gaps and the roots do not turn green. You need to water the potatoes if necessary in dry weather - that's the whole care.
In conclusion, we note that the method of growing potatoes described in the article without weeding and hilling was previously widely used and showed excellent results. High productivity combined with ease of use attract an increasing number of both experienced vegetable growers and simply amateur summer residents. As it turned out, it is quite possible to get pleasure from work and to collect rich harvests without any extra effort.
We offer you to watch a video on how to grow potatoes without weeding and hilling: