How to grow potatoes under straw or hay: growing technology

Intensive cultivation technologies reduce the humus layer, which takes decades to recover. Natural farming is designed to preserve soil fertility. Its supporters use the method of planting under straw or hay when cultivating potatoes, which also reduces labor costs. If you correctly determine when to plant tubers, as well as exactly how to do it (taking into account the thickness of the covering material), caring for the bushes will not take much time and effort, and the harvest will be rich.

Advantages and disadvantages of the method

In small suburban areas, the method of growing potatoes under straw is especially advisable. With it, there is no need to dig up beds for tubers, to lay additional fertilizers, to spray from a variety of harmful organisms. This method of potato growing has undeniable advantages:

  • protection from pests without the use of chemicals – the absence of the need to purchase insecticidal preparations reduces the cost of products;
  • minimizing the risk of mechanical damage – the crop is often harvested by hand, without injuring the tubers with tools;
  • no need for protection from heat and frost – straw or hay serves as mulch, which prevents freezing and excessive evaporation of moisture;
  • saving labor costs – when growing potatoes under straw, there is no need to process the soil, use a shovel when harvesting, spending energy on this;
  • natural restoration of fertility – over time, the straw turns into compost, enriching the soil and loosening.

The method of cultivation under straw or hay also has its drawbacks. Main disadvantages:

  • the appearance of numerous colonies of rodents – for the latter, the remains of wheat are an excellent food base;
  • unusual taste – some note the appearance of notes in the potato taste that are atypical for tubers if grown in a traditional way;
  • the cost of covering material – about 20-30 m2 of straw is used per one hundred square meters, which has to be purchased from agricultural enterprises or farmers;
  • greening of tubers – noted when potatoes grow under a thin layer of straw or hay, when sunlight hits the fruits;
  • reproduction of slugs – as a result, the crop may be damaged.
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Despite all the advantages of the method, it has its own nuances. Before using it, a test planting of a small amount of potatoes under hay should be carried out throughout the area.

How to plant potatoes under straw

How to grow potatoes under straw or hay: growing technology

The planting of tubers is violated only after preparatory measures have been carried out. This applies not only to the germination of seed potatoes, but also to its processing. With this method, you do not need to dig up the soil. But the site should be prepared from the previous season by sowing green manure.

Preparing the tubers

A month and a half before the potatoes are planted under the covering material, they are removed from the storage, sorted, removing diseased tubers. For field work, specimens of the size of a chicken egg are selected. The planting material is disinfected by immersion in a manganese solution for 15 minutes. Then it is dried and placed in boxes. The latter are transferred to a dry, bright place. The temperature is maintained in the range of 5-15 ° C. During the germination period, strong shoots should develop from the eyes.

Soil and mulch

How to grow potatoes under straw or hay: growing technology

On the site where they plan to grow potatoes under straw next season, in the current season, siderates are sown as the most optimal predecessors – alfalfa, rye, oats, mustard. In the fall, the soil can be fed by distributing the top dressing over the surface using the following nutrient formulations:

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  • compost;
  • well rotted manure;
  • rubbed citrus peel is an effective way to scare away rodents in the future;
  • ground shell;
  • ash is a disinfectant that fights well with wireworms.

For growing potatoes in straw, the latter is purchased from agricultural enterprises that cultivate ear crops. When the area is small, you can use hay from your own mowed grass left after mowing the lawn, lawns. If the straw is not too overstretched since last season, you can add it to the mulch.


When the ground warms up to 10 ° C, they begin to disembark. Step-by-step instruction:

  1. Furrows are made in the soil into which water is poured. The ground must be well moistened.
  2. The distance between the grooves is about 70 cm.
  3. A nutrient mixture of compost and humus is added to the recesses, if desired. This is not necessary, but desirable if the soil is severely depleted.
  4. In grooves with a distance of 30 cm between each other, the tubers are distributed sprouts up.
  5. Potatoes are laid with straw or hay in a layer of 40-50 cm, but not thicker, so that the sprouts can quickly and easily appear on the surface.


If all the manipulations are carried out correctly, growing potato tubers under straw or hay is an effective way to get a large yield. Bushes develop in optimal conditions: no weeds, rapid evaporation of moisture.

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How to grow potatoes under straw or hay: growing technology

It is easy to care for potatoes planted in straw. After the shoots reach a height of 15-20 cm, mounds are created around the bushes – hilling is carried out. This will help protect the tubers from direct sunlight and the resulting green tint. The humidity must be constant so that when growing potatoes in straw, the tubers form even.

Prolonged drought can lead to cracking of the tubers. To prevent such consequences, the bushes are watered in small portions at the root. The procedure is carried out only in the evening. In case of excessive precipitation, the straw is “shaken” and turned over. This event does not allow stagnation of moisture and the beginning of the development of rot. In the process of growing bushes, the mulch layer is periodically renewed.

Alternative methods of cultivating potatoes under straw

In addition to the classic technique, there are a number of variations. All of them involve the use of straw. In its absence, well-dried hay will perfectly cope with the role of mulch. However, to form a layer 50 cm thick, this type of covering material will require more.

Under straw using soil

How to grow potatoes under straw or hay: growing technology

In the selected area, small holes are prepared up to 10 cm deep. The layout of the planting holes is standard – 30 x 70 cm. Potatoes are thrown into the grooves with sprouts up, burying them with earth. The soil should not rise above the planting material. On top there is a straw layer 30 cm thick. In order for the seedlings to be friendly, this indicator should not be increased.

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With straw in a bucket

Another unusual way in which potatoes should be planted in a deep container. Basic steps:

  1. Take a deep bucket.
  2. A drainage is placed at the bottom, which is the soil in a layer of 7 cm.
  3. Pour in humus.
  4. Send 1-2 tubers.
  5. Cover the planting material with a 10 cm layer of straw.
  6. As the bush grows, mulch is added until the container is completely filled.

Use of cardboard and straw

For reception, use boxes from household appliances. In the selected area, the resulting sheets of cardboard are laid with an overlap, fixing the edges of the “beds” with bricks. Cross-shaped cuts are made on the material, in which the tubers are laid so that at least one of the sprouts of the planting material touches the soil. After covering with hay, the potatoes are under a 10 cm layer of covering material.


The emergence of seedlings is a signal that mulch should be added. The optimal thickness is 30-40 cm.

Diseases and pests of culture

The greatest danger to potatoes cultivated under covering material is slugs and murine rodents. For the first, straw becomes an excellent bedding under which they live, feeding on young shoots. Lime, ground eggshells are used against gastropods, and they are also collected by hand. To protect planting from rodents, spicy herbs are planted next to the bushes. You can also use sound effects by installing metal rods around the perimeter of the beds and hanging plastic flasks with a volume of 5 liters on them.

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In addition, as with standard growing, the potato is attacked by the Colorado potato beetle. To protect the culture, the tubers are treated with an insecticidal dressing agent. The effect is not enough for the entire growing season. We will have to carry out spraying additionally after the start of the mass settlement of shoots. If moisture stagnation is avoided, diseases do not appear.


How to grow potatoes under straw or hay: growing technology

Subject to the timing of planting and preparation of seed potatoes, young tubers are dug 60-70 days after germination. Technical ripeness depends on the variety planted. The latter factor also affects the yield. Depending on the cultivated variety and the quality of the planting material, about a bucket of large tubers are collected from the bush.

Harvest potatoes on a sunny day. The layer of mulch is removed with a rake. The tubers are harvested by hand, since they are located almost on the surface. Drying with this growing method may not be necessary if the covering material was dry. The crop is distributed in boxes or bags. Fresh straw is not thrown away, but used the next year.

Which is better: hay or straw

You can grow potatoes both under hay and under straw. Both covering materials have good protective functions. However, straw has an important advantage in terms of ease of maintenance and minimization of labor costs. It is heavy, dense, therefore it retains moisture well, preventing evaporation. But potatoes under the hay should be watered often. Loose mulch dries quickly.

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In contrast, the fact that the hay can be prepared without difficulty is argued. You can sow herbs on the site. Then, in addition to hay, the summer resident will improve the composition and structure of the soil for future planting. In the absence of time and desire, you can mow the grass near the house, in the pasture, dry it well and use it for cultivating garden crops.


When choosing a covering material, take into account the acidity of the soil. If it is high, you should not use hay.


Sergey, 45 years:

“I was recommended to grow potatoes under straw by a neighbor in a summer cottage. I don’t go there often, so there is no way to constantly weed, loosen the beds. Often I come to the dacha just to get distracted. Thanks to this technique, it became possible to combine potato cultivation and rest. I only spend time on landing, leaving is not a hassle. But the harvest obtained with our own hands is very pleasing with its stability and quality. “

Maria, 50 years:

“I plant potatoes every year. To get a good harvest I spend a lot of time and effort, as it is weeding, feeding, hilling. Not to mention plowing, harrowing. After watching the video, after reading the reviews, I decided to try to grow some bushes using covering material. The result is pleasing: minimal maintenance, the soil is not depleted, and the harvest is rich. “

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Growing potatoes under straw is a great way to get a good harvest with minimal effort. The main thing is to properly plant, observing all the requirements for planting material, plot, mulch.


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Anna Evans


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