Growing potatoes in straw bales

I read about folks having success growing potatoes directly in straw bales – no soil required – and tried a version of that plan this season. It did not work.

We used leftover straw with ample amount of manure in it from our sheet mulching experiment (which worked wonderfully for the blueberries) to form new beds on top of pasture grass. I’m not sure if we did not plant the seed potatoes deep enough, but we lost 50% of the crop this year to sunlight trickling down through the loose straw. You could see that the potatoes were attempting to grow as we layered on additional straw later, but the sunlight stunted them.

But at least we’ve got a good base material in these new beds for a winter cover crop to get ready for the Spring!