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nes
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Potato Towers & Straw

I've got a base of gravel & some compost spread in my box and the potatoes are just starting to push up through the soil so I think it's time to add some straw to the top of my pile.

I've got free access to a moldy old round bale of hay just outside my garden OR I can drive around trying to find someone to sell me ONE bale of straw (the farmer may possibly have one if I'm lucky).

Can anyone give me an idea of what they've done in the past?

I used that hay for mulch last year & weeds from the hay really weren't an issue. Plus I'm thinking if I pull some off then lay it in the sun for the rest of the day it will kill the mold spores (at least the worst of them). Or is this a total recipe for disaster & I should go put the effort into finding some straw?
Vanessa raising organic vegetables, livestock, wildflowers, and family in zone 5A.

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Ozark Lady
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I would lay some plastic out, then water the hay, and let the seeds sprout, then just turn it over, and have sprouts on bottom. Water as needed and turn as needed until you kill all the seeds, then just use it.

It is time consuming, but I have a bale of hay, the goats don't like it and are refusing to eat it at all. I paid $5.00 for that bale! So, I will turn it into mulch, there must be someway to get value out of my $5.00!

If you need mulch, today, then get the straw! If you want mulch later, start the hay sprouting for later use! Don't add the hay now, or you will be weeding all year, and next year, and possibly the next! :lol:
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Jbest
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I would fill the tower with something that has nutrients that potatoes like. A potato plant will develop supplementary foots to feed the spuds so if you want nice spuds and not just more they will need additional nutrients. John
Life's Journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body,
but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting,
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nes
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That is a really neat idea with trying to sprout the seeds! I suspect they have all already been & gone since the bale has been sitting in the same spot for at least 3 years now. I'm going to try that out & see how it goes!! :)

I would add more soil but I have a wooden box instead of a traditional tower & I am worried about the difficulty of harvesting the spuds if I fill the box with soil. Plus I added some really nice compost to the bottom - I think they'll be alright for nutrients :). I hope.

What about grass clippings in potato towers though?
Vanessa raising organic vegetables, livestock, wildflowers, and family in zone 5A.

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Jbest
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If you have any more of that compost, that is what I would use. John
Life's Journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body,
but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting,
"Holy crap what a ride!!"

sjohnson9206
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Please take this with a grain of salt, as I have personally never done this, but people grow potatoes in straw bales and then hill with more straw. I would think if they have no issues growing in the medium, then you shouldn't have an issue in your towers.
~ Samantha ~

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Jbest
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sjohnson9206 wrote:Please take this with a grain of salt, as I have personally never done this, but people grow potatoes in straw bales and then hill with more straw. I would think if they have no issues growing in the medium, then you shouldn't have an issue in your towers.
I have seen there photos and they get a lot of small potatoes. John
Life's Journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body,
but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting,
"Holy crap what a ride!!"

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nes
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I'm inclined to take your advice on this one John, I just can't quite wrap my head around how I'm going to get that potatoes back out short of (1) Standing on the edge of the box digging down in the fall (2) Breaking the box (which I'd rather not do).
Vanessa raising organic vegetables, livestock, wildflowers, and family in zone 5A.

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Ozark Lady
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Hey cool. I am going to do it!

I have potatoes growing in a bed, I will just keep topping them up with dirt and compost.

But, I like tiny boiling potatoes, and have to really restrain myself from digging in the bed, before the potatoes get large. I am not a big potato eater, but I do like the little ones!

If I make a small box, and use compost, I can have my big ones, and little ones too! And since the little ones in the compost will be easier to get to.... I will resist the urge to dig in the bed! Cool, I can outsmart myself, thanks to you guys! And I should get large ones and alot of little boiling ones!
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

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