No Dig Potatoes Vs. Planting Bag Potatoes

I did a little potato planting experiment last year. It was late autumn when I was able to clearly see the results of my little experiment so I decided to wait and write about when planting season began this year. As many of you know, I have access to a small space where I can plant some food plants during the planting season. I had tried a put some potatoes to ground, but it required so much digging and preparing the ground that I had been looking for maybe easier ways to plant some potatoes that were a bit easier on the back.

I found so many information filled youtube videos from enviable homesteaders and I decided that I would try something simpler. So, I planted ‘no dig’ potatoes at the small outdoor planting space and at the same time I tried planting potatoes in a planting bag on the terrace to see which one, or if either, might work for me.

It wasn’t such a big surprise to see that neither really worked as well as the traditional planting method. However, I do want to try the ‘no dig’ planting method again because it seems promising, the only problem being that I am an amateur.

This is how each method worked for me:

‘No dig’

  • ‘No dig’ really should be ‘no till’ method because you can’t just put the potatoes on top of grass. The area must have a layer of earth, but no grass so if it is a previously undisturbed area, you will have to do some digging. Fortunately for me, the area I have for planting is in a space which is specifically used for planting so there was already a layer of earth without the grass for my use.
  • The process is quite simple. Put the potatoes for planting on the top of the layer of earth and cover with hay, compost or more dirt. I covered mine in a loose hay. Leave for growing and uncover in the autumn for your lovely potato harvest!
  • Results: Many potatoes were found and they were larger than I have ever grown before! (Not to be too excited, all the potatoes I have ever grown are all quite small. Think: new potato size) The bad bit is that the birds were attracted to the hay I used for covering and the little thieves stole much of it. I know now that I should have put a much thicker layer on the top because at least half of my precious potato harvest had green (toxic) spots from being exposed to sunlight and so had to be composted instead. 😦 In total, I retrieved 1 3L bag of edible potato. I would recommend this method to anyone with a small allotment for planting or if one has a planting space of their own at their home, and has access to covering material such as hay, dried grass cuttings or compost.

Planting bag

  • Planting bags have been quite the trend recently and I can understand why. Planting bags are perfect for use in small outdoor spaces such as the terraces or balcony of a flat as long as there is some exposure to sunlight. They might even be suitable for a sunlight-filled area indoors of a small flat, but I have not tried that because the planting bag I purchased allows for the water to drain through the fabric.
  • The process is even simpler than the ‘no dig’ method. I used one 15L bag of mixed earth and compost. I put half of the 15L bag into the planting bag, and then placed the sprouting potatoes in a layer with a few cm space between and when those were all played carefully with the sprouts up, I poured the rest of the 15L bag on the top to fit the planting bag. Then I just placed the planting bag in an area with good exposure to sunlight and let it be. Watering is necessary and it can really be more or less depending what climate you are in. I gave quite a bit of water when the earth on the top of the planting bag looked dry.
  • Results: This method is for certain the easiest one and recommended for the person who doesn’t have the time for entire days spent on planting. Potatoes did grow in these planting bags, though they were quite small. Smaller even than the new potato size I had previously grown with the traditional planting method. The good thing about planting potatoes using the planting bag method is that they can be started earlier in the season. As potatoes even begin to sprout in the refrigerator, I find that it is ok to put them out if the weather is still a bit cold. No problemo! Being able to begin the growing sooner and leave until autumn may result in larger potatoes. If you like the small potatoes, this is really a perfect way to get those!

If you have plans for planting some kind of things this spring, I hope that you have found this post helpful. I have hope that people will try to keep some kind of food plants this year, wherever you are and what kind of home you live in because having the ability to grow ones own food, even if it is 1 small tomato plant or a bag of potatoes, is an important skill to have.

Read more here about why potatoes are a recommended food for always having in the budget-friendly kitchen.

Do you have any planting plans for this year?

-Mliae

Luffa gourd growing

I had to share this post. I love luffa, and given that I can’t hop into the ocean to find myself fresh sponges, THIS would be an AWESOME alternative! Anybody know where I can find these seeds?
Thanks to http://www.littlellewellynhomestead.wordpress.com for the fun post!

llewellynhomestead

I know, I have been posting way too many pictures of the luffas that I have been growing this year! But, despite being told they wouldn’t grow here, I have had a great crop! (For reference I live in a zone 6)

Quick background on this kinda cash crop: in World War 2, luffas were used for surgical operations, filters for the Navy’s steam and Diesel engines and for the Army’s helmet linings. They have also been used for pot holders, doormats, sandles and even mattress stuffing!

So, I ordered some seeds online in the winter and started them inside in April. But early Spring I had some nice seedlings that were waiting for the ground to warm up!

image Luffa seedlings!

I waited until the very end of May and planted them along the fence line. They vine very far! I think they would love a big trellis, but the…

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Now the major experiments are coming…

Prepare yourself for strings of profanity, tears, maxed out credit card and the occasional trip to the hospital.  It’s time for the DIY Home repair, home reno, and crash course gardening section of our blogging experience together!

As most of you well know, I purchased a small very old farmhouse last year. Well, through the past however many months its been and living through the annual seasons thus far, I’ve come to the realization that a lot more work needs to be done than I had originally anticipated. At first, I thought – ‘hey, its mainly just cosmetic stuff…we can manage this little by little – no problemo.’ Oooohhh….how wrong I was!

As it turns out, this would be a non-stop diy 10 year project if I had all the funds I needed for supplies and professionals (electricians, plumbers). But with my current budget (and the fact that a few weeks ago thieves stole my bank card and wiped out my entire account -> yet to be reconciled by the bank) I’m thinking 15, 30 years – tops.

The planned repairs/changes/beautifying:

  1. Full on yard do-over. This place was so overgrown from years of neglect, that even in several months, we couldn’t cut back the wilderness from the yard. The weeds had grown to small trees and were shoulder high. (Nope, not kidding) So this Spring/summer or plan is to create some serious curb-appeal.
    1. Continue cutting back the wilderness
    2. Plant grass
    3. Create some flower beds
    4. Straighten the drive
    5. Make a small terrace area to even out the front
    6. Replace entry stairs
    7. Replace front door to mudroom
    8. Replace mudroom door
    9. Make planting boxes to grow vegetables
    10. Build a small bridge
    11. Build a encasement for yard compost
  2. Sauna. Both the sauna benches need to be replaced, and the sauna oven itself. Plus its wicked dark in there so I’m thinking a new light as well.
  3. Attic. The attic needs newer insulation and I would like to create a space where its, you know, actual wall.
  4. Some of the fireplaces need repair, the chimney needs cleaning
  5. There is some seriously awful wood paneling. I would like to tear that down and make it a nice looking wall or even a lodge-like area with wood planks. Depending on what we find under it.
  6. We’ve got carpenter ants. Need to get rid of those and replace the floor and walls in one of the wet rooms because someone very bright put plastic flooring over wood floor and its not working out very well.

The list goes on and on and on… But honestly, I will be absolutely thrilled if we can even manage half of these tasks this summer.

Wish me luck and keep in touch, things are about to get very interesting!

And please, if anyone is willing or able to share some helpful or knowledgable advice, I’m ALL EARS!

-Mliae