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4649Re: Soil disturbance and potatoes

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  • pollywog
    Dec 2, 2004
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      ---I have visions of one of my favorite garden gurus, Ruth Stout.
      Although many folk use the mulch/aboveground type of tuber raising as
      she did, I will not enquire as to how many enjoy doing it in the nude,
      as she did. <G>

      I plant potatoes in the soil. I have used the Stout (mulch-only)
      method, and was not particularly pleased; although I certainly do use
      mulch for the taters that peek up through the soil. As Stephen (I
      think?) said, that is how root veggies grow naturally.

      I think it is the broad disturbance of the soil, rather than the
      specific dig areas, that proves to be the problem. That is one reason,
      I think, for the idea of rotation. Just as Mom Nature does it. She
      will grow good grasses and clovers and such right in with the tubers-
      arrowroot, groundnut, potatoes, etc., and those critters that
      naturally go for the tubers for food will indeed disturb the soil
      where they dig. I have seen stands of arrowroot, for example, slowly
      move a few feet at a time over the years, as some is dug up, and the
      outer tubers and parts, not harvested, create more plants. Natural
      rotation, if you please.

      In the case of pigs, I have mixed feelings. A (domestic) pig that
      "visited" here last year sure wasn't sniffing out potatoes, and it did
      plenty of plowing as a matter being a pig. He was not exactly a
      welcome visitor, after I tripped over one of his burrows early one
      morn and he damaged the siding of my already pathetic domicile. <G>
      But, the almost surgical precision of many other critters' root
      harvest, is amazing to come across.

      That is one reason we grow a good diversity of crops. It's not the
      digging itself, it is the large areas of uneeded disturbance, that
      creates a problem. At least, that is what I am thinking after paying
      closer attention.

      As far as rodents: we have fox, coyote, and other rodent-eating
      critters in abundance here; I catch glances of one of my favorite
      foxes often when working in the garden, looking at me through the
      perimeter plant growth. Those voles and mice still have themselves a
      great time in their mulch tunnels. In some ways, I think the
      mulch-only technique of growing root crops possibly creates an
      imbalance in itself.

      The idea is to observe, and adjust to how Mom Nature is telling you to
      get things done; according to Her dictates, and as as best as you can
      fulfill them. deb

      In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Andres Rattur <Andre66@h...> wrote:
      > Hello, Lubo!
      >
      > I haven't jet had such possibility to grow potatoes under straw, but
      here in Estonia (small country in Europe) I know at least two persons
      who have tryied this and it came out very well. One other friend has
      grown potatoes near sea under seatang (seaweed, tang), because at her
      field there is only a small layer of humus (<10 cm). She is also
      pleased with this method and her potatoes grow nicely this way.
      >
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