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Can You Grow Potatoes In Grass Clippings?

Potatoes are a popular vegetable. Some home gardeners love to grow their own for better taste and longer storage than store-bought ones. The traditional way of growing potatoes involves planting them in a trench and mounding dirt around them as they grow. There are “no-dig” ways of growing potatoes that some prefer. Can you grow potatoes in grass clippings?

Yes, you can grow potatoes in grass clippings. You can place the seed potatoes on the planting bed and cover them with grass clippings. Then repeat as you get more clippings. The potatoes will be in the grass when it’s time to harvest – easier to get to than if they were buried in the garden soil.

You may have more questions now that you know that you can grow potatoes using grass clippings. Let’s dive into how to plant and grow potatoes with the clippings, the advantages and disadvantages, and more!

Can You Hill Potatoes with Grass Clippings?

Rather than soil, some people use straw or compost to hill up around the potato plants as they grow to make it easier to dig out the potatoes. Another option is using grass clippings.

Most gardeners will have a lawn that needs mowing, or a neighbor with one, supplying plenty of grass clippings for use around their potatoes.

There is a debate whether grass clippings should be dried out before using or if fresh will work. Fresh clippings may produce heat as they decompose, which might be too hot for the plants, depending on where you live, and the year you’re planting. Using fresh means you don’t have to store the clippings somewhere while they dry.

Dry clippings may blow away in the wind, so some gardeners dampen them or use mesh to cover them until they form a mat, and the plants appear through the mesh. They then remove it so the plants can grow unheeded.

How Do You Grow Potatoes Under Grass Clippings?

For a true “no-dig” way of growing potatoes, you don’t need to dig a hole to plant the seed potatoes. Here is the process:

Prepare the Planting Bed

Pull them up by hand or remove them with a hoe if there are weeds. Water the planting bed.

Plant the Potatoes

Place the seed potatoes 12-18 inches apart on top of the soil. If you prefer, you can first spread a layer of compost and place the seed potatoes on that or put each in its small compost pile.

Spread the Grass Clippings

Deposit handfuls of grass clippings on top of the seed potatoes to a height of about six inches. Water thoroughly to give the seed potatoes a good start.

More Grass Clippings

Put a 4-6 inch fresh layer on top when the lawn is mowed again. Again, water thoroughly.

Maintenance

Check on the moisture level of the soil and water when necessary. Your potato plants will be growing through the grass clippings, and the roots will go down into the soil.

Harvesting

Pull back the mat of clippings to check on the potatoes. If they’re too small, put the mat back carefully so they can continue to grow. Pull up the plant and pick off the potatoes when they’re ready.

Tips

  • It’s crucial that the grass clippings haven’t been sprayed with weed killers or pesticides.
  • If the grass mound looks thin, add more grass clippings. You need the potatoes to stay in the dark so they don’t turn green, making them poisonous.
  • If you add more fresh grass clippings around the plants, don’t have them touching the stem to avoid the stems being burned as the clippings decompose.
  • Potatoes from the grocery store are often treated with a growth inhibitor, meaning they won’t sprout. Buy from a garden center.
  • Potatoes need at least six hours of full sun per day.

What are the Advantages of Grass Clippings?

There are several advantages of growing potatoes in grass clippings rather than the traditional way.

No digging: You don’t have to dig up the bed, work in compost, and plant each seed potato in a hole. You don’t have to dig out the potatoes at harvest time, saving your back and avoiding damaged potatoes.

Easy access to grass clippings: Most gardeners have their own or have a neighbor who would love them to take their grass clippings off their hands.

Weeds: The mulch of grass clippings will kill any weeds remaining in the soil.

Hilling up the plants: You don’t have to hill up soil around each plant. Just dump more grass clippings to the entire bed. You shouldn’t need to do that after the initial two times in the beginning.

Good-looking potatoes are cleaner and better-looking since they have grown in the grass instead of dirt.

What are the Disadvantages of Grass Clippings?

There are a few disadvantages of this method.

Access to grass clippings: When you plant your potatoes may be before you start mowing your lawn. You can either use grass clippings you’ve saved from the last fall mowing or hay. Note that hay can contain weed seeds.

Threat of frost: If you don’t have a deep enough covering of grass clippings, the plants may have insufficient protection from frost.

Slugs: Some gardeners may experience a slug problem, but this can be alleviated with slug traps, nematodes, or other preventative measures.

Watering: Knowing when your potato plants need a watering can be more challenging. Rather than poking your finger into the soil, you need to feel under the mulch of grass clippings. Also, the plants may need more watering, as rain cannot get to the roots through the grass clippings as easily as soil mounds.

Conclusion

Many gardeners are looking for ways to eliminate or decrease the physical labor required to grow their vegetables. Growing potatoes in grass clippings are one way to do this.

Without needing to dig a trench, weed, and dig the potatoes out of the ground, grass clippings to grow your potatoes are user-friendly, both in planting and harvesting. It’s also easy to pick some early potatoes rather than waiting to dig up an entire plant to get a few for that night’s dinner.

Hopefully, this article will inspire you to try growing potatoes for the first time or try this method instead of the conventional way of growing potatoes in your garden.