Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Raiding the Stealth Garden

We had a lot of people over for dinner. Things were going pretty well, but we didn't have nearly as many potatoes as I'd though we had. There's no just popping over the store to pick up a few things. It's a five mile drive.

Then it occurred to me, maybe I've some potatoes in the stealth garden. It's my plant it and forget it garden. For a bit there, I'd forgotten about it myself.

It's not much of a garden. A couple years back I took a huge truckload of hay bales and stacked them in the woods. After letting them overwinter, seed potatoes were stuck into the hay bales. That's about all I do with this "garden." Really should have added more hay bales last fall. However, I did dump a big pile of grass clippings on the whole mess this spring.

Turning the grass over revealed plenty of potatoes for my big meal. One nice thing about growing potatoes in hay is that they don't have any dirt to wash off. A quick rinse and they can be popped in the pot.

This year I tried some sun chokes, but raccoons dug them all up and ate them. Oh well, better luck next year. Nothing got into the potatoes, and that's a good thing.

Planting in hay is quick and dirty way to expand garden space without a lot of work. You could pile the hay bales right on grass, bare gravel, and even on cement. It doesn't much matter. I'm told that if you use fresh hay in the spring, a little liquid fertilizer needs to be added to get the process moving. I've found that just letting the hay bales overwinter gets the decay process started enough.

Once the hay breaks down, it's a pretty good compost to add organic matter to a regular garden. Next spring, I'll wheelbarrow over a few loads to my normal garden. Couldn't hurt.

Now all I've got to remember to do is to harvest the rest of my potatoes before the snow flies.



  1. Around here hay is expensive and is usually not bailed but made into those giant rolls. Since there is no wheat or oats in the area, there is no straw. Sometimes, if you are lucky, you can find some rice straw.

    Will straw work? I would assume it would if you added organics to it. I am sure it is a lot cheaper up your way than hay.

  2. I'm sure straw would work. My "hay" was junk that was cut out of a field to keep the weeds and trees from taking over. It wasn't maintained or cultivated. Not really good for animal feed.