You’ll NEVER grow potatoes any other way again!


Potato harvest from bales is easy, with no fork or shovel, simply cut the strings and kick over the bales, and pick up the potatoes. No marks on the potatoes from the forks or shovels, so they will store well, unblemished. Wrap them in brown paper, this helps them store longer. Keep them in a dry cool place, and check your stock often, tossing out any that have gotten soft or begun to rot. You’ll have delicious potatoes until the following summer when new stock will be ready again.

In normal soil gardens it is important to hill up the soil around the stem as the potato emerges. This is important because potatoes form on on the stem not on the roots. If planted too deep in the soil, the stem has a hard time emerging, because it cannot push up more than a few inches of soil. In a straw bale, we simply plant the potato cutting deep into the bale. While a bale may be 20″ high, we will plant 16-18″ deep in a “crack” in the bale. The looseness of the bale will allow the stem to easily reach the surface, and the potatoes will form along this stretch of stem, filling the bale with potatoes. I suggest two or three potatoes in a bale, even while planting other crops on the surface of the bale. These “surface” plantings will be harvested early before the potato vine has stretched its way above and around the bale. Wait for the vine to flower and this is the earliest the potatoes will be ready, however waiting for the vine to wither later in the fall will allow the potatoes inside to mature a bit longer.

Try Straw Bale Gardening, especially if you like potatoes, you’ll never go back to growing potatoes in the soil. Growing potatoes any other way will seem silly once you’ve done it this way.


Robin 25-03-2013, 14:41

I’ve really been researching this method of gardening and find myself very attracted to the idea. One friend of mine says the heat of the bale will kill off thriving plants later in the season. I’m wondering how to keep the bale cooler in the hottest part of the season.

Also, I see that soaker/drip hose is used. How moist should the bale be kept?

Thank you for your help!

Joel Karsten 25-03-2013, 18:39

This is not the case at all, the bales cool off as the season progresses and by the beginning of July they are temp neutral. Water once a day during the hottest part of the season, but the bales do hold a large amount of moisture. Straw has a natural ability to do so, which is why it has always been used as animal bedding.

Deborah 25-03-2013, 18:01

How do I get your book??

Joel Karsten 25-03-2013, 18:38

Click on Store on the top of the home page at

Deanna Frost 25-03-2013, 18:28

I encountered an apologetic youtube on bale-grown potatoes that said some potatoes are less suited than others (due to the fact that they don’t spud off the stem). Would you be so kind as to research potential problem for us?

Joel Karsten 08-04-2013, 04:47

I am not familiar with any potato that doesn’t chit off of the main stem. I have grown at least twenty varieties of potatoes and they all do very well in straw bales. Great info on everything potato here

Barbara Drexler 05-04-2013, 19:45

I straw bale gardened last year using your method. Added a few raised beds and I will me ever go traditional gardening. Love showing it off. How can I utilize last years straw and growing potatoes. Any suggestions.

Pamela 06-04-2013, 12:22

In urban areas, what are ways of dealing with the straw after the harvest. HOA doesn’t allow for compost bin. Thanks.

Tricia 08-04-2013, 02:34

I can’t wait to try this. How would I go about getting a continuous harvest of baby potatoes? How deep should I plant and how would I know when to harvest them? I have never grown potatoes before.


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