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This year I decided to grow potatoes in a pot. My brother works for a major pottery company and gives me lots of great big pots. I started with 3 store bought russets that had sprouted all over the place. I put them in about 3 inches of potting soil.

In a few days they had sprouted up all over the place so I put another 6 inches of potting soil in the pot. (this is a very large pot mind you) I was now out of potting soil. When they continued to grow tall, I covered them in straw and continued this until the pot was full and my potatoes grew to be about 5 feet tall.

So, a few weeks ago they started to die back. (I'm in zone 6 in SE Mass) I let them die and then let them sit for a few weeks. When I dumped them out I had plenty of potatoes. Some were small, some were decent size. The thing was, no potatoes had grown in the straw, only in the soil. I know many of you grow your potatoes in straw only, so I'm a little confused why this happened.

Any thoughts?

Thanks
 

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Just my thoughts as I've never had any grow in straw either, but then I only mulched with the intention of moisture preservation and weed control, not a growing medium. I wonder if the straw had been kept damper if they might have then grown into it. It also might be because of so few nutrients in the straw.

I have read that the number of eyes on a seed piece determine the number of stalks the potato sends up. The more stalks the greater the total yield, however the potatoes will be smaller than if only two or three stalks are allowed.
 

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As far as having the tubers develop in the straw, you were defeated before you started. The long sprouts were primarily stems which would normally have been aboveground. All that you were doing was mulching around those stems. Potatoes develop on stolons which are modified branches off a special section of the sprout just above the seed piece. When the sprouts developed, that section was probably no more than a half inch long and never got any longer. Your wonder now is because you thought that the stolons were produced off the stem when they are not.

Martin
 
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